If you’ve looked into marketing your appliance repair business online, chances are you have come across terms like ‘SEO’, ‘SEM’, and ‘PPC’.
What do these mean, and how do you decide which is the best internet marketing strategy is best for your business? Can you handle it on your own, or is it best to hire professionals?
People turn to search engines like Google when their appliance breaks down. When a potential customer in your area types “washer repair near me” on their smartphone, you want to be one of the first results they see. There are 2 ways to increase your visibility online:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of getting your website ranked highly in the map and organic (unpaid) search results on Google. There are about 200 factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account when determining the rank of a site. Writing lots of high-quality, keyword-rich content can help you rank above your competitors.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
With PPC, you pay to display ads in the search results and are only charged when someone clicks the ad. Google’s PPC platform is called Adwords and works like an auction: you bid on keywords that are relevant to your business, and your ad will show when someone searches that keyword. Where your ad shows on the page is determined by bid amount and Quality Score (relevance).
Done correctly, both can get you on the front page of Google and generate more customer phone calls. But in the appliance repair industry, PPC advertising has proven to be MUCH more effective in bringing in new customers. A well-run PPC campaign can get you results FAST, and offers great flexibility and control over your marketing budget. Here are the top reasons why appliance repair companies should focus on PPC instead of SEO:
Speed – Get more phone calls within hours, not months
SEO is a long-term strategy. When you invest the time and money to improve your organic search rankings, you might have to wait 3 to 6 months to start seeing results. In a competitive market, it could take over a year. And there’s no guarantee you’ll ever reach the front page.
With PPC, you can launch a campaign and see your ads appear on the first page of Google within an hour. It’s the fastest way to get your company name and phone number in front of thousands of potential customers.
Clear, measurable results
The SEO industry is full of snake-oil salesmen promising higher rankings and more customers. But SEO is complex, and there’s no magic solution to get you to the top of the page. Google is very secretive about its ranking algorithm, and the truth is that an appliance repair SEO campaign delivers far less predictable results than ever.
PPC advertising produces predictable, consistent, and measurable results. It’s simple to track ROI. Google Adwords reports can show you how much you spent on clicks, how many phone calls you received, and how much revenue was generated. You can easily find out if your campaign is profitable.
A simple Adwords report showing all the phone calls generated by a PPC campaign over one week.
Flexibility and scalability
PPC advertising offers incredible flexibility. Here are just a few of the things you can adjust on the fly:
- Locations: choose where you want your ads to show. If you get better jobs on the west side of town than the east, you can advertise more heavily to that area.
- Hours: advertise 24/7, or just during working hours. Pause for a couple hours when you need a break.
- Appliance types and brands: focus your budget on the repair jobs that are most profitable for your company. You can create ads specifically for people looking for “Sub-Zero fridge repair”
- Ad copy: test out different ads to see which ones your customers respond to the best.
Adwords lets you exercise control over bids and your daily budget. If you recently hired more technicians and want more work, increase your ad spend and you’ll get more phone calls. It’s that simple. If you calculate that $500 per week gets you $4000 in revenue, raise the budget to $1000 and you may find yourself bringing in $8000 a week.
We’ve seen countless clients grow their appliance repair business by increasing their advertising budget. But we’ve also heard horror stories from companies who relied heavily on SEO traffic to get customers, only to see their work dry up after a Google algorithm update. Closing sentence about having less control when you depend on SEO.
Higher page position = higher call volume
Look at the “above the fold” search results for appliance repair (shown right). These are the results you see when you first land on the page before scrolling down. You’ll notice that almost all the space is taken by paid ads. A lot of people don’t bother to look further down the page when they’re in a rush to fix their fridge. This prime positioning is why appliance repair PPC can bring you many more new customers than even a brilliantly executed SEO campaign.
“Our rankings are great and we made it into the local 3-pack, but we’re still only getting a few calls per week”, a frustrated appliance repair owner once told me. After putting together an aggressive PPC campaign, we instantly started generating a higher rate of calls than he had ever seen before.
Google wants as many people as possible to click on the paid ads. That’s how they make money — Adwords accounts for 96% of their revenue. So expect Google to continue to favor PPC advertisers, offering more valuable real estate on the search engine results page.
PPC ads capture more high buyer intent traffic than organic results
You want to attract the attention of people online who are in IMMEDIATE NEED of appliance repair. Bob notices his freezer is leaking. He googles a high-intent search term like “freezer repair cincinnati” and dials one of the first phone numbers he sees. Bob DOESN’T read blog articles, browse social media posts, and watch YouTube videos before making a decision.
Appliance repair has a short sales cycle. In other industries, it’s important to create content to rank for informational keywords. But for you, there’s not much benefit to ranking for something like “DIY appliance repair”
A good PPC advertiser will focus on buyer intent keywords and use negative keywords to avoid wasting money on clicks from informational searches. (Our appliance repair PPC campaigns use over 1000 negative keywords.) With laser-targeted ads and landing pages, you can easily convert high-intent clicks into phone calls.
“We tried PPC once, but it didn’t work too well. It cost too much money.”
I’ve heard this from a lot of small business owners. The truth is that building an effective PPC campaign is a lot more complex than it may seem. It can be dangerous if you just start a campaign, enter a list of keywords, and hope for the best. A poorly run campaign will burn through your budget fast, especially if you are in a competitive market where clicks are expensive.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of achieving high Quality Scores, using keyword match types correctly, choosing bids, and continually optimizing campaigns. PPC requires a concentrated effort, which you probably don’t have time for when you’re busy managing your business. It’s something you MUST outsource to professionals for best results.
So who do you hire? Make sure they have experiencing in your industry. They should know all the appliance brands that your customers are searching for help with. They should be using relevant landing pages, and NOT directing paid traffic to your home page. Be careful about signing a long-term contract with a PPC firm if they can’t guarantee profitable results.
Service Leads Now’s Pay-Per-Call model is great for companies that want to get MORE customers, while spending LESS time managing their marketing. It’s a completely hands-off approach — we build the PPC campaigns and custom landing pages behind the scenes. All you have to do is answer the phone. Detailed reports and call recordings show you exactly what you’re paying for so you can easily calculate ROI.
After just one week using our pay-per call service, appliance repair owners frequently tell me they’re blown away by the volume of new customers that have found them online. Especially if their only prior online marketing experience was SEO! We’ve helped countless businesses get more jobs, grow their revenue, and expand their territory.