It seems new cleaning companies are popping up every day as we get busier and busier and more people decide they don’t want to clean their own toilets (as one of my friends eloquently put it… “hiring a maid is much cheaper than hiring a psychotherapist!”).
Using a spy tool, I checked out which companies have been battling it out on AdWords for the search query “cleaning services” over the past month. Here are the 4 who came out on top.
Let’s see what AdWords tips we can learn from them to help you improve your ads and landing pages.
Pretty straightforward ad here. The keyword’s in the headline, and it appears they’re doing this by using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI).
DKI allows you to automatically insert the search query a person types into Google in your ad copy. It can be an effective strategy to boost clickthrough rates (CTRs), but you do have to be careful and think through how your ad might appear with DKI, as this article demonstrates at eBay’s expense.
One thing that stands out to me about this ad is it doesn’t say they’ll help you find a house cleaner in your area. It just says you can “rate and review” them.
People tend to respond better when presented with something they can get rather than give. So in this case it’s worth testing variations like “Find the top rated house cleaners…” or “Get detailed reviews on house cleaners…”and other messages that better convey the benefits of the service.
Even though Angie’s List offers ratings and reviews for providers in a whole host of different business categories, the landing page (rightly) reflects the keyword/ad that got us here. It has a clear benefit statement as its headline, with “Find and hire the best local Housecleaners & Maids.” (Which, by virtue of typing “house cleaners” into Google, is what we’re looking to do!)
More than anything else though, this landing page is just oozing with trust and proof. They want to give you peace of mind that their service can help you find the best service professionals. And that’s smart in a situation like this, where you’re hiring someone who’ll be coming into your home.
There are a number of phrases on this page to bolster the case of why you should trust Angie’s List.
It starts with their slogan, “Reviews you can trust,” and is backed up by others, including “helping more than 2 million households,” “reviews are submitted by verified members,” “certified reviews” and “see both sides of the story.”
Also adding trust and credibility are images of Angie’s List members, a quote from a member (note that this member has been with Angie’s List since 2007, showing a long term commitment) and the “Certified Data Collection” badge next to the “Join Now” button toward the bottom of the page.
Lastly, note there’s a place to click and see a sample review to get a better sense of what you’d actually be getting access to if you join.
That’s a great strategy many businesses could incorporate into their websites… giving prospects a sample, sneak peak, demonstration of the product/service in action, etc., to provide a clearer picture of what someone actually gets when they buy.
This helps reduce uncertainty in the minds of prospects which makes them more likely to buy from you.
Another straightforward ad. The headline tells you exactly what they offer and is relevant to the search term we typed into Google. That’s a good start!
They work a few ASCII characters (which helps ads stand out) into their ad with the registered trademark symbol and the exclamation point.
The ad also has a clear call to action with “Get a Free In-Home Estimate Today.” In my opinion, that offer is so common these days that it really doesn’t mean that much any more. Do any service providers charge for estimates?
If you offer a free estimate for prospects, that’s great. Make sure your website makes it clear that prospects can get one. But I’d challenge you to find something else to use to appeal to your prospects to get them to click on your ads.
The big offer on this landing page is the opportunity to save $100 (I’d test that out in an ad instead of the free estimate). The form and call to action is above the fold and the button copy is good in that it’s clear what you get by clicking on it (as opposed to the generic “Submit” or “Click Here”).
There’s not a ton of copy on the page but the copy it does have is fairly easy to scan (and most people prefer to scan, not read). Though I’d recommend testing what happens when using fewer bullet points arranged in a single column to make it even easier to scan.
The page also has their satisfaction guarantee badge on it which can help. Though, at least to me, it’s a bit of a weak guarantee in that it doesn’t offer any promises of your money back. It just says they’ll come back and re-clean “whatever is in question at no additional charge.”
A weak guarantee combined with no additional proof elements on this page represent the biggest opportunity for improvement.
This ad has the registered trademark symbol to help it stand out a bit. Plus it has the call to action of “Call Today.” Other than that, it’s a pretty boring ad.
Not sure if “Bonded & Insured” really tops the list of concerns for someone first looking into hiring a cleaning service (not to say it’s not important, but it’s not an attention grabber).
The ad could use some punctuation between “Cleaning Services” and “Free” to prevent those two distinct messages from running together and to make the ad easier to read.
And, as with Merry Maids above, “Free In-Home Estimates” just isn’t that unique. Especially with another top competitor using the same claim, I’d experiment with other messaging in the ads (good tip for all advertisers here—make sure you do your research and see what your competitors’ ads say so your ads stand out from the pack!).
First, my apologies: the image above isn’t of the complete landing page.
See, this isn’t Molly Maid’s actual site (though it looks similar). It’s a proxy site created by a 3rd party company Molly Maid uses so they can separate the leads they’re generating from leads on the actual Molly Maid site. Whatever technology this 3rd party uses doesn’t play nicely with the software I use to take screen shots, so this is only a portion of the landing page.
If you were to look at the live site, there’s a banner across the top that has a phone number with a strong call to action to get you to call. That bar follows you as you scroll down the site.
There’s no question—between that bar and all the other times a phone number is on this landing page—that they want you to call them (which is not surprising because the 3rd party company they’re using uses call tracking as a key selling point for their service).
If you want phone calls, I’d strongly recommend using call tracking and there are a number of great services you can integrate into your own website (ie. you don’t need a proxy site). Many of my clients use Century Interactive, but there are a number of others.
The other thing I want to point out about this site is the rotating banner at the top that covers the 5 reasons to choose Molly Maid. Rotating banners are very popular on websites these days. However, they generally hurt conversions. Here’s a great article that covers the reasons why.
So, for this site, I’d recommend getting rid of the rotating banner and just list the 5 reasons on the page so visitors see the full list as soon as they get to the site without having to wait for the banner to cycle through all the reasons.
Last, but not least, is MaidPro. Their ad stands out by featuring a true offer of $75 off. By describing the offer as getting $25 off the 1st, 3rd, and 5th cleaning, they’re also making it known they’re looking for ongoing clients (not people who just need a one off cleaning).
While speaking to your target audience may reduce clickthrough rates, it certainly helps drive more qualified traffic to your site than having a more generic ad.
What I like about this landing page is it’s local focus. Yes, MaidPro serves a number of locations around the US; however, they’re able to serve a geo-targeted page based on where the user is located.
This can be a very powerful way to boost conversion rates. Specifically mentioning the city/area being served, having a local phone number and using testimonials from local customers is a great strategy.
My only recommendation for MaidPro would be to capitalize on that in the ad by using Anaheim in the ad copy and/or Display URL. In fact…
Sneaky AdWords Tip Alert
Even if your business isn’t local, you can still use city names to your advantage in ads.
Let’s say you have an ecommerce site that sells bowling balls. If you notice that there are a number of searches for “bowling balls Austin” in your campaign, add that as a keyword in its own ad group. Write some ad copy for this new ad group that mentions Austin.
That can help boost CTRs of your ad. The really weird thing is that even if the landing page you send that traffic to doesn’t mention the city referenced in your ad, you may still see a bump in conversion rates.
What stood out to you about the ads and landing pages for these sites? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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