Last month, a prominent trade magazine announced this year’s award winning remodelers. The list is a who’s who of innovative remodeling companies that are at the cutting edge of production and marketing. Here at Spectrum, we are the experts on marketing for remodelers, so we dug into the statistics to see what sets the award winners apart.

Award-winning remodeling companies start with extraordinary service. Not only do they provide great service and craftsmanship, but they have the systems in place to convert their staff’s talents into a sterling online reputation. That means that they have software to back turn happy customer experiences into positive online review around the web. In our previous research, we found that the average award-winning remodeler ranked above 4.5/5 stars on Houzz.

So, how do you stand out in a crowded field of talented installers with excellent online reputations? You can’t expect to differentiate your company based on product quality (many of your competitors have 4-5 star reputations), and you don’t want to compete on price. The majority of award winning remodelers have struck on a solution: appear first, and appear often in a prospect’s research cycle. How does a remodeling company appear in related searches on demand? Through paid-search advertising.

Paid Search for Remodelers, 101:

Our research team ran competitive analysis software on the home websites for all award winning remodelers, and the results were decisive: the majority of this aggressively growing group are running paid-search campaigns. Paid-search advertisements appear in search engine results when a related keyword is entered in the search bar. On Google, that means that an advertiser appears above or alongside of the nonpaying search placements.

Why are award winning remodelers on paid-search?

Why run paid-search, when the unpaid or ‘organic’ placements are available? The reason is twofold. First is prominence – the higher your site is listed on the search engine results page, the more likely your site is to win the sale of a potential customer searching for home remodeling terms. You can’t appear higher on the page than the first three paid listings. The second reason is growth opportunity – with a tightly managed paid-search account, you can flexibly bid to put your business in front of qualified customers. The vertical limit, set by how many searches there are for your product in your service area, is typically astronomical. If you can strike on a winning formula, fueled by a steady stream of sales leads at a profitable cost-per-lead, your paid-search campaign can increase in scope whenever you need.

An equally interesting finding, though, is that many award winning remodelers once used paid-search – but have since deactivated it.

Why do award-winning remodelers quit paid-search?

More than half of award winning remodelers run paid-search campaigns through their main website. Of the 88 companies who don’t, 40 of them previously did. Why did those companies stop? Well, paid-search advertising is complex. The most basic Google AdWord’s certification’s study guide is 80+ pages, and there are 6 other certifications like it to be a trained expert. AdWords is complex, and errors can be very costly. In other words, some remodelers flameout on paid-search.

A simple misconfiguration of settings can blow your entirely monthly budget without generating a single lead – for instance, you would be shocked to see how many remodelers don’t use geo targeting to only show ads in their service area. The default geography in AdWords is the whole United States, so that means that the majority of your budget would be spent in other states. Through geotargeting and hundreds of opportunities for smaller errors, many remodelers start paid-search only to stop.

With the majority of preeminent remodelers participating in AdWords, though, you can be certain that there is a winning formula on the platform. It is just a question of having the right technological and statistical talent to figure out what that formula is.