We’ve seen this plenty of times – you’re open for business, you’re willing to spend money on generating leads from Google Ads, but you can’t even get them to take your money! If this is what you’re experiencing, then there’s a good chance you are new to Google Ads and you’re stuck in a process known as Google Advanced verification. What’s so advanced about it? Well, nothing. That’s just a way of saying it may take them an unreasonable amount of time to approve you to run ads on their platform – and it applies to selected categories of local businesses such as Locksmiths and Garage Door Companies.
But you can’t just sit around waiting for Google and hoping the phone will ring!
At WordJack, we believe Google Ads can be an excellent source of leads for local businesses. We also realise that a local business owner can’t just sit around and wait for weeks while they wait to be approved by Google, so the question is what advertising options exist for you in the immediate term?
There are ad options available on platforms such as Facebook, which WordJack is probably already running for you if you’re pending verification. But in this article, we want to look at Homeadvisor as an advertising platform. Homeadvisor can help fill a gap in your incoming lead flow for a period of time. While it’s more cumbersome to manage for the local business owner than Google ads, the setup and activation process can be very fast.
Let’s take a look at Homeadvisor!
In this article, we provide information on what to expect from each stage of the process with Homeadvisor (click on the item to jump to that section of the article):
- Setting up your account
- Set your budget, services and cities (and discover lead pricing)
- Manage your leads and respond to them
- How billing works
- Complete your business profile
How much does it cost?
The first thing to understand about homeadvisor is that you are not paying for appearances or clicks to your website as you might with Facebook or Google. You are paying for the opportunity to bid on leads from homeowners who are looking for your specific service. I know this sounds exactly like what want, but there are two key differences to Google when you pay homeadvisor for leads:
- The per-lead price will seem very expensive compared to a click from Google (you may expect to spend 10 times as much for a Homeadvisor lead than you would pay for a Google click)
- Leads are opportunities for you to bid on a job that a homeowner has asked for a quote on. It doesn’t guarantee that you will be the contractor they choose to complete the work. The same lead may be offered to a number of different businesses who provide your service in the same city as you. Each will get an opportunity to bid, but all pay the prescribed rate to Homeadvisor to communicate with the customer and put a proposal forward.
You will be shown the price range per lead for your TYPE of job, as well as the CITY you want to target:
There is work involved!
To be successful on the Homeadvisor platform, you need to be prepared to put in some time each day (and possibly multiple times a day) checking your inbox and responding to requests for estimates. This is not like Google Ads where you can setup a strong landing page which is designed to get your phone ringing. Your success will be largely dependent on your ability to manage your inquiries. So if you are never at your desk, this product may not work for you.
Maximizing your return
You can maximize the success of your Homeadvisor advertising with a combination of:
- Business Profile – Ensuring you have a strong business profile on your home advisor account
- Strong Proposal – Making sure you make the most of each lead opportunity by providing detailed and specific information and asking good questions of that homeowner. Since you’re paying just to communicate with someone, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward!
- Respond Promptly – time is of the essence! Replying to the home owners quickly can ensure you have an advantage over your competitors, and that fast response may actually be what wins you the business.
- Start as Broad as Possible – Start with a broad combination of cities and service types (as long as you are willing and able to support them all). In your first few weeks, try to gain some experience with a broad variety of opportunities.
- Refine your targeting later – Once you have been buying leads for a few weeks, revisit your account and work out which combinations of cities and services are working best for you. You may find that you are getting a better cost for each closed sale in one location compared to another. Or you may find that your conversion rate (from lead to sale) is better for certain cities/services due to less competition.
- Set your caps – In your first month, be disciplined and set yourself a limit on how much you want to spend each month. You may be dealing with a Homeadvisor sales consultant over the phone in activating your campaign or making budget changes so set yourself a clear cap in terms of what you want to spend. Your goal will be to maximize your success within that budget.
- Expand spending if ROI is positive – If you find out the leads are converting and you have a positive return on your spend, then it makes sense to increase your budget once you work out how to be successful on the platform.
We’re Here To Help!
Finally, we want you to know that we at WordJack are here to help where we can. If you are a WordJack client and are waiting for your Google ads account verification, then our goal is to ensure you are still being productive with your digital advertising. Homeadvisor does require you to be very personally involved in the setup and handling of leads within your account portal. But we are happy to have a WordJack campaign manager take a look in your homeadvisor account and make recommendations on how you can improve your profile, your campaign or the way you’re managing and responding to leads.
Please contact your WordJack Web Marketing Manager if we can help you in any way.
Setting up your account
If you are brand new to Homeadvisor, start here https://pro.homeadvisor.com/login and click sign up
Select your type of business from the list, enter your Company name, zipcode, contact person’s name & contact information
You will get confirmation and a contact person at homeadvisor who can help you with your setup. You can click “complete your HomeAdvisor profile to continue with the setup:
You can now go into one of the first 4 sections to start setting up your profile. Start by clicking on the first option:
Define your type of work and coverage area
Choose a radius from your zipcode that you are able to service.
Start typing the name of your service and you will see a bunch of specific service options. Click the + to add all those that you are interested in (you can change these later):
You may not be able to enter your business/contact info right away until Homeadvisor verifies your account. If you can update the info go ahead, if it’s greyed out, click continue:
You will then need to provide 3 trade references (someone who is not a customer, like a supplier or someone you subcontract for), one customer reference, and your liability insurance information:
Finally, enter your billing info (credit card information) and personal info (social security number and date of birth):
You may need to contact your Homeadvisor consultant to activate your account and get started.
Set your budget, services and cities (and discover lead pricing)
Once your account is setup, you can go and expand/reduce your cities, your services offered, or your spend levels. In the Homeadvisor dashboard, click “Lead Center”, then “services offered” – you can see the service options available, along with the lead pricing:
Also in “Lead Center” you can select “service area” and view the pricing for each city you have active, for each service:
Homeadvisor require you to get on a LIVE CHAT to update your service areas:
For the status of your campaign, click “Manage Lead Flow” and you can see the status of your campaign (on or off). You will need to contact Homeadvisor to update your budget or stop your campaign. You can pause your campaign for an interim period if you are not able to follow up leads:
Manage your leads and respond to them
Inside your dashboard, you can go to “Lead Center” and “Active Leads” and you will see an inbox style experience for all your new and pending opportunities.
This shows details of the original job request, as well as your correspondence with the prospect using messages or phone calls:
You can create and send messages for the homeowner from this dashboard:
Add your own notes to the lead opportunity (for your own records):
You can conduct phone calls with your potential (through an anonymized number routed through Homeadvisor)
Then you can keep track of your leads by updating the status for each as you follow them up:
You can also record an appointment in the opportunity details, then the opportunity moves to the “closed leads” screen as you mark the opportunity closed (won or lost):
There are a few dashboards in your reports section which show your overall performance and responsiveness (responding to leads quickly helps!!)
How billing works
To view your monthly spend target, go to the “My Account” section of your dashboard, then to “manage my spend target”:
Here you can view and set your monthly limit for Homeadvisor advertising spend:
Then in the same “account” section, you can view your billing charge history within “view my statement”. You will see that your charges occur regularly throughout the month, and as your leads come through. These should not exceed your monthly spend target:
Complete your business profile
A good profile can also help you win more business. Reviews can be left my the customers you have won through Homeadvisor. These will be displayed in your dashboard and publicly on your profile:
You can spend some time optimizing your profile to have a more professional appearance on the portal and help gain more customers. We would recommend completing every section that’s made available for you to fill out (this includes a business description, logo, photos of your work):
Include a picture of yourself if it makes sense (to add a personal touch to your profile) as well as hours of operation and service features:
You can list your industry affiliations, brands sold, awards, business owner biography, insurance info….
Links to your social media profiles, as well as demonstrate community involvement and your professional licensing.
You can view your profile at any time using the “Preview Public Profile” button in the “My Profile” section:
Here’s an example of a public profile on HomeAdvisor:
So there’s your whirlwind tour of the HomeAdvisor portal which should give you a great idea of what to expect. If you have setup a profile and would like someone in our WordJack team to take a look at your profile and provide recommendations, we would be happy to!