As a contractor and small business owner, you aren’t just an expert in your trade, you’re an expert in everything about your business. For most contractors that are just starting out or are still small, your business is more than just working on the job. You’re going out and meeting potential new customers, putting together estimates and project details, negotiating with vendors to get the best deal… And then you still have a family and friends to keep up with!
So when it comes time to finding new customers, it’s easy to fall into a routine. And if it’s working, then convincing yourself to do something else can seem counter intuitive. The business keeps coming and you hardly have to do anything, that seems like a win-win.
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You don’t grow in your comfort zone
We’ve all heard the sayings: no pain, no gain; no pleasure without pain; there night is darkest before the light. But what does all that really mean? For a business owner, that means getting outside of your comfort zone. Learning new things is always uncomfortable, and that’s all the more reason to do it. It’s how you grow personally, and it’s how you grow your business.
Google Ads is one of those things that can help almost any business grow. Everyone’s customers use the internet, unless you’re serving people in some far-off, remote wilderness with no access to modern technology. And if that’s the case, then you’ll likely never see this article anyway. So who are we talking to? Oh, that’s right, we’re talking to local contractors. And your customers are definitely using the internet.
When people in your community start researching projects around their house, or need a leaky pipe fixed, the first thing they do is pull out their phones or hop on the computer. The terms that they type into Google are where you can capitalize. Think about how you would search to hire a contractor. It’s likely something like ‘Plumbers in Philadelphia’ or ‘Electrician 19104’. Or perhaps something longer, like ‘best plumber in southeastern PA’. Google Ads let’s you create a text ad that specifically targets the terms that people are searching for. This means that if you can find terms that are relevant to your business, you can start targeting people that are looking precisely for your services.
But wait…what terms are they searching for?
Google aggregates all of the data that is put through their search engine. As well as all of the actions that people take when navigating their site. They do this consistently over time and use the information to refine their search results and to create a super targeted advertising platform.
They also use all of this data to create comprehensive research tools and statistics. Check out the Google Keyword Planner and type in some of the terms that you thought of on the top of your head. This will show you what kind of volume you can expect for each term, as well as an estimated bid range. With Google, you pay per click. Each click represents a visitor to your website. Not all of them will convert into new business, so you’ll want to consider that it may take multiple clicks in order to get a new business lead.
Select the terms that have medium or low competition, and a reasonable bid range. You also want to consider how specific the terms are to your business. Do the terms refer directly to what you’re selling? Are they specific to your geographic area? If the criteria checks out, then you can click the ‘add to plan’ button at the top of the list. Try to find 15-20 terms that are a good fit.
Fifteen minutes a day
From there, you can set up a campaign, create a number of different ads, and then manage your daily budget. You should also check back in to your campaign regularly, and pause it if the ‘spend’ is getting too high. Once you start your campaign, you’ll also want to ask all of your new business leads how they heard about you. Once it’s live, you should plan to spend about 15 minutes a day reviewing the results and managing your ad spend. There’s also more advanced tracking options that we’ll cover in another article. It will likely take you a month or two to dial in on some terms that really convert. Once you have them figured out, the reward can help bring your local contracting business to the next level.