What are these programs?
Google Adwords and Microsoft Bing Ads are pay-per-click ad programs, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on one of your ads. These are the ads that display when you perform a search, and can also appear on other websites displaying these ads.
Should I use them?
Unless you already have as much business as you can possibly handle, you should consider signing up and using these programs.
First, consider the placement these ads have compared to organic search results on the search engine's results page. Typically, search engines will display ads first, followed by local listings, maps, videos, then the free organic results. So, even if you have first position for your search term in the organic results, your listing may not even show up until the user scrolls halfway down the page. Ouch! But that's why Google can provide free fancy food and laundry service to all its employees.
Next, do some searches. Do your competitor's have ads with these services? I bet many do and they are positioning themselves to grab more potential customers. So, if your competitors are consistently running ads with these services, you can probably guess that they are getting a return on their investment.
It's all about ROI
The big thing to keep in mind if you decide to use these programs is that you need to keep a keen eye on your ROI (Return on Investment). You will need to determine how much you're willing to pay for a lead/inspection and try to keep your ad costs in that range.
Some tips on using these programs
- One big thing to do to keep your spending down is to get very specific with the key phrases that you are bidding on. You will want to have key phrases such as "home inspector *mycity*" or "home inspection *mycity*".
- Don't bid on general (short) phrases like "home inspector" or "radon testing", because with these general terms you will be competing with national results and will spend a lot with nothing to show for it.
- Bid on exact matches for key phrases (not broad matches, if you can help it) to get the most bang for your buck.
- Examine the geographic regions you are showing ads in, and make sure they apply to your business. You can also limit the times of day your ads show.
- Determine and set a daily spending limit that you can afford, and be prepared to spend some time adjusting your bids and budget to achieve your ROI goals.
- Since many real estate agents and customers these days rely on their phones, consider giving your ads a boost for mobile listings.
Your website still has to do most of the work in selling your service
Remember, getting someone to your site is only the first part of the battle. Don't forget that your website has to sell your service, and sell it hard. Try visiting your website like you are a customer coming to check out your sevice. Have a friend do the same. Did you sell it? Were you moved to call or email to schedule an appointment? If not, work on your site before you start spending money on ads. This can have a huge impact on your ROI.
Much more information can be found about these services and strategies on how to use them by searching online.