An Update on Google Local Services Ads

Adobe Spark (28)The Latest from Google Local Services

Some of you may remember a while back I mentioned the advent of a new project from Google called “Home Services Ads”. While there’s always something new coming from the wonderland of Googledom, everything about the program tells me that these ads will be a game-changer for businesses within the home services industry.

They are Google-backed promotion for service companies that get top-of-the-page exposure with a little seal showing that Google has reviewed the business and given their “approval” (which I think will add a lot of value in the eyes of most consumers).

Now, this poses an opportunity for Chem-Dry franchise owners. Here’s why:

Here’s What We Know

Lots of this information is still forthcoming, and since Google isn’t running ads for the carpet-cleaning industry (yet), we don’t have a lot of insider info. But here’s what you can expect according to my research.

Pay-Per-Lead (Not Pay-Per-Click):

Google is running this program in such a way that you pay for the lead you get rather than the click. Meaning, that you don’t pay unless the person who made the search makes some sort of effort to get in touch with you. Usually, this will mean a phone call from a mobile device, but it could also mean sending you a message, or filling out a form. In order to charge you, Google’s going to have to determine that the customer “converted” in some way. In other words, they called, messaged, etc.

Physical Location:

As far as we know, Google is going to require some sort of verification of your physical business location. Even as a service area business (they use the acronym “SAB”), they will require that you have a publicly listed location with signage that you can verify either via video chat or with street view on Google Maps. This may pose a challenge for many of you, because many Chem-Dry’s will operate out of their homes and choose not to disclose their actual location. The address you list cannot be a hired mailbox or UPS store. It has to be somewhere that people could physically drive (or walk) to in order to contact you. So, you may want to consider showing your physical location anyway because this, I think, will be the single biggest hurdle to participation on a large scale. However, I think the change will be worthwhile.


Google will be using the quantity and quality of your business reviews to calculate not only your display ranking (it’s not the only factor), but also the cost you pay for each lead. So make sure you’re getting reviews!!

Background Checks:

Another cool aspect (but not really a problem for many franchise owners) will be how Google runs their security and background checks on businesses. If they’re going to put their stamp of approval on your business, you can bet that they’re not going to do it casually. Google plans on conducting background checks on anyone that will be stepping foot inside a customer’s home at any time. They will be conducting the background checks with their own agency, but you can expect that to take place in order to participate in the program. This will help to keep low-performing competition out of the running.

What You Can Do

I think Google has been pretty careful in vetting this program. Right now, their plan is to roll this out to at least 30 major metro areas by the end of this year. So far, they’ve been focused primarily on west coast cities like Seattle, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, etc. However, I’d expect them to be coming to places like Denver, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Nashville, Detroit, Las Vegas, and others. (*Note: These are not confirmed locations, but my estimate of where they’ll be heading next).

Since carpet cleaning is not a service they’re catering to (yet), one of the best things you can do if you’re interested in helping us get Chem-Dry into this service is to click the button below and fill out your business information, making a request for Carpet Cleaning to be added and getting your name on the list for admission into the program.

Tell Google I Want In

Once you’ve done that, make sure you’re getting reviews! Even if you’re not planning on participating, or it won’t be immediately available in your area, the more (good reviews) the better!

Big Takeaway:

Google Local Services ads could be an absolute game changer. Do your best to be up to speed and ready for them.

  1. Fill out the form and get your name on the list.
  2. Start collecting reviews on Google.
  3. Keep any eye out for more news coming soon!

If you’d like help click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.



Free Ads When You Start PPC

Adobe Spark (8)

Yes, you read that correctly. No, this isn’t a sales pitch. At least, not really.

Google has started doing something that I think you PPC fence-sitters will be interested in.

The Details:

Okay, I’ve seen on numerous accounts that when you start using some Google services like Google My Business, Analytics, or AdWords, they have been offering an incentive of varying amounts (they’re probably doing their due diligence as marketers and trying different offers – just like you would). These offers range anywhere from $75 to $150 depending on how much you’re willing to spend with them.

One of my favorite offers I’ve seen is that you get a $150 AdWords credit when you spend $150, thus doubling the money you put down on it.

$150 AdWords Credit

(Don’t try to use the code in the image, it won’t work. It’s expired.)

At any rate, for any of you who may have been hesitant to try out AdWords because of the cost, here’s your chance.

“But What If I’m Already…?”

Some of you may be thinking, “But that’s not fair! I’ve already been using PPC for finding new customers!”

Well, to you, I would say “You already won.” That’s right. You’ve been enjoying the benefits of having more customers, who call more often, and spend more money (see what I did there?).

Others may be wondering how this works for vendors who handle PPC for Chem-Dry franchises. The answer is “it depends”. Vendors have varying relationships with Google, so some of them may already have an even sweeter deal worked out for you. So, the bottom line is, make a phone call to a vendor to see what they can offer. If you’d like some help figuring out who to talk to, schedule a coaching call with me below and I’d be happy to work with you.

Big Takeaway:

If you haven’t gotten on the PPC bandwagon yet, NOW IS THE TIME!

Getting Ready for Google Home Service Ads

Adobe Spark (1)

Once again, Google is changing the game. But this time, it definitely changes in our favor.

Google has recognized its relative “weakness” in helping independently owned and operated local service area businesses show up more prominently than the national behemoths. However, as always, we have to be willing to play their game – again.

What’s Happened?


Google has announced that they are moving forward with testing in major cities with a new platform for service-based businesses called Google Home Service ads. They’re an extension of their ever-popular AdWords platform, but there are some extra criteria that have to be met in order to participate.

Since each of these ads will have “Google Guaranteed” on them (see the picture), you can bet that you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to earn the green badge.

Google hasn’t released all the details yet on how you’ll get the “green stamp of approval”. So what can you do to get in on the action here? Well, I’ll do my best to keep you posted as the criteria are released, but let’s start with one of the foundations you should already be working on – Reviews.

 Getting Ready

Getting great reviews is not complicated. In fact, it’s easy and a GREAT way to influence your SEO.

But in this case, it seems to be one of the key drivers that will lead to your success in offer Google Home Services Ads.

The quantity and quality of your Google reviews will ultimately contribute the most weight to your listing.

Now, these ads will have a cost associated with them. Google doesn’t do just about anything for free (well, except these). BUT for relevant searches like “Chicago carpet cleaning”, you’ll show up at the very top of the page. Above other ads, map listings, and other websites. That’s POWERFUL.

I’m anticipating that they will run these home services ads much like their AdWords platform, which means the “bid” (amount you’re willing to pay) won’t be the key indicator they’re looking at. It’s going to come down to:

1) Who has the best and most reviews?

2) Who is going to be able to service the customer I give them the best or quickest?

Look at it as if Google is giving you a paid referral. The click on your ad is just a 2-5% cut that you send them as a “Thank-You”.

Big Takeaway:

Embrace the change coming your way and start preparing to get the exposure your business deserves.

  1. Be on the watch for updates as Google Home Services ads come to your area. Currently only serving large cities on the Pacific coast.
  2. Stay posted. I’ll share the qualification criteria as soon as it’s released.
  3. Get to work collecting reviews from customers that will boost your credibility on your future ads.

Selling Value over Price

As a business coach, there are few things as frustrating and saddening to hear as a business owner lowering his prices to try and compete with other businesses that really don’t draw a comparison.
Imagine if Mercedes said, “We have to cut our price in half.” When asked why, they respond “Because of Suzuki.”

Own Your Value and Branding

At Chem-Dry, we (should) know and recognize that we’re the “Mercedes” of carpet, upholstery, rug, and tile cleaning services. We do it better than anyone else and we have the numbers to prove it. We’re better for the environment. We’re safer for the customer’s home. We do things that nobody else can. If you have a corner on the “healthier” option in the market, why would you charge the same price as everyone else?

I face this conundrum every time I go shopping. When my wife and I walk through the produce section, we debate between buying the “organic” options or the regular variety that’s cheaper.
Out of curiosity, I approached the produce manager at the store and asked how well the organic stuff sells. His response was surprising. He said that the higher price doesn’t deter many people. In fact, because the produce usually looks and feels riper, customers give it a shot and usually come back to get it because they notice a better taste and are willing to pay the price. They’re more satisfied with what they’re buying.

How Do You Advertise Value?

This is actually far easier than most people think it is. When it comes to value, you can offer your customers SO much more than your price-centered competition. Think of what things (beyond price) are important to your customer. Things like:
  • Dries faster
  • Healthier overall
  • Green Certified
  • Stays cleaner longer
  • Complete Odor removal
  • Less moisture used
  • Highly trained technicians
  • Locally/Independently owned and operated
  • Industry leading products, equipment, & technology
  • 5-star rated (reviews)
These qualities are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of them are “intangibles” that help your customer feel better about hiring you – and why shouldn’t they?! Advertising on price doesn’t set you apart from your competition – it pairs you with them.

What Would Scott Do?

I would use every tool in my arsenal to set myself apart from my competition when I’m advertising – especially in places where they’re just as likely to be seen: PPC, social media, Val-Pak, phone books, etc. Use what the brand gives you – power!.
A couple highlights for PPC to talk to your vendor about:
  • Use “callout” extensions that allow you to add supplemental information to your ad like “Dries in 1-2 hours, not days.”
  • Use “review” extensions that let you show a star rating and a quote from a 3rd-party source (i.e. Customer Lobby, etc.).
With other mediums, try advertising things like “free gift of service” that isn’t a discount, but rather a toss-in for booking a job. For example, “$25 of free cleaning for every $100 you spend.” For digital platforms, make sure you use things like videos from ChemDry.com that quickly communicate the benefits of choosing you.

Big Takeaway:

Your business offers more value than your competition does. Don’t squander it by trying to compete with them on price!
  1. Be a Mercedes, not a Suzuki. Offer a better experience at a valuable price.
  2. Start with the list I showed you and write down what you can offer your customers that your competition can’t. Use those things in your marketing.
  3. Talk to your print, PPC, or social media vendors about what you can use to target customers based on value.
Start running a more profitable business by targeting customers who value what you offer. If you’d like some help, click here to schedule a phone call with me, then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

Some Just Want to Text


I’m about to write regarding something that’s usually met with rolled eyes and sighs or reluctant acknowledgement – Text Messaging.
Yes, yes. I know. Texting is the bane of most “responsible” adults because all they see nowadays is their kids or other younger people staring at their phones with thumbs flying to tweet, text, or instant message their “friends”.
But here’s the question I must ask you: Would you really turn away a perfectly willing customer just because they prefer to text message rather than call you to schedule a job? I didn’t think so.

Customers Texting You

Consumer’s lives today move at breakneck speed. Between meetings, running kids to soccer practice, catching up on social media, and keeping dinner from burning, they don’t have time for hardly anything – especially conversations that aren’t convenient to have during the day. If you’ve noticed a change in the dynamic of phone calls with your customers, there’s a reason – they’re busy.
Picture this: Mrs. Jones is a busy mom of 3. While her two oldest are at school, she’s running errands of all sorts with her youngest in tow. She’s constantly thinking about the PTA meeting she has this evening, whether or not to buy Lucky Charms or the “organic, non-GMO” cereal that her kids won’t touch, and the article she’s been asked to write for her part-time job. As she’s hurrying through the grocery store, she walks through the cleaning isle and spots a bottle of some junky surfactant-loaded spot remover and realizes, “Shoot. I need to get our carpet cleaned before the party on Saturday, but I don’t have time to call them right now.”
After a quick Google search, she finds a local Chem-Dry’s listing and sees that, lo and behold, she can TEXT them to ask about availability! She taps the “message” button your listing and you’ve got an engaged customer that wants an appointment, STAT!

How Do I Do That? And What’s the $$$?

Google to the rescue! You probably didn’t know it, but you can set up text messaging with your Google My Business listing without any cost or risk of divulging your cell number. Your customer never sees it. In fact, they see a dummy number that Google assigns to you. YOU, however, WILL see your customer’s number.
When you log into your Google My Business account, you’ll see several menu options on the left side of the screen. Select “Messaging”. You’ll enter the mobile phone number you want to use for texting and verify it with a code that Google will send you. After that, you’re all set. You’ll be able to craft an outgoing message that automatically responds when your customer starts the conversation.
I tinkered around with this on my own and found it very intuitive. I even had a short text message conversation with the business (myself).
You see on the right how such a conversation might work for you. Pretty easy, right?
Do you think you could handle this? OF COURSE you can!
Oh, and guess what else… It’s FREE! That’s right. It costs you precisely $0.00. Since most of you probably have an unlimited text messaging plan, there’s no need to worry about any cost whatsoever.

Why Should I? Will I Ever Really Need It?

Short Answer:  Because it’s easy and it’s cheap.
Long Answer: While you may not have that many customers come to you via text message, you don’t really know how many of your customers you’re missing until you try it out.
People today are getting more and more reserved and giving them the option to text you to arrange service could be just one other way to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s not hard, and it shows courtesy and deference to people who may not be able to comfortably contact you otherwise. You just won a loyal customer because you let them contact you on their terms.

Big Takeaway:

Texting isn’t going away anytime soon. If there’s an opportunity to quickly and easily capture a customer via text message, why wouldn’t you do it?
  1. Set up your Google listing with a mobile phone number for texting.
  2. Craft a welcoming message to potential customers.
  3. Keep your phone available and answer promptly!
Text messaging is another potential funnel to bring customers in to your business. Get yourself set up or schedule an appointment to get some help.

Marketing to Millennials

Let’s just get this out in the open, even though I don’t identify as one, I’m technically a millennial. That means I know a bit about how my generation thinks. Let’s talk about how you can better connect with your most “connected” group of potential customers ever.

Think FAST

Even though millennials are well-known for wanting to take
life at their own pace (aka the “Peter Pan” generation putting off adult decisions as long as possible), that doesn’t mean they move like a 3-toed sloth.
Millennials, in a very general way of speaking, want things fast. Like, lightning fast. They grew up in a world of credit cards, drive-thru windows, pop-tarts, and instant gratification. They HATE waiting with a fiery passion. They have the shortest attention spans of any generation (thank you twinkies), and “know everything” – or, at least, they know someone who does (Google). They’re all “busy”, whether with jobs, friends, or keeping up on “OITNB.”
If you’re going to land one of these customers, and it’s worthwhile to do so (I’ll explain later), you’re going to have to be ready to respond at their pace. That means:
  • A quick, mobile-responsive website
  • Text messaging (for those that don’t like actually *talking* on their phones)
  • Prompt e-mail responses
  • Being at the TOP of the list on Google searches so they don’t have to look very far

Leverage Connectivity

Millennials and their devices are virtually inseparable. 94% of college students in 2007 (I know, 10 years ago) owned a personal computer and 94% of them owned a mobile phone. They’re so well-connected, it’s ridiculous. But all that connectivity means good things for your business – if you play your cards right.
With the overwhelming presence of opinions online, it’s important for you to leverage the opinions that paint you in a good light. With social media giving everyone a voice, A shockingly high percentage of them have a Facebook account and at least one Google account (I actually have FOUR).
Here’s what you should do with your millennial customers to make sure you get more than just your money’s worth:
  • REVIEWS, REVIEWS, REVIEWS – If you satisfy your customer, you won’t get a review without solicitation. Blow them away, and you might get one. Let them down, and you will certainly get one.
  • Connect with them to find more like them. “Lookalike” audiences are a new trend allowing platforms like Facebook to find more potential customers for you based on the characteristics they know about your current customers.
  • Give them a coupon code to TEXT to their friends. Reward their referrals.

Make Them Feel Special

They’ll never admit it, but millennials are narcissists. They’re very egocentric, which means everything comes down to how it affects them. Even when it comes to their “causes”, they care about those things because it makes them look or feel better.
Take a little extra effort to pander their ego and make them feel special. They’re accustomed to it – they’ve been told they’re special since kindergarten. While you can market en masse, find ways to make your marketing personalized – as if you took the time to reach out only to them and their needs.
  • Custom e-mail/mailing campaigns that dynamically inject their name.
  • Throw in a “bonus” just for them on that job. Even if it’s just standard procedure.
  • Get a text-enabled tracking number and hand it out as a personal contact number you only give to “your favorite customers”.

Big Takeaway:

Millennials aren’t as complicated as they sound. Frustrating? Sure. Quirky? Absolutely. But they’re going to be your best customers if you treat them right. Remember these things:
  1. They move quickly. You’ll have to keep up.
  2. They’re well connected. Use their connections to grow your business.
  3. Make them feel special because, in their minds, they’re the only customers that matter to you.
Take the steps that will grow your business online. I can also help you with any of these things.

Advertising on Google for Free

Yes, you read that correctly – FREE. Doesn’t cost you a dime. And it’s easy. We’re not talking about the complexity of AdWords. This is something you could do from your phone. All you need is a few minutes.

Google “Posts”

Google My Business has recently released a new feature called
“Posts” that allow you to highlight specials, services, and other media directly below your Google listing in search results.
See the example that I’ve shared below where TNT Chem-Dry in Nashville has leveraged the space below their Google listing to feature a special for carpet cleaning, tile cleaning, and highlighting their reviews. This costs NOTHING! Let’s show you how to do it.
TNTCD Google Posts

Creating “Posts”

Start by signing into your Google My Business account. When you get to your home screen, you’ll see a menu like this over to your left.

You’ll not only have access to your reviews and other information here, but you’ll notice the “New” feature pointing to “Posts”. Click there.



On the next screen, you’ll see something that looks like this. If you click anywhere in the white box, you’ll be given a screen like the one you see below.

Now you get to create your post.

I’d recommend doing something with a picture that you either downloaded from the Gateway or a high-resolution photo you took yourself. Maybe a before/after shot.

You can also make it an “event” adding dates for the promotion and create a button to drive action like “reserve” or “get offer” which take them to a page on your website.

The Finished Product

By the time you’re done, you should have something resembling what you see to the right.

I’ve highlighted the allergen study results, added a time frame, and made a compelling offer for people to call.

It took me about 5 minutes to put this together. See how easy it is?

Big Takeaway:

It’s not very often that Google gives you the chance to advertise for FREE. Take advantage of every opportunity they give you. This will be especially relevant if you’re working on building up your online reviews, too!
  1. Update your Google My Business listing.
  2. Pick 2-3 pictures that you can create a “post” with.
  3. Make some alluring posts that can drive customers to call your business!
This is a HUGE opportunity that can really benefit your business. Don’t miss out on it! If you’d like some help, click here to schedule an appointment with me.