Facebook Ads for Tradesmen: How I Generated 297 Cheap Leads for a Landscaping Business

I've had mixed success with Facebook advertising for tradesmen and home improvement companies

By: John Devlin

Tradesmen

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It's fair to say I am no novice when it comes to Facebook ads for home improvement lead generation, but to say I am an advanced FB marketer would be a stretch.

But as of last year, I am now a converted believer that Facebook advertising for tradesmen and contractors does work!

And believe me for a long time I wasn’t.

Why I didn't believe in Facebook Advertising for local tradies?

Being an SEO marketer, most of my work is in optimising local websites and testing.

The successful tests I roll with.

I’ve been generating thousands of leads for home improvement businesses for as long as I can remember.

I even wrote an epic list of what advertising works for contractors and what, well doesn’t.

And yes, as of last year, Facebook Ads for contractors are now one of my go-to tradesman marketing strategies.

Back to why I didn't believe.

Facebook, in general, is a browsing platform, it’s users are not on there to buy, some might be, but most aren’t.

When companies advertise on Facebook, this is interruption advertising.

The user neither wants to see adverts and in most case will scroll straight past them unless they are highly interested in the topic.

See how I said topic, not offer?

Most huge companies advertising on Facebook know full well all the above and refrain from using cold direct offers to acquire new business.

The direct opposite of how local tradesmen and contractors try to use the platform.

The direct opposite of how I tried to use Facebook adverts for years.

I am not going to use this post to talk about how to use Facebook advertising properly with big budgets and scalability.

For one I am not qualified, and two, this guy and this guy cover the topic way better than I could.

For these reasons and when I did try I got burned, I stayed clear of contractor Facebook ads for a while.

What made me try Facebook ads again?

Well, I am a big believer in necessity breeds knowledge.

In this Facebook advertising case study, I am about to share, it was hugely necessary to start generating some leads!

The company that benefited from this successful Facebook ad campaign, I have a vested interest in.

Now the companies online marketing is all run by myself, and it does ridiculously well with lead generation, with organic SEO and Google Adwords being its most significant drivers of quality leads.

Here was the problem I faced.

The companies services were seasonal!

Nothing worse for an online marketer like me than a seasonal product or service.

All the years of hard work ranking great keywords in search results or optimising Adwords campaigns counts for little to nothing when the searchers go away.

You can have 1000 number rankings and an unlimited budget for Adwords but when clicks aren’t there because winter is here and it’s a landscaping service in one location your screwed.

Time to try at FB Ads for local leads again

I knew deep down, and I mean, I knew it.

Facebook advertising for contractors has to work. I mean, look at the facts.

And I’m thinking do Facebook Ads work for home improvement companies?

Time to go back to school, I thought.

I love to learn, and if I can not master, but get a firm grip on Facebook advertising for the local lead generation, I would be onto a winner.

No more worrying about seasonality, and as a marketer another string to my bow.

So I started to learn how to advertise a trades business locally on Facebook.

In the minute, I am going to show the exact Facebook Ad I used.

The targeting, the copy and the offer I put out to generate 297 leads for under $15 each.

But first, if you want to learn Facebook advertising for lead generation from scratch, these are the resources I used.

All from free information that anybody can access.

Useful Tip: When learning, waste some money.

You can test a Facebook ad for as little a $ 5’s per day.

It’s worth burning through a few tests before you allocate some serious budget.

So the first thing I needed to test was the type of ads I was going to run.

Creating the first test campaign

When it comes to choosing your first Facebook advertising campaign, you will be asked what kind of ad you want to run.

These are called ad types, and we didn’t use all the ad types we just tested the ad types that are known to work well for contracting businesses.

Carousel ads and video ads work fantastic for other types of businesses, like E-commerce.

I thought carousel ads would be great way to advertise a landscaping business with Facebook but going through the free training above told me it probably wouldn’t be the best option for this Facebook campaign.

The first ad I created was £5 a day traffic ad with clicks through to a landing page.

Traffic Ad

I am not going to go in-depth into the failures.

For one, it would take all day, and for two, I know you want to know the best Facebook ad for a contractor I found.

The traffic ad never worked for me; it could have been multiple reasons why.

  • The ad copy of the landing page
  • The number of fields in the contact form
  • The image on the landing page wasn’t consistent with the ad. (vital)

I know now after a load of failings and learning why most of the early attempts failed and how I got winning Facebook Ads for tradies.

But hey hindsight is a beautiful thing.

The Conversion Ad

A conversion ad is similar to the traffic ad except Facebook is not only looking for people who may be in interested in your ad, but it’s also optimising with the data it gets from the people who convert.

I spent well over £200 on this before I released that I didn’t have enough conversion data for the pixel to work.

The Facebook pixel is something you install, and it tracks everything that happens on your landing pages, Facebook page and with your ads.

This data is super valuable when looking to scale or create custom audiences.

So because I had no data, I got crap results.

Schoolboy error for me and a lesson in don’t run before you can walk.

Facebook Lead Ads - This had to be my winner, it was invented for this very purpose!

Facebook lead ads for tradesmen should, in theory, have been the perfect advertising method.

Lead ads for contractors are explicitly designed to capture leads inside the Facebook platform.

Meaning the browser never has to leave Facebook and can contact your company from right inside their news feed.

We spent a fair bit of money on Facebook lead ads and generated tonnes of leads at a very cheap cost.

Developing contacts using lead ads is certainly not the issue.

The issue we found was it was too easy for people to become a lead.

We had countless examples of leads that had changed their mind, can’t remember sitting in the form or wouldn’t answer the phone at all.

To put it bluntly, we found Facebook lead ads for contractors produced inferior quality leads which then became a real timesuck going through everyone.

Then it struck me – The Eureka Moment!

On my Facebook business page, the messenger was always going off, customers 50 times a week asking a question like

  • Does your company take away the waste?
  • What is the guarantee on your services?
  • What is the product like for kids or dogs?

They wanted to talk to someone! ARH!

Introducing Messenger Ads (a game-changer for home improvement Facebook ads )

I loaded up several Messenger ads with real excitement, think about it.

  • No more landing pages
  • No more trying to take people off Facebook (expensive)
  • No more hoping they will fill in a form (nobody likes forms)
  • No more ads that feel like selling, just conversations

Here is how I set up the winning ads.

Quick note – as with any advertising for tradies you need perceived value, you need a reason to buy.

You need to explain clearly to potential customers why contact now and not later.

You will see how I did it in the copy coming up.

First, How I set up the Messenger Ads (step by step)

Targeting

It’s fair to say most of my losses on Facebook advertising for contractors work caused through incorrect targeting.

The mistake you don’t want to make

You see after years of reading online marketing material about Facebook ads, I had been preconditioned with the ideas that you must hone in on your ideal prospective customer, and this comes through precision targeting.

The above ideas are 100% correct if you are targeting major cities with millions of people or targeting at country level.

But this all changes when targeting a local area.

Why?

The following criteria would have been my ideal Facebook targeting settings.

  1. Homeowner
  2. Above 30 years old
  3. Married or single
  4. Employed

I was trying to get very regular customers who owned they’re home and had the money to pay for the services.

There is nothing worse than getting tons of leads from renters or unemployed people that don’t have means to buy the services.

This was a mistake, so please don’t get carried away with targeting for local business Facebook advertising.

There is probably no better company in the world at targeting than Facebook so allow them to do what they do best and just run the ads to your whole all town, city or region.

From there the Facebook platform collect the data.

They will find winning targeting settings a lot faster than you ever could.

By all means set your age range to above 30 years old if you’re looking for homeowners, besides this leave the targeting settings alone and let Facebook do its thing.

Ideally, you want at least 100,000 people in your target area for Facebook to collect the essential data.

I had  a potential reach of 460,000 and the ads to show in news feeds only.

I am happy to let Facebook do the rest.

Killer Offer - Hugely Important

This section is pretty simple if you don’t have a killer offer when advertising on Facebook you’re more than likely going to fail.

To understand why this is, you have first to understand Facebook advertising.

Facebook is one of many social media platforms where for want of a better word people go to chill and relax.

They are on Facebook too check in with what their sister is doing what’s the latest news in their Facebook groups, and generally, they are there to switch off.

They are certainly not there too to be bombarded with posts about how your roofing company is the best in the area.

Remember you are interrupting their leisure time with your adverts.

Even if the Facebook user is considering roofing work sometime in the next year, they are likely to scroll right past your roofing advert unless the ad has massive benefits to them.

Examples of a killer offer for Facebook advertising in other industries would be things like

  • A carpet cleaner can offer buy one get one free on cleans
  • A roofer can offer free roof checks
  • A heating company can offer half price servicing. (first time)

With Facebook advertising in the home improvement industry, your killer offer we’ll come down to money, it’s as simple as that.

A customer or a potential customer I should say will sit up and take notice to a roof company advert with 15% off this month only if they are considering any roofing works.

The reason for this is pretty apparent there is a massive incentive for them to act now on their roofing plans or risk paying more in the future.

A lot of roofing contractors I have spoken to over the years about Facebook ads for local businesses say they couldn’t possibly afford 10% or 15% off.

But what they are doing here is confusing marketing with sales.

You’re marketing offer; in this case, a roofing Facebook ad has one primary focus which is to convert ad spend into leads.

Mastering any form of advertising will require your ads to be creative.

Just because you have an advertised 15% off this does not mean it is 15% off of the final invoice or all costs.

It could easily be 15% off the labour which wouldn’t include materials, VAT, scaffolding, waste and so on.

The main points to take away here it is you need to give the potential customer a reason to contact you, and to do it now.

Auto Responders and Chat Bots

Manychat is the tool I used and was quite impressed.

It takes a bit of getting used to for sure, so be prepared to set some time aside.

Because our target was only around 5 to 10 Leeds today, we found chatbots to be too time-consuming for what we needed.

It was easier to respond ourselves straight away to the messenger ads.

The Results & Winning Ad

The copy and why this was a winning ad

The copy and being open with the potential customers was what made this a winning ad.

There is nothing wrong with just saying it like it is. 

We need work now, and here’s the benefit to you. 

The results we had using Facebook ads for our contracting business were fantastic once we fixed the issues and learned from our mistakes.

We got real traction on the platform we managed to secure 297 leads for what I think you will agree is a relatively low price.

£4115.95 to be exact! 

The 3 ads are different images being tested, we went with the winning image

Not only did those Facebook leads secure a wave hot new business (over £70k) they managed to safely steer the landscaping business through a challenging seasonal period.

Where leads from other proven marketing methods we’re just not forthcoming.

I even followed this up a month later for a friend with a carpet cleaning business; they used the killer offer of buying one carpet clean and get another free.

It worked a treat.

Last Word

There will, of course, be people out there that have had success with all types of ads in this industry.

Social media is awash with excellent people creating well-performing ads for all kinds of businesses.

I could’ve hired someone to create excellent Facebook ads for tradies on my behalf, but I wanted the knowledge.

I wanted the how’s and why it works, and I am glad I did.

Nothing is stopping you doing the same.

Stop messing around with page likes and create an irresistible offer and get it out there.

Social media and Facebook in particular has unlimited potential customers you’ve just got to go and get them.

Tradesmen

John Devlin

With over 20 years working in the home improvement industry, I have successfully transitioned from a small trades business owner to a digital marketer. I knew very early that the secret to growing a trades business would rely heavily on learning scalable lead generation strategies and marketing the business better than others online. This blog is where I share everything I learned (and continue to learn) on my journey.

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