Tips and tactics to make Google Ads work for you

Google Ads logo on a smartphone that's sitting on top of a laptop keyboard
Editorial credit: Primakov, Shutterstock

Investing in Google Ads is probably something you’ve considered at one time in your career as a business owner, but how much will it cost and will it really pan out?

Chad Diller, dealer of client success with Landscape Leadership, breaks down what it could cost you to utilize this service, as well as how to properly use it to ensure you get the results you want.

CostCopy Of This Is Part One In A Three Part Series

In Diller's opinion, it’s best if you start the process by allocating $2,000-$4,000 per month for Google Ads, and he says you should run ads between five and 10 months out of the year.

Along the way, it’s important to test and measure your results, as this will help you determine which ads are successful and which ones need to be changed.

“You may have to shift your budget around based on the demand that exists,” he says. “It could even mean that some months it’s not even worth running ads and paying that management fee because the demand just isn’t’ there. This can be common in December and January.”

Overall, Diller says there’s no set rule with how things will work out, and results will vary depending on your area and how many searchers are present in your market.

If you’re thinking of not even bothering with this process, Diller also highly recommends taking into consideration how many of your competitors are placing Google Ads before dropping out of the game completely.

Tips and tactics

When creating your Google Ads, it’s best not to make one for each service you offer. Diller says pay-per-click searchers are so impatient that they might not want to scroll down the screen or do any kind of research, and having this in mind is critical when finding out how people will buy.

Diller recommends having ads for services that have a short sale cycle, low ticket price and a sense of urgency to get them completed, such as:

  • Lawn care treatments/applications
  • Irrigation repair/maintenance
  • Acute, devastating tree/shrub pests
  • Structural/outdoor pests
  • Tree removal/storm damage

Conversely, Diller says the following services probably shouldn’t be showcased on Google Ads, as they don’t typically perform as well:

Lastly, Diller says there are two main service categories to avoid advertising completely:

  • Landscape design and installation
  • Commercial maintenance and other services

“If you use Google Ads for these two services, I’m not saying it can’t work,” he says. “You’re going to have to have a few other critical things because it’s a long sales cycle and it’s a big price tag. It’s better to just focus on the more profitable options.”

Ad types

When creating your ads, Diller says there are a few options to consider, but the main one green industry professionals utilize is called the services group ad.

This group of ads consists of topics or services that people are actively searching for, and Diller says people looking at this type of ad are already in the decision stage.

Placing these types of ads will vary in cost, but Diller says they are competitive. He adds that they may cost a fair amount, but the intention of the searcher is very good, which could end up getting you the customer you want.

A second type of ad to consider is the competitor's ad, which Diller says can be costly but is very much worth it. With this type of ad, you can target your competitor’s company name in a search, which means when someone searches their company name, yours will appear.

“A lot of people think this is shady, but trust me, it’s not,” he says, “Your competitors might already be doing this with your company name.”

Diller says there are rules to this sort of ad, one of which is that you can’t use another company’s trademarked name in your ad copy. The overall goal is not to trash your competitors but instead to position yourself as an alternative to that company.

Diller says if you do run an ad like this, create a landing page that simply compares services and shows honest information that’s already present online. Then, the customer can decide from there which company to go with.

The third ad type is called a branded term ad, which Diller says is the cheapest ad to run. These ads use your company name in a targeted search and looks at the relevancy of where you are sending the searcher.

“The more times you show up in the search results, the better chance you can push competition out of the results, and it makes their ads more expensive,” says Diller.

Problems with Google Ads

Diller says there are many benefits to using Google Ads, but he does admit that there will be a few problems that pop up along the way.

Diller says at one time or another in your usage of Google Ads:

  • Ads might not show up enough
  • Ads will show up but not get clicks
  • Ads will get clicks but will have no conversions

If you see this happening, Diller says it’s possible you aren’t using enough keyword phrases in your ad copy, your copy could be “lame or confusing” or it’s too vague and isn’t meeting the intent of your searchers.

Diller adds that it could also be because you don’t have your mobile call extension enabled, or something could be wrong with the landing page. When potential customers get to the landing page, it could be overwhelming or underwhelming to them, and it could be scaring off a lukewarm lead by giving them too much or too little information.

“Sometimes, people can click an ad and then the landing page doesn’t exactly match up to what they thought they clicked, so they leave,” he says. “You could need more landing pages that are super specific. Your form could be asking for way too much info, or there could be no call button. This is why you measure all of these things and experiment with potential solutions. This will help you stop wasting money and get results.”

This, he says, is when testing out your ads to see which ones are receiving the most clicks comes in handy.

Important monthly metrics

Diller admits that the process can seem daunting at first, but if you’re willing to commit to the process and go through a bit of trial and error, he says it could pay off big time.

At the end of the day, Diller says the most important monthly metrics to keep an eye on are:

  • Total ad calls
  • Total landing page form submissions
  • Total landing page calls
  • Total spend for month

Once you have these numbers, Diller says to divide the total spend for the month by total conversions (Cost Per Conversion) to find out what’s turning into leads and conversions.

“You have the biggest impact on your marketing, and that’s because of one thing: you need to make some kind of decision,” he says. “Learn how to play the game well. You can find someone to teach you, but when the chips are down, it’s all riding on you. You can win, and you can win big.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This information was presented in a webinar during NALP's LANDSCAPES 2020 event.

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