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Google Ads for Locksmiths

Kyle: Welcome to the Google Ads strategy Show. I’m your host, Kyle Sulerud. And today I’m going to be talking with David Edwards. And I brought David on because he is specializing in Google ads for locksmiths. And I know a lot of people who are dabbling in Google ads for locksmith, but not many who actually specialize in it. So I thought this would be a very valuable discussion. David has over 30 locksmith clients, and he’s generating thousands of leads per month in the locksmith niche. His company is called Gain Leads. So let’s get into the discussion. David, how are you?

David: I’m good. How about yourself? 

Kyle:  Good! So how did you actually get into Google ads and Google ads for locksmiths specifically.

David: Yeah. So 2009, I was working with a chiropractor, actually since 2004, and he was real big into direct marketing. So it kind of rubbed off on me. I would hear all this stuff about direct marketing. And it was fascinating. I like all the principles of it. And it was just very interesting. 

I wasn’t really doing anything with it. But then I discovered Perry Marshall’s book with Mike Rhodes, The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads. And that was a kind of an eye opener, you know. At that point is when I really really liked it, and it’s just something I wanted to do. 

It took a long time, actually, before I really started to do it. I think it was 2014, Perry Marshall did a local business mastery course with Google ads. And I ended up going through that. And it really taught me, (it gave me a) really solid foundation. And then I just kind of went out in the world and I was just helping whoever I could with Google ads. 

And I was doing everything I could. I mean, I was doing SEO and web design as well, for people building websites and stuff. And then in about 2017, towards the end, I picked up a locksmith client. And I just really liked it. I liked the immediacy of it, you know, the short sales cycle, he was mostly doing auto car keys. And so I decided that’s who I wanted to work with. Basically, it was a conscious decision. And so then I just did a really good job with him. He has referred me and I’ve been able to build up a reputation over the years and it’s been growing from there.

Kyle: Cool. So you mentioned SEO and some other things. Are you offering other services to locksmiths? Or is it just Google ad campaign? 

David:  Just Google ads for me. Yeah, I just really want to specialize.

Kyle:  Got it. And what would you say makes locksmith campaigns unique compared to other types of businesses?

David: I don’t know if I’d say a locksmith is unique. It’s pretty much you know, you manage a locksmith the way you’d manage an electrician. There’s not really a big difference. But some of the challenges I guess are, a lot of locksmiths are very reliant on Google ads. And so there’s a lot of click fraud, they tend to be a little bit more conscious of that. They’re watching the ads all the time. 

And so there’s a lot of potential click fraud. I think it’s a little overblown. Some people think they’re having click fraud, and really, just their website isn’t that good or their ads aren’t that good, so they think it’s click fraud. But it’s definitely a real concern for locksmiths. 

They have to get verified. They go through an advanced verification, which seems to be rolling out into more industries as well, but locksmith was first for that. So that’s definitely a unique challenge for locksmiths if they want to start advertising. You have to do a video interview. They have to get through that process. That’s really it. 

I think a lot of us need to understand what kind of services they want to promote, and kind of build the campaign to deal with that. Because locksmith, they do so many things – like some of them really specialize in programming car computers. Some of them do smart locks, installation and setup. They do access control for big buildings. So the gamut of services that a locksmith offers is huge. So that’s one way it’s different from a lot of other industries, too.

Kyle:  Is the certification where they have to get approved to run ads, is that something that you help wtih?

David: Yeah, usually they already have done that when they find me. But I do help on occasion, mostly providing guidance, look at their ads account, make sure their ads are not in violation. There’s a lot of things you can’t say. I guess that’s another thing that’s kind of unique about locksmiths, too. Unfortunately, they have a very big scammer problem. There’s a lot of guys who just kind of work out of their private cars, and they’re getting leads. A lot of times from the big directory, there’s some big locksmith directory sites and stuff. And what they’re doing is they’re telling people one price, so they’ll tell you it’s $39 to come out. But that’s just to come out. They don’t tell you that it’s just $39. So once they get there, suddenly that $39 can become $200-$400. 

I mean, I’ve seen receipts that other locksmiths have posted in some of the Facebook groups I’m in. And I’ve seen, a $1200 invoice for a lock change. I mean, it’s ridiculous. So they have that to contend with as well.

Kyle:  Yeah, it makes sense. And it makes sense why there’s a more rigorous process to be able to advertise.

So, when a new client comes to you, have they usually started and tried some ads on their own? Or are they brand new to Google ads? Or what’s the situation usually like? 

David: Yeah, some have and some haven’t. Some just come to me with nothing and we start from scratch. And then other people have worked with other managers. They’ve tried it themselves. They’ve done AdWords Express accounts (whatever they’re calling it now), smart campaigns. You know, some of them get hit pretty hard with trying that. So it’s a mixed bag, you know, of people that come when they come to me.  

Kyle:  If they’ve tried to do it on their own, what’s the biggest mistake you see in their ad account?

David:  I mean, the biggest mistake is probably trying to do a smart campaign. You go in your Google My Business and just start an ad today. So they do that. And that’s usually the worst mistake they can make. Because those things really don’t have any of the controls that you need to have a good Google Ads account. So that’s a big mistake. 

You’re not really understanding what an ad group is, the purpose of an ad group. They don’t really understand that. So just for the listeners, the purpose of an ad group is to separate so you can have separate ads, that’s really the only purpose. So you want your keyword to match your ad. 

And so what I’ll see is just an ad group, with one ad or two ads, and 200 keywords, or even 5 keywords or 10 keywords that are all different, you know, that’s a big mistake. 

And, and I would say just the execution of the management, you know, oftentimes, they just don’t really know how to manage the account. It gets pretty messy sometimes with the settings.

Kyle:  On the other end, then what would you say are the top three things that locksmiths should be focusing on if they really want to be running successful campaigns?

David:  What I like to do is start with figuring out what kind of jobs they want focus on. We only focus on commercial, they don’t do car keys, they don’t want car keys. And so for them, a general locksmith campaign, but with “locksmith city” or “locksmith near me”, “locksmith”, those kind of keywords aren’t really good. Because those are just going to bring the kind of jobs they don’t want. They end up wasting a lot of money.

So that’s the first thing I would say is just get clear on what kind of jobs you want to get. 

And then the next thing you need to do is you need to create campaigns that are kind of tailored towards that. So your ads and your landing page, everything is focused on what you want to get. 

The third thing, I guess, would just be effective management. Tracking conversions, so that you know your numbers. You really need to know what keywords are working. So CallRail is a good software for call tracking. Right now I’m using that. And I’m also using Phone Wagon, which is pretty decent as well (they can use Phone Wagon to track your calls).

Basically once a week, you want to go through the account. Depend on how many clicks you’re getting; if you’re getting tons of clicks, you want to do this more often. You just want to go through the account, you want to look at your search terms. Want to make sure they’re on point, Google’s not showing weird things, weird keywords or search terms that don’t have any chance of turning into a job. 

And landing pages are crucial. You know, what I see a lot is people just kind of driving all the traffic to their homepage. And that’s a big mistake. You have to have tailored landing pages by service.

Kyle:  So before the show, you’d sent me some information about local services and how that is impacting Google ads. Please talk a little bit about what that is exactly, and then how it’s actually affecting your clients.

David:  Sure. So local services is also, sometimes people call it “Google Guaranteed”. It’s basically a program that Google started. They started in 2018. They’ve kind of been rolling it out to different areas since then. And basically, it’s a cost per call model. So instead of paying per click, you just pay for the phone call. And it could be like 15 bucks or 12 bucks, it just depends. And it’s a good program. I definitely recommend clients. Locksmith pursue it and try it and see if it works for them 

A lot of times the lead cost is pretty good. I mean, the cost per call is pretty decent. Sometimes it is lower than what I can get with Google ads. Sometimes I’m lower than it, it just depends on the area. Yeah, but I would suggest people get into it. 

It has more stringent qualifications. You still have to do the video interview and the advanced certification, but you also have to do a Pinkerton background check and upload your insurance. So it’s a little bit more of a process. But it’s worth it, I think. 

The challenge it has for Google Ads is it limits the number of ads that show at the top. So the only time that it makes it difficult for me as a manager is, when it’s a lower volume area, like the lower population density area, it can make it a little challenging. You have to be a lot more aggressive. It definitely has an impact on cost per lead sometimes. It can tend to increase that a bit. But in big cities when it first rolled out, I already had a client in Sacramento and it was there and I didn’t even know. And so sometimes if you’re in a big city, you probably won’t even notice it because there’s just so many people searching, you really wouldn’t even notice.

Kyle:  That’s good information. I think a lot of people are still worried about this, especially if they’re in an industry that hasn’t seen Google Guaranteed come along, and they’re wondering what that’s going to do to their Google ads. So it’s good to hear from you that you’re still alive and strong and there’s still plenty on the table. Even if Google Guarantee takes a little bit off the table. There’s still plenty to do with Google ads.

David:   Yeah. And I remember being really worried about it myself, and it was unjustified.

Kyle:  Anything else that you want to talk about before we wrap up?

David:  No, I think that I’ve got your course and also the, it’s kind of a smaller course. I just can’t remember the name but I went through that, and it kind of teaches you negative keywords. And I think that’s a really good basis for a lot of locksmiths who are trying to do it themselves, I would recommend that course to them.

Kyle:  And I think you’re talking about the Essential AdWords Crash Course

David: That’s right. I mean, the big course is great too, of course. But that teaches people really the essentials, and they can get a good grasp on things with that. I mean, you have to put in the work. I mean, I think people think that you can just create a Google Ads account and just slap some keywords in there and write some ads, and you’re going to get tons of calls. And it just, it’s not like that at all. I mean, it’s really competitive. I think it’s getting more and more competitive every day. I think new people are trying to come in, you have to put in the work to make it work.

Kyle: I couldn’t agree more. So David, this has been great. Where can people go if they want to get in touch with you?

David: Sure. They can go to my website, They can schedule a call with me if they want to talk. I also have a Facebook group for locksmiths: Locksmith Google Ads Masters.

Kyle: Well, great. This has been very informative. Thanks for coming on David. And everyone else, thanks for listening. This has been Google Ads strategy Show. Again, I’m your host, Kyle Sulerud, and I will talk to you later.