I am sometimes asked about Google Ad-Words (GAW)for marketing purposes. Most of the time, the appraisers who ask me are those wanting to get more non-lender business. As I have had very little experience in this arena, I have decided to ask fellow Appraiser Coach Dream Team Mastermind member, Matt Frentheway for his view on the subject. My interview with Matt follows:
Matt: I started last October, 2013.
Me: What made you decide to make GAW part of your overall marketing plan for non-lender business?
Matt: I realized that search engines were the most used way most people find what they want these days. The phone book is pretty much dead. As a result, I had a new website built and wanted it to show up at the top of Google pages, but found out to do that, I would have to spend a lot of time and possibly money on SEO (search engine optimization). Along with that, I learned it would take several months for that to work. A friend of mine then told me I could do it immediately if I just did a GAW campaign. That was perfect for me, as I could show up at the top while I waited for my SEO to start working.
Me: Describe the set up process? Can a newbie do it?
Matt: Google Adwords is fairly easy to set up. A person will need to create an account. Go to www.adwords.com. Also, this is one of the rare times one can actually get a Google rep on the phone. One can do that and/or there are plenty of training videos and support on the site as well. It will take some time at first, but once one does it, it gets easier.
Me: Did you experience success right out of the gate?
Matt: I did not make a profit in the beginning. I did get some calls and orders, but not enough to cover the costs that GAW was charging me. After 2 months, I was giving up, but that same friend told me not to. He told me how to tweak the ad so that I would get a decent ROI. What I learned is that Google does not necessarily know or care if one is making money. In the long run, of course they want one to stick around, but I don’t think they are equipped to really help one maximize it- so be careful. I even had a personal account person I could talk to live, but he did not really help me tweak it.
Me: What was the key in turning the cost of GAW into an investment? In other words, what made it a money making venture for you?
Matt: First, use exact words and phrases for keywords. Broad match words will cost a lot of money with no return. Broad match words can be effective, but do not start out of the gates with them. Find out which keywords work, then experiment slowly with broad match words.
Me: What kinds of words should you avoid? I have heard you can tell Google which search words to avoid as well.
Matt: Yes. Put negative keywords in as well. That way, you don’t get hits for jewelry, antiques, gold appraisers, etc.
Me: That is a good hint. What else?
Matt: Most non-lending orders come from your local area. Narrow the geographic region to just hit your coverage area. Also, use the “ad extension” feature. Most of your competitors will not use it and it is free.
Me: Anything else?
Matt: You do not want to break the bank. Set up a daily spending limit- I cannot emphasize this enough. Figure out how much you are willing, or can afford, to spend monthly, and break it down into a daily limit. Google will make sure your daily limit is hit, so you will most likely be hitting your monthly budget. Once you get it tweaked and know what works, then you can increase the limit. Adwords is very changeable, so if something is not working, change it fast. On the other hand, give it enough time to create enough data to make a decision. I usually let a new ad run for a month, and then look at the results to determine what needs to be changed, or what is working.
Me: How do you know what works?
Matt: Honestly, you have to experiment a little. Create several different ads with different content and titles. That way, you can test the waters and see which ones capture the most clicks. Adwords will give you all the data you want, like how many times your ad came up, how many times someone clicked on the link, how long they were on your web page, etc.
Me: Is there anything you need to do on the other side of the ‘click’ to make sure you retain the customer?
Matt: Make sure you have a great website or landing page so the viewer sees you as the real deal. Make sure your web page has a call to action, so that it is easy for the viewer to contact you. I get more phone calls from my website than email – so make sure someone is always answering your phone live. Most viewers, if they call, will not leave a message and if they do, by the time you get back to them, they will have found someone else.
Me: Sounds like you are sold on GAW. Once the experimentation phase was over, what would you say has been your ROI on this marketing approach?
Matt: I am currently sold on GAW, yes. My experimentation is not over and I am convinced I can make even a better ROI, so I am always trying new things. I stick with what I know works, then create other ads to see if they will be more effective. As far as ROI, I am experiencing roughly 800%.
Me: Wow! That is amazing. Now, you work in a pretty populated area. What is your opinion on the use of GAW for appraisers who work the more rural areas?
Matt: I have focused my GAW on the most populated areas that I cover so far. I also cover several rural areas, and that is the next frontier for me to experiment with. With that said, I cannot help but believe that rural and less populated areas will result in the same or better ROI. It comes down to how most people find info these days, and it is the same in rural areas as more populated areas- the internet. Additionally, rural areas typically do not have near as much appraiser competition. I am pretty excited to test it out soon in these types of areas.
Me: Anything else I failed to ask, but that you feel is important to know regarding GAW?
Matt: I did not discover anything new, I was just lucky enough to know someone that turned me on to GAW and how to be effective with it. I would encourage my fellow appraisers out there to search for tutorials on the internet on how best to tweak your ad and such- there is a lot of great advice available. Bottom line, at least for me, is to set your daily limit to something you can afford, and then just experiment until you find a great formula.
Me: Well Matt, this is great advice. Thank you for taking the time today to answer some questions regarding GAW for our readers.
Matt: Thank you for having me. I wish everyone success.
Matt Frentheway is a highly successful appraiser in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. He can be reached at www.aspenappraising.com.