SEM Excellence

SEM Excellence

Google ads produce results! When a homeowner comes home after work on a hot day and the air conditioner is not working, there is a good chance that they will go online and search for home air conditioner repair or home AC repair, or home AC not working, or any of dozens of other variants with similar words and phrases. If they find you near the top of the search results, they may call you. If they also drove by your billboard and heard your radio ad on the way home besides finding you at the top of the search results, they are even more likely to call. Online search is not the only way to find new customers who are immediately ready to pay for your services, but online search is the most indispensable way to find excellent leads.

Expert management and optimization of online search is the number one priority from the marketing side to grow your business. But, like finding enough excellent service technicians, developing a first-rate search engine management (SEM) program is easier said than done.

The Making of an Excellent SEM Program

The process starts with research. If you are already doing SEM, which words are being searched? Who are your competitors and which words are they using? Which channels, such as Google, Bing, and social networks, are currently being used by you and your competitors and how are they performing? How much have you been spending on SEM and what kind of results have you been getting? Which keywords are responsible for most of the leads? Which zip codes are your leads coming from and which are not producing leads?

Good research is the starting point for successful SEM programs. It sets the starting point for future improvements, positions a business relative to its competitors, and provides the basis for setting benchmarks. Firestorm LeadGen recommends the following standard measurements (metrics) for all types of marketing productivity analysis for home services companies:

  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Lead to appointment ratio (conversion rate)
  • Total cost per appointment (CPA)
  • New customer cost per appointment (NCPA)
  • Average appointment value
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Current customer to new customer ratio
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV)

Whatever your key metrics are, it is important to use them as benchmarks so that you can see progress occurring. Key metrics like CPL and ROAS tend to come in spurts that are influenced by outside factors in addition to improving SEM methods. Over months or quarters, the trend line should be rising.

Google may be your best friend. They provide tools to help all the way through the process of building an excellent SEM program. Use all of the fine tools they provide, but remember your end objective is different from Google’s. It is easy to rush in and follow Google’s direction, but a word of caution: test before going all in. The way to find out which keywords work best for you is to test over and over. Go with what is working best but keep testing to see if there is something better.

Firestorm LeadGen recommends that when setting up a new program, tight limits on spending are put into place. Without close attention, you may find that you’ve spent a full month’s budget in a day or two. Start slow and take the time to tweak and optimize your marketing campaigns. Test your way into success.

Not all leads are good leads. There are likely to be keywords that will produce a larger number of leads that do not convert into revenue or, if they do produce revenue, have lower average appointment value. There may also be keywords that produce high revenue leads. For instance, the word “repair” in a keyword phrase may produce lots of low-value, low-profit jobs. The word “replace” may produce fewer but more profitable leads.

Look out for negative keywords. A phrase like “air conditioner repair” may produce leads who are looking for “automotive air conditioner repair” and you are looking for customers who need home air conditioner repair.

Be mindful that marketing is not sales. More leads does not necessarily mean equally increasing revenue. If your cost per lead is going down, your total number of leads is going up, and your revenue is flat, it may be time to take a look at your sales efforts.

Are you spending too much on poor leads and not enough on good leads? Firestorm LeadGen can help you find the good leads you are looking for.