In 2015, Google rolled out their highly anticipated Google Home Services as a beta program. The program was slated to promote home services such as plumbers, HVAC, and much more.
In October 2017, Google Home Services was rebranded and rebooted as Google Local Services. Google Local Services ads are available in select cities and they are changing the way home service companies are advertising online.
In this article, you will get an in-depth look at what Google Local Services are and how to leverage local ads for your business.
What Are Google Local Services Ads?
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that home service searches start on Google. Consumers that need their air conditioner serviced or their plumbing looked at, traditionally turn towards the search engine giant to find the best choice in their area.
Google Local Services ads go beyond Google Analytics and conversion tracking. Google Local Services not only recognize the consumers’ needs, they allow you to place your business at the top of the search engine.
That’s a big deal. Consider this: on desktop, the first position of Google has a 34.36 percent click-through rate and a 31.35 percent click-through rate when searched on mobile.
Local search metrics are even more staggering. 72 percent of people who made a local search online, visited a store within five miles. That is a significant percentage of consumers that could be walking through your doors or calling your number.
Google Local Services Ads are giving you the opportunity to reach consumers that search for one of your services.
It begins with an app. Download the Google Local Services Ads app to manage your online leads, manage your bookings, and save them to your Google Calendar. Once you have the app, you can easily manage your ads and even turn them off once you reach service capacity.
“With Local Services by Google, businesses like yours can show up at the top of Search so that you can reach local clients right when they’re interested, and book more jobs.” said Kim Spalding, Product Director for Small and Medium Business Ads.
Google Local Services Ads are currently available for locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and garage door services.
They are available in the following cities:
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Los Angeles, California
- Riverside, California
- Sacramento, California
- San Diego, California,
- San Francisco, California
- San Jose, California
- Miami, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Chicago, Illinois
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Detroit, Michigan
- New York, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Dallas, Texas
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington, D.C.
If you don’t see your city here, don’t worry. Google plans on rolling out Google Local Services Ads in more major cities this year.
How Google Local Services Ads Work
Imagine that you’re searching for a reputable HVAC company.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see a highly-rated company, offering your particular service, at the top of the page with a clear call-to-action? Search, click, and you’re done!
When consumers search for a service and your ad pops up, they will be able to call your business or book an appointment right then and there. You will receive an email and app notification once a lead is received. It’s almost like having a virtual secretary!
Create a personalized profile that represents your business. Your profile includes contact information, reviews, and unique identifiers such as “family owned”. Prospective customers can view your profile, discover what services you offer, and get a feel for your business.
If you aren’t concerned about your Google reviews, consider this: 88 percent of people trust positive reviews as much as personal recommendations. Having positive reviews will affect the success of your Google Local Services ads.
Google recommends responding to as many leads as possible, even if you decline the request (Yep, you can do that too!).
Responses are important. Google Local Services ads are counting on customers to improve functions, too. If a company doesn’t respond or has consistently delayed responses, the company’s ad ranking may be affected and the message option could even be removed.
Benefits of Google Local Services Ads
So, what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s actually a huge deal. Google Local Services ads is really a win/win for you and the consumer.
Not only will your ad push your business to the top of Google, but it will make it easier to connect with the customers that are searching for your specific services.
The app is really selling the point. It’s easy to use, you can manage your leads in the palm of your hand, and personalize your profile to represent your business.
There is also the added bonus of receiving quality leads. Google Local Services ads are designed so consumers choose you.
Choosing a home service is somewhat of a gamble. To make the choice even easier for consumers, Google has introduced Google guaranteed.
Google guaranteed is represented by a green check mark underneath your business’ name. Google guaranteed businesses are background checked to ensure reliability and trust.
This guarantees your customer that your company is a trusted, pre-screened, licensed, and insured company. If the job is not completed to their satisfaction, they can also count on a money back guarantee.
Peace of mind for them, a reputable check mark for you!
How Does Google Charge for Local Services Leads?
Google Local Services ads work differently than AdWords.
Local Services ads only charge you for the leads associated with your company or offered services.
Your budget will be based on a weekly average for the number of leads you would like to receive in a week. That average weekly budget is then multiplied by the number of weeks in a month on average.
While you may spend more in a week than your base average, you will never exceed your monthly maximum budget.
A business is then charged for each lead. The price of a lead will differ depending on location, service, and type of lead (call vs. message).
Once you’ve reached your monthly maximum budget, any leads you receive will be credited back to your business.
To view your billing, open the app and view the “Billing menu” in your inbox.
Disputing Local Services Leads
With Google Local Services ads you will also have the opportunity to dispute leads that you believe are not “valid”.
According to Google, a valid lead consists of:
- Receiving a text or email from a customer
- Receiving a voicemail from a customer
- Answering a voicemail from a customer
- Receiving a missed call from a customer and following up with a call, email, or text
Remember, the above is considered a valid lead and will not be approved for dispute.
An invalid lead, however, can be disputed. Google defines a lead as “invalid” if:
- The service requested is not listed on your profile
- You do not service the customer’s requested location
- Solicitation or wrong numbers
- Being charged twice for the same customer within 15 days
- Not receiving valid contact information
If you receive a lead that you believe is invalid but doesn’t fall under the listed reasons above, call Google support team at 866-2-GOOGLE.
If you believe that you’ve been charged for an invalid lead, request to be credited. Once the request has been sent, the team at Google will listen to a recording of the call to verify that it falls under one of their approved reasons.
Keep in mind that you can only dispute potentially invalid leads within 60 days. Following 60 days, requests will not be considered.
Once you have successfully disputed a lead, the charge will be credited back to you and you will see the text, “This lead has not been charged” in your account.
Now, let’s discuss what is NOT considered invalid.
According to Google the following are valid leads and will not be credited:
- Leads received outside of business hours
- Customers requesting advice on an offered service
- Cancelled appointment
- No customer response from a call, text or email
- Specific service is not offered that falls under a general service listed under your profile
The last reason is worth noting. It’s imperative that you are as specific as possible under listed services to avoid valid leads that do not pertain to your business.
For example, say you have “Plumbing” as a listed service, but you do not do Drain Cleaning. By listing plumbing, and nothing else, a customer may think drain cleaning is under the plumbing umbrella and contact you.
If there is a specific service that your company does not do that falls under a general service, list it on your profile.
How Google Local Services Ads Helped A California Company
Google Local Service ads may not be nationwide yet, they are already changing the way home service companies advertise.
Take Roses House Cleaning Services in Palo Alto, California, for example. Owned by Luis Gonzalez, this local cleaning company started from scratch and is becoming a successful small business in a very competitive area.
What began as vacuuming the hallways in Gonzalez’ apartment building to scrape $100 off his rent, became a trusted local company.
After advertising locally with online directories, Luis Gonzalez took advantage of Google Local Ad Services and found more bang for his buck!
“I get 3-5 calls every day through Local Services.” Gonzalez told Google excitedly.
Roses House Cleaning Services shifted their budget wisely to Google Local Services ads and is becoming so successful they’ve hired two employees to manage the phones.
Get More with Google
We may as well call 2018 the “Year of Google”.
Last year, Google rolled out free features that digital marketers are sinking their teeth into this year.
It’s hard keeping up with Google, so we’ve found five of the most exciting ways Google is helping you connect with your customers.
Did we mention that these are all free?
Create a Free Website
Did you know you can create a free website in minutes with Google?
Google My Business has made some big changes over the past few months, but few are as big as their free website feature.
Create a free, mobile responsive website on Google My Business. Choose a domain name, edit your content easily, and publish.
Keep Customers Updated with Posts
Have a special event coming up? Perhaps an awesome promotion?
Let your prospective customers know by posting on Google! Google Posts is an easy, fun way to post about your business.
When customers search for a business, they tend to look at social platforms to get a better feel for a business. Showcase your services, news, events, and promotions with your audience to keep them updated and aid your online branding.
Answer Customer Questions Directly
Odds are you’ve noticed a new Google feature popping up in the search engines. Google’s Question and Answers are allowing customers to ask questions concerning a service or business straight from the search page.
If a customer asks a question about your business, you can answer quickly and correctly. Not only does this benefit the customer in question, it shows that you’re responsive, helpful, and regularly check your digital platforms.
Sounds like a win/win to us!
Manage Your Listing Right from Search
Everyone expects updated business information. Now, Google is making it easier to update your information.
Say “goodbye” to the days of logging into Google My Business to update your hours for holidays. Now you can update straight from the search page. Type in your business’ name into the search bar and, Voila!
Above the search results will be a card with options to change hours, photos, and will even remind you of upcoming holidays like the Fourth of July!
Give Your Customers a Messaging Option
Let’s face it; sometimes we just don’t want to talk. Whether they’re too busy to pick up the phone or prefer to have a nonverbal day, Google’s messaging feature is helping your customer’s reach you in more ways than one.
Found under Google My Business, messages allow customers to click and chat with you straight from the first page of Google.
The Importance of Local Search
Dominating the search engines is the first step in dominating your market.
Online search starts with Google and they are providing the tools to succeed. From Google Local Services Ads to Google AdWords, the search engine giant is helping small businesses exceed.
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