In this episode, Kyle interviews Zeke Domowski, a Digital Marketing Consultant that works remotely with small to medium size businesses all across the USA. Zeke talks about the changes that he has seen, in general, regarding the Google Ads landscape. Among other things, he also shares the elements that are essential in a good landing page especially for pressure washing companies.
Kyle: Hello, and welcome to the Google Ads strategy Show. Today I’m going to be interviewing a special guest, Zeke Domowski, who runs an agency called Creatively Innovative. They service a number of different industries, but a huge focus for him is pressure washing, or power washing, depending on what part of the country you’re in. Zeke will talk a little bit about that. He actually has over 60 clients just in that industry. So obviously, he’s someone you want to listen to if you want to learn more about Google Ads for pressure washing. So welcome, Zeke!
Zeke: Thank you. Thank you, Kyle.
Kyle: So how did you get into Google ads?
Zeke: So my job at 16, I was working at a corporate company. We needed more traffic to an e-commerce store. So we went out and interviewed three or four agencies, and they started managing our ads. And the more I looked at what our ads were doing and what the agency was doing, I was like, “hmm, this is intriguing”. Let’s figure it out and see if it’s something that I could handle. And I kind of just worked in tandem with the agency. Never actually got trained by them. I was just simply kind of watching what they were doing. And I was like, “hey, I can do this for some of my friends that own businesses”.
So several months later, that started about June of 2016, it was about September, I started running it for some friends. And one of my first clients was actually a power washer in October of 2016.
Kyle: So was that a friend of yours? Or how did that first client come to be?
Zeke: Yeah, so my brother knew that guy, and I had to help my brother with his website. We hadn’t done any advertising just yet. But my brother knew that guy, the guy had been talking to me about some marketing things. And then, he had told me his story of how he had someone manage his Google Ads. He spent $600, got nothing in return for it. And he’s like, “let’s see what you can do”. So I started out very small, with a very small budget, low bids. We had great success. We were getting $12 leads back in October of 2016. Whereas now the average is much higher in 2019.
Kyle: So that’s interesting. So, the reason you’re helping so many pressure washing companies right now, it’s because your brother knew a guy.
Zeke: Yeah, and then that guy (he was in Maryland), that guy referred me to a guy in Kentucky. That guy referred me to a guy in Minnesota. That guy referred me to a guy in Washington. And each of those guys basically referred me to one or two guys, and eventually each of those guys just kept spreading, spreading. So everything I’ve done and grown my business with has always been referrals based on the pressure washing industry.
Kyle: Interesting. Now, are you offering any services other than Google Ads?
Zeke: So, we are a performance-driven agency. Google Ads, obviously is the best way to get leads. But we also offer SEO as well, because we do know that we can get people leads through SEO. And then there has been a lot of high demand for Facebook Ads. And so I have hired a Facebook manager to my company to start testing it out. We just haven’t advertised it just yet. Because we want to make sure that we can actually produce results before we start advertising it.
Kyle: Yeah, so I assume you’re just starting with some of your existing clients who might be interested and maybe roll it out.
Zeke: Exactly. So we just started it basically this week and we got some results. So far, we just want to see it, you know, kind of grow and you know…a lot of times with Facebook, you get leads maybe the first week but can you (also) get them at week 2, or 3, or 4? And that’s what I want to make sure if it works.
Kyle: Right. Plus the quality of the lead and a lot of different variables to pay attention to. So it’s good that you’re not just jumping into it, you know, full on.
So back to Google Ads. You’re obviously big into this pressure washing, but you’re also working with some other types of businesses too. So what have you found to be unique about pressure washing campaigns versus other types of businesses?
Zeke: Okay. So, overall, whether it is pressure washing or another business, it’s the overall strategic approach that we bring. We have a very strict methodology on how we actually set up an account. It’s very precise, where the ads work, the ad groups, the keywords, the landing pages. And so out of the gate, our campaigns perform very well. We have seen leads come in as quick as 30 minutes after we turn on the campaign. And then the ad spend as well isn’t wasted because we’ve spent over a million dollars in just this industry alone, building up negative keywords, knowing what to bid on, what elements to put on the landing page, what converts better.
We’ve made so many optimizations and efficiency points in our campaigns that we know what will work and what doesn’t. But the thing is, even if someone had a similar keyword, similar landing page, it wouldn’t have the same performance just because we put together this complex puzzle in a way that we know where to put the pieces for the whole campaign. And we’ve been solving it over time. So as things have changed, whether it’s power washing versus pressure washing in certain parts of the country, we know what to hone in on very quickly.
Kyle: Let me ask you about that. So pressure washing versus power washing. What’s the deal? What do we need to know about that?
Zeke: So typically, if a user (or customer) is on the northeast side of the country, from Virginia Beach, all the way up to Maine, they’re going to use the word power washing. It becomes a little bit more 50/50, the more you push towards Minnesota. But still a lot of power washing terms that come in over there.
So whenever someone comes to me and says, “What’s your name (my business)?”, I’m like, “You’re in the northeast side? You should use power washing”. But if you’re in the Southern States or the Western States, pressure washing is still a bigger term. And it converts differently as well. So power washing, typically, has a whole lot of conversions in the northeast. Let’s just say in the South, it might be 1 power washing lead to every 4 or 5 pressure washing. So you definitely have to keep that into account, where you are in the country.
Kyle: Interesting. Yeah, probably something that nobody really knows except you, working with so many businesses across the country. Now, of course, anyone listening knows. So thanks for sharing that.
So you mentioned, kind of developing these systems so that you can set up a campaign and get leads almost immediately for one of these businesses. Obviously, that has come as a result of working with so many clients in that industry. Are there other benefits that you’ve seen to working with several clients that are all in the same industry?
Zeke: Yeah. So that’s a great question because if you were in carpet cleaning, the top keyword is “carpet cleaning”. “Carpet cleaner” is a product. The same thing with pressure washer versus pressure washing. Pressure washer is a machine.
Well, there’s other things that people want pressure wash other than just using the word pressure washing or power washing. You’ve got house washing, you’ve got other terms as well that referred to what you want pressure washed, such as your siding, your sidewalks or driveways. And so we’ve actually found that 50% of leads don’t use the word pressure washing or power washing. And without having all that testing done, you wouldn’t know.
A good example would even be concrete cleaning. Well, pressure washing is typically used on flatwork for concrete, but it doesn’t convert for some reason. We tested it in dozens of states. And concrete cleaning, we think refers to a user wanting to clean their concrete in a garage or a basement, and it does not refer to their driveway. And so we’ve actually removed that from some of our campaigns. So that’s one thing that’s unique.
Another thing that’s super unique is the word power washing and pressure washing are the number one keywords that do not convert ( that standalone keyword). And you would not know that unless you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on it in multiple cities, to realize that if you just build that exact match, it won’t convert. And we know why…it’s competitors! Competitors are looking it up.
Why would a customer look up pressure washing? They gonna look up pressure washing company, services, business. And so that’s something that makes us really unique to know “don’t bid on that keyword”. And if you were like: “Well, how do I set it up if I’m serious about it?” Well, that’s the thing is, is getting all of those keywords and structure built into your campaign from the get go. That’s how you’re going to be able to get a better performing campaign.
Kyle: Interesting, super valuable. So are you actually putting exact match pressure washer pressure washing as a negative? Or are you just bidding lower for it or how are you handling that?
Zeke: We do exact match. So pressure washing, pressure washing pressure washer, all three of those are exact match blocked, along with power washing. We thought power washing was working but in 2019 it did not, 2018 it was doing okay. But exact match. I just block all those terms.
Then you can bid on the phrase match. But then if you do that, you still have to know, people will still come in for the DIY terms are power washing set up/ wand/ nozzle. They can still come in for those terms. But you just have to have a bigger negatives list. We just know that the exact match for pressure washing just does not convert. It’s expensive. I think we found 20 to 1, it was on average. Even if you’re bidding $1, well, you’re not going to show up at $1 to even get what you want. So it’s not even worth getting low on.
Kyle: Yeah, okay. So let me ask, you’ve mentioned a couple of things in regard to lead cost. Maybe you can expand on something you’ve already said. But what types of changes have you noticed? Just like in the past few years, since you’ve been focusing on pressure washers? What types of changes have you noticed just in the general Google Ads landscape? Anything that maybe you’ve had to adjust for?
Zeke: So in 2016 when we started, we found that a lot of customers that were looking up keywords for power washing, use the city name in it. So they were saying power washing Baltimore, power washing Orlando. That’s no longer the case. We don’t see that as often. We see it a little bit in the big cities. But we’ve actually seen it go as far as in Houston, Texas, if they use the word Houston, it does not convert. We’ve actually blocked the word Houston in Houston. And so that’s something that we’ve just found over time. People aren’t looking at the city names anymore. They’re looking at longer tail keywords. They’re more generic, or they are saying “near me”. (So power wash near me, pressure washers near me). And so we’ve seen that landscape change.
And then the other landscape we saw change was the cost per click. You might have been able to get in under $5 several years ago. Now you pretty much have to be over $5. I even talked to some guys that run their own and they’re like: “Oh, I’m getting $10 to $15”. And I’m like, “that’s way too high”. It’s most likely because their quality score is so low on their campaigns, they have to bid higher.
And so cost per lead in most areas across the United States is $30. It depends though on the conversion rate and the cost per click, as you know. But we found that in the Southern United States, the conversion rate is about 15% or below. And then the Northeast is about 20% to a little bit higher, depends on how many reviews they have, but it’s about 20% or higher in the Northeast. So depending on where you are in the country, your conversion rate will be different, and the cost per click as well.
Kyle: So when you’re talking to a business owner, or maybe looking at the campaigns that they’ve already been trying to do on their own, what is the number one biggest mistake you see that those people are making when they try to do it themselves?
Zeke: Number one is negative keywords for this particular industry. Because we found that if I don’t put in like the negative keywords list that I have into an account, you could end up spending over $100 a week, even in a small area. In a larger area, you could be spending over $200 or $300 a week for negative keywords. And this industry is very particular because you have a machine, and the machine has parts to it. And a lot of people are looking at those parts. That’s the number one.
And closely following that is structure, how their account is actually structured. Usually, they don’t go after very many keywords, or it’s a very poor keyword that is being searched, like pressure washer, that’s machine you’re actually bidding on.
Kyle: What are the top three things that pressure washing companies should focus on when it comes to their Google Ads?
Zeke: Not three things. Overall, know the strategy that you’re going into. When you’re setting up your account, try to align it with Google’s algorithms. It’s easy for me to say “Oh, have a solid account structure!” But what does that mean? And so you have to think about what are your ad groups? Is it power washing or pressure washing? Keep them separate. (Or house washing.) Keep them all separate.
And don’t just throw everything into one big advert. And then after you’ve got your account structure set up with the right ad groups, and you’ve got your ads, obviously, the ads need a line in where you’re saying pressure washing is the key word in the ad for pressure washing, then you’re going to go into the negatives. What native keywords do I need?
One thing that I’ve done is I went and looked at websites. And they can do this, too, is look for websites that sell parts for pressure washers. Download a list (you can’t even download a list), but you have to go and basically scrape the whole website of parts on an e-commerce store. We scraped a whole store and took all the parts and put them in Excel. Lock all those terms.
And then finally, a third point would be a good landing page. This industry is filled with a lot of guys that just pop up and just wanting to start power washing, and they don’t have a really good website. A lot of people think like: “Oh, I can just have any website and it’ll convert”. But we’ve found just the past week, I talked to some guys, they were missing their phone number from the website. It didn’t exist anywhere on it. Another guy never mentioned the word pressure washer power washing anywhere on the site, all it said was a house washing and soft washing. Well, consumers don’t know what soft washing is, even though that’s what they do, they don’t extra pressure wash the soft wash, and they don’t mention it on their site.
So when you get to a landing page, you need to have a clear call to action. With phone numbers, you need to have a form at the top of the page. I mean it needs to be clear. And then as you’re scrolling down the page, no matter what you have, whether it’s reviews, before and after pictures, or other content, make sure there’s a button to get them back up to the form or make a phone call.
50% of people do forms and phone calls evenly. So like if if you had 100 leads, 50 would have called and 50 filled out form. I heard some people say “well, I don’t need a phone number because I want them to all fill out a form” and like “Well, you could be missing out on 50% of traffic.”
So that’s the key to a good setup. It’s the structure, the negative keywords, and then a good landing page.
Kyle: Yeah. And are you providing the landing page for your clients?
Zeke: Yep. Every client we work with, we automatically include that. We don’t even start with their website at all. We start with a landing page. Pressure washing, it’s obviously a template that we use. We’re going to use their logo, their brand colors and any messaging that they want tweaked. 98%, I’d say, don’t touch anything on the template. I would say about maybe one a month I might hear someone say, “hey, just tweak this one word or one line or add a team picture”. They’ll add that to the page. But most people come to us and they just use our landing page.
The other unique thing about us is that they come to us with no website at all. What we always say is just “go out and buy a domain from NameSilo, it’s the cheapest place to get a domain. We’ll connect our landing page to your domain. And then that can just be your site until you can make enough profit to be able to afford a website.”
Kyle: So are you working with a lot of brand new businesses? Sounds like you are….
Zeke: Typically, if a client comes to me, there’s three things I look for in a new client. One, they have to be in a populous area, or they serve 300,000 people or more. If it’s too small of an area, you’re not going to get many leads and it’s not profitable.
The second thing I look for is you’re making at least $3,000 in revenue a month, preferably over $5,000. The reason is, is you’re going to need to spend at least $1500 bucks on ads management combined together in this industry to see some decent results. But typically, you’re spending 1500 bucks on ads and management, you’re going to get about 30 leads. If you close 15 of them and your average ticket is 500 bucks, you’ll make $3500. And so we’ve seen a lot of brand new companies go from $3000 to $10,000 immediately, just like that.
And so basically people’s lives are changed by adding on Google Ads to their business. And they don’t realize it until they get into it because it’s gonna look like “Whoa, I gotta spend 1500 bucks! That’s, that’s half of my business right now that I’m bringing in if I’m only making $3000!”
But a lot of people trust me, and they’ve known I’ve done it. And they also trust me that I’ll tell people, I can’t get them very many leads, because I look up their area and the counties they serve. And if I don’t see 3,000 searches a month, in your area for the counties you service, I won’t take on that client. I usually reject. I think this year alone, I rejected over 30 clients that wanted to work with me. It was just too small area.
Kyle: So that’s pretty much what I had what I wanted to ask you, is there anything I didn’t ask you that maybe I should have?
Zeke: Conversion rates vary on the season. We’ve seen a lot of guys say “Well, my previous guy did this” or “this is what I was expecting…”
In this particular industry, your peak seasons are April, May, and June. Unless you’re in Australia, it’s the opposite. We do have a client in Australia, it’s completely opposite. But your highest conversion rates are during those peak season. So you’re usually getting a really low cost per lead as well. And so March, July, and August are usually your lowest conversion rates.
March is just looking around and getting into the season. I pretty much can guarantee that a third of my clients are going to email me in July. So this year, we’re going to be a little proactive about it and say we know you’re going into your slow season. It’s because they’re brand new business.
Brand new businesses don’t realize there’s that slow season. At the end of July, people go on vacation, and August it’s back to school. And so a lot of people get frustrated with the other agency that they’re working with or on their own, they’re like “Well, why am I not getting leads in July or August?” And it’s because people aren’t actually looking to buy. We’ll still get some leads. But instead of maybe getting a $30 cost per lead, and maybe $40. And you might have only gotten, let’s say, 10 or 15, instead of 20 or 30.
So things do vary based on the weather. And then all the Northern states stop December through February, pretty much Maryland and North. They stop during the winter. But there are some states in the West Coast (as long as you’re west of the mountain range). So like Seattle, they go year-round, but if you go over like an hour, and there is the mountains there, as soon as going to the east side of those mountains, it’s really cold. And so they don’t work in the wintertime. So it’s pretty much as West Coast and South stay on year-round.
Kyle: Yeah. So that’s really smart that you’re planning to be proactive with that messaging. Because I think, you know that happens to everyone who’s running campaigns that are all-seasonal, which a lot of businesses are. And then the clients are wondering what’s going on. So you’re going to come out way ahead by letting them know before it happens. So I commend you for that. That’s super smart.
Where should people go Zeke, if they want to get in touch with you?
Zeke: So my website is CreativelyInnovative.com. There’s a CONTACT US button on the top right of the screen on mobile, you can see on the main screen as well. Fill out that form. It’s basically a discovery for knowing about your business.
Some of the key points of that form that I really like to see is “What is your service area and what services do you actually offer?” Because some pressure washing companies also offer roof cleaning, gutter cleaning, window cleaning. So I want to see that so that I can kind of get an idea, how many leads can we get in your area. So once I know your service area and your services, I can look that up and then get back in touch with you, and tell you what I can help you with. And then give you a little bit more information.
There’s also just information straight on my website for this industry alone. It actually asked that around the home page: “Are you a pressure washing company? Check this link.” And it talks all about what this podcast (episode) was about where we talk about the keywords, the landing pages, the call tracking that we do. It even gives examples of cost per lead, based on what we’ve seen for clients that have come to us. Because we’ve seen so many guys come to us, and $60-$100 a lead, and then they’re paying only 30 bucks with me. My management is nothing compared to what they were paying before. They’re actually saving money and getting more leads while paying for management and ad spend with my agency Creatively Innovative.
Kyle: Awesome. Well, Zeke, this has been great. I’ve learned some things. And I appreciate you coming on.
Zeke: Thank you so much. Thanks Kyle.
Kyle: And this has been the Google Ads the strategy Show. I’m your host, Kyle Sulerud, and I will talk to you later.