The Google Local Service Ads program is a “Pay Per Lead” program where you pay for leads, unlike Google’s traditional offering of pay per click where you pay for each click. You bid on how much you are willing to pay for a lead. Roofing Contractor Marketing can help you if you would like to have an expert get you going.
Below is the process to get things underway:
Step 1: Verification for Google Guaranteed Status
The program starts with business owners getting their business “verified” with license, owner background, and insurance checks through Evident or Pinkerton to earn the “Google Badge of Trust.” You are “Google Guaranteed” once you are verified. There is no cost to be Google Guaranteed. After you are verified, you can then participate in the Local Service Ad program.
The Local Service Ad program is associated with your Google My Business (GMB) listing where your badge is displayed. The LSA program promotes your GMB reviews and business offerings. Your GMB listing is more important than ever, and you need to pay very close attention to all the elements inside of your listing – especially your reviews.
Step 2: Local Service Ad Account Setup
Next, you will enter the LSA Portal via https://ads.google.com/local-services-ads/. Here you will log in with the same login you use for your Google My Business login. Now you will begin to define the business leads you may be displayed for, the weekly budget, the geographic areas you want to serve, and some other details about your business.
While it is usually easy to set up initially, there is still work to get through all the setup, the verification process, and you should plan on this.
Google is shifting much of their attention to monetizing the GMB listing(s) so expect this area to continue evolving in importance and expect more costs from Google associated with it in the future.
Expectations: This is not pay per click. This is pay per lead. Which business Google serves in the top three boxes is their choice. You are not directly in control of this.
Variables for your LSA ad being served include:
Location of the person searching relative to your business location (Proximity)
Average review score – negative reviews hurt (Quality)
Responsiveness by business to the lead (Response and Performance)
Secret Variable and Expectation Caveat: This is not from Google but our experience – We believe there is a secret variable we call “click success,” meaning, “How many people choose your LSA ad, it closes, and you agree it is a lead.” This is what Google wants – nothing less.
Google wants successful leads since this is how they charge you and make money in this program. If the leads that they send you are disputed by you often and/or you don’t mark them in your portal as successful leads, we believe Google thinks you are not good at closing deals – so they stop or slow down serving your company ad in the program. They want to make the most they can from each lead, so they will optimize who gets the leads. This is not proven but purely anecdotal and logical. It is a guess from our successful clients’ experience and not so successful clients who have seen diminishing returns.
Step 3: Managing Your LSA Leads
Your LSA portal also includes lead tracking. Google will provide a listing of all leads, and you can listen to the call to ensure it is genuinely a lead. Your company can dispute sales calls made through the LSA listing or any call that is not a lead. If Google approves the dispute, you are not charged for it. Google is fair about disputes and will refund money for sales calls.
In this portal area, you can also add information about the lead. For example, lead name, etc., for you to track it along its sales path at your company. Google also gives you categories to place the lead to track its journey. You will need to play with this to get a better sense of how it can fit your lead tracking methods.
Google is changing the options inside the program regularly. By the time you read this, something will have changed. This is pay per lead – which is a compelling concept. The challenge is the lack of control the business owner has on lead volume.
Google has added a bidding system to the program, which is relatively new. How this will evolve is to be determined.
Roofing Contractor Marketing manages tons of these LSA accounts, so we are experiencing the ongoing changes daily. The LSA program is another good option, though it gives you less control than pay per click. We look at this as part of a complete online marketing effort that includes local SEO, Paid Ads, Display Ads, Social Media Ads, and LSA Ads.