It’s always been tricky to market a local business. No matter what product or service you offer, getting the word out to your customers is a big part of the success or failure of your business. That’s particularly true when you have a hyper local business in the different trade industries.
Newspapers and radio ads used to be an option, but nobody reads real world papers anymore, and the rising costs of radio ads make them out of reach of many small businesses. If the question is how to reach more people in a highly targeted geographical region, the answer is local service ads by Google.
What Are Local Service Ads (LSA) By Google
You probably already know that Google is far more than just a digital library. It’s also the most extensive, successful advertising platform in the world. Buying ads on Google allows you to target your message to an exact location, based on keywords you choose. You can even choose when your ads run, and how much you’re willing to pay every time someone clicks on them.
Google ads also get pride of place, right at the top of the search results. So, you don’t have to spend time and money developing content so you can rank organically. You just skip the queue.
A lot of companies are doing that. But many of them don’t realize that they have another option: Local Service Ads by Google.
Local service ads by Google appear above search results and ordinary paid ads. They’re only available to companies that have gone through Google’s rigorous screening process too – so they’re a very exclusive, limited club.
These ads are usually smaller than regular PPC ads, and they don’t include marketing text. Instead, they have your company name and contact information, your Google reviews star rating, and a link to your business. They’re not nearly as salesy as ordinary pay per click ads – but they don’t have to be. That’s because Google has added a Google Screened label above these kinds of ads.
If a five-star rating on Google is a good way to get more business, then telling the world that your business has Google’s stamp of approval is the most fantastic thing that can happen to you. People trust search engines to give them the right information. It’s why we all tend to focus on the first page of search. If Google has not only put your business at the top of the page, but personally endorsed you as “screened” you’re at the very top of the heap.
In other words, if you really want to stand out online, and get the very top spot on the search results page, local service ads by Google are your solution.
There are only limited types of businesses that can even apply for the LSA program though. So, it really depends on where you are, whether you’re even eligible to apply for the program and start advertising this way.
Where Local Service Ads Appear in Search Results
Local service ads by Google appear right at the very top of relevant pages – above all organic and even paid search ads. They are all grouped together. So, for instance, when someone searches for plumbers in your city, your ad appears with a handful of other verified, screened business.
They are the very first thing anyone searching the web will see, and as we all know – the top of the first page of search results is exactly where you need to be to get clicks on your links!
Why Local Service Ads Work
Online advertising is a highly targeted, flexible way to get your message to the exact people you want to reach. Think about it – how many times have you searched for “take out near me” or “hairdresser near me.”
We use Google to find the products and services we need every single day, and because Google also has Google Maps to draw information from, there’s no better way to create geotargeted advertising. Because Google not only knows where the searcher is, but also where you are in relation to them.Quality Leads
The biggest benefit to using local service ads by Google is the quality of the leads you get. When it comes to quality online leads, there are a few things you want to happen before the person clicks through to your website and contacts you. These include:
•Be looking for your specific service – this is proven with local service ads by Google when the searcher looks for, HVAC or another term specific to your business
•Be in your target area – again, because Google knows where both you and the searcher are, this is checked off the list when you use LSA
•Be looking for a service rather than information – which LSA achieves by specifically labelling the results as Google screened businesses
When all these criteria are met, you know that the person who does reach your website and contact you wants the service you provide, needs to make a purchase, and is in the area you service. Higher Conversions
The main reason you want to home in on quality leads by using advertising methods like LSA is that you will spend less time converting quality leads.
When people who reach, your site are already looking to book a service or get a quote, rather than just looking for information, and when they are looking specifically for a highly rated local service, they’re a lot closer to making a buying decision.
The closer your website visitors are to making a business decision, the more likely they are to book a call out, contact you for a quote, or make some other purchase from your company.Better ROI
In marketing, the ROI or return on investment for any marketing method is a big part of the marketing plan. Even if you pay a little more per view (or impression as it’s known in online advertising speak) by your potential customers, if your customers already have their check books out and are ready to buy, you will save on the sales process. The higher your conversion rate from each click, the lower your cost to acquire each customer is likely to be.
Why LSA Instead of Traditional PPC?
There was a time when people didn’t pay attention to whether their search results were ads or organic. But those days are mostly over. We all know, when we go onto Google and search for something, which results have been paid for by companies. If we’re looking for information and not necessarily to buy something, we might even scroll down to look at the organic links below the ads.
LSA is much more targeted though.
Local service ads from Google show up when people are specifically searching for the type of service offered. They are also, effectively, the best form of online “word of mouth” because Google is essentially saying “we checked these companies in your area out, and they’re legit.” If someone is looking for a service rather than information, there’s no more potent endorsement than that.
There’s a much smaller group of competitors too. Anyone can purchase ads on Google Ads. Which is why you so often see ads from companies in different cities or even different countries when you search. Even when you search using a local qualifier. But because Google local service ads include verification that you’re local as well as all the other screening criteria, you’re only competing with real companies that are in your area and offer the same services as you.
That also means you don’t have to compete with large companies in other cities or countries driving up the bid per click!
What Is Needed to Get Started with Google’s Local Service Ads
In order to start using Google LSA, you need to have a verified Google My Business account. Which means you’ve signed up, received a postcard in the mail to confirm your address, and entered the verification code.
A Google My Business account literally puts your business on Google Maps, and allows you to add information, images and your logo. It also allows people to leave reviews for your business on Google. If you haven’t done this yet, do it before you continue. You don’t strictly need a GMB account to start using LSA, but it will help to have your reviews and rating on your listing. If you have or you plan to skip this, these are the next steps:
- Go to the Google Local Service Ads page and click on “get started”
- Confirm that your business is on the list of businesses that can use this type of ads – but and local service are on the list in most areas
- Fill in the information to create your ad – this is a lot simpler than creating a PPC ad!
- Sign up for verification and for the Google Guaranteed program if you choose to
- Enable tracking metrics
Signing up for Google LSA is actually easier than starting a PPC campaign, because there’s no keyword research and very little marketing copy to include in your listing. Google does most of the work, and the primary criteria is that you are a real business, and that you are located in a particular service area.
Local service ads by Google aren’t quite as well known as traditional PPC yet, but it’s only a matter of time before more companies learn about this advertising option. In this case, you probably want to get ahead of the pack, and establish yourself as one of the top local service companies in your area now, so you can take advantage of all those leads!
If you have a local service business, you probably know everything there is to know about valves, pipes, pumps and water pressure. But you might not be too comfortable with marketing. That’s okay. We’re a marketing company, and we’re not comfortable fixing sinks or water heaters!
We all have things we specialize in, and our specialty happens to be making sure that local service companies are as visible as possible in the cities and areas they service.
Our team of marketing and Local SEO specialists work hard to make sure our customers have websites that showcase their skill, and that those websites are easy to find online. We help them to create content marketing plans, do keyword research, and to set up local service advertising by Google.
Customers that we have helped to set up LSA and other online marketing programs consistently find that they are paying less to acquire each customer, and because there’s no trial and error, we help them to get results fast.
So, if you’re more comfortable with a pipe wrench than a keyboard, and you’d like a little help, we’re happy to oblige.
Our team of marketing experts will tell you everything you need to know to determine if local service ads on Google are right for your business, and how to implement them. We’ll help you through the verification process, and to set up tracking tools, so you can always see how your ads are performing.
Contact Servicehawk to find out more about how to get high quality, qualified local leads in your “pipeline” and for a free quote on our LSA and other marketing services. Everyone looks for services online these days. We can make sure that when they do, you’re right there waiting for their call.