Every few months I find a large pile of spam on my porch. It’s not canned meat on my doorstep, unwelcome advertising. I’m talking about those huge, outdated tomes called “The Yellow Pages.” The catch is I don’t even bring them in the house. My community has several versions, so I do lots of recycling.
You may personally like the Yellow Pages and you may use them regularly. After all, they make things easy to find. But do your customers like them? Ask yourself: Are you still getting the same number of Yellow Pages referrals? I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts your referral rate has declined significantly in the last few years, while your advertising costs have increased.(pq)
In a time of tightening budgets, we’re hearing from appraisers who need to cut costs. Now is the time to reassess all your expenses, especially advertising expenses that may not be paying the dividend you expect. So where to go? You could advertise on the Yellow Pages online — it’s certainly a better option than the book. But even better: why not go where the people are looking for you? I’m talking about Google.
Before your yearly Yellow Pages bill comes up for renewal, consider testing some Google Adwords targeted at your town to see if you could get the same results for less.
How do you get better results? By revising your ads and testing your ads regularly and improve them. You can run unlimited variations with unlimited search keywords. Contrast that freedom with Yellow Page advertising that costs a lot for diminishing returns. You must submit Yellow Pages ads 1–4 months in advance of publication and they run for a year. Search Engine advertising changes instantly when you need it to, for no additional cost.
For example, during tax challenge season, you might want to advertise to homeowners who are looking to lower their taxes. Different counties in your service area may have different windows for challenges. So you need only run these ads when it's possible to submit a tax challenge. Once the assessments have all been settled and there is no more tax assessment business, you don't have to pay for the ad. Try that with the Yellow Pages.
If Yellow Pages ads are still working for you — great! But if you have seen a decline in response or you’re concerned about the cost of renewing your ad, read on for a few detail about the most popular online advertising platform: Google AdWords.
Sophisticated marketers use dozens of methods to compete for AdWords placement, but you don’t have the time to write dozens of ads and spend hours per day. Instead, we’re going to focus on the simplest method to get your ads in front of the right people: geographic targeting.
Let’s consider Chicago as an example. If you are an Appraiser who works in the Chicago area but not in the Indiana suburbs, you can easily set up an AdWords campaign to include all of Chicago. You can exclude certain suburbs, or even the core of Chicago — and you can easily change geographic targeting. In my test Chicago campaign, I targeted all of the Chicago metro inside Illinois, excluding Indiana.
Here’s what I came up with for several keywords at 75 cents per click: Costs as low as $6 per day, up to $20 per day for 12 – 22 clicks. If you’re like me you’re having a little chest pain at the thought of spending $20 per day on advertising — that’s $600 per month! Not to worry — you can set a maximum budget per day — and you don’t have to run your ad all the time. Going on vacation? Pause your campaign. Too much work? (Yes, it will happen again someday) Cut your ad budget. The strength of PPC is that it's flexible — and that flexibility can save you money.
And what if you do spend $600 per month? Twenty two clicks per weekday could be 4½ new appraisal orders per month (If you can manage a 1% conversion rates on your ads) Is that worth $600 per month? It all depends on your fees and your costs. Obviously, driving a long way to do an one inspection far from your office may not be worth it, once you've figured in advertising costs. However, if you can work that inspection in with several others you're already doing, then it may be worth spending money to get it.
Whatever you do, I strongly urge you NOT to spend $600 in your first month with Google AdWords. You’re going to want to ease into it, starting with smaller budgets and restricting your buys to less competitive keywords.
Yes, it seems like a lot of work, but you can get started in about an hour. A PPC campaign can pay off with big results in appraisal orders at little cost in time or money. Are you interested? If so, join me for a special, free AdWords webinar on August 27 at 3pm CST. Register at www.alamode.com/PPCWebinar. We’ll show you how you can effectively use Google AdWords and even walk you through creating a pay-per-click campaign.