Forget the phone book. Most people start their search for a housecleaning company online. To stay competitive in today’s environment, it’s essential to have a strong online presence and to be sure your company is among the top results in a search for “house cleaning” in your city.
One way to boost your search results is using Google’s Local Services ads, a newer tool from the search-engine giant. These ads, which appear at the top of search listings, display a company’s location and reviews, and allow viewers to push one button to contact the company. With a bit more work, it’s also possible to become Google Guaranteed, which communicates trust to prospects.
The potential benefits of paying for Local Services ads include: appearing at the top of Google search results, paying only for leads interested in the services you provide, having customers book appointments directly through Google, and being included in Google’s voice search results.
Numbers vary widely by service area, but charges typically range from $10-$30 per lead.
Local Services ads are available in most metro areas (check the sign-up page to see if your area is open yet) and for many industries, including residential cleaning and carpet cleaning. If your area isn’t yet included, keep reading anyway. Google plans to roll the tool out internationally by the end of 2019, so now is the time to learn about what’s coming.
Getting Started with Google Local Service Ads
- Go to the Local Services Sign-Up Page
- Check your eligibility
- Set your weekly budget
- Create your business profile
- Submit your documents
- Wait for prospects to come to you
You can control lead generation through Local Services at any time online or on the app. Set your availability for appointments, communicate with leads, or pause your ad directly in the portal.
If someone contacts you through Local Services who isn’t actually interested in what you have to offer, dispute the charge and have it removed from your account. That takes away much of the risk of the pay-per-lead model.
Signing up for Local Services ads is more involved than other online sites, but Luis Gonzalez, owner of Rose’s Cleaning Corporation in Palo Alto says it’s “a game changer.” Other business owners report that nearly 70% of their bookings come directly from Local Services ads.
Improving Your Position in Google Local Service Ads
After placing your ad, do an incognito search on Google for cleaners in your city to see where you rank among your competitors. If you aren’t as high as you’d like (or want to keep yourself in the top spot), there are a few things you can do.
Get more reviews
Just like regular Google searches, online reviews play an important part in your Local Services ranking. Businesses with more reviews will be shown before businesses without customer feedback. With 84% of consumers considering online reviews before buying, they’re a necessary part of your business, with or without Google Local Services ads.
If you don’t have many online reviews yet, you may want to consider investing in a tool to simplify the process. More Reviews Now is a reputation management tool that automates customer feedback and monitors online reviews. Once you get started with Local Services ads, you can solicit Google reviews directly through the portal.
Be responsive to messages
Google has said responsiveness to customer inquiries is an important factor in how ads are ranked. Respond whenever you receive an inquiry, even if the request is for a service you don’t provide. You can decline any customer requests through the portal at the push of a button. Include a comment for the customer if you’d like to provide an explanation.
Resolve customer complaints early
You can’t please everyone. Customer complaints are an expected part of doing business with the general public. In these situations, you’ll want to do what you can to mitigate the damage an unhappy customer can cause. Work to resolve complaints before a customer badmouths you, either online or among friends. Frequent complaints brought to Google (either through one-star reviews or direct complaints in the Local Services portal) can get your business suspended from the program.
Become Google Guaranteed
A sure-fire way to move up in search results is to become Google Guaranteed. Google Guaranteed businesses take extra steps to show customers they’re trustworthy and reliable. If customers aren’t satisfied with the quality of service from a Google Guaranteed business, Google covers claims up to $2,000 per customer.
The process is much more involved than simply filling out the Local Services application. You must submit a background check for every technician who may be entering a customer’s home. Right now, Google covers the cost of the Pinkerton background check. You’ll also need to make sure your license and insurance details are up-to-date. Google also needs a copy of your general liability insurance details and any other licenses required in your area.
Set a higher budget
Unsurprisingly, you can get yourself a top spot in search results with a higher weekly Local Services ad budget. This doesn’t mean your cost-per-lead goes up. It only means you’re willing to accept more leads from Google. Google tries to spread your referrals out throughout the week.
If you’ve indicated you only want to receive five leads per week, Google will not display your ad as prominently that week if you get three leads first thing Monday morning. For businesses who are hoping to see rapid growth from implementing Local Services ads, Google recommends starting with a high weekly budget and shooting for around 20 leads per week. From there, you can scale your budget up or down to accommodate your schedule.
If you’re ready to really ramp up your business and find qualified leads, now is the time to explore Local Services ads. Early adopters tend to get a bigger bang for their buck. Rather than waiting to jump in after everyone else already has, consider taking the leap while you still have a chance to really make a splash.