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7 Common Mistakes Contractors Make Running Google Ads

December 12, 2018

4 min

“I tried AdWords and Bing Ads, but never got any results.”

“100% waste of money! It doesn’t work.”

I talk with a lot of asphalt contractors from around the country and the common theme is that paid internet traffic is a waste of money. I beg to differ. In 2017 Google’s ad revenue was a little over $95 BILLION.

A well-managed campaign can keep your equipment busy and invoices going out, but a poorly managed campaign can cost more than it brings in. It all comes down to how much you know about AdWords and how smartly you can manage your campaigns.

In this post, I’ll point out some of the common mistakes people make with Google AdWords.

1. Sending people to your home page

Unless you are trying to promote your brand, the last page you want to send someone to is your homepage. People’s attention spans are short, so you want to send them to the page with as few distractions as possible.

The goal is to give the visitor enough information about the service they are looking for and multiple “call’s to action”. A well-designed landing page can convert at rate of 20%-30%, whereas sending someone to your homepage will convert in the single digits. Also, a landing page will help increase your quality score, which will lower your click cost, over time.

2. Setting it and forgetting it.

Consider running ads as a constant game of optimization. When you first start running ads, plan on spending at least an hour a day optimizing your campaign. You will want to look for keywords, which are not converting and remove those. Also, you will want to adjust your bids to boost converting keywords. Spend time analyzing the different networks and devices, see which ones are converting better than others.

3. Not Bidding on your competitors’ brand.

If your competitors have a solid brand (example: All Paving ) there is a good chance people are searching Google for “All Paving”. You can bid on those searches and get some really cheap clicks.

4. Poor Tracking

Many owners I have talked to don’t have a lead tracking system in place and have no idea if their ad campaign is creating a positive ROI on ad spend. You don’t need a fancy CRM, a simple spreadsheet will work. Track every lead that comes in, until its converts to a customer or proves to be a dead end. Track the revenue of each customer and once a month compare your ad spend to your revenue.

5. Not having a large enough budget

I have heard from owners who spend $100-$200 a month and get upset that their phone doesn’t ring and swear off AdWords. Just like sales, AdWords is a numbers game. The more people who see your ad the more phone calls you will receive. To give you an idea if you are targeting both flat work and asphalt plan on spending around $2K-$4K a month in a larger metro.

6. Not having realistic expectations

Let’s be clear, a city or state doing a major road project is not searching Google for a paving contractor, they have their bid list which they will reach out to. The same applies to the big home developers.

The kind of calls you can expect is from homeowners, HOA, and property managers.

7. Not having a sales process

I spoke to an owner who claimed that ever call he got from the internet where “tire kickers”.  After some digging, I came to find out all he did was email quotes with ZERO follow up.

The phone calls you receive from AdWords, or even SEO is going to be cold traffic. In most cases the caller has never heard of your company before. You or your salesperson needs to sell the customer on why your company is the best company for the job. Follow up, follow up, until you get the job or they tell you to stop bugging them.

Google’s AdWords console is daunting for a beginner user. With all the buttons, checkboxes and fields it seems like you’re trying to send someone to Mars. The truth of the matter is running paid ads is complicated and takes time to learn how to run a profitable campaign.

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