8 Tips For Successful Pest Control PPC Campaigns

pest-control-ppc-advertising

Why Do Pay-Per-Click?

So, you’re the owner or marketing director of a pest control company.  Your pest control business is growing, but you want for it to grow faster.

There are several options that you can look at in order to bring more customers in the door.  You can hire more door to door salespeople.  Radio and television are an option, but since the cost per acquisition for new customers is so high, it’s typically overpriced for what you get.  Then, there are directory services such as Yelp and review sites such as Angie’s List.

Each of those options can work.  But, you keep hearing buzz words about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click).  And, you know that a large chunk of successful pest control companies do some sort of online advertising, many of them leaning more and more toward PPC.

Being the owner of a Pay Per Click ad agency, of course I am going to be somewhat biased toward Pay Per Click as a medium to grow most pest control companies.  However, since I am a Latter-Day Saint / mormon, and I served a 2 year mission in South Korea, I will say that mormon missionaries do a heck of a job knocking doors and bringing in new pest control customers.  I used to play in a lot of 3 on 3 basketball tournaments in Utah when I went to BYU, and there must be hundreds if not thousands of RMs (returned missionaries) each year that go to work each summer for pest control, alarm, and satellite companies.

One of the industries that is becoming a bigger and bigger footprint for us is the pest control space.  At the time of this writing, we are actively managing or in the process of launching pest control clients in Texas, Utah, Colorado, Virginia, Idaho, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona.

From our experience, here are 7 tips to running successful PPC campaigns for pest control companies.

Tip #1:  Setup tracking phone numbers for each service category.

One of the bigger mistakes that we see pest control companies make is that they drive all of their traffic to their homepage that uses the same intake phone # as their other advertising mediums (SEO, referrals, tv, radio, yelp, groupon, etc.).

You could just setup 1 tracking line for all of your Google Adwords clicks to go to, but we have found that if you use a service such as CallTrackingMetrics or CallRail and buy 1 tracking line for each service you are going after or want to test, it makes tracking your ROI much easier.

For instance, for about $1.35 per month per line (plus talk time rates), you could setup a tracking line that represents a Campaign (or Ad Group, depending on how you set it up) for:

  • Bed Bugs
  • Termites
  • Mice
  • Rodents
  • Exterminator
  • Ants
  • Spiders

The point of doing all of this is so that you can use a simple report to see how much money you spent in Adwords or Bing Ads each month for each service category and how much money you made.  You can even have your inbound sales reps mark in the call log how much revenue was generated, so that you can pull a report each day or week to see what’s going on.

Tip #2: Setup unique landing pages that mirror tracking numbers

To be candid, this tip is a bit of a pain to setup, but it’s definitely worth it.  In order to use the specific tracking numbers accurately, it typically requires using separate landing pages for each phone number.

The good news is that this allows you to craft unique messages for each audience, based off of the specific problem they are having.  So, you can talk specifically about problems and pricing related to termites versus ants, versus rodents, etc.

I would also recommend making sure that your landing pages are all mobile optimized and that each phone number has click to call enabled.  You should have the phone number on the page at least twice.

Another thing to split test against is having an email opt-in or not.  Our experience has been that we tend to have more success when we DO NOT ask for email / contact info on the landing pages, but that may vary depending on how you design your landing pages and offers.

Tip #3: Enable auto-tagging in Adword

This is where the rubber starts to meet the road when it comes to accurately tracking what is working for you in Adwords.

Because the pest control space, like the dental or legal markets, is highly phone call driven, it takes some extra steps to make sure that you know which clicks are turning into leads and sales within Adwords.

To make sure that you know which clicks are turning into leads and sales within Adwords, you’ll need to turn on Auto-tagging within Adwords by going to Settings > Account Settings > Tracking > Auto-tagging = Yes.

What this will do is pass a unique Google Click ID (called GCLID) across the url string dynamically each time a click occurs.  So, if your landing page url is something like www.mypestcontrolcompany.com/ then it will have a unique, dynamic gclid value passed across the url string when the end-user clicks on it, like this www.mypestcontrolcompany.com/?gclid=cghzilq831kahzla.

Tip #4: Append GCLID values to phone calls

Now that Google is sending over GCLID values, what we want to do is take that data and append it to each phone call as it comes through.

I’m going to walk through how to do this in CallTrackingMetrics, since this is the phone tracking system that we use for our clients.

Basically, you will add a script that looks like this to each of your landing pages:

<script async src=”//16471.tctm.co/t.js”></script>

Then, replace the part that says “16471” with whatever your Account ID is in CallTrackingMetrics, which you can find by clicking on “Settings”.

What this will do is store the GCLID value for each phone call that occurs.

Tip #5: Track advanced metrics within Adwords

From here, this is where things get REALLY interesting.

It’s important to understand that most of your competitors are going to be optimizing for Cost Per Click.  And, they will be doing a lot of math using Excel, Google Sheets, or something like that to figure out what their ROI is.

But, here’s the problem.  They may be able to do the math, but they will have a hard time knowing exactly which keywords and search queries are generating them sales.  I’ll even go as far to say that they will have almost NO IDEA what keywords to turn off and which ones are bringing them actual sales.

The reason for this is that you can’t do it without having GCLID values tracked.  But, if you do know the GCLID values for every phone call that occurs, the world is your oyster.

Now that we have the GCLID data, here are some Custom Fields that I recommend tracking within Adwords:

  • Revenue
  • # Sales
  • Cost Per Sale
  • # Leads
  • Cost Per Sale
  • Cost Per Lead
  • Sales Conversion Rate
  • Average Sale Value

This is what it might look like within Adwords:

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 12.56.47 PM

Tip #6: Focus on campaigns that bring you the highest ROI

Now, there are 2 ways to look at this.  It’s obvious that PPC is a dollars-in, dollars-out scenario.  You want to put money into the PPC machine and get a multiple out.

So, can either play the math and put all of your marketing budget into the campaigns that make you the most money, OR you can put your money into the campaigns that bring you the highest recurring revenue.

Let me give you an example.  For many of our clients, Bed Bugs and Rodents (such as Voles, Mice, etc.) make them the highest ROI.  We tend to shoot for about a 5X Return On Ad Spend.  So, if they spend $1K on ads, we want $5K in revenue.

But, we have other clients that really just care about improving their MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue).  So, even though the ROI numbers may not look as good at a glance, they are building up more and more monthly or quarterly paying clients for general extermination services.

Both strategies work, but it’s important to make a conscious decision on whether you are trying to get the highest monthly ROI possible or if you’re trying to accumulate as many monthly paying clients possible.

Tip #7: Don’t get too caught up in the low level metrics

I can’t tell you how many phone calls I have had with pest control business owners who are dead set on a specific Cost Per Click or Cost Per Call.  Yet, they couldn’t tell you how much money they made each month from Adwords or Bing Ads.

My experience has been that your Cost Per Call is going to be more expensive than you want on high quality pest control keywords.  However, just like in the legal industry where clicks may cost you as much as $100+, what really matters is your Sales Closure Rate and your Cost Per Sale.

Tip #8: Benchmarks for performance

This last tip may be a bit of a touchy subject.  The fact of the matter is, there may be some pest control business owners out there that have been running ads for a decade, have very strong Adwords accounts, and may be able to get high quality clicks for $2-$3 and leads for as low as $10.

However, if you’re a newer advertiser with very little ad history in a competitive market, the chances of this happening for you are unlikely.

So, if it was me, and I was a pest control business owner, here is what I would shoot for.  I would want a Lead to Sales Conversion Rate of between 40-60%.  And, I would want a Cost Per Sale of $80-$100.

With these metrics, I can make a lot of services work to my advantage, and most importantly, I can scale the business and drive a decent amount of volume.

So basically, I want for about half of my phone calls that come through to turn into actual clients.  And, I’m willing to pay up to $40-$50 a phone call, if and only if my conversion rates are around 50%.

In reality, you’re going to find some campaigns that have a much lower Cost Per Lead.  However, you’ll also find that some clicks are so expensive, yet so profitable, that it makes sense to pay the extra money to get those big Bed Bugs, Termite, or high value recurring MRR customers.

I hope these tips and ideas help.  The GCLID piece can be a bit tricky to setup, so if you need some tips or if you just want a group to handle this stuff for you so that you can focus on your business more, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  Thanks!

Video Transcript

I’m going to take a second and go over an article that I wrote a little bit ago called 8 Tips For Successful Pest Control PPC Campaigns. It’s just basically eight tips on doing pay-per-click. If you don’t know what pay-per-click is, PPC, it’s basically advertising on mainly Google. You can also do it on the Bing, Yahoo network, or on Facebook, but for Pest Control, Google is usually the first place that you want to start. These days, most … I don’t know if I’d say most. There are a lot of really, really small pest control companies, but most of the larger pest control companies are going to do a decent amount of pay-per-click. The reason for that is that it’s really fast. It’s a lot faster than organic SEO rankings. It’s more consistent, and you can really define what your cost per new customer is and scale things out from there.

Tip number one that I have is setting up tracking numbers for each one of your categories. If for instance you’re going after bedbugs, termites, mice, rodents, exterminator, ants, spiders, things like that, we would recommend that you set up a separate phone tracking line with maybe CallTrackingMetrics, which is what we use a lot, or CallRail, anything that allows you to have a separate line. It only costs a little over a dollar a month per line, plus the talk time on the phones depending on how many phone calls you get. But for a couple bucks, you can really improve your tracking.

You can say, “Hey,” regardless of how you have your campaigns set up in Google Ads, you can very easily say, “Okay, like this campaign is for termites and we spent $400 this month and we got two customers,” and you can do that type of analysis and say, “Yeah, let’s do more of that, or, let’s turn off rodents because it’s not working for us.”

Along with that, tip number two is setup unique landing pages for each one of your tracking phone numbers, otherwise your tracking is not really going to work super well, unless you use like a dynamic landing page. This is a little more complicated to figure out. But for a starting advertiser, just have a separate landing page or a dynamic landing page for each category. So all of your traffic from the termite stuff is going to show termites and has a termite phone number. That’s the important thing regardless of how you do it, is that you want to have a one-to-one with your campaign, your tracking number, and your landing page.

Another thing to do is enable Auto Tagging in Google Ads. Basically what that is is it allows you to pass extra information across the URL string. That allows Google to send things like what keyword did they come from, what was your ad positioning, what campaign ad group, a lot of basic information.

Another thing that comes with that is basically Google’s with the Auto Tagging you can do this number four trick here, which is appending your Google Click ID, your GCLID value. If you do that, you can actually do a full feedback loop. Basically when a click happens, they go to your landing page. You can capture all this information through a web form, or if you use like CallTrackingMetrics or CallRail you can put this whole script on your page, which will feed that information that comes off the URL parameters, like hidden info, it stores it into the record of the phone number, and then you can do a merge back into AdWords. So you can say, okay, these phone calls came from … these conversions came from this campaign or this keyword, and set up more advanced types of columns so you know what your ROI is.

Trick number five is advanced metrics. A lot of our pest control stuff we’re tracking revenue because I can put revenue into CallTrackingMetrics for instance and then shoot that back into Google Ads. Number of sales, you can count that as a conversion. You can make multiple systems kind of talk to each other and that can be cool.

Another way to do it these days is actually with Google Data Studio because they have built-in integrations now. So you can just say like CallTrackingMetrics or CallRail, let’s have a talk with Google Ads, and then you can merge information there without even needing like much programming knowledge or anything, so you can really kind of matchup data a lot better there.

This is an example here. It’s a little tricky to see, but this is showing, hey, like this group right here, they spent … It was $160 of sale. They got 13 sales. Here’s the revenue. These are custom columns that you can add into Google Ads.

And then tip number six is focus on campaigns that bring you the highest return-on-investment. It seems pretty obvious, but sometimes people will just continue to have campaigns on because they feel like they should. But it’s not working very well for you and you’re not being that competitive. If your ad budget is limited, suppose you only have $2,000 or $3,000 or $5,000 a month to spend on your campaigns, you’re better off taking that extra $1,000 that you were spending and putting it into something that has like a four to six x return on investment than you are spending it on something that is like break even where you’re really losing time and energy and can’t invest in other things because of that.

Another tip here. A lot of very beginning pest control advertisers get really caught up in things like what is my click-through-rate, what is my cost-per-click, what are my impressions, things like that that are important, but those are kind of considered low-level metrics. You really want to think, put your business owner hat back on and be like, “Okay, this is making me money or it’s not. I can scale this or I can’t.”

At the end of the day if the cost per call and cost per sale numbers makes sense, roll with it, and if it doesn’t, then revamp. And don’t expand your ad spend until you know you’re making money, because sometimes people will be like, “Oh, I heard from this conference that I need to be spending $20,000 a month in this city.” But if you’re going to spend 20 and make 10, something is wrong. Like you didn’t take the time to build out your campaigns and figure out all that stuff out. So don’t expand before you should.

Let’s see. As far as benchmarks for performance, let’s see. A good lead to sales conversion rate is about 40% to 60%, so closing about half of them. And cost-per-sale of $80 to $100. Really, I mean, it just kind of depends. I mean, you can easily a lot of times get a phone call for $18 to $35 and then kind of depends on what your closure rate is from there. But it really depends on the service that you’re selling. So it’s kind of hard to say if bedbugs are more expensive, you’re going to pay more for that, or termites, but they also yield more and that’s why … And Google knows that. That’s why your cost-per-click is more expensive or your cost-per-lead. But the cost-per-sale and ROI numbers are kind of more important.

If you have a question or you just kind of need help, feel free to reach out to us just on our website leadppc.com. You can go to the Contact Us section. You can live chat us, kind of whatever. If you have questions, feel free to reach out, even for just kind of brainstorming. Thanks.

Entrepreneur with a focus on Lead Generation, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Conversion.