Things That Are Broken: Ohio Valley PPC
I've been an Ohio Valley native my entire life. I was born in Wheeling. Spent my childhood in Martins Ferry. Rented my first apartment in Yorkville. Bought my first house in Rayland.
I've worked jobs in Moundsville (TeleTech), Martins Ferry (Wendy's), Wheeling (Comcast Spotlight), Weirton, Triadelphia, St. Clairsville (AT&T), and Steubenville (Em-Media).
Okay, you get it - I can list cities and villages in the area. I was going to list all of the places I shopped, ate, and drove through but I'm guessing you get the point.
I also have traveled and worked in large cities. I'm very much aware of what we have and don't have in the Ohio Valley. I also can tell when something is broke.
One benefit of living in the same area your whole life is the support system. You tend to have longtime friends and family nearby. I have a great support system and even built a house directly across from my in-laws.
A huge benefit over the years has been my father-in-law's ability to fix anything. He worked for years in the sheet metal industry. He had his own carpet business when he was young. His hobby is restoring old motorcycles. The guy knows how to build and fix anything. He basically helped me flip my starter home so we could build next door.
When you are a computer dork like me, you tend to rely on people like my father-in-law to fix things. I help him with his Alexa and iPhone and he helps me change the brake pads on my car. I do what I can to repay the favor, but he saves me a lot more money than I save him.
Now that I have three kids, I started to realize that I'm going to be the guy that will be asked to change the brake pads. I've learned a lot from watching, but need to do more 'doing'. Having someone that can fix everything has become a crutch and I need to walk on both feet so I can be the crutch of the future.
Maybe I Should Ask a Professional?
I'm pretty confident that I can teach myself anything. I've learned most of my new skills from YouTube and Lynda.com. I listen to tons of podcasts that help build my knowledge on tons of topics. Over a year, I read thirty or more books about Disney Parks. I can be self-taught - anything.
So I thought...
There are some things I just don't want to learn. I ask myself - would I rather do some extra web work and pay for a professional or learn to do it myself? It all depends on the cost and the price.
I decided to go through my house and my life and find the broken items and do some price checks. Will I do it myself or pay a professional? I made my way to Google.
Where are you Local Ohio Valley Businesses?
Let's start with a list of items I want to be repaired or fixed.
- Furnace/Air Conditioner is Leaking
- Van makes a weird sound - maybe a muffler?
- Two cracks in my windshield
- Dogs tore up my front room carpet
- Dogs ripped a hole in my screen door
- Need to paint my front door - before it rusts
- My front yard needs a drain - puddles when it rains
- Fix crashed external hard drive - my entire life was on that drive
- New landscaping - mulch is driving me nuts
I had some homework to do. We don't own a phone book. I could rely on referrals but this is way too many categories to ask around about. It's more likely that I would rely on search results and reviews.
My searches were all pretty basic at first. I typed "HVAC companies" and returned some results. I tried "HVAC companies near me" and returned similarly, but different results. Surprisingly, the top results were not local companies but Yelp, Angie's List, and HomeAdvisor. Even more surprising, not a single paid ad for these keywords.
This did not just happen for HVAC. This was every search - on mobile - on desktop*.
*Several days later I did some additional searches and there were a few sponsored ads out there - but not many.
Where are the Pay-Per-Click Clients?
Certainly, companies in the Ohio Valley know about search engine marketing and advertising with Google Ads, right? There are probably as many advertising agencies in the Ohio Valley as there are companies. They have to be pushing some type of PPC budget. Maybe I'm just searching the wrong categories. Maybe they just don't want someone searching from Rayland, Ohio. Possibly they know something I don't.
I had to do some revised longtail keyword searches to finally find some local paid ads. Was the cost per click so high that no one wanted to buy? I had to check.
After playing around in Google Ads, it didn't seem like the cost was so high that businesses wouldn't want it.
- HVAC - Range of $2.09 to $6.28 cost per click
- Air Conditioning Repair - Range of $3.81 to $9.36 cost per click
The cost-per-click was even more affordable as you got more specific. These are customers that are ready to make a call.
- Central air repair - Range of $0.72 to $3.81 cost per click
- Heating and air service - Range of $1.53 to $6.92 cost per click
My guess is that companies around here are not privy to the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of SEM.
Why Aren't We Using PPC?
Pay-per-click and search engine marketing is not something that everyone knows about. It's amazing how many clients I talk to that never give it a thought. They know that there are ads on Google but never really took the time to discover how you get them there.
Unlike radio and television, there are not a tremendous amount of salespeople knocking on the doors of the businesses in the Ohio Valley yelling "Buy Google AdWords". I know there are some businesses out there that sell the product (Direct Online Marketing in Wheeling is the most well-known), but they aren't unloading huge advertising budgets to let the small business owners know. Word-of-mouth might be the only way most of the small businesses in the Ohio Valley are hearing about these digital marketing opportunities.
I've been the first to say that I like to create organic traffic. I would love Google to recommend my website first. But I am also one that understands you must take advantage when you see an opportunity. A small percentage of the Ohio Valley is using this very powerful web tool that guarantees you eyeballs of your specific customer. I'm going to take advantage of this.
Join me, shall you?Adam the Woo