In order to sell a service, such as siding installation or kitchen remodeling, you need to make sure you’re marketing to the right type of person. That’s why Pay Per Click (PPC) ad targeting is so effective, and why we’ve dedicated time and resources into crafting videos and this post to educate you about them.
At FatCat, we LOVE PPC advertising, especially Google Ads. It’s one of the best ways a contractor can generate “exclusive” leads. In this article, we’ll go over the top tips, tricks, and best practices for how to target your paid advertising campaigns to maximize leads and drive sales.
What is targeting and how can it generate more leads?
So what exactly does “targeting” mean when it comes to paid online ad campaigns? Basically, targeting allows you to control:
- who sees your ads (gender, age, household income, etc)
- when they see your ads (time of day, day of the week)
- where they see your ads (where in the world, and where on the internet)
- what devices they use to view your ad (mobile, desktop, or tablet)
In this post, we’ll go over the following targeting options:
- Location Targeting
- Demographic Targeting
- Time and day Targeting
- Device Targeting
- Custom Audience Targeting
Location, Location, Location (Targeting)
You can have the best ad copy, the most enticing call to action, and even the perfect ad score, but if your ads are being shown to someone outside of your service area, or even worse, in the wrong state, guess what? They’re not going to convert and you won’t have a new lead.
Congrats! You’ve just wasted money.
That’s why location targeting, otherwise known as geo-targeting is so important. If you’re a contractor that services to the Raleigh-Durham area, showing your ads to people in Charlotte isn’t helpful.
Location targeting is one of the best tactics you can use to optimize your Google, Facebook, and Bing ads. And fortunately, it’s pretty simple to set up. But you’ve also got to be careful — there are a couple of settings that can really skew your targeting if you’re not paying attention.
How (poor) Ad Targeting can Backfire
Here’s the situation: you’re a homeowner who lives in Atlanta, but you’re originally from Raleigh, NC. Obviously, the easiest way to stay connected with friends and family is by engaging with them on Facebook and Instagram. And since most of your connections still live in the area, you’re constantly on the lookout for affordable airfare.
After scoring a cheap roundtrip ticket, you travel home for a weekend visit. Turns out both you and your best friend, who’s a homeowner in Raleigh, are interested in getting a new roof and have each done your fair share of research.
There’s a roofing contractor that serves the Raleigh metro area, let’s call them Randy’s Roofers. Randy recently started experimenting with Google and Facebook ads and set the location targeting to people “interested in” Raleigh, NC. Unfortunately, instead of Randy’s ad being shown to your friend, the Raleigh homeowner, it gets served to you, the homeowner who lives 400 miles away.
Interested In vs. Lives In
“Interested In” vs “Lives In” are two distinct options that are so easy to miss if you’re not already familiar with the Google, Facebook, or Bing ad platforms. In fact, “interested in” is the default option for Facebook geo-targeting.
Selecting “interested in” will show an ad to someone if they have “interest” in a particular location (such as looking up plane tickets or liking something on Facebook) meaning that they may not physically be in that location. While this can be a useful option for some businesses, it leads to issues for home improvement contractors (or any local business for that matter).
Demographic targeting is a feature that all home improvement and remodeling contractors should be taking advantage of. If you’re not already, it’s likely that your paid ads are being served to people who, put simply, won’t find them very useful. Meaning that they won’t become a lead and you won’t make a sale.
Demographic targeting allows marketers to target customers within a specific demographic group. This includes gender, age, parental status, and household income (for the time being, at least). The following screenshot shows how easy it is to pick and choose between the four categories.
Why is Demographic Targeting important for contractors?
Well, let’s consider you’re a bathroom contractor who’s also a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. What’s the likelihood that someone under the age of 55 (let alone teenagers or those in their 20s and 30s) would click on your ad and fill out a form?
Probably not too likely.
If you’re a kitchen remodeling contractor who specializes in custom, luxurious, all the bells-and-whistles kitchens, does it make sense to show ads to people with a household income in the lower 50%? Not really.
Similarly to how your service teams use tools to complete a project, demographic targeting is a marketing tool used to help get the job done. Meaning, bring in more leads.
How does Google have this information?
You could make the argument that Google knows everything, but that’s beside the point. Google’s demographic data is collected from users based on a number of things, including their settings, search patterns, and activity associated with their Google accounts. While Google might not actually know the exact household income of a user, they’re able to accurately predict it. This gives marketers the opportunity to show a contractor’s paid ads to a better, more relevant audience.
Tips on using Demographic Targeting to Generate Leads
PPC advertising can be tricky, especially when you’re already focused on running your company, working with clients, and meeting project deadlines. Fortunately, we have a few tips and tricks for maximizing your paid advertising efforts.
Just like how you can target who sees your ads, you can also choose to exclude people who aren’t likely to convert. Using our examples above, each contractor could (and should) immediately exclude people under the age of 18. This is an obvious example since a teenager could never be a qualified lead, but you can really dive down into the specifics of who you include and exclude.
Adjusting Your Bids
Demographic targeting doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” type of game. In fact, you can adjust your bids so certain demographic groups will have a higher chance of being shown your ads, while other groups will still see them too. A contractor may find that females between the ages of 45 and 54 are their best customers, so they want to show their ads to people who fit that criterion. Males ages 55 to 64, on the other hand, are still a strong bet to become leads, so it doesn’t make sense to not show them ads either.
Showing an ad to 17 year old probably won’t end up with them becoming a qualified lead. Usually “all ages” is selected by default on most platforms, so this is something that should be adjusted immediately.
How Time-of-Day Ad Scheduling Can Impact Lead Generation
Your initial thoughts may be “I want to run my ads at all times! The more awareness the better!” While we understand the thought process, it doesn’t always make the most sense. For us, we’ve produced better results for our home improvement clients by limiting when client ads show. Typically, we won’t run ads past midnight or before 4 am.
Why is this? Well, let’s think about the target customer.
For example, a siding contractor’s ideal customer is likely to be someone at least 40 years old, who works full-time, and is likely married with children. What are the chances that they’re up past midnight, let alone surfing the web for new siding? Not very high. The reality is most people shopping at 2 am have probably consumed a beverage (or 5) and are likely looking for something like this, not new siding.
Targeting by Device to Generate Leads
When we say device, we’re talking about the literal device someone uses to access your website. This would be either a desktop computer, mobile phone, or a tablet, such as an iPad. There are a number of reasons why someone may choose to show their ads to people with a particular device, but for the sake of keeping this on brand, let’s use a common home improvement example.
It’s an unfortunate truth, but there are a lot of remodeling contractor websites that look dated. Many of these have an awful mobile user experience, which is particularly bad in our mobile-first online world.
If you’re a contractor who’s website falls into this category, it doesn’t make sense to send paid mobile traffic to your website. It’s likely that you’ll waste your money and turn-off a potential customer, whereas if they came to your website from their desktop computer, they may have become a lead.
On the flip side, if your website has a great mobile experience, target those devices! Over 58% of people in the United States access the internet from a tablet or phone (compared to 42% for desktop), so it makes sense to target those users. While these examples are very cut and dry, they help explain how beneficial device targeting can be.
What is a custom audience & why should home improvement companies care?
A custom audience is a form of targeted advertising where home improvement contractors can use information from their CRM to target really specific lists of prospects. Simply put, it means you’re showing very specific online ads to a very specific group of people from your CRM like…
- Demo-no-sell leads
- Old/cold leads
- Home show leads
- Previous customer / upsell leads
What does it mean to “target leads with a PPC campaign?” Simply put, it means you’re showing very specific online ads to a very specific group of people from your CRM. Why do we like this tactic so much? The costs are lower. It’s super targeted. And it’s a great nurturing tool.
Think about it this way: You already paid to get these leads into your CRM, either through a home show, TV commercial, or lead aggregator. But for some reason, they’re just not ready to buy. This tactic keeps your name fresh in their mind, without much work on your part.
A quick side note: You can’t make custom audiences without a CRM. And, we assume you’re using a CRM, but if you’re not, you really should. We love MarketSharp because it was made for home improvement and remodeling contractors. But there are countless other CRMs that will get the job done. The point is you need a CRM.
How to use Custom Audiences to Nurture Old or Cold Remodeling Leads
How do you create a custom audience? It’s easy.
- Run a report or ‘custom view’ in your CRM to filter on leads that have expressed an interest in your products, but never answered the phone, or set an appointment.
- Export that list (with email addresses).
- Import your list to an online advertising platform, like Facebook, Bing or Google.
Boom. You’ve just created a custom remarketing audience.
Custom audiences are nice because you don’t really have to mess around with a ton of settings and buttons like with other targeting tactics. But what really makes them powerful is the ability they give marketers to get so uber-specific with messaging.
Why is Custom Remarketing Audience targeting so effective?
Unlike “top of the funnel” online ads, where you’re just trying to capture a new lead, you already know the people in your custom audience, and they already know you.
According to Invesp, retargeted customers are three times more likely to click on your ad than people who’ve never interacted with your business before. So when you combine this knowledge with an amazing offer or super-specific messaging, it becomes clear why custom audiences are so effective.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Show “exclusive offer” ads on Facebook to previous customers
- Show Google display ads to anyone who’s requested a quote in the last 6 months, but didn’t buy
- Show Bing ads just to a list of sweepstakes or contest entries
- Show special offers on Facebook just to a list of people in your CRM that live in one neighborhood
Once you get the hang of combining a filtered list from your CRM with a targeted ad, you should have a ton of ideas.
It’s important to note that what works for us and our clients may not always work for you. When it comes to online paid advertising (and marketing in general), you need to test, test, and then test again. Creating one that’s effective and drives sales, however, is. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending a lot of money with nothing to really show for it.
If you’re not sure where to start, or the whole idea of running your paid advertising on top of already running a business seems daunting, schedule a free consultation with us.