Why Google Ads Are A Great Choice For Contractors
First, let’s imagine renting some super expensive advertising space on a giant billboard beside the highway. You pay to show that advertisement to EVERY car that drives by, and yet only a very small percentage of those people are actually interested in your services.
Let me show you a much smarter way.
1. Search Intent
The #1 reason Google Ads are such a perfect choice for service-based businesses is because of something called “search intent”.
People use search engines like Google to look for answers to their specific problem, such as “home contractor near me”
When your online ads are shown to that person, they are much more likely to click because those ads are a perfect match to what they’re searching for.
Facebook & Instagram ads are great too, but these people are idly scrolling through their social media, not actively searching for a solution to their problem. These platforms are best for brand awareness.
Nothing beats Google Ads when it comes to search intent and fast results.
2. Targeted Audience
Instead of showing your ads to everyone with an Internet connection, your ads can be set to target ONLY people who have already shown interest in your type of services.
You can also limit your ads to be shown only to people who are within your service area. Now that’s smart.
3. Market Share
Google dominates the Internet. According to some studies, the G Daddy owns 50% of the online ads out there. That means no matter where your customers are on the web, you can get your ads in front of them.
Let’s find out how you can use Google Ads to get more leads for your contractor business…
Table Of Contents
What Exactly Do Google Ads Look Like?
Google Ads come in a variety of types and placements. If you’ve been on the Internet you’ve probably seen a few (or rather a lot of them) around.
If you’ve always wondered how other construction contractors went about placing their ads on Google, today is the day we break it down and show you how it’s done.
First, let's take a look at all the main ad types that Google offers.
Google Search Ads
When you type almost anything into Google Search, you will see anywhere between 1 to 5 or more sponsored results listed above the organic search results. These text-based ads are Google Search Ads.
These ads show up based on the specific keywords or keyphrases you searched for. So if your potential customer searches for “renovation contractor” they will see search ads that have been set to display for that specific keyword.
What keywords you choose for your ads are important. If you choose generic keywords like “contractor” then your ads will appear to people searching for ANY type of contractor.
Instead, you want to choose keywords that are specific, like “general contractor in Vancouver” so your ads reach the right people.
Don’t worry, we’ll get more into this further down.
Google Display Ads
These are image-based ads that appear in more places than just Google Search. Here’s how Google Display Ads work.
When you’re scrolling on any website on the Internet, and you notice image ads placed in the sidebar or as banners, these are display ads. They can be static images or animated GIF images.
The interesting thing about display ads is that they can be placed on ANY website, not just Google-owned websites or pages. How is this possible?
The website owner has set up a Google Ads account, and placed the empty ad containers throughout his website. Google will fill in these containers with different ads, depending on who is viewing the site.
Google pulls information from the previous search history for each Google user. So if you’ve recently been searching for ‘best cordless circular saw” then guess what, you’ll see display ads for circular saws everywhere you go.
Now imagine people in your local area searching for “general contractor for new house” and then they see your own display ads offering your general contracting services everywhere they go on the Internet.
Welcome to the digital age my friend.
Google Maps Ads
When you search for keywords in Google Maps, you will see the same sponsored results above the organic results. These are Google Maps Ads.
When it comes to seeing what types of businesses are nearby, nothing beats Google Maps for getting answers fast and visually.
When your potential customers can see that you literally live in the same town as them, they know for sure you can service them.
People also feel a sense of loyalty to other folks who live in the same area. Capitalize on that.
Google Discovery Ads
These are image and text-based ads that show up below YouTube videos and other locations, including the Promotions tab in Gmail.
You get to advertise on YouTube without creating video ads!
See What Ads Your Competitors Are Using!
Get on Google and type in a keyphrase you think your customers might use, such as “[your service] in [your city]” and see what comes up. Take note of the sponsored ads you see above the organic search results.
Go ahead and click on those ads. Most of them will link to the website for that business.
SideNote: Massive Opportunity
For whatever reason, contractor websites are notoriously ugly. Some of the websites you find may look great, but just as many or more will look bland or downright terrible. This is great news for you!
If those ugly websites are getting some leads for those contractors, imagine how much better you can do with a professionally designed website.
Something to think about…
How You Can Target Your Ideal Customer
Google has extensive settings for who exactly you want to show your ads to. This means you won’t waste your ad budget showing your ads to people who don’t care, just the folks who are already searching for your services in your local area.
Using these settings effectively requires training and experience, which is not something that many contractors would try tackling themselves.
However, we’re not here to teach you how to use these settings yourself, we just want you to understand some key concepts, which we'll get into below.
Google Ads Are Based On “Keywords”
As mentioned earlier, the way Google knows what type of ads to show to whom, it’s all based on the search histories of everyone who uses their search engine.
Those search histories are essentially a long list of keywords and keyphrases that each person has searched for.
Search volume - This is how many times a keyword is searched for per month. Some keywords have a high volume of searches, and many have a moderate or low volume.
Difficulty score - Some keywords are very popular, and certain businesses who have been around for a long time have already cornered the market on that particular keyword.
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) - Popular keywords have a high cost-per-click due to all the advertisers who are bidding on them. Less popular keywords have a lower CPC.
Marketing experts use a variety of online tools to discover these metrics for each keyword. The tools we use at Bucksaw are:
The trick is to choose keywords that are low enough in difficulty and CPC, but high enough in search volume. It’s a bit of a sweet spot.
This is the one area of online marketing that many agencies want you to think involves black magic, animal sacrifices, and a really high price tag, but it really just comes down to the experience and technical knowledge of your marketing experts, and data. Lots of data.
That’s it! Your dog is perfectly safe with us.
You Can Target A Specific Area
Your online ads don’t need to be spread across the entire Internet and around the globe. That would be every bit as inefficient as the giant billboard beside the highway. Do people across the ocean really need your contracting services?
Instead, your ads can be set to only appear on computers and smartphones that are within a specified radius (your service area). This radius can be made larger at any time as your business grows.
One of the most powerful features of online advertising is Big Data. Unlike the physical billboard, an online ad campaign keeps track of every single click, and what type of person did the clicking.
Here’s how the Google algorithm works:
Google will first show your ads to the type of target customer that is specified in the audience settings. As people begin to click on the ads, the algorithm learns a lot more about the people who are more likely to click. Some of this data is far more detailed than anything you can specify in the ad settings.
Google then feeds this data back into the system, and the ad campaign becomes more and more optimized over time. More bang for your buck.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Managing a Google Ads campaign is NOT a set-it-and-forget-it operation. Your ad manager should keep an eye on your ads every week, and even every day for the first few weeks while the campaign optimizes.
At scheduled intervals your marketing team should review the entire campaign up to date, and cut all the ads that perform poorly and double down on the ads that are bringing in results.
Yes, a successful Google Ads campaign can be "engineered" to work.
The Ultimate Goal Is To Send Traffic To Your Website
Before you start on Google Ads, you MUST have a high quality, professionally designed website.
For whatever reason, contractor websites are notoriously terrible. My theory is that the Internet world is very unfamiliar to construction guys (I know this because I used to be one) and so they don’t always know where to get a high quality website made.
This is great news for you! If most contractor sites are bad, yours can be one of the few that looks great.
A well-designed contractor website includes:
Consistent, professional branding — Your website should perfectly match your vehicle decals, signage, business cards, and any other branded items.
A strong call-to-action (CTA) button — Such as “Get A Free Quote” in an accent color that pops.
Nice photography — Don’t worry, there are plenty of professional stock photos that suit your industry, plus a few shots of your crew in action.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) — This means something special that sets your business apart. This can be fast service, superior quality, warranty, extra value added, etc.
Professional design — Yes you should get an actual web designer instead of giving in to the temptation of free website builders.
Your website becomes your well dressed and informative salesman that works for you around the clock. Give him the attention he deserves!
The ad budget you pay directly to Google.
The management fee you pay for someone to manage your campaign.
How much should you pay per month to Google?
We recommend starting with $1,000-$1,500 as we find this is usually the minimum needed to get some real results. This amount can be adjusted up or down from month to month depending on how much work you need.
How much should you pay per month for ad management?
This can vary a lot! Most agencies charge as much as they can, because they have a lot of overhead: office building to rent, many levels of management, and lots of employees. These agencies typically only work with clients that are making 2M or more per year.
Then there are the freelancers, with a whole spectrum of experience levels along with a whole spectrum of results. Everyone describes themselves as an expert, so it can be hard to know whom you’ve hired until you’re a few months in.
We can only really speak for ourselves. Here’s a quick overview of how we roll:
We recommend starting with $1,000-$1,500 / month for Google ad budget.
Our Google Ads management packages range from $2,000.00 USD /month to $2,700.00 USD /month.
We are a 100% remote team. We all work from home with zero overhead costs.
We prefer to help smaller contractors build their businesses, instead of helping the rich get richer.
We work exclusively with construction contractors!
Is this monthly investment worth it? Let’s talk about that.
What Will My Return On Investment Be?
This is actually basic math. If your Google ads can bring in more income than you’re spending on marketing, you’re in business.
If you are making over $30-50k income per project (after all expenses) then you may find it well worth it to spend $3k-$4k per month to get 1 or 2 more projects per month. It takes money to make money.
Here are some key metrics to consider:
How much income (after expenses) do you make per project?
How long does it take you to complete a typical project? (1-2 months? 6 months?)
How many projects can you and your crew handle per month/year?
If you can answer these questions, you can make an informed decision on whether Google Ads will work for your contracting business.
You can adjust your monthly ad spend as needed and grow your contractor business at a steady, predictable pace!
Are Google Ads A Long Term Solution?
Google Ads are a great way of getting some immediate leads coming in. However, online ads are sort of like turning on a tap: when you turn it off, the flow of calls & emails stops as well.
A more long term solution is to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which means optimizing your website itself so it begins to show up as #1 in Google search.
Google Ads are like renting, and SEO is like purchasing property and making payments until it’s paid off and yours forever.
However, Google Ads are a great way to get started and you can transition to an SEO strategy later down the road, as you build your contracting business.
Your Next Steps
Clarify the answers to the key metric questions above.
Hey I'm Clark Aaron
I used to bang nails for a living, and now I run Bucksaw Creative along with a small team of talented people. We create branding, websites, & online marketing for businesses just like yours!
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