Digital Marketing: Paid Search (PPC) 101

What is Paid Search?

Paid Search or Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising is done on internet search engines (primarily Google). It is an auction system online that companies use to pay search engines like Google and Bing to have premium visibility when someone is searching for something relevant to what that company does. It involves bidding on certain search terms that people are typing into Google. PPC ads are displayed when people search for something and have small text that indicate they are paid for somewhere in the search result. They work on a pay-per-click model, meaning every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay for that action.

Paid SearchHow is PPC Used in Home Services Marketing?

Paid Search Advertising is used by home services businesses that want quick visibility in search engines for keywords that prospective customers are searching for when they are looking to buy services that that home services business provide. They can increase a business’ visibility on search engines, traffic to your website, phone calls looking for quotes and ultimately sales.

You can also control the keywords you bid on so you can spend your money only bidding on search terms that result in higher profit/margin jobs for your business. For example, if you’re a window company looking for more full window replacement jobs, you can bid on “full window replacement jobs in YOUR CITY” and choose not to bid on “one window replacement in YOUR CITY.”

What are the Pros of Paid Search?

Paid Search is a very efficient way to acquire IN-MARKET customers if done properly. While neighborhood canvassing, yard signs, community advertising, and other more traditional media are great for branding initiatives, you are relying on the people who see your ads also needing to buy your services. When someone types something into Google or Bing, there is usually a much stronger intent to buy something soon. When you show up where and when they search with a compelling paid search ad, it can convert very well and be very effective. It’s very targeted advertising as you are only serving ads to people who are directly searching for your services and conversion rates can be very high if done correctly.

What are the Cons of Paid Search?

Depending on the market or industry you are in, Paid Search Advertising can be moderately expensive to very expensive.  In most cases, you’re going to need a minimum budget of $1,000/month to generate real results. Until you reach a certain growth level, often times home services businesses are not ready operationally to run paid search ads. Because you are paying every single time someone clicks on your ad, you need to make sure that the webpage you are driving them to is set up to convert them from visitor to lead (filling out a form or calling you) and it’s critical that you have someone who is answering the phone.

What are the Key Elements that Should be Done to Ensure Paid Search is Successful?

In order for your paid search campaign to be successful, you need to have the following elements:


  • A webpage you drive the client to that is built for conversion. You should have your phone number (unique to the paid search campaign so you can track results) prominently placed on the site and easy for a customer to find. You should also have a form fill on the page where a client can opt to get put their contact information there instead of calling. The webpage you drive them to should also be relevant to what they were searching (if they were searching for “replacement” and you drive them to your home page when you have a “replacement” page, you are relying on the customer to go through your website and find what’s relevant to them versus the efficiency of driving them directly to something relevant to their original search).
  • A proper lead handling system. There’s nothing more painful for us to see than a client who is running paid search and spending money to get customer inquiries who doesn’t answer the phone when those customers call looking for their services! It’s literally throwing money down the drain. Have a plan in place to have the phone answered at all times when you’re running a campaign and if you have form fills, make sure you are getting back to those customers in a timely fashion. Remember- these leads are coming from the Internet and are not loyal to your brand the way a referral is.  They’ll keep calling companies until they can get in touch with someone.
  • Strong Ad Copy and a Compelling Offer. There is a lot of room within a paid search ad to add valuable information that is relevant to the customer. You should use all of that space and always have a compelling offer or reason for the customer to click on your ad over the competition that is also bidding on keywords to win that customer.
  • Proper Account Setup. There are a lot of ways to setup a PPC account. Google offers Adwords Express which makes the process easy, but unfortunately will usually lead to poor results. You must have a solid understanding of keyword match types, ad copy best practices, bidding strategies, and extensions in order to get strong performance.