There’s a definite rivalry that exists between the SEO and PPC teams here at Blue Corona (you might recognize our day-to-day struggles), but even I have to admit that Sean, Hannah, Ellie and the rest of the team do a fantastic job of helping businesses grow by acquiring lasting customers via Google paid advertising while continuously improving ad click-through rate and cost per lead. And while I’m always happy to flaunt the merits of organic search to those nerds over on the PPC side, I recently read an article that made me step back: one that claimed PPC ads are the domain of low-quality plumbing companies only.
Where did this come from?
It’s true! According to the article, plumbing companies that advertise prodigiously on Google have, on average, three times the number of complaints per employee on sites like the Better Business Bureau than those that don’t advertise. I guess Blue Corona will be shuttering up its PPC services soon. And as for companies still advertising on Google, well….
Hold on—what’s really going on here?
Blue Corona manages PPC campaigns for dozens of plumbing companies and hundreds of companies in a variety of industries nationwide, and we’re confident in saying they’re all excellent companies with good reputations.
So where did this rumor start?
A Little History
If your business’ name is AAA Plumbing Services, this story will be old news.
Back in the day, the Yellow Pages listed businesses alphanumerically—if you wanted to show up first, you had to make your name A1 or A-AA or something similar. This way, when people cracked open the book to look for plumbers, your name would be first on the list.
This, like all advertising strategies, had advantages and disadvantages. Naturally, people in a rush for small emergency services, like leaky pipes and busted water heaters, usually went straight for the first name they found in the Yellow Pages. Anyone looking for more involved services usually did a bit more digging, often skipping the early names.
This led to a somewhat uneven dispersion of jobs—quick, low effort jobs went to the plumbers at the beginning of the phone book, while higher touch jobs went to others. This in turn helped reshape the landscape of the plumbing world dramatically—plumbers who were more interested in one-off jobs and not worried about customer satisfaction tended to name themselves so they appeared on those early pages, whereas plumbers looking to provide the highest quality services would not. Over time, you got plumbers with “A” names receiving anywhere from 5 – 15 times more complaints than others.
So how does this relate to PPC?
One of the major benefits the internet has over the Yellow Pages is that it affords each and every business the opportunity to create their own unique identity in the eyes of their potential customers. Google encourages you to fill your website with unique, high quality content that prospects can read to get a detailed understanding of your business and use this to decide if you’re the best company for them.
Paid ads, on the other hand, are sometimes seen as a “pay-to-win” strategy that anyone can exploit to get themselves to the top of the search results page—a modern-day AAA Plumbing strategy. PPC is a great way to get new business, and while it’s actually much harder than it seems to run a successful campaign, many people still view it as the arena of people who are solely interested in gobbling up leads without caring about customer satisfaction. The data seems to suggest the same, with, as we mentioned above, businesses who advertise heavily on Google associated with higher rates of complaints.
Can you really trust that statistic though? Here are a couple things to consider:
Customers searching for your business online are more likely to leave their comments, specifically negative comments, online. Customers who still use the phone book or newspaper to find you are more likely to complain about you to their friends and neighbors but may not take to the web to voice their complaints.
Businesses who advertise online are more likely to have a better established web presence than those that don’t. Naturally, more mentions of your business are going to mean more negative mentions mixed in with the positives.
And, of course, businesses could advertise heavily to cover up a low-quality service offering. But these days, it’s far easier to find out about this than ever, and businesses are less and less able to get away with offering shoddy, churn-and-burn services.
Can you have a high quality business and still run PPC?
Far from exclusively being the domain of low-quality plumbers, PPC is an essential component of a well-rounded online marketing strategy and will help you build your business online and in the real world. And while we certainly understand the logic behind the points in the article (and don’t disagree with them in some cases), the fact is that it’s very possible to build a fantastic local business by dominating the web and providing excellent customer service.
While some people may believe that paid ads are the realm of spammers, cultivating a quality PPC campaign is a process that takes a tremendous amount of effort that can yield equally tremendous results for your business. Blue Corona has a team of PPC experts dedicated to creating ads that generate a high number of qualified leads at the lowest cost per lead possible—click here to learn more about our pay-per-click services for plumbers, or call us today!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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