5 Online Advertising Mediums Every Local Service Business Should Consider
Every company wants to know where they should be advertising to receive the best results for the minimum amount of investment. Below are the pros and cons of 5 advertising mediums that every local service company should consider.
With 2 billion monthly users (and counting) Facebook has the largest audience of any marketing platform in the world. Facebook lets you hone in on an exact customer to target—and, since 76% of Facebook users check the site daily, you can stay top of mind constantly.
Advantages of Facebook Advertising for Service Companies
- Audience Size: Since Facebook has one of the largest audiences, with 79% of U.S. internet users using Facebook, there is a good chance your ideal customer is using Facebook.
- Detailed Targeting: Facebook allows you to select who to target according to their interests, age, income bracket and more. How you introduce your business can then be tailored to the specific group you are targeting.
- Extended Network: Facebook’s network extends to a variety of other websites like Instagram. This provides additional exposure for your business without having to manage another platform.
- Budget Flexibility: They don't require a contract and you can set and adjust your budget at any time.
Disadvantages of Facebook Advertising for Service Companies
- Complex Platform: Facebook has so many different targeting methods and constantly adds new features requiring a significant investment of time to initially learn and then stay up to date with.
- Cold Traffic: Unlike Google, people don’t go to Facebook looking for a service company, so it will take time and patience to achieve success. Offering people something of value rather than a sales pitch is how to draw the attention of users on this platform. For example, a guide or some sort of other valuable information or tip.
#2 Google AdWords
Google AdWords allows you to show an ad for your business on Google to people in a specific area who type in a keyword that you are advertising on.
For most service-based businesses Google is probably the largest source of visitors to their websites. Expanding one’s exposure on Google usually produces the largest volume of new leads.
- High Converting: Visitors from Google AdWords usually convert well, because they are searching for a specific service company right now.
- Large Audience: Google has one of the largest audiences.
- Flexible Budget: The budget is set on a daily basis and can be adjusted at any time enabling you to align the number of leads according to the time of year and other factors.
- Instant Results: It does take some time to completely optimize the account, but typically you’ll start receiving leads within the first week.
- Expand Geography: You can quickly expand into new areas without incurring any fixed fees.
- Pay For Performance: You only pay when someone clicks through to your website after typing in a keyword related to your business. If no one clicks through to your website, you don’t pay a fee.
Disadvantages of Google AdWords for Service Companies:
- Requires a Skilled Manager: Google AdWords is a tool and the effectiveness is determined by how skilled the person managing the account is and the time invested managing it. Finding a person or agency with experience managing Google AdWords campaigns is imperative to properly testing this platform.
- Competitive: Google is the most popular search engine in the U.S. and can be competitive in certain industries making the cost per click very expensive. To be profitable requires having an effective landing page and sales funnel.
- Not All A+ Leads: Since Google has such a large audience you’ll receive a diverse quality of leads. Some will be for small jobs and others for larger ones.
Yelp is a very popular website that people use to look for local companies and check reviews. It offers much less flexibility and control than Facebook or Google AdWords, so I recommend testing those channels before advertising on Yelp.
Advantages of Yelp Advertising for Service Companies
- Limited Management: Unlike AdWords or Facebook, Yelp doesn’t require a skilled manager to run the campaign. If you have a limited budget and don’t want to spend a lot of time managing an advertising campaign Yelp can be a good option.
- More Positive Reviews: Advertising on Yelp can lead to more positive reviews on your Yelp listing. This is because if a customer finds your business on Yelp, and they decide to write a review of their experience, they are likely to use Yelp.
- Warm Traffic: People aren’t visiting Yelp for entertainment like Facebook, they are there looking for a business that fits their needs. This increases the likelihood of them contacting your company.
Disadvantages of Yelp Advertising for Service Companies
- Geography Specific: Yelp is very popular in many areas including Massachusetts but may not be in all parts of the country. I’ve spoken with companies (mostly in the central part of the country) who have told me Yelp is not very popular where they are. Definitely do your research before signing up.
- Contract: Yelp does require a commitment contract. Clients we’ve worked with typically have a 6 to 12-month contract, but you should contact Yelp for their current terms, as these are subject to change. If you do decide to try advertising on Yelp I recommend negotiating a short-term contract and keeping your monthly budget as low as possible to start.
- No Control: With AdWords and Facebook the cost you pay per click is controlled by the manager and can be reduced through effective management. On Yelp however, your click rates will vary greatly depending on the number of advertisers and other factors.
Yelp Pro Tip 1: Negotiate with Yelp to set a maximum cost per click price. This is not a service that they promote, so be sure to ask your account manager before signing up.
Yelp Pro Tip 2: Before paying for advertising on Yelp make sure that you have at least 5 reviews and that you are competitive with other businesses in your category regarding the number and quality of those reviews. If you aren’t competitive in reviews you won’t get many people to click on your listing.
#4 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The goal of launching a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign is to increase the number of people who find your website while using search engines like Google.
Over time, this increased exposure naturally brings more people to your site, leading to more people contacting you and becoming customers.
Advantages of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Service Companies
- Optimize Your Position on the Most Popular Search Engine: Google is the most commonly used Search Engine in the U.S. and reports show that it has about 65% of the market share. In my experience reviewing traffic sources in Google Analytics from our clients I typically see better than 80% of their search traffic coming from Google.
- Long Lasting Value: Provided you take the right steps to improve and maintain your website’s organic rankings SEO offers long-lasting value of increased traffic to your website.
- Forgot Your Business Name: Have you forgotten the name of a business you were interested in contacting? If so, what do you do next? Typically people do remember something about the business, like where they are located or the service they offer so they go to Google to try and find them. Having good organic exposure helps to ensure that people will always be able to find you.
Disadvantages of Search Engine Optimization for Service Companies
- Long-Term Strategy: Unlike the advertising recommendations above, SEO is a long-term strategy taking 3-12 months to start seeing any substantial results depending on how competitive your market is.
- Need Skilled People: SEO is constantly changing, so finding an experienced company or person with a proven track record is imperative to optimizing results.
- Requires Updated Website: Websites that haven’t been updated in years, have a high bounce rate or aren’t responsive shouldn’t start an SEO Campaign. They’ll get more value out of first updating their website to a responsive design to improve overall user experience.
#5 Angie's List
For the past 20 years, Angie’s List has been a membership website requiring their members to pay a monthly fee to use their service. They have recently changed their business model and now offer free memberships.
Advantages of Angie’s List for Service Companies
- Higher Income Customers: If you are selling a high-end service this could be a great match for your business. Many of our clients that advertise on Angie's List report the customers they obtain from Angie’s tend to be people with higher incomes. This may change over time due to the now free memberships.
- Trusted Platform: Our clients report that people who contact them from Angie's List tend to be more qualified because they have confidence in the reviews on Angie’s List.
Disadvantages of Angie’s List for Service Companies
- Need Reviews: New advertisers starting in a category with other companies having lots of reviews may not get many clicks on their listing until they can become more competitive with reviews.
- Contract: Typically a contract is required, check with your local account manager for more details.
- Limited Control: As with Yelp, Angie's List offers limited control to improve results. That doesn’t mean you won’t get great results, rather you won’t have control over results like you would advertising on Facebook or Google AdWords.
Angie’s List Pro Tip: Consider offering some sort of special discount or benefit to generate interest and be sure to ask for reviews from your clients.
So, what’s the best advertising for your business?
If your monthly advertising budget is under $1,000.00 and you don’t have a reputable digital marketing company or manager to manage platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords I recommend trying Yelp or Angie’s List first.
If you have a monthly advertising budget of at least $1,500.00 per month and a few thousand set aside for start-up costs we would love to talk to you about optimizing your digital marketing efforts.