Professional Services Sometimes Need To Give Away The Sizzle To Sell The Steak

Most professional service companies including lawyers, dentists and real estate professionals that purchase paid traffic often struggle generating a profitable ROI.  The main reason that obtaining a positive ROI is difficult is because unlike an ecommerce company; professional service companies typically do not have a direct call to action such as an ‘Add To Cart’ button on their website.  Also, unlike an ecommerce company what the professional service company typically offers is some sort of intangible service that many times is not even purchased directly on their website.

Instead of a direct call to action, for many professional service companies, the only call to action visitors are offered is to either find a phone number and call or to locate the all too common ‘contact us’ link and complete a generic form.  With typically only those two options available for website visitors, it is no wonder that many professional service advertisers struggle with profitability when using Google AdWords to generate website traffic.

In this blog post, we will look at a way for advertisers to convert paid traffic into actionable contact information provided directly from website visitors.

Search vs. Display Ads

When using Google AdWords, professional service advertisers typically utilize either display ads or search ads.  Search ads are the traditional ads that most people picture when they think of advertising on Google.  It is when a user goes to Google and enters a search query and Google generates a list of results.  Generally, the top 2-4 results are going to be paid ads for most searches.

In this search example for the search term ‘family estate attorney’, the top results are 4 ads listed above the organic results.

Google Search Ads

Search ads typically provide better quality of traffic for advertisers than display ads as users are actively looking for a product or service for which they search. However, search ads can be expensive depending on the industry and the level of competition, which is why many times advertisers choose to use display ads.

Display ads are eligible to appear when a user is within the Google Network, which consists of thousands of websites, and is on a webpage related to an advertiser’s display keywords.  Like search ads, Google charges the advertiser each time an ad is clicked; however, display ads are much cheaper and in fact many times they are just a fraction of the cost of search ads.

Therefore even professional service advertisers with a tight budget can afford to run display ads.  Whether they are successful with their ads will depend on how they are able to optimize the traffic they receive.

Think of it like this. For professional service advertisers, display ads I commonly refer to as billboard advertising; while search ads are more like what yellow page ads were 15 years ago.

When generating business through display ads, it is essential for advertisers to go beyond the standard website phone number and ‘contact us’ link when directing paid traffic.  This is because when using this type of ‘billboard advertising’ an advertiser must have a call to action that is not only specific, but compelling. In fact, it is often a necessity “to give away the sizzle in order to sell the steak”.

What Is The Sizzle/What Is The Steak?Make Each Click Count

The sizzle is a lead magnet.  The steak is the service that the professional service provides. 

A lead magnet can be a number of different things, but what it is designed to do is to trade a piece of information for a user’s email address.   So whether the lead magnet is a free report, a whitepaper, a toolkit, a video or a free trial it must be valuable enough for a website visitor to leave their email address or other requested piece of contact information.

Once an advertiser has a way to contact an interested website visitor, it is up to the advertiser on how exactly to follow-up and market to each potential customer.  An exciting thought for advertisers, as the possibilities of how to market is endless, including my favorite – the email drip campaign.

Example 1 – Family Estate Attorney

I created this lead page for a family estate attorney.  The lead magnet gives away a free report: “What Will The Trump Presidency Mean For Family Estate Planning?”

What Will Trump Presidency Mean To Family Estate Planning

TIP: An effective lead magnet does three things: it solves a specific problem by offering a specific solution for a specific segment of the market.

This lead magnet solves a specific problem for those wondering how the new administration might affect family estate planning.  In exchange for solving this problem, the visitor must provide their email so the report can be sent. 

If what a lead magnet offers is of enough value to those viewing the page to leave their email address, it will have a strong conversion rate.  Make sense?

Example 2 – Real Estate Attorney

A real estate agent client of mine wanted to capture the physical home address information of his visitors, which is even more difficult to obtain than email addresses. 

In order to have visitors leave their physical addresses, we had to create a reason visitors would want to leave their address by providing it as a solution to a problem.

So here is what we did:

Letting Zillow Value Your Home

So most people who have purchased or even have considered purchasing a home have used the website and one of the main reasons people use Zillow is to obtain an estimate on a specific home value. 

However, the estimate that Zillow provides is seldom correct as it is based on fairly simple algorithm which is used to evaluate homes throughout the country. 

So in the lead magnet above, we solved the problem of providing visitors wanting to know the true value of their home a way to obtain their actual value.  In order for my real estate client to be able to valuate a home, he will need the property address which is what he wanted to collect from those visiting his website in the first place. 

Summary –

In an ideal world, professional service advertisers would simply drive paid traffic to their website and a reasonable amount of those visitors would pick up the phone and either call or fill out the ‘contact us’ form. 

In the real world though, very few (if any) visitors will call or fill out a ‘contact us’ web form.  Therefore, in able to capitalize on traffic, professional service advertisers can use a lead magnet to capture information from their web visitors, while solving a problem for their visitors.

Remember, an effective lead magnet will solve a specific problem with a specific solution for a specific person.  And in exchange, advertisers are rewarded with contact information from their website visitors. Using a lead magnet is an effective method for savvy advertisers that wish to expand their online marketing efforts in order to grow their business and a needed gateway creating the ability to directly market to website visitors.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Good Luck & Happy Marketing!


Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.