Google’s ad format for home service providers, called local service ads (or LSAs for short) are a must if you want to dominate your local market.
And who doesn’t want to be a neighborhood hero?
Even though LSA’s can be a little work to get up and running, the valid and consistent leads you’ll land in the long term are worth the wait.
We’ve helped some of our customers increase their monthly lead volume by as much as 50% simply by implementing local service ads.
Still, that doesn’t mean LSAs are the easy fix to all your lead generation problems.
(If only scaling and strategic planning were that easy)
Like regular Google Ads, you’re still competing with other contractors in your area whenever someone searches for the services you offer.
In other words, there are a few things you need to be doing right, and doing better than your competitors, in order to make the most out of local service ads.
What are local service ads?
LSA’s are a Google ad type, created specifically for home service and home improvement providers. In this paid acquisition system, you’re able to pay per lead instead of per click.
(Yes, we’re talking about ads other than PPC. Can you believe it?)
These LSAs typically get triggered whenever someone searches for keywords related to home services (ie: roofing, window replacement, painting, etc.)
Currently, up to 3 Local Service Ads will appear on Desktop, 2 on Mobile, and 1 via the Google Assistant.
These local service ads show up at the top of search engine results pages, in card-like boxes as seen below:
As you can see, they take up a good chunk of first-page real estate, making them a must-have part of any contractor marketing strategy.
Does that all sound too good to be true? Well, let’s not forget the most important factor about the LSA’s: They require a hefty screening process by Google to ensure that they can 100% stand by your business.
The Google screening process varies by business type and location, and may include any of the following;
- Background checks (Identity verification and criminal check)
- Business registration checks
- Insurance checks
- License checks
These checks are at no additional cost to the business owner, and performed by local Google background check partners. Information is always kept confidential.
Don’t worry too much. Chances are if you are running a solid, legitimate business and you have happy customers, you’ll be just fine
How Local Service Ads Scale Your Contracting Business
When it comes to growing your business, consistent and high-quality leads are the name of the game. LSA’s do a fantastic job of pinpointing which leads are more likely close – saving you both time and money (Frankly, a lot of hassle).
- Pay only for leads related to your business and the services you offer
- Connect with potential customers who are searching for services you provide and are most likely to book
- Build trust with the Google Guarantee or Google Screened
So not only are LSA’s a great way to build brand exposure, they act as a safe guard against unqualified leads.
Talk about two for the price of one!
Google Guarantee is a certification program designed to increase customer confidence in local businesses. Think of it as consumer protection service.
In order to receive the Google Guarantee, business owners must first apply for a background check conducted by Google. This includes online reviews, insurance, licenses, and owners/employees.
Once certified, a green Google Guarantee badge will appear next to your ads. In fact, paid ads featuring the Google Guarantee badge appear above those without the certification. This symbol is easily recognised by customers, and will boost your organic search results.
This certification also offers protection should a customer be unsatisfied with their service. In Canada and the United States, customers can claim up to $2,000.
If there is high competition in your market, your business could certainly benefit from the extra leg up that comes with Google Guarantee.
To learn more about Google Guarantee and the application process, visit the Local Services Help page.
Guaranteed valid leads
Scalability can be summed up in 3 words – speed to lead.
Essentially, the sooner you can respond to a qualified inbound lead, the better.
Unfortunately, speed to lead also happens to be an issue known all too well in the home remodeling world. The life of a contractor is a full-time job – and then some. So without the right processes or workflows in place, it’s easy for potential clients to get lost in the shuffle.
Without trying to sound too dramatic, being a speed-to-lead pro is paramount.
This is yet another great reason to invest in LSA’s. When you minimize the risk of scrambling through unreliable leads or missing leads altogether, you can better invest and allocate time focusing on those most likely to close.
How LSA’s characterize a valid lead (via Google)
- You receive a voicemail
- You received a booking request or appointment
- You answer a phone call and speak with a customer
- You received an email or text message
Only pay for leads that count
What makes LSA’s a cost-effective lead generation tool?
Users set a weekly budget based on how many leads on average they want any given week
Then set maximum budget they would be willing to spend
How much a user spends each week may fluctuate, but they will never pay more than the established max budget
Should an invalid lead manage to slip through the cracks, they can be disputed with Google and the cost reimbursed
So we all agree. Local Service Ads are a must for contractors who are serious about raking in top-notch leads to grow. Next, let’s talk about the step up.
How to get started with Local Service Ads
Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some useful resources that will walk you through how to get set up with LSA’s for your contracting business:
With that out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.
5 Factors to Help You Rank Higher with Local Service Ads
Just like with regular old PPC ads for contractors, you’ll also be competing with other advertisers for the top local service ad spots in your area.
Here’s what Google looks at when determining which ads to display for specific searches, and how you can ensure your business appears in flashing lights :
1. Your review score and number of reviews received
This is by far the most important factor in outranking your competitors with local service ads is having a good volume of quality reviews.
After speaking with our Google representative about LSAs, he even went as far as saying that you need to have an average star rating of 4.8 to be considered among the first few local service ads shown at the top of the page.
A tall order, maybe. But not impossible.
The volume of reviews is important, but quality is the ultimate deciding factor. Make sure you go above and beyond for your customers to leave them no choice but to give you a stellar review.
To facilitate that process, use the local service ads dashboard to collect reviews once a job is complete:
Source : Wordstream
The highlights : The more 5-star reviews you collect, the more exposure you’ll earn through local service ads, and the more leads you’ll generate for your business.
Consider training your staff to ask for a review after every completed job, provided the customer is happy with your service. Aim to add several 5-star reviews to your listing each month!
Our advice : Don’t skimp out on a referral marketing strategy. Prioritizing engagement and communication with clients will give leg up when it comes to turning homeowners into raving fans, and sending referrals your way. Here are 7 things you can do right now to increase homeowner referrals for your contracting company (You can thank us later).
2. Your proximity to potential customers’ location
Google will take into account how close your business is in relation to the customer searching for your services.
So if a homeowner in Arlington Heights, IL conducts a search for a roofing contractor, then roofing contractors in Arlington Heights, IL will be more likely to show up in the first few local service ad results than say a roofing contractor in Evanston, IL or further out.
This is technically a win-win for both homeowners and contractors: homeowners get to work with local contractors, and contractors get to book more jobs near their home base which reduces travel time and costs, making jobs more profitable.
The highlights: Your physical address will determine how “proximity” comes into play when ranking your local service ads. So there’s not much you can do.
Our advice : If you really want to beef up your chances of getting ranked, do your best to become part of the Map Pack. The Map Pack is Google’s roundup of the most relevant services based on location and keyword queries.
3. Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
An important factor in determining where your local service ads will rank is your level of responsiveness to new leads that come in.
Google wants contractors to respond in a timely manner in order to provide a great user experience, so it favors businesses that answer all inquiries and requests promptly.
Even if a lead is of low quality or isn’t a good fit, you should still respond quickly so that your ad rank doesn’t take a hit.
In fact, businesses who have a professional follow-up strategy increase closing rates by up to 10%.
It’s about being proactive. Who knows, if they aren’t a good fit, if you give them prompt and through customer service, they’ll be more likely to recommend your company to others. Or, when they are in the market for your specific product or service, they’ll already be familiar.
The highlights : Google takes both response rate and response time into account when determining local service ad rank, so make sure every new lead that comes your way gets addressed in a timely manner. If you’re too slow or leave inquiries unanswered, your ad rank will be affected.
Our advice : Develop and implement a professional follow-up strategy to optimize the customer experience, impress homeowners, and enhance your speed to lead. If you’d be interested in automating the process (hello!), we suggest checking out Hatch.
Which ties in nicely to our next point…
4. Your business hours and availability
Businesses willing to answer calls and deal with inquiries 24/7 have priority over those with more restricted schedules.
In other words, your local service ads will only be displayed during the business hours you select when setting up your account.
Source : NiceJob
Keep in mind that responsiveness still comes into play, so don’t label yourself as “always available” if you’re not able to answer the phone when a customer calls in the middle of the night. You’re not a bat, and this will obviously hurt you in the long run.
On the flip side, if there’s a way you can stretch your office hours or arrange to have a representative answer calls late into the evening, it can have a positive impact on your ad rank and help you generate more leads.
The highlights: Be honest with your office hours but look to stretch them if at all possible in order to show up more throughout the day. Many homeowners search for service providers in the late evening and competition tends to be weaker during this time, so take advantage of this if you can!
5. Your ability to manage PR
Last but not least, Google wants to make sure the businesses it recommends to its users are legitimate and offer great service.
If one too many homeowners complain to Google about the experience they had working with you, your ad rank is going to take a serious hit.
This isn’t something you can recover from easily, so the best solution is to be proactive and go out of your way to make sure your customers are satisfied with your work.
And if they aren’t, it’s always best to try and resolve and address the conflict as professionally as possible (Easier said than done sometimes, we know).
All it takes are a few negative complaints and your business can be kicked to the back of the LSA line—or worse, you can be banned from leveraging local service ads altogether!
The highlights: Be sure to offer great service and take good care of your customers so that they have no reason whatsoever to place a complaint. One complaint isn’t cause for concern, but repeated negative complaints can increase your chances of having your LSA privileges revoked.
Our advice : Let’s get crafty, contractors! Turn your 1 star ratings into glowing reviews for your business. Yes, it’s possible. We sat down with the folks from NiceJob to explore exactly how contractors can flip negative reviews around to work in their favor and win at reputation marketing.
Local service ads are a great addition to any contractor PPC strategy.
Even though they require some paperwork and a background check upfront (Google wants to make sure you’re a legitimate business), their return is more than worth it.
By keeping these 5 factors in mind and putting your best foot forward, you’re already lightyears ahead of other contractors in your area.
Not to mention, in Google’s good books.
Ultimately, this will pay off in the form of more, better-quality leads for your contracting business and help you scale for success.
Want To Know More?
Let’s explore other ways you can make it to Google’s top spot, like paid ads! Book a time to chat with us and learn how we can help your contracting business scale big time.