How our Louisiana Roots Put the Lagniappe in a PPC Campaign
When David Murphy decided to leave the corporate sector in 2015, he knew he wanted to own a great franchise. After an extensive search, he found Bin There Dump That, a company that rents small roll off dumpsters for residential projects or jobs where space is limited.
David is the quintessential businessman. If there is a number that can possibly be measured in his business, you can bet he measures it.
Bin There Dump That’s corporate office has a company that does the internet marketing for all of their franchises. This is good in some ways and bad in others. When a single company handles the marketing for a group of companies in a specific industry, they have the opportunity to learn a lot about that market and its customers. But Louisiana is a special kind of place.
Marketing in Louisiana is not like marketing throughout the rest of the country. The people here are different. The words we use in daily life are different. If you aren’t from here, you just won’t know some of the idiosyncrasies of Louisiana people.
People in Louisiana are very territorial, loyal, and proud of it. When it comes to the city or parish that they live in, whichever one it is, it’s the best one to live in and you better not say otherwise.
People in Louisiana do business with LOCAL businesses. If you live in New Orleans, you don’t hire companies out of Baton Rouge. If you live on the Northshore of Lake Ponchartrain, you don’t hire companies from the Southshore. The easiest way to know if a company is a local is by the area code of their phone number. We have 3 distinct area codes here: 504 = New Orleans, 225 = Baton Rouge, 985 = Northshore. More on that later.
After some time working with the company that the corporate office uses, David knew that he wasn’t seeing the kinds of results he should expect. Our team was already working with him on his SEO (for the same reasons) and seeing great results, so it was a good fit for us to help with his Google AdWords PPC campaign.
The agency he was using wasn’t doing a bad job, it’s just that they didn’t have the local knowledge necessary to make an impact. They had a system that worked for the other franchises, so they were using a “wash, rinse, repeat” methodology that was getting decent results for their clients. That’s not what David was looking for.
When we initially started looking at the campaign, we found a few problems. The first was the website. When spending money to drive people to a website, you depend on that website to convert visitors into paying customers. The website was simply not doing that. When convincing BTDT corporate to allow David to use 5 Stones for SEO and AdWords, we got them to give as far as they were willing to give. In the end, they simply would not allow us to take over the website. Our hands were tied.
David, being the businessman that he is and having some great results as a rookie franchisee, had enough influence with the company to convince them to compromise and have 5 Stones create our own landing pages that were hosted on the website. We used Leadpages to set up landing pages that were designed specifically with conversion in mind. Unlike the website, the landing pages were mobile responsive. They also did not have a distracting navigation that allowed the visitor to get overwhelmed with pages of the website that were irrelevant to them. Lead capture held prime real estate on the landing pages and we used tracking phone numbers to measure conversions.
The website issue was a conversion issue, not necessarily an issue with the ads themselves. Still, what sense does it make to pay for clicks when people don’t convert?
The landing pages gave incredible “seat of the pants” results. Previous to us taking over this PPC campaign, no measures had been put into place to allow conversion tracking, but David confirmed that there was a noticeable difference in phone calls after the landing pages were put in place.
Another issue that we found was the domain name. The franchise had a practice of purchasing the domain name as [cityname]dumpsterrentals.com for all of their franchisees. Because of this, David’s domain name was neworleansdumpsterrentals.com. This caused a couple of issues. The first is that David’s business was not limited to New Orleans. His territory covers Southeast Louisiana: from Baton Rouge all the way to Slidell on the north side of the lake. Remember — Louisiana people are territorial. Baton Rouge residents aren’t going to rent a dumpster from a website using the domain neworleansdumpsterrentals.com.
Beyond that problem, one of David’s major competitors’ domain names was neworleansdumpsterrental.com. Notice the only thing different was the “s” at the end. So when someone see’s one of David’s trucks on the road or a dumpster on location and they remember the domain name slightly wrong, that business is lost to his competitor. Yes, of course it could work the other way around and David could get his competitor’s business. We didn’t overlook that. We kept that domain name with a redirect, so it still works for him. :)
At 5 Stones, we did some domain searches and found that the domain geauxdumpsters.com was available. When we told BTDT corporate that we wanted to change his domain name to that, they thought we had a screw loose. “What the heck is geaux?” Geaux is the same as “go” and is pronounced the same. It’s a play on the cajun name Boudreaux. If you are from Louisiana, you know it’s a Louisiana thing and it just screams local, no matter what part of South Louisiana you are from.
David finally convinced them to let us change the domain and the results were instant! Our click through rate on the ads went from 1.9% to 4.8% almost overnight. Currently we have a 6.17% click through rate overall with a 11.41% click through rate in the Baton Rouge area, which is nearly unheard of!
Getting back to conversion rate, we were finding that our Baton Rouge conversion rate was way down. Because of the March flood of 2016, we were getting higher clicks in this market than either of the others, but the least amount of work was coming from that area. When we started digging into it, it just didn’t make sense. Everything was exactly the same. What could it be? It finally hit us that the phone number we were displaying across the board was a 985 number. Could it be that people in “The 225” didn’t want to do business with a company out of “The 985”?
We decided to split up our landing pages and put location specific tracking phone numbers with area codes that matched that of where the caller was searching from. It worked! Again, almost overnight we started seeing a much higher call volume from the Baton Rouge area.
As you can see, running a pay-per-click campaign isn’t just about the ads. If you’re judging the results of your PPC campaign by “clicks”, it’s time to change your mindset. Clicks mean you are spending money. CONVERSIONS mean you are making money.
To this day we continue to work on David’s PPC campaign to make it perform better. It never stops. There is no such thing as the perfect campaign. When the buying environment changes, the campaign must change too.
At 5 Stones, we’re here to serve you. If you need help with a PPC campaign, or just need more customers, we’d love to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Let’s get started!