Marketing Practices

A broad-based marketing strategy that stretches from Google to direct mail brings new customers in the door and maintains relationships with existing clients. Being able to automate and track that marketing drives the highest return on your marketing investment.


Google Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great way to capture customers who are at the bottom of the marketing funnel. Google Ads owns this market, with some sources claiming Google has 90 percent of market share.

 Here’s how it works:

Businesses choose a collection of keywords for which they want to show up, and specifies the message of the ad, geographic limitations, times and dates to appear, and the maximum they are willing to pay for someone to click through to their website. 

When a consumer searches for a specific keyword, Google’s algorithm looks at every business that specified that keyword, checks how much they are willing to pay for a click, then ranks them on the search results page. 

Typically, four ads show up above the search results. The higher the ad is ranked, the more the click will cost. 

This marketing channel’s power comes from being able to specifically target what people are searching. For example, businesses can have their ad display for those searching “emergency plumbing,” a search that typically represents solid revenue potential.

There are 3 common ways that contractors manage PPC for their business:

  • Hire an agency

  • Hire a marketing contractor/consultant

  • Manage in-house (yourself or a marketing person in your business)

This table can give you a sense of which option is best for you. Note that there are exceptions to each category.

AgencyA team of marketing professionals, each specializing in different aspects of marketing.1)Highly specialized 2)Access to Google support 3)Professional1)Expensive 2)Prioritizes bigger clients 3)Can be less responsiveAgencies are the industry standard for multi-truck, growth-focused businesses. They cost the most but a good agency will grow your business the best.
Marketing ContractorA single, jack-of-all-trades digital marketing consultant.1)Typically more flexible 2)More individualized attention 3)Lower rates1)Generalists 2)No team - if they go on vacation they might not be available.A local contractor with industry expertise is a great option for many businesses. A good option when looking to outsource but aren’t ready to invest in an agency. Note: There are very good contractors out there that can outperform many agencies.
In-HouseSomeone in your organization who figures out PPC on their own.1)A short walk away 2)Typically most cost-effective 3)Complete control1)Poor performance 2)Less time to focus on itIf you are a 1 or 2 truck operation, give PPC a shot yourself! However, if you’re serious about growth you’ll want to hire an expert sooner rather than later.

Again, these are general guidelines. For every talented, trustworthy PPC expert, there are agencies or consultants lacking in the expertise to help your business. When choosing someone to work with, look for the following:

  • Are they a Google Partner (preferably a Premier Partner)? Do they have Bing and Facebook accreditations as well?

  • Do they have industry expertise? Who else have they worked with in the industry? Can you speak to those clients as a reference?

  • What does their reporting look like? Note: If they don’t mention conversions, RUN!

  • What does their agency website or consultant profile look like? If it looks outdated, chances are the company’s tactics are outdated as well.

PPC management could have a 100-page guide on its own, but for the scope of this playbook we’ll include some FAQs and best practices for you and/or your PPC expert to reference.

Q: Should you advertise on your brand name?

A: Yes. If you don’t, other companies will and may steal your customers. Plus, Google has research suggesting that bidding on your own name improves the performance of your Google My Business and SEO efforts.

Q: How much money should be spent on PPC?

A: Some companies spend over 50 percent of their marketing budget on Google PPC. It has been the driver of business growth for countless contractors. That being said, you should plan your spend around  technician capacity, growth targets, and channel ROI.

  • If your schedule is open, increasing your budget is a great way to fill slots. If you are booked out (for example, there was a heat wave and your schedule is full for a week),  lower your budget or maybe even shut off ads completely.

  • Growth-focused contractors spend more on advertising in general.

  • If you are able to generate a high volume of leads for a profitable cost, then you should increase your budget (as long as you have capacity to support additional jobs).

As a rule of thumb, spend 1-2 percent of revenue on PPC to maintain business, and 3-6 percent to grow.

Q: What is Display Advertising and should I use it?

A: Display ads are image ads that show up on websites across the internet rather than on the Google Search page. They cost a lot less per click, but that’s because their primary purpose is brand building. That being said, improvements in targeting have led to display becoming an effective lead generation tool, sometimes bringing in leads for less than standard Search PPC campaigns. You should absolutely be using this channel as it reaches a lot of people and still has conversion power.

Q: Do I need to do Google PPC if I’m already doing LSA?

A: If you only have $1,000 to spend, you would be best served spending that on LSA instead of PPC. However, the amount that you can spend on LSA is unpredictable—you can hit a ceiling of what you can generate fairly quickly (especially in competitive markets).  

It’s a good idea to use both efforts in tandem. Max out your LSA budget, then fill in any additional jobs you need filled with Google PPC.

Q: What’s a good cost per lead on PPC?

A: That depends based on what the lead is for. If you are advertising on “furnace installation” and your average install ticket is $4,000, then you should be willing to spend more on that lead. A good rule of them is that the cost per lead should be 5-10 percent of the revenue for that service.

Q: How do I use ServiceTitan call tracking numbers with Google Ads?

A: At the most basic level, you can create a unique phone number for each Google Ads campaign, then add them as “Call Extensions” within Google. However, this only tracks calls to the extension and not when people land on the website. To continue tracking at that point, it is recommended that you or your expert uses a Call Tracking software like CallTrackingMetrics or CallRail. 

Google has a tracking system you can use, but by using ServiceTitan phone numbers with a call tracking software, you can track calls from the website that originated from ads.

Q: Should I advertise on Bing as well, or just Google?

A: If your budget is small, keep your spend all in Google so there can be enough consolidated data to improve your account performance. 

If you are looking to profitably increase your spend, Bing is a great option because it’s less competitive and is made up of older users who have more disposable income.

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