This is the final episode in the online marketing series for inspectors. We’ve built this series step-by-step so you do first things first. It’s like building a house. I’m trying to build a house, why am I digging a big hole? I don’t want to hole, I want the house. Well, first you’ve got those foundations. For foundations, you dig down first. And you’ve got the bedrock, you’ve got the foundations. Then you start building up. You start the exterior walls. It’s not good worrying what your kitchen is going to look like before you got the rest of the building structure there. And, there’s no point putting on the roof until you have something to support it.
These things have an order. Likewise, when we’re building out a digital marketing plan, there are a lot of parts that it makes sense to have. The very first thing we looked at is knowing who you are, what your message is, what your brand is because that’s your blueprint for everything. What you’re trying to build comes from that. Without that, you’re just hoping it goes in the right direction, which is not good.
We talked about measuring in the second part, because everything we do after that has to be precise. We need to know if it’s working or not. And that means we’ve got to have the measurements.
Conversions come third. Now that we can measure. We check the conversions everywhere. Make sure it is working as intended. When we try to test things first to make sure that conversion rate is as good as possible, before we spend time and energy building out all the things to get people there to find out, it doesn’t work. So you see what I mean. There’s always a logical process.
Types of Advertising
It’s not a shock to people that digital advertising is out there. Google is very good at letting people know. The minute you signed up for Google My Business or Google Places or local, they’re letting you know that you can buy ads. They’re letting you know that they’re happy to run them for them. That’s nice.
However, it is the last piece of the puzzle. Make sure all of those things we’ve talked about first are in place. Because if your conversion rate isn’t good, and you’re spending money to send people there and with a half an hour or an hour time you could double that conversion rate then, at the moment, you’re wasting half your money.
The easiest way to look at advertising is by price and by content. These are the solid types of advertising we can talk about.
By pricing we have three different things that we are looking at.
PPM. We have what’s called PPM, which is pay per mil. It’s by number of impressions and it’s always rounded to the thousands. It’s the French for thousands rather than realizing per million. ppm.
It’s controllable. It’s very, very budgetable. You know what the details are. You know how many people it’s going to reach. The point that so many people see it. But there’s a reason it’s the worst, and we’ll come back to that in a little bit later. This is the one that’s by the number of people seeing it. This is really, really good if you know everything. And you know that this is the perfect audience for the specific product, it’s been shown to work. If you’ve got all of the skills you need to make PPM work for you, it’s based on pricing on demand from the average person, and you’re better than average at targeting your message, then you can make this work for you.
PPC. Otherwise, pay per click, PPC, is much more preferable to where you want to be. Pay per click is the Google AdWords version. They show the ads to everyone they want to, and you only pay when that ad is clicked. Affiliate programs in all kinds of things use this. It’s solid because you’re paying per lead.
The first one, PPM, is seen by people whether or not they act on it or not; whether it was only seen against the side of their eye, whether it’s in that area of the page where they got banner blindness. The fact it was served means you pay. In pay per click, PPC, you’re only paying if they’ve clicked on it. Now that doesn’t always still mean that you have a customer, because they could click out of interest to see what it is. But it’s much more deliverable. We know that this is a click, and should be landing on your business.
You can work on your PPC first to work out your targeting and be least offensive in PPM. Then you can take all that information you’ve learned in PPC and use it to be smarter about your PPM program.
There’s even little tricks that can be done with pay per click. Now Google will only run ads if they get a certain amount of clicks. If it’s not generating money for them, they’re not going to show it because it’s just not generating any money. So, they do look at the click through rate to determine how popular an ad is, where it rates, as well as the price. The price times the click through rate is how Google sorts the order of those ads.
However, there are times when you’re complying with a particular niche that has almost no advertising in it, and that can be made to work. Years ago I worked for a mortgage company. We ran ads very specifically on certain postcodes where people were looking for properties to buy. They’re not looking for a mortgage, they haven’t even found a house yet. We targeted those searches so that our brand was showing up even at that stage. We had to actually pay a few people to click those for us. We had to pay for the clicks, but we did it just to keep the ads visible so that Google wouldn’t stop campaigns as ineffective. We weren’t competing with any other mortgage companies so the prices were very cheap. Nobody had thought to target this. It did very, very well for us. By the time they had found a property, they felt like they’d been seeing our ad everywhere.
Fixed Rate. This tends to be private arrangements. Sometimes you’ve got a particular newsletter, publication, or group who will advertise you in whatever way at a fixed fee. They’ll say , give us X amount for doing it. Those are great because you always know what the need is, you always know what the circumstances are, and it’s usually a pretty good way for you. This could be having your card up in a place that specializes in house cleaning, but they will have a poster up there, in the shop, anything where you can get exposure to people who may also need building inspection stuff. That could be a fixed rate deal.
Anything except pay per click, you’re not guaranteed results. And even with pay per click, you’re only guaranteed they’re going to click, not that they’re going to buy.
(Jeff Bond) I did work on my targeted ads first. I worked on trying to figure out exactly who my audience was and how I would engage best with them. Then I focused all of my advertising towards that. Then I worked on conversions.
I then took that data back and I used it to immediately improve my conversions. I figured out what I was doing right and wrong, and was able to increase my click through rate. That gave me better working capital and let my budget go further. I continued in PPC and then lightly played around with the price per mill, just the impressions. I didn’t want to make an impression and not have a handle on who was making impressions with or what I was presenting to them. Basically with price per million, you’re offending people. You’re presenting to them and they don’t want to see it. So you try to be very judicious in using that. I’m fortunate to say I’ve had good smart people helping me out in building the website, and then go into PPC, and doing conversions. I think the message for me is be smart and talk to people that know what they’re doing.
One of the counterintuitive things is the idea, I want as many people to see it as possible. No, you don’t. You really do not want to tick off as many people as possible. Let’s face it, most of us when we see an ad a lot, we hate it. We all remember those terrible TV, terrible radio ads to print ads which we just saw everywhere and we’re just, give it a rest. You don’t want to be that. The in all advertising is to be able to convert as high as possible by showing it to as few as necessary.
Use pay per click to learn your conversion rates before doing PPM because that will help you have the knowledge. But, even then, when you first start doing PPM understand that you need to have disposable budget. What if you’ve got it wrong? This budget could be wasted. So don’t have too much. Just test, put a toe in the water. Don’t go diving in before checking at the depth and temperature. Be careful when you spend.
Certain platforms will be more inclined towards serving that particular model. For example, if you’re on Google ads you can count on a PPC type model, but if you go to a Facebook you might be taught more PPM. And so you need to be aware. You don’t want to be doing a lot of PPM, make sure you’re careful which platforms you’re playing on.
Ads by content is useful to know as well, because different content types are good for different kinds of messages to be ways of reaching people.
Ad blocks, is kind of like pay per click where it’s got sponsored links at the top of a page, or on any website. It’s got a visible part that you can see and it’s marked as advertising. There’s a block for ads on that page, and it’s clear that that’s the ad. It gets seen, but it’s also not going to confuse anybody that it’s anything other than that.
Then we’ve got the inline endorsement. The reason I’ve got both of these is we’re not only talking about printing digital print. Inline is where the ad is in the middle of something. It flows. It might be a paid placement in the middle of a story that relates. It could be that they’ve endorsed this product or service as the one they’ve used while going through this article. Obviously, in video content endorsements come in. We’ve all seen those adverts where somebody is halfway through the video and this week was sponsored by Skillshare and talking about how these courses apply. It does mean you can’t miss them. It’s an endorsement but then making clear it’s an advertisement as well.
Then we’ve got interstitial. Rarely in print, but this is when you click a link to go to an article, and you’re shown an ad before you get there, and it says, you’ll be forwarded in a moment. That’s an interstitial. They are like a TV style ad, before we get that program, we’ve got an ad you can’t miss. And Google does this across as well on YouTube. You can’t just start a video, it shows you the ad first. You can’t skip to watch. Those are interstitials. They are obnoxious, but they’re the most visible.
There’s a lot of ad blockers that remove those ads for you. However, do bear in mind, if you like YouTubers and want to support their channels, and you have those ad blockers, you are stopping them from getting ad impressions, stopping them from making as much money.
Sponsored content is where you pay for the whole piece of content itself. This can be kind of like guest posting on the internet. It can be featured articles in print, as well. You could pay to have a full page ad written as a piece of content. So, an article, rather than just a glossy picture. So sponsored content is a very, very powerful way of doing the infomercial.
How to Choose
Choosing which type of ad to use depends on what the message is, who you’re trying to reach, and where you’re trying to reach them. The reason why we mentioned all this is to just spark those ideas. If you’ve got somebody you want to reach, you’ve got to know how long that message is or how it’s got to be presented. That will help you determine which of these you need to use. Sponsored content if you’ve got a complex message. You need time to get across the message. Sponsored content is when you’ve got as much time and space as you paid for. Interstitials are the most objected to by people because they can’t avoid them. So make them short punchy, and most of all, forgivable. Go for the human, make it something that they can’t get too annoyed with you about. Funny or heartwarming works well.
There was an ad a few weeks ago, doggy dentures. An ad for those who choose not to clean their dog’s teeth. But it started off with an ad for doggy dentures, every time, dogs with false teeth grinning at me from the screen. I started laughing, every time. It didn’t matter how often I saw the ad. That ad couldn’t be over done for me. I don’t even have a dog.
When to Use Digital Advertising
Budget determines your priority.
(Jeff Bond) Case study.
I had a limited budget. I thought, I’m gonna go ahead. I have $250 a month to put it all into PPC and I put in Google Ads. I’m gonna try to tickle two or three inspections a month out of it. Maybe spend $250 and then make $1000. I tried to slowly grow it. It was good and effective. I had my start. My start was to do PPC. I had my website. Absent that website, I had nothing of substance and value to really land on. So it really begins with having content that you can land on and completely refer back to and give control back to. Advertise when you have a budget. When you have a budget, you get your priorities done first.
The budget priority is always about what’s the smartest use for any money that you have. And remember, some of the things we’ve talked about. If you do not have your brand sorted out, then, instead of spending $250 on an ad that is hit or miss, throwing spaghetti on the wall, spend that night off work. Just sit and really think about that. Spend it on a weekend away. It’s more sensible to keep your head straight for that.
If you haven’t got your analytics in place before you buy ads, pay for somebody to set up those analytics. If you’re not great at this, get some professional specialists to set it up, set up a dashboard for you. Then you can look at and really understand that anytime. All of the steps we’ve talked about, if there were any of those that aren’t addressed, they are missing. If you’re missing social media because by choice that’s just not what you’re good at, that’s fine. But all of the rest, check you’ve done those first.
If you haven’t done them, putting this budget into ads will be hit and miss. Look at those other things that last, that are the foundations, that are still going to be there month after month after month. Spend your money wisely.
Content comes up there as well. In doing that, you’re going to learn that through PPC, certain content actually just resonates well. It really delivers and converts well. Then what you can do is take that and you double down and amplify that with PPM. Take your winners and find the PPM. You already know it’s smart. You know it’s good. You know what’s converting. Then you might as well resonate that.
Once you’ve got the measurement in place. Once you’ve been doing your content, you know what content is working. That’s when you can do a very limited campaign to amplify the reach of that content. Promote it on Facebook, promote it on Twitter so it’s seen by more people. More people get that quality content.
You know it’s quality, because people are already reacting to it. Amplifying the content is usually a lot cheaper and a lot less resistant than a straight up ad, buy my product. That’s fine if you have your head straight, and you have your business set. You know what your goals are and you have metrics that you’re seriously looking at to determine if you’re converting or not.
How to Use Digital Advertising
The two things that really separate digital advertising, is that we have a lot more granular control over who is seeing it, how and where, the ability to target demographically rather than means of publication. In the days of print, everyone who read that paper was going to see your ad, which sounds great, but it isn’t. When you’re talking Facebook you can, rather than just show everybody on Facebook—you can do that, they’ll take your money—you can target really specifically. For example, only people with an interest in this, are members of this group, and had my pixel, they’re going to see this ad. And you can really, really be super precise. So, everyone is a really targeted link, rather than trying to reach everyone.
Facebook Pixels. Pixels Is Facebook’s own analytics offering. It’s kind of like Google Analytics You put this little bit of code into HTML into your pages. Then it lets you track all kinds of stats on that page. But, more importantly, Facebook knows when people have picked up that pixel on that page. What it relates to is you can then show retargeted ads. If an ad keeps displaying, you knew that was Facebook guilty. You know, if somebody has watched one of your podcasts, one of your posts, one of those specific things then they’re more likely to see all of the others. You can specifically pay, just to show those people.
It’s like someone coming to your home inspection website. They’ve expressed an interest in home inspections and you particularly. They chose to come there and your thought is that they might need you, but maybe later. So you go ahead on occasion and remind them that you’re there for professional service. You let them know that when they need you, if you could be of service. Otherwise, If there’s a homebuyer in a year and a half, between impressions, you might have lost that potential client.
It’s always that degree that determines. The pixel itself isn’t creepy. If you were at a meeting at the town hall to discuss some project that’s being done, and that meant that all campaigners crowded around, you might recognize some of those people. You might recognize them on the street, and go up to them again later on and say, I saw you at the town meeting. Pixel and things like are allowing you to do that automatically in the way you could in real life. The difference is, just like in real life, if you see them at that time, the fact that you saw them at the town hall doesn’t mean you should sit outside their house every night in a car.
Just because you can do it in real life, doesn’t mean you should. And just because you can do things online, doesn’t mean a should. Be considerate.
It emphasizes why you really need to know what to do with PPC. Because if the only people that come to your website are the people that really need you, and if you continue to educate them lightly, then you’re adding value. You’re actually being productive and giving them information. They’re basically signaling to you a year and a half in advance, they’re going to use you. A lot of people do that. They look for a home inspector a year before they went to buy. People call and talk about a house they’re going to be buying next year. Try to stay in contact with those people.
One thing to be warned about with retargeting is the fails. There is a really obvious fail that happens quite a lot. Amazon is terrible at this. You look at a product. And then for the next three months they send you, oh, you’re still interested in this product. No, I was looking at four websites, I bought one of them three months ago. Then for three months since then you’ve been sending ads for the thing I bought already. Be careful, sometimes some purchases are a thing that are made almost certainly instantly. Don’t retarget those people because they’ve already bought the damn thing.
Don’t send ads to someone just because they came on your site interested. Yes. These six seven other tabs they had open at the same time, they shopped around, you may have lost. By all means retarget once, send them a link. So, add a special offer if necessary. If that doesn’t get clicked, delete them from your database.
Take that money and advertise somewhere else, like a trade journal for people who are doing flipping and remodeling. And now these people are looking and they’re seeing you as a home inspector, someone that’s able to help them before they’ve even bought the house or going to flip. And next they’re lining you up for in the future when they buy a house. If they’re going to flip you’re the inspectors. So, be smart about where you put your money.
I think one of the things home inspectors often miss is the correlation to other things. Google isreally good at this, their search results correlate so much stuff. But, how many of you think, home decorators are often called for homes that have been fixed up and about to be sold or generally about to be sold. Are you in with the local painting and decorating companies? If you’re not, that’s an obvious trick you’re missing.
There is one advantage of paid advertising over anything else. It is the ability to turn it off. You can stop that the minute that you need to.
This was really important when I was working with realtors. If you were listing a property and that property sells, and you carry on advertising it, people want to see that property. And you say, I’m sorry it sold. It sounds fake. We all have seen companies do that. They advertise something great that they don’t have so they can show you something else. Yeah, that car on the car lot that isn’t there, and the house that isn’t actually for sale. We are critical of that, and other people critical as well.
Be careful. If you’ve got a thing that needs to stop being listed, advertising lets you do that straightaway. They will not show that ad if they’re not getting paid for it. Google might still show old results until it realizes that it’s gone.
And the smart thing is, think laterally. The more you can put in, the more you can be really super smart about where, how, and who you are targeting, the more value you will get out of your ads.
Think of the other things that people are looking for, as signs that they’re going to be looking for you before you start deployment. If you have a bit of ground exposure in before they’ve started looking for an inspector. That is, people that do industrial cleaning, if you’re doing industrial business inspections. People that do painting and decorating. People that are building constructors. They’re going to list those properties or somebody’s going to list those. They’re going to want them inspected. Or buyers are going to be targeting the search phrases related to that round or anything like that.
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The tenth in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States. He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing. He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status. Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.