Many plumbers swear by their PPC company, while others complain of lackluster results. No matter what sort of strategy you have in play for pay-per-click, there’s a chance you’ve been missing out on valuable business opportunities. This week, Nolen and Jason discuss the real story of a seasoned plumber who grew disillusioned with their PPC company. Be sure to listen closely if your campaigns have started to stagnate!
Key Points to Listen For
- PPC offers dependable, but frequently diminishing returns for businesses.
- PPC companies generally have no incentive to improve your organic SEO efforts.
- Paid ads work best when partnered with a solid plumbing SEO foundation.
The Story of Pay-Per-Click Bob
Recently our team at the Plumbing Webmasters received a call from a frustrated plumber in the Northeast. His name was Bob, and you could hear the subtle, but certain anger in his voice. Bob’s business has supported his local community (a sizeable metropolitan area) for over a decade. He has very little discernible organic presence online. Instead, he pays a PPC company to run his online advertising for him, primarily out of Google Ads.
Here’s the kicker: Bob pays up to $12,000 a month for his PPC work.
To be fair, Bob informed us that the advertisements from the PPC company are producing very consistent results each month. However, the prices of his keywords seem to be rising (sometimes going as high as $100 per click). He also noticed that the rate of return for his PPC efforts also seem to be slowly dropping each month. Any plumber finding themselves in the same situation would have real cause for concern, so we agreed to take a look at his website analytics.
A Disappointing Situation
We found Bob had more reasons to be disappointed in his PPC company than he realized. They had almost completely neglected his website, diverting all their attention to managing the pay-per-click campaigns. The PPC ads simply directed Google Search users to custom landing pages, which didn’t really help the rest of his site metrics. Granted, the advertising efforts seemed to be producing real business for Bob’s plumbing business, but even those returns were diminishing.
Since Bob had been in business for so long, any sort of organic plumbing SEO on this marketing team’s part could have produced some outstanding results and cut down his monthly costs. But our findings clearly indicated that was not a priority to this PPC company. What was the ultimate summary of our analysis?
Bob was missing out on serious lead opportunities, and (quite literally) paying for it.
Key Lessons for Your Marketing
First of all, we need to make something clear. Bob isn’t a bad guy. His PPC company isn’t evil, but there is widening gap between Bob’s potential growth and where he is now. Let’s explore some facts that could help explain this situation.
Be sure to read closely if Bob’s situation feels all to similar to your plumbing SEO situation!
Lesson #1: PPC Isn’t the Problem…
Advertising gets results. While it may not produce the long-term results and branding benefits of SEO for plumbers, PPC offers fairly consistent results. The reason Bob continues to spend thousands of dollars every month is that he can easily see their return.
When it comes to PPC platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, accountability plays an instrumental part in their success. Every campaign operates on a set budget, geographical area, and a target market. SEO rarely offers such precision, instead working towards appealing to a broader volume of people. Of course, PPC campaigns come at a price!
They can get expensive.
Operating exclusively through PPC means that you are essentially every new customer that contacts your plumbing business. Once contractors ignore plumbing SEO for so long, they start to feel locked into the cycle of paid ads. Your PPC company won’t complain, but your profit margins will!
The Best Uses for PPC Campaigns
If you want to extract the most value from your pay-per-click efforts, diversity is often the key to success. Most plumbers stick with Google Ads (formerly Adwords) because that’s what they’re most familiar and comfortable with. However, there are numerous ad platforms that offer convenient ways to connect with your target market. Some even provide a better return on your investment!
Powerful PPC Company Tools
- Retargeting Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Stories
All of these tools/platforms provide exceptional customization on your ad campaigns, and quality base conversion rates. It may take a little work to set up a Facebook Business account, but the 99.9% of plumbing professionals should have one anyway. Retargeting ads are particularly effective for connecting with interested consumers your website may have missed otherwise.
Lesson #2: Lack of Organic SEO Is.
As mentioned before, Bob’s PPC company put little to no effort into improving his organic online search results. This made it tremendously harder for people find and engage his team. Considering the extensive experience and skill, Bob could have easily created a lead-generating website at minimal cost. Once his website took off, he could even have tapered off his PPC spending and maintained the same volume of traffic.
There is no valid reason to operate online and not invest time into organic plumbing SEO. Organic search results consume far less of your marketing budget, thus producing a higher rate of return. That doesn’t mean you have to drop all of your PPC immediately! In fact, search marketing principles teach us that organic SEO and PPC work best when partnered together.
What Can Bob Do?
So what sort of options does Bob (and businesses like his) have to start taking advantage of plumbing SEO? First, he’ll need to take some time to analyse the health of his website. There are many elements to examine during this process:
- Menu Navigation
- Service Categories and Hierarchies
- Color Scheme
- Visual Element Spacing
- Page Keyword Optimization
- General Keyword Strategy (Primaries and Secondaries)
- Writing Quality
- Image Optimization
These website facets heavily influence the exposure of your brand through Google Search. Of course, there are a few key off-site activities to execute that have powerful impact on your marketing effectiveness. If you haven’t claimed and completed your Google My Business account, do so immediately. This profile can make or break your Google Maps strategy. Be sure to get your business listed on other citation sources (such as the BBB), and start asking your customers for reviews!
Lesson #3: PPC Companies Shy Away From SEO
This may be one of the hardest lessons to absorb, for clear reasons. Your PPC company makes money through ads. SEO for plumbers generates leads organically through local search, minimizing the need for PPC campaigns. If a company specializes in PPC, they have no reason to help you grow organically (and subsequently save thousands of dollars).
Bob was starting to feel the effects of diminishing ad returns, but his PPC would do little to fix the problem. How could they without cutting their own profits? While this marketing agency operated with applaudable transparency, so many others work to take advantage of their clients by exploiting their marketing inexperience. It’s possible that your PPC company doesn’t even have the capabilities necessary to enhance your website’s search results.
PPC is a perfectly valid solution for many plumbing companies. It provides dependable results, especially during periods of heavy online competition. However, organic search traffic provides a far better rate of return on your investment. It also grows your brand, whereas PPC campaigns and purchased leads grow the prestige of those platforms. With the right management, your organic SEO efforts will create fantastic, long-term results for your business.
Team Up With the Plumbing Webmasters!
At the Plumbing Webmasters, we know that plumbers earn the best results when they combine PPC strategy with strong, organic SEO efforts. That’s why we always start with custom-coded and highly-optimized website designs, and our clients feel the difference! Not only do our plumbers consistently earn higher rankings, they also enjoy better quality leads. We’d love to help your business grow too.
Call us at (877) 388-9884 for a free consultation with a seasoned plumbing SEO pro!