Why Home Improvement Firms Should Not Invest In Paid Advertising

Why You Should Not Invest In Paid Advertising

Is Paid Advertising Right For Design & Construction Firms?

Google Adwords Instagram and Facebook is where home improvement firms often turn when seeking new leads. Is it worth it?

Many companies in the home improvement, home design, and remodeling industry are often highly qualified and educated when it comes to operating within their fields. However, advertising is something that has always been done in a particular way, using traditional methods like paid advertising in print, and on radio or TV.

Today, inbound marketing is the single best way to attract clients and many architects, interior designers, remodelers and landscape professionals have moved much of their marketing budget to online tactics. In many cases, the transition was in format only. Print ad budgets became Google Adwords budgets. While the delivery system is different, many of these same companies opted to stick with advertising as their primary online marketing tool.

While paid advertising can be a good way to drive traffic to your website and increase business, it can be an expensive proposition to do it correctly. Especially if you approach it like traditional paid advertising. The most effective Adwords can be the most expensive, and often the ROI per new client is not worth the cost involved.

Inbound Marketing Plus Paid Online Advertising

Using Google Adwords, Instagram and Facebook Ads Promote Landing Pages

Traditional advertising was about selling. Inbound marketing that includes online advertising, is about information. Educational information that is relevant to your targeted market is the key to inbound marketing. PPC advertising can drive leads to your landing pages or website where prospects can learn more about your company. Home improvement companies that approach paid online advertising as a way to establish brand recognition are not using their dollars wisely. The real use of online advertising is to drive leads, which it will do, but at a per lead cost that doesn't make sense for most companies in the home improvement space. In a nutshell, ads may be effective if you’re driving prospects to a landing page not a portfolio or “schedule a consultation” page. After all, who ever spontaneously purchased a kitchen remodel on a click-through ad? No one ever. But, if they are receiving a guide followed by 12 months of nurturing emails, you’ve got a good shot at landing them as a client.

In most cases, architects, interior designers, remodelers and landscape professionals would be better served investing in content marketing efforts as opposed to devoting marketing budget to Google Adwords, Instagram and Facebook ads. Online advertising is complex, expensive, very competitive and unlike content marketing, the leads are often lower quality and they stop coming in when you stop paying.  Typically, management fee’s for online advertising start at $750 a month and go up from there. These fees do not include the ad buy but they are often worth it. When you aggregate the cost of learning to do this in-house combined with wasted ad buy budget as you get up to speed you would be better off turning this complex and constantly changing task over to someone who stares at advertising spread sheets all day. (Did I mention that online ad campaigns are not easy?)

Five Reasons You Shouldn't Use Adwords!

Inbound marketing is a great way to build trust and awareness of your brand, develop a reputation as a thought leader in your industry and drive both traffic and leads for your website and business. For most home improvement related businesses, this is where you should spend your time and your budget.

Pay per click advertising is not an outlet for driving quality leads for home improvement businesses. Here are five reasons why:

  1. You Pay For Clicks

    When PPC advertising was in its infancy, clicks were cheap, like pennies-per-click cheap! Today businesses are dropping $5 or more per click and while you will drive traffic because you're getting (paying for) top placement on Google, there's no guarantee that those clicks will translate into leads or sales. In fact some better keywords can cost $60 or more that can add up quickly! Web traffic is useless if it's not translating into more sales.

  2. Space is Incredibly Competitive

    Because so many businesses are competing for the most lucrative keywords in every industry, most small businesses can't afford to advertise online effectively. This means that by the time a startup or small business is ready to begin advertising, all of the relevant keywords have been locked up, which raises prices even more.

  3. Limited Number of Words/Characters

    Adwords places a limit on the number of characters you can use in your ad. You're allowed 25 in the headline, 35 in the next two lines of text and 35 in the display URL. It can be tricky to create an effective, actionable advertisement in 130 characters. This can be a real problem if, for example, your company name alone has 25 characters.

  4. Mistakes Can Burn Through Your Budget

    What happens if you forget to “turn-off” your advertising? You pay. What if there is a spelling error in your keyword or are driving traffic to an old landing page? You pay. It's really easy for simple mistakes or oversights to cost thousands of dollars in unnecessary spending.

It's Not Right For Your Niche

Just because you're working with Google, doesn't mean your audience is going to find you. Let's say you're a landscape architecture company and you provide every service from residential landscape design to site planning, parks and recreation, environment planning, and heritage conservation. How can you let people know all of that information in 130 characters? Prospects might search for “landscape design service” and get results that don't reflect everything you have to offer. In some industries, like home improvement, Adwords may be too focused to cover all you have to offer.

The bottom line. Adwords may not be right for your company if you work in the home improvement, remodeling and design industries.

Effective Inbound Marketing Techniques

In short, Adwords is much more effective at selling products that are easy to describe, relatively inexpensive, and impulsive in nature. Everything that home improvement services is not. Because of the long-tail nurturing process of customers seeking home improvement services, most businesses like architectural firms, landscape designers, remodelers and interior designers could benefit more from content marketing than paid advertising.

Sharing relevant information and providing prospects with targeted content can help build trust, and brand image and to be effective online that's what sells services. The long and the short, for businesses that are in the home improvement space, paid online advertising is probably not the best choice for your marketing budget. Consider other methods like content marketing for leading interested prospects to the sale.

Online Marketing Tips From A Squarespace Designer

About Means-of-Production and Michael Conway

Means-of-Production is a full service marketing firm that provides services to commercial and residential design and construction firms. We design and build Squarespace websites, inbound marketing systems and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Learn more about me and my firm here.