When it comes to running a business successfully almost everything is based on how well you have marketed your business.
If you are not marketing your products and services well, you may not be able to meet your revenue and sales targets and as such may never be able to realize the true potential of your business.
As such, if you are a business owner and wish to ensure that you build and operate a profitable business, you will need to make sure you are looking for ways and options to promote and market your business.
There are many ways and means that can help you market and promote your business and improve your brand presence and visibility.
In the good old days, providing delightful customer service was enough to create a buzz and the rest of the marketing and promotion used to happen by word of mouth.
Earlier there were very few brands and businesses and as such impressing customers was pretty easy.
And then word of mouth is used to automatically promote and market any good brand or service.
But the scenario now is entirely different.
Nowadays, you will see a new brand and a new business coming up every other day.
Most of these businesses are small businesses and people who provide their own services.
All these businesses and people involved in their business are competing with each other and as such, there is a cutthroat competition to outshine each other.
There will be too many of them who are already providing a delightful service and if you are a small business owner who has just got started, you will feel the heat.
The need to get noticed, create a name for yourself, and the need to get leads will be an overwhelming task for you.
Thankfully there are ways and means you can opt for in order to give your business the required boost, visibility, and brand presence that is needed to start generating some qualified leads to start getting your business.
Earlier, it was outdoor branding and commercial advertisements, they indeed were helpful but were pretty expensive, and for a small business, it went beyond affordability.
With the use and advent of the internet, social media platforms, and virtually everything going online; the internet is now a powerful tool that you can use to enhance your brand visibility.
And if you compare, the most powerful of all is Google.
Google itself is the world’s No. 1 search engine.
Whenever a user wants to know anything, plan anything, or buy anything, the first thing he does is to launch a search on Google.
And based on the search he makes, he looks for the options that are listed, and then the buying or the opinion-forming process begins.
From these search results, the user starts to form his opinion or makes a buying decision.
More than 90 percent of internet users make a Google search for everything they need and about 80 percent make their buying decisions based on this search.
Google is the ocean that satisfies the curiosity of the whole world.
Now imagine what would be if you as a business are certified and guaranteed by the ocean itself.
Imagine a user looking for a particular service or listing on Google and finds your business as a featured Google Verified and Guaranteed business.
That would mean that 90 percent of the people who are looking for products and services on Google will see your business as Google certified which in turn would mean a lot of things going your way.
Google Guaranteed is a powerful way of getting noticed amongst hundreds of services and products in your area.
If you are a small business, it will turn out to be a boon for you. In this comprehensive article, we will hence talk about everything about Google Guaranteed, what is involved, and how you can get your business Google Guaranteed.
What are Google Local Services Ads (Google Guarantee)
Let us begin by first looking at what Google Guarantee is all about.
In the year 2018, Google started this program in Canada for the first time.
The Google Guaranteed program is a feature that helps businesses from a given location or business list their Ads on Google with a Google Guaranteed badge on the Ads.
Businesses who get this badge are, as such guaranteed by Google to be trustworthy, free from fraudulent activities, and are supposedly known to provide exemplary customer services.
Google Guaranteed program is a huge help for local businesses in terms of getting qualified business leads and better conversions.
Let us now look at what Google Guaranteed Service is in a little more detail.
This program was introduced keeping in mind the local service providers involved in providing home services such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC companies, etc.
This program is a part of Google’s AdWords and the listings in this service are better than that in Google Ads, and Google Search Ads.
Though this is a very popular program, the program is under testing and is currently only available in Canada and specific parts of the US.
If you wish to get listed under this program, your business will be scrutinized, background checks will be made along with many other requirements that we will talk about later in a while.
This program indeed is a good program when it is about providing the best services to the customers.
But the question is why did Google roll out this plan in the first place.
Why was the need to launch such a plan felt?
Let us discuss the need for such a program in the next section in a little more detail.
Why the Google Local Services Ads Program was needed?
Google released the Google My Business service for local businesses and services on which almost any business could enroll and create a preliminary profile and start operating.
This led to multiple issues from time to time that needed to be resolved once and for all.
We will look at the various issues that were prevalent that needed to be resolved and which led to the launch of the Google Guaranteed program.
Here’s the list:
Fake Reviews and Ratings:
Customer reviews and ratings are the most important factor for any business.
One good review can set things sailing for you and one bad review can be the end of the road.
There have been cases where businesses who already have GMB or Google My Business profiles have manipulated their customers into booking their services by using fake ratings and reviews and other local websites.
Some of them add those ratings from multiple profiles and Google in no way could verify if those ratings were actually given by real customers.
A Google Guaranteed badge for local businesses is provided to businesses after certain background checks and other requirements are to be met.
As such, one can be assured that the ratings are also from real customers.
No Local Support or Help Centre is Available:
Many times a business that claims to be local does not have a local service center at all.
They are service aggregators who send you the technicians if there is a booking but do not have a post-service customer handling team or any follow-up services.
This has been a cause of concern with many users as after the initial job many customers who called the service centers found the calls being answered by someone thousands of miles away in some other state or city.
To overcome this issue, the Google guaranteed program was introduced.
Unavailability of any office or infrastructure:
Having a physical address or office that can be pinpointed on the map always makes a business more trustworthy.
When creating Google My Business profiles, there have been instances where fake addresses were entered just for the sake of it, wherein in reality, there was no physical address.
Google does not verify the address when a profile is created and as such this has been misused by many service providers and businesses.
Some of them claim to have all the required infrastructure to provide the best services when in reality they have none.
In order to overcome such issues, this program was introduced where thorough scrutiny and background check process is followed before a local business is listed as a Google Guaranteed business.
Poor Service Experience and Inexperienced Professionals:
Since getting a GMB profile is free, almost anyone can sign up as a local business which is a good thing provided the service provider is experienced enough to provide a service that is up to the standards.
There have been instances where locally listed service providers have provided extremely poor quality of service after which the customers have ended up complaining about the services most often than not.
There have been reports of technicians who are still novices at their work reaching the customer location to carry out the work.
This created a service issue for most customers availing services online.
The Google Guaranteed program was introduced to make sure the services provided to the customers are up to the standards and businesses ensure that they leave their customers happy and satisfied.
The Google Guaranteed Program was introduced due to all the above issues.
Though, you can say that opting for this program eliminates all the above issues and as such these can also be used to explain the benefits of this program.
However, we have an entirely different section for the benefits of using this program that we can discuss later.
But first, let us discuss how the whole thing works.
How Do Google Local Services Ads Work?
Once a small business owner signs up for the program and is successfully verified, his/her business gets a green color badge with a white checkmark in the center of the badge.
But is it just the badge that counts?
No, not really.
Though the badge on any profile looks good and helps the business stands out, there is an even better reason why customers will opt for a Google-guaranteed service than a service that is not Google guaranteed.
Once any business signs up for this program if anyone books a service from that business through the Local Services provided by Google the service will be automatically insured for up to $2000.
That is, if something goes wrong during the service or if the customer is not satisfied with the service, the customer can claim a refund on the final job invoice.
This is Google’s subscription-based service and is still in the experimental phases.
However, it has become quite popular and may soon be available for other parts of the US and the world as well.
This program has benefits both for the businesses and the customers and before looking into the other aspect, let us now look at the benefits of using this service.
Essentially this service is made available to local businesses that are able to pass a screening and qualification process through LSAs or Local Service Ads.
As such, if you are part of this program and if your customers raise concerns or are not satisfied with the quality of your service or work, Google in its sole and absolute discretion may fully reimburse the amount that the customer has paid for the service availed which is subject to a set lifeline limit.
The upper limits for lifeline limits for customers are set at $2000 per customer both for the US and Canada. For most of the European countries that currently have the Google Guarantee program available it is set at 1500 pounds or Euros with the exception of Switzerland which is set at CHF F2000.
Once a customer submits a reimbursement request to Google, Google then contacts the business to check what is on the issue.
Google may then request additional information to be submitted by the customer.
The business will be given a chance to sort out the issue with the customer and check if redoing the work or doing what was not done previously addresses the concerns raised by the customer.
If the customer agrees to the resolution provided by the business, the request raised by the customer is closed.
If however, the customer is adamant and insists on getting a refund and not a rework or redoing of the service anymore, Google will then further investigate.
After making some investigations Google will then decide on providing a resolution.
This resolution provided is made solely at Google’s sole discretion and does not stop the customer from taking any legal action or insurance claims for any damage or loss caused due to the services performed.
Google Local Services Ads Sign Up
Businesses can get the Google Guaranteed badge by signing up for the Local Services Ads.
This is an Ads service that Google provides.
Through this program, you can advertise your products and services and Google and in turn receive leads directly from all the customers.
These leads may pour in through phone calls or messages through your Local Service Ads.
You can track your bookings and manage your leads anytime and from anywhere through apps. (Android, iOS)
At present local service, ads are made available for only certain service categories.
Some of the most common home service categories include – Appliance repairs, Carpenters, Carpet Cleaning, Cleaning, Electricians, Fencing services, flooring, interior designers, Plumbers, HVAC, etc.
Google Local Services Ads Program Benefits
When a business subscribes to the Google Guaranteed program, there are many aspects that automatically get covered and as such are extremely beneficial for the businesses.
Listed below are the benefits of using this program as a business:
Helps in building trust and confidence for the business:
When a business carries the Google Guaranteed green badge, it automatically creates a first positive impression in the minds of the user.
Users already know that Google is a trustworthy organization, a tech giant that is known for its credibility and trustworthiness.
A badge issued by Google and displayed on an Ad listing by Google would mean customers will opt for such a business over others.
They will trust the credibility of Google and place their trust in the business.
When a business or a listing is guaranteed by Google it also means that customers have nothing to lose and they can always give it a try.
As more and more people use your services, your business starts getting ratings and reviews which means more trust and confidence are built around the business and its services.
Helps in improving Google Search Rankings Organically:
With Google Guaranteed badge your business will automatically feature on top of other businesses that have not subscribed for the program.
This in turn will mean increased traffic to your business or site which in turn will lead to better overall Google search rankings over months.
So, even if you discontinue the program after some time, your business or website will still be able to make it to the top of the search rankings over a period of time.
This happens because as and when the traffic volume to your business increases, the Google algorithms automatically display the top viewed sites when a keyword of your service domain is entered.
As such using this program helps you in increasing your business website’s Google search rankings organically.
Creates an advantage over other competitors.:
Subscribing to this program means your business stands out from the rest.
The customers get to see the distinct badge displayed as soon as they search for a service you provide.
As such, there are all chances that they click on your profile and book your services.
You, therefore, get a clear advantage over the rest of your competitors who do not have any badge displayed.
Getting this badge also means that customers can trust your business and your services and they would not ponder over or think too much before booking your services which means you are booked more times than others.
This in turn means you have a clear edge over the others.
Helps in increasing qualified business leads:
When you are subscribed to the Google Guaranteed program, it translates into a lot of traffic and volume to your business profile or website.
More people looking for a service you provide end up clicking your website domain and link, which in turn means you get a higher number of potential customers and good quality leads that can help you get a good amount of business in the long run.
As such with this program you get more qualified leads than without it and even if the customer does not book a service, the lead is still valid and can be used at a later stage to solicit promotions or offers.
Helps in saving marketing and promotional costs:
If you are a small business operating within the city, signing up with this program is enough for making your business stand out and apart.
As part of this program, you are automatically listed in Google’s Local Ad Services and as soon as a customer searches for keywords for your niche, your services show up under featured services.
This is a huge boost to your brand and business reputation and should be enough to get you leads that you may not have got even after spending fortunes on outdoor Ads and promotion campaigns.
As such it helps in saving all the marketing and promotional costs that you may have to incur to make your business visible to all.
Google Local Services Ads Cost
Cost is one of the key factors in making a marketing or promotional campaign decision. Thankfully, you are not charged just for signing up for the program. Businesses are only charged only if there is a valid lead that is received through the local service ads campaign.
Now the cost of the lead is based on the location you are based out, services you are offering, cost per service, lead type, etc. But how is a valid lead differentiated and how are you charged based on that lead?
A valid lead is referred to customers who make a valid search and are related completely to your service niche and business. These valid leads are determined based on the following:
- Receiving an email or text from the customer. When customers are genuinely interested, that is when they can put the time and effort to send a message or email you, and hence the emails or texts are considered as genuine leads
- Receiving a voicemail from a potential customer: The same logic applies here as well. A customer may leave a voicemail if he is genuine and is interested in taking your service and as such leaves a voicemail. Such a lead is treated as valid and is charged.
- Call received to the business owner’s mobile: When a customer Clicks the telephone link provided on the local service ad and contacts the service provider on their mobile, such a lead is considered valid.
- Contacts made to the customer in the form of message, call, or email: When the business owners contact the customer back via emails, through text messages, or call them back, such a lead is considered as a valid lead.
So Google Guarantee Costs may vary from one business to another and from one location to another but they are highly cost-effective in the long run.
You get charged for only valid leads and your rates of conversion of these leads would also be very high.
If you compare the cost of the Google Guaranteed program with that of Google PPC Ads, this program is much better.
With Pay-per-Click, you end up paying for every click made by the viewer or internet user, but the same is not true in the case of the Google Guaranteed program, here you pay only once you receive a valid lead through any of the contact mediums such as calls, text messages, emails, or voicemails.
You are not charged if the customer has just viewed your Ad but has not made an effort to contact you.
As far as the program cost goes there is a fee of $ 50 per month that sums up to $600 annually (This could change in the future)
However, there is also a cost for every valid lead.
As the cost of the leads varies, the average cost of the leads is about $25 per lead.
And businesses can always dispute in case the leads they receive are outside their service area, or if incomplete customer information comes through.
Google Local Services Ads Vs Google AdWords (PPC)
You now know what the Google Guaranteed program is all about.
To be a part of this program, businesses need to sign up for Google Local Service Ads or LSAs.
Once the local business signs for LSAs, and applies for the Google Guarantee program, the Ads that are posted after the business is successfully certified and verified by Google can be called Google Guarantee Ads.
These Ads contain the name and logo of the business along with the Google Guaranteed Badge and will always feature on top of all service listings for your niche and service category.
So, the Google Guarantee Ads are nothing but Google Local Service Ads featuring businesses that have signed up for the Google Guaranteed Program.
So the major feature of these Ads is the Google Guarantee badge about which we will talk later but first, let us find out how Google Guaranteed is different from Google Ad Words.
Google Guarantee Vs PPCC
Google Guaranteed Ads is more about boosting and advertising locally since it is a feature within Local Service Ads.
If you are not a local service, there is no point in opting for an LSA or the Google Guaranteed Service.
The Google Guaranteed program can help you get guaranteed leads if you are a local business or service provider looking forward to boosting your business.
If however, you wish to use Google Ads instead of Google Guaranteed, your Ads won’t perform better than the Google Guaranteed Ads, cause Google search algorithms work in such a way that Google Guaranteed recommended services will be listed on top of all other Ads or providers.
Google AdWords is a keyword-based Ad placement where the users bid on the keyword and have to pay per click.
That means every time a potential customer clicks on a Google Ad, you are charged even if the customer did not really intend to use your service.
Google Guaranteed on the other hand provides you with a guarantee of valid qualified leads.
You are charged only once a valid lead is received and not for anything else.
So, the Google Guaranteed Ads and that badge make all the difference.
Google Local Services Badge
Once a local business signs up for the Google Guaranteed Program, they receive a certification and a green badge displayed on their business profile.
This green badge has a checkmark in it with the words “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” written just below the name of the business.
This is but no ordinary badge.
As we have mentioned in previous sections there is a thorough screening and vetting process that the businesses have to go through before they get certified or receive this badge on their Ads or business profiles.
To receive this badge, the business should first sign up for Google’s Local Service Ads and then apply for the Google Guaranteed feature that is provided to businesses availing Local Service Ads.
This badge is basically an added feature provided to businesses already using Google Ads Services that helps them in instilling the required trust and confidence amongst the customers to use and avail their services.
But getting this badge on your Ads may not be as easy as it looks. It is because there is a thorough verification and background check process that is carried out, about which we will find out in the next section.
Google Local Services Ads Background Check
This is the vetting and the background check process that we were talking about. In this process, Google verifies all pertinent details and information about the business which may include but are not limited to:
- Area of service
- Background Checks of the business owner
- Background checks of the field employees (may include temporary workers and independent contractors)
- Verification of registrations, licenses, certifications held by the business.
- Verification of insurance certificates.
So, if you see it is about verifying everything about the business and its operations and whether they comply with the various standards and have all the necessary licenses and certifications needed to run a business successfully.
Google conducts these background checks for the eligible applicants for free and once all the required checks are successfully completed, the Google Guaranteed badge is displayed over all the Ads from the business.