Let’s start with some context….
I’m a contractor in Florida. Over the last 11 years I have started, invested in, and sold a few contracting businesses. I currently own an epoxy flooring business and have equity in a few HVAC/plumbing businesses.
I’ve never owned a roofing business, but the first business I started and the largest business I sold was very incidental to roofing. We did Gutters, soffit & Fascia, exterior painting, and pavers.
I’ve grown these businesses largely through paid digital marketing.
For the purpose of this post I will be speaking specifically in the context of Google Search Pay-Per-Click ads. Google now has many advertising platforms wrapped into one such as Discovery, Display, and Youtube.
When it comes to roofing and pay-per-click, I’ve never seen such a dis-served, poorly run industry of advertisers.
The Most Valuable Conversion Event For Roofers
When it comes to running pay-per-click (ppc) ads, you need to identify your most valuable conversion event and run ads to drive that conversion event.
For a roofing business, this is typically a connected phone call, from a first time caller. A person that picks up their phone and dials a number has a much higher demand then one that fills out a web form, and it gives your business that chance to make a strong first impression.
Inbound phone calls will cost considerably more to drive through paid advertising, but they convert at much high rate.
Of course this means that someone needs to be available to answer the phone calls.
Therefore the ads can only be ran during business hours, or with an extended hours call center.
Second to that a web form that capture details including the issue they need service for and property address is very effective. I recommend (and do) running these ‘after hours’ when you’re unavailable to answer calls.
Where 99.9% Of Roofers Fail With Pay-Per Click
Consider the lead section “you need to identify your most valuable conversion event and run ads to drive that conversion event”.
The focus of the ppc campaign should be entirely focused on that one conversion event. Everything from the Ad copy to landing page needs to drive the user to that one conversion event. Nothing else. And that conversion event needs to be integrated with Google Ads.
Now take a look at most roofers landing pages. You’ll commonly see a mess of ‘calls to action’ and possible conversion events. It’s not uncommon to see options for ‘call now’, an email address, a web form, and maybe even a chat button. Sometimes you’ll see multiple web forms, and even a text message button. This is all in addition to links that direct a user all over the website.
This means that…
- the campaign is not built to drive the most valuable conversion event.
- the conversion event is not integrated with Google
When it comes to running PPC the only option a user (potential customer) should be able to take is your ONE defined conversion event. The user should not be able to contact you via any other method or browse other parts of your website.
In this video I talk in depth about this subject and show examples of roofers landing pages.
Now you might be saying… “But Corey, I want to give users multiple ways of contacting me so they can do what what they are most comfortable with”
This is a flawed concept.
Google ads is a direct response marketing platform, made even more powerful by the fact that it has the ability to optimize for specific conversion events.
Think about it like this. Let’s assume you ran ads to a page that had both a phone number and webform. 25% of the users would call, 25% use the webform, and the other 50% just leave.
Now you take away the web form and 40% of users call. The other 60% just get leave. While the % of users leaving does increase, you’ve got more people taking a higher value action
Now you integrate the call conversion with Google ads, and Google begins to display your ads to more people that have a strong enough demand to call. The rate of users calling increases further to 50%. Even more people are taking the highest value action.
Vanity Metrics & Conversion Events
This throws many roofers and Google Advertisers for a curveball.
I often look into new ad accounts or poorly optimized ad accounts and ‘conversion events’. If you do not set your own conversion events, Google will create them for you. For example a click on a map ad for ‘directions’ may be counted as a conversion. A click on a phone number (but not connected) may count as a conversion event.
These ‘vanity conversions’ make amateurs feel like like they are having success when it reality all they are doing is allowing Google to bill for nothing.
Budgeting & Understanding Your Sales Process ROI
After having a defined conversion event, you need to analyze your sales process and understand what percentage of your leads from the source sell, and what the gross profit is.
If your average roof sells for $30,000 and has $16,000 in materials / labor for a gross profit of $14,000 how much can you spend on marketing?
To answer that you need your closing rate. For Google Ads, a fair rule of thumb is 20% or 1 out of 5 with proper nurturing and sales follow up (many roofers flunk this horribly) will sell over a 6 month period. At that rate, what can you spend per lead to acquire a project.
For there a target CPA can be set, and the budget should be set to ‘unlimited’. In other words as many of those conversion events as you can get, you should take.
Here’s a video I did covering this:
Pro secret: Volume matters. The more conversion events you get, the better the algorithm will perform. This is how national lead aggregators can run ads nationwide and be number 1 in high cost markets, aside from defining their conversion event, they will spend an infinite amount of money on their conversions.
What Is A Realistic Budget For Roofing Pay-Per-Click?
I’ll cut to the chase, these days in any major market you should expect to spend $150 – $400 for a connected phone call, and have the adspend to handle at least 50 of those a week… consistently. We could express that as $30,000 – $100,000 per month.
You may not get anywhere close that, but that budget should be available provided the target cost for the conversion event (in this case a call) is achieved.
The Final Piece: Sales Nurturing
If you want leads that call in and say “I want you do my project right now, I don’t care the price”…. you might as well stop advertising. Those leads will be a very small subset of referrals.
Most leads will be ‘just kicking tires’. This means you need to diligently follow up with the leads. Schedule an appointment to go out and show face. Invest in sales training. If they don’t buy right then, schedule a follow up appoint. Send text messages and emails.
I’m not going to go into depth on this, but just observe the fastest growing roofing companies out there, and they all have very diligent sales processes.
Bottom Line On Prospering With Google PPC Ads As a Roofer
If you want to drive sales with Google PPC Ads, there’s 3 key elements.
- A clearly defined conversion event
- Understanding your sales funnel and have the budget to fill it
- Sales Nurturing.