Google Ads for Contractors: How to Get More High-Value Leads

Need more high quality leads? There's no better way to quickly target and reach high-value prospects in your service area than Google Ads.

google ads for contractors guide
Table of Contents

    Nearly 55% of people look up a contractor on Google before they make an appointment (source). And the first thing they’re going to see on the search results page (SERP) are Google Ads listings.

    That’s right, pay per click ads for contractors.

    When pipes burst, the AC goes out, or trees blows over, homeowners click on the first contractor they see. They don’t scroll down to the local search results or the local map pack. They see and click on the Local Service Ads (LSAs) and Google search ads.

    hvac google ads results example

    These are highly competitive spots, and for good reason. When your company is seen here, you’re more likely to get clicks and earn more leads.

    This is precisely why the construction industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising every year (source). Done correctly, you can build a 8-9 figure lead generation funnel that fills your schedule with new high-value projects.

    But, it isn’t easy. There’s a major learning curve to profitably scale PPC ads. And, let’s be honest. Most contractors don’t have an in-house marketing team or the time to make it happen.

    Most contractors and agencies struggle to see real results because they drive a ton of low quality leads. While it looks like your pipeline is full, it’s only tire kickers and price shoppers. These folks take up your time, don’t grow your revenue, and waste your advertising budget.

    You don’t need thousands of bad leads that don’t go anywhere. You need high quality leads from homeowners that need your services right now.

    How do you do it? Learn the right way to run Google Ads for contractors.

    Let’s dive in.

    Why is Google Ads for contractors important?

    People search for contractors 1.7 million times every single month. (source) Which means there are thousands of searches in your area each month too.

    The demand is there, they just aren’t finding you. They’re finding your competitors instead. And every day you aren’t on Google Ads is another day your competitors win their business instead.

    However, most contractors have trouble seeing results with their PPC campaigns. And they either keep limping along, getting lackluster results, or they shut the program down early. Which is usually when you hear that “PPC doesn’t work” or that “Google Ads is overrated”.

    This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.

    Google Ads isn’t foolproof though. You can easily burn thousands of dollars if you don’t know the platform or you hire the wrong agency. You’ll can drive a ton of bad clicks that don’t convert or get low quality leads from tire kickers.

    When done correctly, you’ll reach homeowners who are ready to hire a contractor right now. There’s no better way to drive high-value leads for contractors than properly managed Google Ads campaigns.

    ppc ads results hvac example

    When you dominate the search results page, you’re pretty hard to miss. And people are more likely to do business with companies they’re familiar with.

    We maximize your visibility so no matter where someone looks, there you are. But, you’ve most likely been burned a time or two before by ad agencies. So, you’re once bitten twice shy.

    Completely understandable. We’ve been in the game a long time now and we’ve heard it time and time and time again. But, here’s an example of how we’ve deployed our proven strategy to drive high quality leads at a low cost.

    google ads roofing campaign performance example

    Could you see the same thing using PPC for contractors? Let’s get to it.

    Forecasting performance for your contractor PPC campaigns

    Part of making smart investment decisions is doing your due diligence. That means research, research, research. With paid ads for contractors, that means forecasting your potential performance.

    There are many different ways to do this, but the fastest and easiest is Google’s Performance Planner.

    Using Google Ads’ performance planner tool

    This is a free tool in the Google Ads platform that we use to build our performance baselines. We’ll freely admit that this isn’t incredibly accurate with it comes to potential conversions. But, it will give you a solid look at search demand (impressions) in your area for your target keywords. And from there, you can play with different scenarios to forecast your potential performance & ROAS.

    There are three key factors that impact the outcome of your PPC ad campaigns:

    • Location: The geographic area your advertising will be targeting.
    • Keywords: The full list of terms & phrases you’re going to target.
    • Budget: The amount you’re willing to spend during a specific time period.

    How does location effect your performance?

    We built this forecast for a roofing company in Plano that wanted to run Google Ads campaigns. Using this batch of keywords will net this company about 420 clicks and 84 leads for $2,800 per month.

    performance planner roofers example dallas

    You’ll get a completely different forecast targeting Dallas with the exact same keywords and budget. This would get you an extra 425 clicks and 85 conversions at a significantly lower cost per conversion. ($33 in Plano vs. $17 in Dallas.)

    Which location you target can have a major impact on your PPC campaigns’ results. Which is why it’s so important to cast a wide net, see what areas perform the best, and lean in.

    Building a PPC campaign strategy to reach your growth goals

    You shouldn’t run paid media unless you know you’re playing a winnable ball game. We’ve done our research, we’ve done our planning. We built a proven strategy to drive high value leads and generate predictable growth with paid advertising campaigns.

    Here’s how we measure twice and cut once to build a winning PPC strategy for contractors.

    #1: Set a clear goal for your campaign

    You can do far more than just drive leads for your business with Google Ads. And in many cases, you should be doing more than that with your PPC campaigns.

    One of the biggest issues contractors struggle with is visibility and brand recognition. And this doesn’t just affect new contractors either. There’s only so much real estate on the search results page, so if you aren’t there, homeowners can’t find you.

    And if people don’t know who you are, how can they do business with you?

    There are a variety of objectives besides lead generation to help you achieve your advertising goals.

    google ads objectives type selector

    Types of Google Ads objectives

    • Sales: Optimize to drive more revenue from your conversions.
    • Leads: Optimize to driving more form submissions or quote requests from your website.
    • Traffic: Max the number of clicks you get to drive as many people as possible to your site.
    • App promotion: Boost the visibility and engagement with your app.
    • Awareness and consideration: Boost the number of eyes that see your ads.
    • Local store visits / promotions: Get more foot traffic to your physical location.

    Using an awareness objective for your contractor PPC campaigns will boost your online visibility and reach new potential clients. Consistently showing up in the SERP, YouTube, banner ads, etc. keep your brand top of mind. When they need a contractor to fix their issue, your company will be the first one they remember.

    Knowing your goal will also help our team build a winning keyword strategy to achieve it.

    #2: Keyword research to find winning keywords

    There’s some crossover between doing keyword research for PPC campaigns and running an SEO campaign for contractors. If you’ve already invested in SEO, you can target some of the same keywords to boost your visibility.

    But, to build a winning strategy, you need a deep understanding of how your clients search for your services online. You need to know the questions they ask, the specific words they use, and what matters to them. This is your foundation as you do your keyword research and build your PPC keyword list.

    It’s also important to source your keywords from multiple places.

    Finding the right PPC keywords for contractors

    • Get with your sales team: They talk to your prospects the most and hear the questions they ask most often.
    • Review your estimate requests: Look for common questions, topics, or issues your clients are facing.
    • Related searches section: Google shows 8-10 similar related searches that you can use as new keyword variations.
    • Look at your competitors: Use what your competitors are doing as inspiration for your strategy and your keyword research.

    For example, when you search for “roofing company in Plano”, you might see these ads:

    roofing ad copy keyword example

    So, if you’re a roofing company in Plano, you’ll want to have these keywords in your list:

    • Roofing company
    • Plano roofing company
    • Roof replacement services
    • Free roof inspection

    After scoping out the competition, you can find the related searches section at the bottom of the SERP. This will have roughly 8 similar, and relevant searches that people also asked.

    people also ask roofers example

    After doing this a handful of times, you should have a solid foundational list of potential keywords. Then you can tailor your campaign, ad copy, and landing page to align with your clients’ needs. This can include targeting the right services, locations, and the keywords they use to search for your services.

    #3: Write relevant & highly clickable ad copy

    Paid search ads are the bread and butter of Google Ads campaigns. There isn’t a ton going on with them since they’re straight text ads. They don’t need a snappy visual or an eye catching video to grab your prospects’ attention.

    All you need is solid copywriting skills and clear messaging to encourage your prospects to click through to your site. We’re able to reliably achieve this by organizing and grouping your target keywords to match the searcher’s intent.

    Your clients’ needs should dictate your PPC campaign’s ad copy. For example, we have a ton of bad storms in North Texas. We have high winds, heavy rainfall, tornados, and hail the size of golf balls to softballs. Our roofs and fences take a beating. If a homeowner’s fence blows over during a storm, they’ll most likely click an ad like these:

    fence replacement quote google ads example

    Including your target keywords, or close variants, in your ad copy boost its relevance to searchers. This also make it more likely that they’ll click on your ad, but that isn’t enough. You also want to include the insights you uncovered while researching your target keywords.

    This will help you add differentiators like “free estimates”, “unbeatable prices”, and “instant quotes” to secure those clicks.

    #4: Create high-converting landing pages

    Your target keywords and ad copy do a lot of heavy lifting for your contractor PPC campaigns. But when it comes time to seal the deal, your landing page is everything. You’ll struggle to get leads if it isn’t aligned with your ad copy or it’s hard to convert.

    Building a specific landing page for each service, market, and goal is a key piece of turning visitors into prospects. Not only will this increase the number of leads you get, it’ll also drive down your cost pers as well. So, you’ll generate more leads at a lower cost to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS).

    Here’s an example of a landing page for an Allen roof replacement campaign we ran for a client.

    roofer PPC landing page example

    It has all the elements you need to run a successful roofer PPC campaign.

    Important sections for a paid media landing page:

    • Big header that has a clear, relevant offer for the keywords they were bidding on. (“roof replacement in Allen” and “Need a new roof? We’ve got you covered”.)
    • Relevant trust building logos to prove they’re a professional and reputable company. (Inc 5000, best roofer in Allen in 2021, A+ BBB rating, and membership in relevant industry associations.)
    • “About us” section to build trust and credibility with new prospects and make them more likely to convert.
    • Included reviews and testimonials from previous clients for added social proof and credibility.
    • Multiple mentions of their city and the region to make it clear what areas they serve.
    • Services they provide to plant the seed for potential upsells or cross-sells to boost their revenue per project.
    • Photos of previous jobs to show prospects the quality of their work and what to expect from their services.
    • And, finally, a clear call to action, “Get a Free Estimate”, with a form and CTA button to capture leads.

    When it comes to paid media, your homepage and service pages aren’t good enough to be a landing page. You need PPC landing pages that are intentionally built and aligned with your campaign’s keywords and ad copy. These pages should also focus on driving conversions to maximize your ROAS.

    This is the standard best practice to maximize your PPC campaigns’ performance and drive the most high value leads.

    #5: Target your ideal client

    Successful PPC campaigns for contractors boil down to showing the right message, to the right person, at the right time. If any one of those is off, you’re going to struggle to get the leads that grow your business.

    Most contractors have trouble gaining traction in their campaigns because their audience targeting is off. They have the right message and the right time, but they aren’t reaching the right person.

    How to target high value prospects

    • Demographic targeting: Show your ads to the most profitable demographics to maximize your ROAS.
    • Household income: Not everyone can afford a $10,000+ fence or $20,000+ roof. And maybe you don’t want to spend time on smaller projects. Target the prospects that can afford your services and get the projects you want.
    • Location targeting: Show your ads to the people in your service area that drive the most revenue for your business.
    • Homeowner status: You may not provide your services to renters or people that live in apartments. Configuring this setting lets you only target homeowners in your service area.
    google maps north texas
    Google ads location targeting

    You aren’t trying to reach everyone. Since that’s how you get a bunch of low quality leads from tire kickers and price shoppers.

    You only want to reach the clients that matter most to your business. Fine-tuning your targeting settings makes sure the people that see your ads want, need, and can afford your services. Furthermore, this gets the biggest bang for your advertising bucks to maximize your return.

    #6: Implement tracking & reporting

    It isn’t enough to build your campaign, hit publish, and start buying clicks. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t so you aren’t spending money on driving bad leads.

    But, you won’t know what’s working if you aren’t measuring it.

    The tracking stage is where we collect most of our key performance insights. This tells us which keywords perform best and which ones aren’t so your marketing dollars don’t get wasted.

    Tracking your PPC campaigns’ performance:

    • Which keywords are getting visibility and clicks.
    • Which ads get the most clicks to your website.
    • Which landing pages convert the most clicks into leads.
    • How much it costs to drive each lead and the difference in cost between phone calls & form submissions.
    • Which keywords drive the best value and generate the most revenue.

    Most agencies won’t go to these lengths when it comes to tracking your performance. The majority will only track up to generating a lead and handing it off to your sales team. Then, they’ll wash their hands of it since “they can’t influence it any further”.

    We disagree. And this is why our team sets up end to end conversion tracking. We track users through every step of your sales process. From the moment they click on your ad all the way until their project’s completed and they pay their invoice.

    This lets us know exactly which keywords are driving revenue so we can lean into their performance.

    #7: Building out your Google Ads campaigns

    Now that most of the heavy lifting is finished, it’s time to build and launch your PPC campaigns!

    Remember, you’re running paid advertising campaigns for two reasons. One, to build a lead generation channel that drives high quality leads to your sales team. Two, you’re targeting specific keywords to learn which ones drive revenue. Those insights will let you focus your contractor SEO efforts on those winning keywords to maximize your return.

    fence company ad group breakdown example

    In both cases, your account structure plays a huge part in achieving your goals.

    You need your keywords to align with the copy in your ads. Also, your ad copy need to carry over into your landing page. Group your keywords around central topics and create separate ad groups that focus on those topics. For example:

    • Pull all of your “fence replacement” keywords and variants into a single ad group.
    • Use an ad copy variation that’s built around “fence replacement”. Include those keywords in the headlines and descriptions.
    • Put your “fence replacement” landing page as the destination URL for that ad to send searchers to that page.
    • Finally, verify the content on your “fence replacement” landing page reflects your target keywords and ad copy.

    Aligning your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages boost your Quality Score and your Ad Strength. Google uses these two metrics because they’re a quick snapshot of how well your campaigns are optimized. And they can give you an edge to outrank the competition in the ad results section of the SERP.

    #8: A/B testing to boost performance

    No Google Ads campaign is perfect. There’s always room for improvement and optimizations can always be made to drive better performance.

    Even with all the research, planning, and leg work, there’s no guarantee they’ll resonate with your ideal clients. And that’s okay! This is why we A/B test everything and run experiments to find what works best.

    google ads A/B testing results example

    What all can you A/B test?

    • Ad copy: Certain headlines may do a better job of capturing attention than others. Also, some descriptions may get less visibility and need to be switched out with a new version.
    • Call to action: Not everyone likes to communicate the same way. Some people like to call and speak to a person. Others are completely fine submitting an estimate request and getting an email back.
    • Landing page headline: A relevant headline will let users know they’re in the right place. A bad headline will send them back to the search results.
    • Landing page layout: Is your CTA easy to find and get in touch with you? Otherwise, you may see more clicks than conversions.

    However, it’s also important to look at the performance of your lead generation funnel. Particularly how users move from one step to the next so you know where to focus your A/B testing.

    These KPIs will help identify problem areas:

    • Quality Score (QS): 1 – 10 rating of how well aligned your keywords, ad copy, and landing page are. You want to shoot for a Quality Score of 7+.
    • Click through rate (CTR): Ratio between impressions (how often your ads were seen) and clicks. Low CTRs indicate poor alignment between your keywords and ad copy.
    • Conversion rate (CVR): Ratio between your clicks and the number of conversions generated. Low CVRs indicate poor alignment between your ad copy and landing page.

    #9: Scale what drives results

    Once you have enough performance data, you’ll start to see the cream rise to the top. Specifically, you’ll see what keywords drive conversions and which ones only drive clicks, but no conversions.

    It’s time to start making cuts and getting rid of those low performers since they’re just wasting your budget. So, once you’ve paused those keywords, you’re left with the ones that actually drive performance.

    Then, we’re able to scale the budget as high as the local search demand will allow us to. This casts the widest net possible with the highest converting keywords to take your lead generation to the next level.

    It’s an aggressive strategy, but one that we’ve seen to be wildly successful for our home service clients. Similarly, it takes loads of experience to accurately identify winning keywords and campaigns. And to know which ones will generate more high value leads for your business

    This is why contractors keep hiring us to run their Google Ads accounts for them.

    Fill your project pipeline with high-value leads using Google Ads

    You have two options now that you’re familiar with the base framework to run a successful contractor Google Ads campaign. You can either do it yourself and try to drive the results you need to grow your business.

    Or, you can partner with us and we’ll do it for you.

    Partnering with our team ensures you get the best return on your investment in paid advertising. Our team will layer on the advanced tactics we didn’t discuss here and won’t discuss anywhere else. Strategies that other agencies aren’t even aware of and can’t execute on their own.

    And, because contractor marketing is what we do. We deeply understand this space and have specifically built our strategies on driving real, predictable, and measurable results.

    If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you crush your growth goals, get in touch with us today!