Why our company is focusing on Google Ads/SEO vs. Social Media Ads
When I started Roofing Marketing Pros five years ago, the only thing that we offered was Google Ads for our clients. One product and one niche, and we scaled to 7 figures with that one product.
I had a lot of success. The only thing that we were doing was to create a simple Google Ads campaign with a landing page and call tracking. We then sent the resulting leads to our clients. Google was a lot less expensive back then with roofing ads.
The second product we incorporated was Facebook Ads. We initially had a lot of success with Facebook Ads. At one point we required all of our new clients to submit videos. This was back when videos were being pushed by Facebook. These types of campaigns typically worked better than regular static image ads, and were especially effective right after a storm. This was around 2019.
The problem with this approach was that the effectiveness of the ads was highly dependent on the quality of the video – and that was only if clients actually sent videos. Even with clear instructions, the majority of clients never submitted videos, so we eventually scrapped this approach.
Over the last couple of years, as Facebook became more expensive, the types of effective ads began to change. Our attention spans have gotten so short that the best type of ads for generating leads in the roofing industry are direct response. Since most of our clients had small budgets, these campaigns have proven to be the most effective at scale in terms of results.
The challenge with this approach is that the quality of the leads you generate is not the highest. Having said that, one company that has perfected this over the last five years is Erie Metal Roofing. In fact, I did a video years ago analyzing their online marketing strategies. They’ve been essentially running the same type of campaign on Facebook for over five years now.
I don’t have exact numbers of how much they’re spending, but a friend knows their marketing director and he has said that they were spending at least $1 million per month. Considering the sheer volume of leads that these campaigns generate, I’m sure that they have a call center that qualifies their leads for them. A lot of clients don’t like these ads, however these are the only ads that I have seen work at scale.
In 2021, Apple released the iOS 14 update which signaled a huge change in Apple’s policy – one that had a huge impact on Facebook. During this time if you were running ads, chances were great they were impacted by this change. Basically, Apple forced all of its app users, including Facebook, to include the ability to opt-out of tracking.
For the roofing industry the effect was that they started categorizing Roofing Ads as a ‘special ads’ category. This meant that you could no longer target by demographics. As a result, the lead quality dropped significantly during this time. Eventually, we figured out a workaround solution that allows us to target by demographics
The first thing you must remember is, lead quality is subjective. One man’s crappy lead is another’s golden lead. What I’ve found is that the majority of contractors are just not good salespeople and want leads that require no sales expertise.
I once had a client with over 20 estimates for people he met and had sent a proposal to. The only one he closed on was the lead with a tree on the roof.
I mean come on! There’s a tree on the roof with a big hole. There’s no salesmanship involved. That person would have hired the first roofer that had knocked on his door!
That being said, the quality of the leads on Facebook is often inconsistent. It also depends highly on factors that are outside of our control, such as location, time of the year, the company’s web presence, etc.
Many times a roofing company would hire us for a Facebook campaign, but not have a web presence. Our campaigns would get them leads, but the quality was often not there with those types of clients. This is why we added the call center and our lead nurturing campaign. This allowed us to control the quality of the leads being generated.
Over the last year and a half Facebook ads have become the main product that we sell. Overall, it has not been a success due to these factors:
Ideally, they would have a system built out where they can handle as many leads as possible, but that’s rarely the case. The majority of the time, our clients cannot deal with the volume and then they stop. When you stop advertising and don’t sell anything, it’s much harder to justify the expense.
Ultimately, what our clients want are top of the funnel leads. Leads that have a much higher intent. In roofing, people only think about roofs when they have a problem – a leak, mold, or some other serious problem that they need a roofer to repair.
This type of person would much more likely search on Google for information. This is why Google has always been a better channel for generating leads in the roofing space. Generally speaking, Google works better for local businesses like roofers, plumbers, HVAC, etc., while Facebook works better in the B2B space and in ecommerce.
I realize that’s very generalized but overall, our clients are happier with Google leads vs. Facebook leads.
Facebook is like a party. It’s a place where people go to socialize and see what their friends are doing. It’s also flooded with ads so it’s hard to stand out in a crowded Newsfeed.
Google is different. Google is a place where people are primarily seeking information. If you target the right keywords, then you know that these people are shopping. It’s more like a mall. People go to malls to see what they have in the store, and to talk to salespeople to find out more information. They’re already in the store so it’s much easier to potentially sell them your services.
Roofing is the most expensive vertical in home services. The cost per click on ads is more expensive than in any other service. In some markets, it might cost anywhere between $200-$350 for a lead. This is the reason why most marketers and roofers start with Facebook – it’s easier to launch a campaign on Facebook and it’s a lot less expensive.
Our best clients see us as a marketing partner. These are the clients who buy a website from us and see us as a long term partner. When a client comes to us for ‘leads’ and that’s all they care about, we know that’s purely a transactional relationship. Once “lead quality” goes down – which is entirely subjective – our relationship ends. Therein lies the problem.
Through websites, our clients are building a foundation to their online presence. It should be the place where you invest most of your capital in order to build a robust online presence. The clients who have bought a website from us and have done SEO with paid ads, have remained our clients for years.
Over time, as your web presence grows organically, the cost per lead and the cost to acquire a customer will decrease. This is the main advantage that SEO has over paid advertising. Paid advertising is a great way to scale your business, however, the cost will increase over time. This is why having a long term approach with an SEO-based website is the best long term strategy for your company.
My vision for the company has always been to scale past eight figures. We’ll hit four million in revenue this year, but in order to get past this point we’ll need to change our focus.
Our biggest challenge as a company has been our churn rate. Our churn rate is actually above average in the Facebook ads agency world, however, it’s lower compared to agencies that primarily offer SEO and PPC services.
The biggest digital agencies are all primarily focused on SEO/PPC/Websites with SAAS as their core offer. I believe that, overall, this is a better long term product and strategy for the typical local roofer. This has been proven true for our clients. They want leads and they want to generate revenue. Google is simply a better vehicle to achieve what they desire.
Having an SEO-optimized website with strong local SEO will be the driving force for our clients moving forward. We’re doing some unique things that nobody else is doing that we believe will separate us from the competition.
The core drivers are:
We will obviously still be offering Facebook and Instagram ads to our clients, however they’ll only be a supplement to our main core products. The future of our company will be more focused on the Google world. What this means is that we will be focusing on building a strong local presence for our clients. This includes having an SEO-optimized website that ranks quickly, strong Google My Business (GMB) optimization, local service ads, and paid advertising on social media and Google.
Overall, of all the products that we offer, local service ads have proven to be the best product as long as it’s producing results. If you have a listing that has a lot of reviews and are getting leads, and are also managing the leads then having this page will be a huge benefit your business.
One of our core values as a company is putting more money into our client’s pockets.
This new strategy I believe will be a better vehicle to achieve that objective.
It will be probably take a longer time to get to that point, however, in the long-run it will produce better results and happier clients.
in your local market
in your local market