small business online advertising

Disclaimer: Every business is different. What works great for 1 industry might not work well for another industry.

For this purpose of this guide I will be focusing on local businesses in the service sector. Most of the information relates well to ecommerce businesses but by focusing on 1 sector I can provide much better insight.

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Is Your Site Ready For Prime Time?

Make sure the website you are sending page traffic to is ready for action. You should have things on there like your phone number, your address and several pages of content for the potential client to browse through that helps to answer their questions and concerns as well as encourages them to give you a call.

Phone Number

While I just mentioned the phone number it’s worth talking about again as I see this time and time again on small business websites were they have the number on the upper right of the page or at the bottom of the page.

Have your phone number in big letters and in the middle of the screen if possible on every page. Have a clear call to action under the phone number that prompts clients to call



Call For your Free Consultation

Call Jay’s Auto To Talk About Your Car Issues

Call Pete’s Plumber To Talk About Your Options

Most people are hesitant to call. It’s hard for many to call a stranger and when money is on the line or they are uncertain about product knowledge this just ads to the concern. A clear call to action under a phone number will help put people at ease and get them to take action and call you.

I’ve tested this time and again so be sure to include a call to action along side your phone number because it can really help.

Mobile Responsive

Mobile responsive simply means your website is easily readable on a mobile phone. If people have to zoom in to read content or see your phone number then your website is not mobile responsive.

If someone has to zoom in they are not going to be able to see all the important factors you want them to see for your website.

More and more searches are being done on mobile phones. This is even more true with those in the service based industry.

I would also highly recommend you have your phone number clickable using the below code so people can just click your phone number and auto call you without having to type it in.

<a href="tel:+18888888888">Call us free!</a>

You need to edit the number above with your number and honestly I would change out the “Call us free!” with your phone number as well.

Pictures Tell a Thousand words

If you are in any business that involves improving the way something looks such as roofing, auto body repair, landscaping, painting or nearly all service based companies then you should have before and after pictures on every page of your website.

Show off your work and your skills.

I personally like to see prices listed as well and even a short story about the picture. If you did a roofing job then say the total square feet, the cost of the roof, the type of shingles used, The cost of that sky light, the street the house is on.

What you are doing is telling the customer about the high quality parts you are using and with the price tag you can help them understand the scope of the project. This also helps to deter tire kickers or those who are just calling to get the lowest price possible.

Describe the service being done

Each and every service you offer should have it’s own landing page and describe what the service entails. Your do not have to get too technical but give an overview of the job that is done.

Example for Auto Mechanic

You navigation bar may have the following services

  • AC Service and Repair
  • Brake Service and Repair
  • Check Engine Light
  • Cooling System
  • Engine Repair
  • Oil Change
  • Starting and Charging Systems
  • Steering and Suspension Service
  • Transmission Service and Repair
  • Tune Up Service
  • Wheel Alignment Service

Each of these services will have their own page that you will be driving paid traffic to.

You Brake Service and Repair job may include several things about the brake work that you do. You can talk a little about your process and the high quality parts that you use as well as the time and labor involved.

If you offer free estimates then be sure to include that in your call to action right under your phone number.

What Paid Traffic Should I be Purchasing?

For most in the service field that answer is Bingads and Google AdWords which is PPC (Pay Per Click)

We have an entire course on paid traffic you might be interested in that is 100% free. It’s a great course and by the end of it you should really have a solid understanding of how to make search traffic work for you. See our training guides section at

Facebook Twiiter and AdWords display are also great traffic sources that can convert well and get you leads. Generally I recommend these types of networks once you have an established Bingads and AdWords search campaign established.

Be sure to read our Social marketing guide and content development strategy guide to help get a better understanding about ways to leverage these networks. I’ll be talking a bit more about them later,

Adwords and BingAds

With PPC traffic you are able to bid on the exact keywords that people are searching so you can really hone in on the user intent. You are also able to set the exact search range so your ad only shows to those who are in your service area.

Some of the major advantages For local service companies is you know the exact area you service and because you are local you can do things like have your address listed and use local Geographic calls outs like the city name as well as list your local phone number.

The Google Adwords Search training guide covers all of this including the call extension and address extension as well as keyword research.

Linking to Website With Paid Ads

When you link to your website you should be linking directly to the page that the keyword is about.

Going back to our roofing and auto example you might want to match these kinds of search to the corresponding page

Keyword Search: Brake repair

Langing Page: Your brake repair landing page. That includes

Keyword Search: Hail Damaged Roof

Landing Page: Your Hail damage roofing landing page.

Both of these pages should have with before and after pictures, your clear call to action, your phone number front and center in a big font and why you are the best at that service as well as the parts you use and a little about the process. Don’t forget about having that mobile responsive landing page as well.

A very common mistake I see is people just linking to their home page which then forces the user to select the page they are interested in. This is a bad user experience. You don’t want to put hurdles between you and your customers.


We have talked about remarketing before in our Remarketing guide at . Remarketing is the process of retargeting visitors to your website.

This is generally where we recommend most companies start when advertising on FaceBook and Google Display

FaceBook Advertings

Facebook can go a long ways in positioning yourself as an authority in your industry. Unlike with search PPC you won’t know user intent in many cases.

You can target, gender, age and interest based groups which can really help but that won’t get you in front of those who are actively searching for things like Brake Repair or Roof Repair.

We already Talked about how you can use remarketing to reach those people who visited your website but when starting from scratch that won’t really help.

With Facebook you need to really think about this from a content strategy point of view. If I was an auto mechanic then just advertising your Break Repair service most likely won’t yield you a positive ROI.

However if you wrote interesting content that benefited people in general and brand that content with your name then people will share and like that content.

The goal is just to be branded as the local expert so when they do need that brake service or that roof repaired they will think of your company for the service.

This is one reason why many small local businesses fail on Facebook and why you probably do not see a ton of local businesses advertising.

I have never seen an auto mechanic or roofing company show up on my news feed. I’ve never seen a landscape company or lawn care company show up on my personal news feed.

The reason is most tried to sell their products directly which is not how people use Facebook. They are there to be entertained and often times have zero buying intent.

Have you ever gone to Facebook thinking you where going to find a kitchen remodeling company?

The answer is no.

However you have probably thought about this if you are a home owner. If you saw a local company listing a really good before and after remodel job you may very well click on the article to see more pictures and learn about the process and costs.

Over the course of 6 months if you see them post multiple jobs then you will most likely remember who the company is and even if you don’t get the remodel done you will be far more likely to talk about this company if the subject ever comes up with someone.

A great book on this kind of marketing is called Jab Jab Jab Right Hook –

Some of my favorite lines from the book

  1. “A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.”
  2. “On Facebook, the definition of great content is not the content that makes the most sales, but the content that people most want to share with others.”
  3. “There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup.”

Generally on Facebook I recommend you target a set demographic who is the main customer you are going after. In this manner you can continuously publish content out to this market demographic and have stronger staying power.

I can’t say who your demographic is but I would imagine for a company that does kitchen remodeling you probably have more women who are home owners and most likely well above 18 years of age.

Talk about Pictures

Other Factors to Consider With Paid Traffic

Paid Search Helps with SEO

When done right your paid advertising can help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Google see’s that people are going to your website and the time people spend on your site when you have Google analytics installed.

This helps to tell them your page is offering value and is relevant. This is a positive ranking signal to Google and can and does play a role in your search rankings.






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