Plumbing, Guides, Pro Features, Business Tips

Google Ads for Plumbers: How to Maximize Lead Generation

April 19th, 2024
12 Min Read

Google Ads is the most commonly used paid digital marketing channel in the plumbing industry. The vast majority of plumbing businesses we work with devote part of their advertising budget to it, whether they’re handling marketing themselves or paying an agency or marketing company to manage it for them.    

The reason is clear: Google Ads work for acquiring new customers. 

But it’s important to understand which type of Google Ads works best for your plumbing company, especially if you are a small business with a limited ad spend

We’ll explain the different categories of Google Ads below and how, in our experience, leveraging Google Local Services Ads specifically helps make the most of your marketing budget.

The other way to ensure that you’re optimizing your Google Ads is to use integrated plumbing software like ServiceTitan that tracks leads from all your Google Ads campaigns right through the job booking process. This means you won’t waste resources on cumbersome admin and on leads that never result in paying jobs. Plus, you can capitalize on all of the opportunities from your Google Ads campaigns.  

In this article, we’ll discuss: 

If you’re curious to know how ServiceTitan could help optimize your Google Ads spend and drive more leads to your plumbing business, schedule a demo with our team.

There are nine types of Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and within those categories there are different sub-types and formats. 

Here are three most common campaigns used by plumbers:

We’ll describe each type and explain why we believe Google Local Services Ads work best for plumbing businesses.

Google Display Ads 

Google Display Ads are the banner ads that you see around the perimeter of websites. They’re the ads that expose you to brands with various products and services that might be relevant to you. 

The core use of Google Display Ads is brand marketing. This means that they’re mostly utilized to build awareness of your company with prospects. A big advantage of Display Ads is that you only pay for them when someone clicks and visits your website, so you can generate a lot of impressions and brand awareness without having to pay for it. 

Google Search Ads

Google Search Ads are the text ads that you see on the top and bottom of search engine results pages (SERPs). 

In contrast to Display Ads, Search Ads are considered a form of direct marketing, where the purpose is to elicit a direct response from people viewing the ad.

As such, Search Ads have higher conversion potential than Display Ads because they’re usually tied to specific keyword searches (e.g. “emergency plumber near me”) that indicate purchase intent. 

Your Google Ads account is made up of Campaigns, Ad Groups, Ads, and Keywords, and different parts of your business and marketing strategy will correlate with each. 

For Search Ads, you should have a separate landing page for each business unit to send ad traffic to and also let Google know your “negative keywords” — terms that you don’t want your ads to show up for.

With Google Display and Google Search Ads, you pay for clicks — the possibility that a potential customer might give you a call after visiting your site. 

Google Local Services Ads (and Why Plumbers Should Be Using Them)

Google Local Services Ads appear above the results of a search for services in a given geographic area. 

These differ from Search Ads, which appear similar to organic results, or Display Ads (which take the form of graphics and ad copy on websites, social media pages, and apps).

For example, the screenshot above shows the Google Local Services Ads for local plumbing services.

Local Services Ads pop up when people use search terms like “plumbing services near me” or simply “plumbers.” By clicking the “More plumbers…” option, prospective customers can pull up a list of the plumbing contractors in their area. 

They can then click on the phone icon option to call plumbing businesses directly, without ever navigating to a landing page on a company website

By removing a step in the customers’ route to contacting your business, Local Services Ads connect plumbing companies with a larger number of homeowners who already know what they’re looking for, and who are ready to purchase plumbing services. This helps increase conversion rates.

In contrast to the first two types of Google Ads, which are PPC campaigns (pay-per-click), with Google Local Services Ads, you pay only for plumbing leads — prospects who actually make contact (either via message through Google’s platform or by phone).

So, instead of paying for every click, which may or (more likely) may not turn into a lead, Google Local Services Ads offer a favorable return on investment by generating high-quality plumbing leads that you can convert into actual booked jobs. 

Google Local Services Ads also help ensure that the calls they produce are from customers in your service area. This means you won’t waste time engaging with potential customers who are never going to book your plumbing services because they’re not in your catchment area. 

The Challenges of Managing Plumbing Ads without a CRM

While Google Local Services Ads offer plumbing contractors some potentially big advantages, properly leveraging them without the assistance of a fully integrated Plumbing CRM (customer relationship management software), like ServiceTitan, can be challenging. 

For one, customers are limited in their ability to make contact. If a contractor isn’t pairing Google Local Services Ads with a high-quality CRM, customers’ only option is to call. 

Once a call comes in, without an advanced CRM, plumbing contractors must rely on the standard, often clunky manual process of creating and booking a job

  • Comparing calendars with the customer 

  • Scheduling a visit

  • Arranging for technician availability

  • Making notes on the specs of the job 

  • Inputting a time for a follow-up or confirmation call, etc.     

All of this makes things more complicated for the customer, and can create lag time between the call and the home (or commercial premises) visit. It decreases efficiency, while introducing an opportunity for the customer to hire another plumber who moves faster. 

The bottom line: Many people prefer to book online, and plumbing businesses that offer this via Google Local Services Ads win more jobs

In addition, while there’s no doubt that paying for leads is often a better bet than PPC, not all leads are created equal. Some calls may be from people shopping for a service that you don’t provide. Others might be from people who, because of a system glitch, aren’t actually within your service area. 

Google knows this and is pretty good about reimbursing Local Services Ads users for bad leads. But, to recoup losses from those leads, contractors need to keep very good track of them. And without a top-notch field service management platform, that can be extremely difficult to do. 

In the next section, we’ll take a look at how ServiceTitan addresses these issues to allow plumbing contractors to make the best possible return from their investment on Google Local Services Ads.

How ServiceTitan’s Google Ads Integration Optimizes Your Advertising Spend and Your Job Booking Process 

ServiceTitan’s Google integration lets you connect your Google Analytics account to ServiceTitan to align all of your data. 

By bringing an advanced CRM like ServiceTitan into the equation, plumbing contractors can leverage Google Local Services Ads to the fullest, making the booking process easier and more efficient, and ensuring that they pay only for leads that have a real chance of producing business.

Though one-click calling is standard with Google Local Services Ads, our software goes further, allowing customers to book appointments themselves without having to make a phone call. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how the job booking process works with our Google Ads integration.  

Easy & Efficient Job Booking

In the screenshot below, Red Lilly Plumbing, Shellback Plumbing & Drain, and NexGen HVAC and Plumbing are all using Google Local Services Ads. But only NexGen, a ServiceTitan subscriber, is able to provide seamless online booking, beginning with a simple tap of the calendar icon.

From the next screen, customers can find the service they’re looking for — install toilet, unclog drain, repair water heater, etc. — and click the “Schedule” button to proceed to the next step.

Then, customers can choose a convenient date and time for their appointment. The availability that appears in Google Local Services Ads reflects the contractor’s calendar, and customers’ selections are automatically logged into the contractor’s ServiceTitan account, with no need for time-consuming phone calls.

We know that many plumbing businesses, especially those on the larger side, like to book in excess of official capacity. They’ve learned from experience that they’ll generally be able to get to more calls than their block schedule might suggest.

With ServiceTitan’s Google Local Services Ads integration, this practice is easy. Our software will book an “extra” appointment into a time slot that doesn’t yet have a tech assigned to it, adjusting in real-time on the day of the visit to ensure that a tech covers the call.     

To finish their booking, customers enter their name, address, phone number, and other personal information into the Google form. That way, there’s no confusion about any of the details that could result in lost techs, delayed arrivals, unhappy customers, and fewer sales.   

Soon after they schedule their visit, customers will receive a confirmation email from Google. Depending on the business owner’s preferences, the customer might also receive an automated email, generated by ServiceTitan, from the plumbing contractor. 

Contractors can also choose to have our software simply notify a CSR of the booking and prompt them to follow up by phone with the customer to confirm. 

Whatever the case, no additional steps are required to schedule the visit. 

With ServiceTitan’s Google Local Services Ads integration, booking jobs becomes a frictionless, automated, near-instantaneous process.

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Tracking Leads and Optimizing Ad Spend

In addition to making the job booking process simple for new customers generated by Google Local Services Ads, ServiceTitan has two features that help you track leads through the entire customer experience and optimize ad spend so you can drill down into what’s working and what’s not. 

Here’s how.

ServiceTitan’s Dynamic Call Tracking

Google Analytics lets you track the click-through rates from your Google Ads, but the challenge is knowing which campaigns to credit once someone lands on your website. Often, it’s up to CSRs to manually attribute calls to a campaign, which is time-consuming and prone to error.

Our Dynamic Call Tracking feature uses Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) to show a unique phone number on your website based on which ad your visitor clicked. We automatically attribute the campaign source for you, so your CSRs don’t have to. 

In addition, Dynamic Call Tracking can track calls from your website in any situation, so you will always reliably know which marketing campaigns are driving calls, new leads, and revenue to your business.

Because all of your data is held within ServiceTitan, this means that customer activity can be tracked through the whole workflow so you can tie campaign performance to actual jobs. 

ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro lets you view the entire marketing funnel from impression to revenue so you can monitor your ad campaigns’ performance and fine tune your marketing budget accordingly.

ServiceTitan’s Ads Optimizer

The ability to view the performance metrics of your Google Ads and adjust your ad spend is really valuable, but ServiceTitan’s Ad Optimizer tool goes a step further so you can lower your cost per lead and also increase the quantity and quality of leads.

Our Ads Optimizer tool leverages audience and revenue data in ServiceTitan and automatically feeds it into Google Ads and other connected ad platforms. By enriching data used by these ad platforms, Ads Optimizer trains Google to target based on revenue, not just calls or form fills. 

Optimizer also includes a feature that looks at a company’s capacity and notifies the person managing that Google Ads account when the job board gets too full or isn’t full enough. Users can set thresholds so you don’t waste money on jobs you can’t fulfill or, if you don’t have enough jobs on the board, you will know when to increase ad spend.

Learn more about how to measure the impact of marketing performance here.

Connecting Google Ads to ServiceTitan for Max Profitability    

Google Local Services Ads are a powerful lead generation source for plumbing contractors. They create a funnel for local customers who know what they want and are ready to buy, while allowing plumbing businesses to pay for new leads that have a greater chance of converting into actual jobs, rather than clicks. In combination, these qualities make for a tool that’s both cost-effective and laser-focused.  

But for most plumbing companies, Google Local Services Ads, like other marketing channels, will represent just one important piece of an overall marketing strategy that may include SEO (search engine optimization), social media, email, and direct mail marketing

Trying to manage your Google Ads and all of these elements manually can be tough. But ServiceTitan’s top-notch CRM makes things incomparably easier. 

With the help of our software, you can: 

  • Streamline Google Local Services Ads job bookings

  • Track leads to make sure you get the most from the investment

  • Optimize ad spend to lower the cost per lead

Learn more marketing tips in our full plumbing marketing guide

Looking to grow your residential or commercial plumbing business? Schedule a call to see how ServiceTitan can help you drive more leads while increasing efficiency across your company.

Learn more about ServiceTitan Plumbing software.

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