Just curious; can you elaborate on why you choose to focus on residential and not on commercial?I spent some time speaking with Andy Black yesterday about my AdWords Campaign for my local service business.
You can listen to Part 1 of the call HERE. (This is the chat.)
You can listen to Part 2 of the call HERE. (This is the review of the AdWords account.)
He suggested I start a progress thread to report back on how everything worked out.
Seems like a good suggestion, so that's what I'll do.
Updates will probably be every couple weeks if the data makes sense. Might need to wait 30 days for the initial campaign to show some numbers. Obviously something that doesn't have enough data points is irrelevant to report back.
The big change Andy made with this campaign versus what I was doing before is implementing Modified Broad Match Keywords.
Essentially I was listing every possible variation of every keyword, and bidding on each and every one of them. From what I've learned, this isn't the most effective way to approach this, and can actually have negative effects on your CTR and Conversions. Which in turn affects how Google views your ads and the costs associated with them.
Modified Broad Keywords Andy has discussed at length, but is basically this:
Keyword = +City +TargetKeyword
The reason for this is to take what he calls the "low hanging fruit". What he means is a local service business like myself only wants to pay for those visitors that are ready to buy. We don't want the tire kickers, or people researching how to do the work on their own. We want customers in need of our service as soon as possible.
By using modified keywords, we ensure we only show for search terms that include both our city and keyword. This is key because people don't search "Great Neck Home Cleaning" unless they are looking for a local cleaning service. People who search "Home Cleaning" may be looking for a local cleaning service, or are just as likely to be looking for tips on how to do it themselves.
The other key piece Andy and I discussed, was the 3 key things that must match up for any campaign to be successful. Those things are the Keyword, the Ad Copy, and the Landing Page Copy. All three of these need to convey the exact same message to client.
When a client searches "Great Neck Home Cleaning", our ad must say "Great Neck Home Cleaning". Then, when the ad is clicked, it must take them to a page that reads right in the headline "Great Neck Home Cleaning".
Obviously this doesn't guarantee somebody books a service with us, but it's intuitive to see why somebody would be more likely to book versus if those pieces did not match up.
I haven't been active on the forum, but I'm happy to discuss anything regarding my business or building a local service business in general.
Andy and I discussed a lot of things, but I couldn't go all that deep in any one particular area. Glazing over things makes them seem a lot easier than they are in practice.
I know one question I'd ask if I were a listener is, "What cash flows do you have that allow you to put everything the business earns back into the business, yet still pay your bills, and still have the time to grow the business".
I wouldn't call it divine intervention, but I certainly didn't have the balls to leave my job on my own. I went in that Monday morning just like any other, yet walked out with no job. Whatever allowed that event to happen, waited until I had just enough things lined up that I wouldn't run scared to another job.
It's worth mentioning, I have student loans, a mortgage, two car notes, NYC rent, and a girlfriend who's currently in grad school.
I had every reason to be dependent on my salary, and I was.
Alright so to answer the question, what cash flows keep me afloat.
Rental Income - Own a 2 bedroom home in Baltimore Maryland. Bought this three years ago and lived there briefly before moving to NYC. This covers my mortgage payment and student loans. (1 Hour Per Month)
NYC Rental Income - I saw an opportunity in the short term rental market, and decided to lease apartments and rent them out short term. These are thru partnerships with guys who own the properties. It's a great income stream but certainly isn't passive like the property in Baltimore. Other downside is there's no end game to this. I can't sell the partnerships. The systems I've built allow the income to be more passive than not, but this will eventually just shut down. If your familiar with the field at all, there's a ton of regulatory concerns in NYC so this won't be a long term endeavor for me. (10-15 Hours Per Week)
Ecommerce - Girlfriends dad manufactures women's jeans and leggings. I offered to build him a website for free as long as I kept the profits from whatever sold online. It's had it's ups and downs, and is fairly stagnant at the moment since I'm not all that motivated to build it. Apparel is boring, and making trips to USPS sucks. (2 Hours Per Week - Trips to storage, then USPS. Could use fulfillment center, but like I said I don't really even want to grow this)
Freelance Wordpress Support/Consulting - Spoke about this a bit on the call with Andy, but I basically offered a service on Craigslist setting up Wordpress sites for people. Some of that is billed hourly, others are project based and I give a set price for it. This has been the most valuable in terms of learning and personal growth. I'm not technical, so offering to provide a technical service to a complete stranger is intimidating. It forced me to learn on the fly and each client chipped away at whatever fear I had going into it. (8 Hours Per Week)
In between all of this the real focus in on growing the Local Service Business. Answering the phone, responding to emails and online chat, drafting email campaigns, local outreach to bloggers and newspapers, social media, client relations, contractor relations, etc.
Alright, so enough about me. I'll continue this progress thread as the campaigns runs, and hope for the best.
Wish me luck.