It’s possible that you may not have heard of Google’s new Local Services ads, sometimes referred to as the “Google Guaranteed” program. At Kobe Digital, we always want to use the latest techniques to help our clients succeed online – especially those in the SMB space. The purpose of this article is to introduce small business owners to this relatively new service by Google, which has rapidly picked up steam since its recent launch. It allows local businesses to avoid paying steep per-click costs with no promise of results. With this information, we aim to further assist small business owners in understanding this new Google offering.
Marketing in the unpredictable digital world is always changing, especially when it comes to search engines. Google is known for frequent adjustments to the algorithms it uses to determine page rankings and site visibility. However, by only focusing on basic techniques, it is hard to stay ahead of the competition.
Local Services ads are colloquially known as “Google Guaranteed.” Give your home services business a chance to stand out from the crowd by changing the way your company’s information appears in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Also, this provides customers with an efficient way to find you online. Here’s how you can make the most of this updated advertising option to bring in new leads and expand your business.
What Are Google Local Services Ads?
Launched as a 2015 beta program known as Google Home Services, Google’s service-based business advertising platform was rebranded to Local Services in 2017. Now, this service covers most major cities throughout the United States as of this writing. Businesses in the following categories are eligible to participate in the program:
- Carpet cleaners
- Garage door services
- House cleaners
Some cities may include categories for movers, painters, tutors, event planners, pest control, and other similar services. Companies providing locksmithing and plumbing services in the U.K. may also be approved.
Local Services ads are separate from local SEO campaigns and Google AdWords. Unlike with PPC ads, a Local Services ad does not charge per click. Instead, Google charges businesses for each lead received. The program even has its own app to manage your marketing campaign.
Signing up and participating in the Local Services ads program is free. You pay only for the leads you receive through the platform and receive the added bonus of carrying the Google Guarantee badge for your business.
What is the Google Guarantee?
Trust is the backbone of successful customer relationships. You only have a fraction of a second to make a first impression. A prospect then decides to click or pass over your ad. Once approved, Local Search ads grants your business a green badge on its listing, indicating that Google backs your services.
Known as the Google Guarantee, this special designation grants customers coverage for the full amount paid for jobs booked through Local Services ads in the event they’re not satisfied with the quality of the work. Coverage has a lifetime cap of $2,000 and excludes:
- Add-on services
- Disputes regarding pricing
- Dissatisfaction with your responsiveness
- Future jobs
- Property damages
As a business owner, you can have peace of mind knowing Google will mediate disputes and cover the cost of refunds.
Earning the badge of trust from Google requires undergoing a rigorous approval process. After a business applies to run Local Services ads, Google conducts background checks on all employees, verifies licensing, and determines if the proper insurance is in place. Some industries require advanced verification, in which Google checks information like professional licenses and public data. Video verification interviews is also an option in some cases.
This process may take up to two weeks, but Google’s attention to detail ensures all businesses given the Google Guarantee is in compliance with the proper laws and regulations. Also, these businesses must deliver the high-quality service today’s customers expect.
Get Started with Local Services
To start running Local Services ads, make sure everything is in place for your business to pass the verification process. After creating your account and your company is approved, set up up your profile and target the areas you serve.
Place your business in relevant service categories to help customers find you when they search. Categories may vary by city, and you can choose “other” if no label truly fits. Expand your profile with details like:
- BBB accreditation and rating
- Contact information
- Special options, such as same-day services
- Unique designations, including family-owned
- Years in business
Focus on differentiating your business from the competition. As a result, draw more customers to your listing and increase your chances of driving in leads. The cost of Local Services ads is based on actual leads rather than clicks. Therefore, prices vary according to average costs and levels of demand. Most businesses spend between $10 and $30 on each lead, so set your budget accordingly to maximize visibility.
Use the designated app to track your ads, pause and restart campaigns, manage your budget, and communicate with your customers. Google will send a message via email and through the app to notify you of each new lead. As a result, this allows you to be timely in your responses and provide excellent customer service.
How to Succeed with Google Local Services Ads
Ads created in the Local Services platforms appear above AdWords ads and the local business map in Google’s SERPs. However, ranking factors within Local Services listings determine which companies enjoy the greatest visibility.
To increase your chances of becoming a top listed business:
- Collect positive ratings and reviews from current and previous customers
- Be responsive to leads
- Adjust your budget to ensure you have enough funds for each month
- Provide excellent customer service to minimize complaints
It’s also a smart practice to optimize your Google My Business listing and ensure your name, address and phone number (NAP) information is correct across all local business directories.
Making Google Local Services Ads part of your marketing strategy connects you with more leads from mobile and voice searches. Additionally, this gives you an edge over competitors in your area. With the Google Guarantee badge and higher visibility, your business listings instill a sense of trust in prospective customers, making them more likely to convert.
Track and measure the success of your Local Services ads, balance them with other forms of marketing like PPC, SEO, and social media advertising. Creating a robust, well-rounded advertising plan helps you maximize the performance of your listings, connect with qualified leads, and transform your business into a fixture in your community.
How Can I Get Started?
The Google Local Services ads have a very lengthy application process. Any errors made cause undue delays in your approval process. Our team is here to help. First, we recommend making sure that your business is in one of the eligible categories for Local Services ads, and then ensuring that you have all the proper licenses and permits in place. Once you’ve checked off those boxes, get in touch with one of our senior marketing analysts to help you get your final approval from the Google team.