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You’re Paying Google too much for HVAC Leads

Google is the most expensive type of marketing, except for all the rest.

I get it, we all get it.  Google is expensive.  But it doesn’t have to be.  We (the Home Services Industry) have been trained that spending money on Google is the best way to ensure your capacity is full.  This is still true, but with the massive adoption of Google’s Machine Learning, who’s monitoring the automated bids in the market?  If we solely rely on Google’s Artificial Intelligence to “place my ad first on Google” then it’s only a matter of time before all your competitors (and you) are allowing Google’s AI to dictate the CPCs (cost per click) for your keywords. How are we ever going to know if we could have bid lower on Google to get the same click?  If your competitor also sets Google to automate their bids, who is going to stop the algorithm from increasing everyone’s bid?

We just need to ensure we’re smart with our bidding strategies.  Google is the platform homeowners have come to trust and use (like a utility).  We can’t shy away from spending money with Google, we need to learn how to harness the potential of your ad program.  This blog is hopefully going to help you see the potential your Google Ad program could have as opposed to kidding yourself when thinking there is any better option than Google.

How much should you bid on Google Ads to get clicks on HVAC Keywords?

The answer – exactly what you need to book the job and not a penny more.  Okay, easier said than done.  But here’s how it’s done.

Knowing your target marketing cost as a percentage of gross revenue is a good place for us to start.  Let’s say you want to end the year at a 6% overall marketing cost.  We need to determine how we can get you jobs that only cost us 6% of the revenue invoiced to that customer.

What is your average revenue per job?  Okay, let’s multiply that by 6% to give us our target acquisition cost per job. From there we essentially need to determine all conversion rates along the way.


If 25% of your Website Visits turn into a Call, then your website conversion rate is 25%.  If 50% of the calls that come in get booked in as a job, that’s a 50% booking rate.  If 40% of those repair jobs turn into an equipment sale, you need to consider that in the equation as well.  


This math allows us to determine the maximum bid you’re able to spend on certain keywords for Google Ads.  If you know in advance what your target cost should be, it’s easy to determine your maximum bid and set limits on Google to never bid higher.  This means, however, that you need to be willing to not always show first in the ads section.  Increasing bids on keywords just based on position is not a good strategy, even if your competitor is showing above your ad.  Let them pay too much for those clicks and we can spend the budget more efficiently.

How do I know the number of clicks I need to buy from Google Ads?

First, think about how many jobs you need to get. 

(# of jobs you need) x (number of clicks it takes to get a job) =  the number of clicks you need to get all the jobs you want.

If it’s that simple, why do I need you to run my Google Ads?

Because when we get to know your business and your goals, we get to act on your behalf to make these decisions.  Within the first meeting and using a few dialled-in metrics, we can enable your business with the knowledge and tools you’ve always needed to help you grow profitably.  Our job as the agency is to ensure you never pay too much for leads and that we are always trying to get you better jobs.  We just need to first determine the type of customers that are best for your business and then we figure out how to bring them in.

It’s all about the Data. 

The HVAC and Plumbing industry has been able to grow and adopt technology better than most.  Largely because of the tech giants in the industry creating amazing CRM’s that are company-wide connected, like Service Titan, Successware and Housecall Pro. What this means ladies and gentlemen, is that you have better data accessible through your CRM than most industries could dream of. You know so much about your customers and honestly, most of you aren’t utilizing your database effectively. Actually, most of your employees aren’t collecting data correctly, to begin with. If you have a disconnect in numbers between departments, it’s most likely a human entering error. But I digress.

What kind of data can you gather from your CRM that will help you target ads to the right person on Google?

First Step

Pull a list of average revenue per job in each of your Zip Codes (‘Postal Codes’ for us Canadians) that you service in your market.  This will help you see the areas in the city that you sell well in. I would look at close rates here and determine which sales guys sell best in each zone as well, but that’s more of a dispatch discussion.

Second Step

Put together a list of characteristics your best customers all have in common.  This could be age, gender, race, area of the city, income level, interests, square footage of their home etc. 

Third Step

Repeat the second step for each business unit in your schedule.  (service + market).  This will allow you to create target personas for each sector of your business and your marketing agency would go crazy (should go crazy) over receiving this level of data.

What can the Agency do with this level of Data?

Ok, I’m going to stop real quick and let you know that I am aware of the power we hold as Marketing Agencies.  We know how to specifically target ads directly down to someone’s home address based on the likelihood they will spend money with you.  This power, when used for good (to help your business grow profitably), can allow you to spend a heck of a lot less than blanket-targeting your city, and allow you to hyper focus on neighborhoods that you know have 20 year old A/C units and your guys sell really well into that area.

You end up spending more (per household) to advertise with that level of specificity,  but it’s worth it, because you end up saving so much of your ineffective marketing dollars.

ADHOME has decided to create an alliance with one of the industry data powerhouses Stochastics Marketing.  HVAC guys, if Stochastics is not sold out in your market, you need to hire Erik or at least take a demo with him. He uses information from your database and external market data to create really hyper-targeted direct mail pieces that systematically increase new customer acquisition. Our data alliance allows us to agree on which new customers we want to target and create a strategy that encompasses both digital and traditional marketing. 

We are not an agency that will ever tell you to replace traditional marketing with digital, we have always worked well with media companies like direct response, tv, radio, and billboard to ensure a common brand and message is sent out through all mediums in your market.

What working with Erik has taught me was that we are both trying to find who the best customers are to target for HVAC Businesses all across the US (and Canada).  Our method to help you reach new customers is very different, but essentially, we should and can at least agree on who the ideal customer is, and then both marketing tactics (digital and direct mail) are more effective. All marketing efforts are contributing to getting the right customer into your schedule.

Conclusion

We don’t like to call ourselves “Googley” but essentially, we’ve learned how Google works inside and out for HVAC businesses (and plumbing companies) because that’s who we work with. We know and have developed the most effective strategies that help you stay competitive in your market. We have even built a CRM extension (ProfitFill) that will connect directly to your schedules and know exactly how many clicks you need to have full capacity, and then it shuts your ads off when each schedule is full. It’s cool, but essentially, if you’re not seeing profit using Google Ads and you own a residential HVAC business in either Canada or the US, you need to book a call with me.

I’m not going to promise I’ll convince you to work with me and my team at ADHOME, but I am going to present an appealing argument.

Book a Call.

Written by: Amanda Wilhelm

Amanda Wilhelm has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to marketing. Starting her career as a small business owner, she was able to grow her own revenues by 50% in the first year alone. This gave her a taste for what could be possible with her natural talents in marketing, research, and strategy.

Working as a Marketing Director for many years, she honed in on these abilities and brought additional skills to the table with a hands-on approach. Amanda has expert competencies in optimizing website conversion, user experience (UX), SEO, AdWords, reputation management, content marketing, marketing automation, video production and management, traditional advertising and marketing budgets.

Amanda actively invests in the entrepreneurial community to share the success that she has found in her pursuits. She takes pride in her leadership abilities, which are characterized by her creative and philanthropic style. Outside of her day-to-day work life, Amanda enjoys being involved in charitable work as well as painting, writing poetry, and composing music.

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