Appraiser Business Practice
-Tips For How To Find Your Next Customer-
If you’re like most professionals, you want to run a business that focuses on what you’ve spent a long time learning and perfecting. Your trusted clients count on you to know the details and account for the “ins and outs” of doing what you do.
Only you know how much you know, but that’s the problem. How can you get the word out and turn what you know into income?
An agency will help you find clients. If there is an agency that is available to help connect you to people who will pay you for your expertise, then you’ve gained a strong ally. Do you stop there? If there is more work to be done and your daily agenda isn’t quite filled out, you may want to consider spreading the word yourself. How are you going to do that? When hiring a professional to do your marketing for you isn’t in the budget, how can you justify marketing until you are a little more comfortable that it’s going to work?
May I suggest you do a few things first?
Instead of spending your valuable resources going to the FedEx copy center to print off hundreds of flyers to litter the town with the first step is to just…think.
Who is your ideal consumer? What is their age? Be as specific as you can. This is what is known as your “target market.” Maybe you’ve noticed a few things while you’ve been on the job. Have you noticed an age? A certain income? Lifestyle and other demographics? These are all clues to the best ways to get in front of people looking for someone just like you.
The clues will tell you exactly how to market. Let’s say that you’ve noticed that you’re appraising to a slightly younger crowd, e.g., lots of younger couples who are ready to take a big step and buy a house. Statistics show that advertising on social media will gain a lot of trust from this demographic. Younger people are tech-savvy and trust other people who they can see on their social media profiles.
Now, before you go downloading TikTok and practicing your dance moves, let’s be very clear that you absolutely do NOT need to be on every social media platform. There may be some you shouldn’t be on. Millennials are just looking to see if your business has a heartbeat, not the best dance moves, or to see if you can perfectly lip-sync the latest music. (Cringe)
Facebook is an excellent place to start. It will allow you to be professional and personable at the same time. It’s a great place to upload images, short videos (no longer than 30 seconds maximum for an advertisement), and short paragraphs. Some people refer to Instagram as “Facebook for the illiterate.” So, save compelling professional photography for Instagram. Uploading 10 photos at a time is recommended so you can use Instagram’s “carousel” feature.
Use Twitter with care. With limited characters (a measly 280), people have decided to use this platform to hide behind the veil of anonymity and discard decorum. Posting images, videos, and links to articles can provide a nice boost for your company’s audience. I would recommend keeping your personal Twitter persona and your business well apart from each other and avoiding the comments section.
The main advantage and purpose of Twitter is the hashtag. Usually represented by text after the traditional number sign. Remember, no spaces. It may feel weird to write a title, mantra, or phrase with no spaces, but that’s how it works. There are many websites that can give you 30 hashtags related to your business that are used often enough to help you surf on a trend. Hashtags apply in all social media networks and even onto Google search. So be creative, create a hashtag for your own business and use it on all your posts on all your social media. Just note that using a common phrase or one-word hashtags might get you on the trend cycle for a minute. But unrelated content to the hashtag may mean you get left behind or get a higher social media bounce rate.
#hashtagshelp #appraiserlife #appraisethis
TikTok, oh TikTok. Many hours have been spent trying to figure out how to dominate the TikTok universe. Typically, this one is used by the much younger crowd. Entertainment seems to feature very high and is better used for high-profile industries. There may be niches for various business types, but usually, they’re saved by schticks that become condensed, regular, recommendations that are interesting, funny, appealing, or grotesque.
Here’s a short example:
Bentist: Is a high-profile dentist who will show a short clip of a dental mishap or habit that is gross or horrifying. With his trademark gasp, he then explains how he would fix the issue. He averages hundreds of thousands to millions of views. Taking about 20-30 seconds per clip. TikToks are then posted to Instagram and YouTube where many, if not most, of the view come from.
From video business cards that can average anywhere from 2-15 minutes long, to short 15 second Google video ads that play on YouTube, this is the place for all your video content. Keep in mind higher quality videos, and ensuring you’re getting the right product, promotion, price, and placement are keys to keeping your videos watched.
Attention: You want the first 5 seconds of your video to be visually enticing. For most of the YouTube audience, you’ll have only 5 seconds. If you have great sound to match (music or voice-over), you can capture a portion of the audience that plays YouTube and just listens.
Make sure you can place your “Call to Action” quickly and prominently and ensure the audience clearly understands who you are and what you want them to do. The work you put in building your audience in Google ads will help your YouTube algorithms.
The most powerful marketing tool invented since the slab and chisel. Google’s algorithm is programmed to take aggregate data from your website and find people looking for someone who does exactly what you do. The more relevant the information on your website when someone searches, the higher you’ll appear on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If you’re in the top slot for your area, you’re in the best position you can be, but remember, someone is always looking to take your place.
Ensuring the text on your website matches what people are searching for in Google is the number one play of the game. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This will ensure your text ads and related images are displayed to the people searching for you.
Here are a few terms to be familiar with when you start to work with Google.
- On-page: matching the text on your website with the search terms.
- Off-page: Anything that is off your website development, that helps people get to your website. (links, people sharing your site/content, influential people mentioning your site) This is where social media marketing comes into play.
This link will take you to Google's checklist to setting up a google ads account and your first ad.
You can also set up your google ads account from this page.
And here is a top-rated video (15 minutes) that shows you how.
These are some of the ways you can track your SEO efforts.
- Impressions: The number of times your ad is placed in front of someone.
- Clicks: How many people click your ad and are taken to your site.
- Bounce rate: How many people click to your site and then leave right away when it’s not what they’re looking for.
- Conversions: The ideal action that a customer takes on your website. A conversion could be reading your blog, calling you, emailing, filling out a form, scheduling an appraisal, etc. It all depends on what you need them to do on your site.
Sometimes there are questions that come up about budget. How much should I spend on these ads?
If you're advertising to a whole state. I'd recommend $15-$20 a day. Google will take your daily amount, and multiply it by the amount of days in that month. Then, depending on how well your audience responds it may spend less than the daily amount for slow days, and save it to impact the audience on busy days. So, $20/day X 30 days is about $600 a month. If your income is increased by more than that amount, then it is considered a positive ROI (Return on Investment).
$15/Day for a major metropolitan city area, or $10/day for a smaller city.
Google Display Ads
Another possibility on Google is utilizing their display network. You can upload images, or use stock photos when building a display ad campaign to bring visual elements to your ads. Keep in mind, if you are uploading an image that has been edited with words overlaid on it, Google will only allow 20% of the images to be covered with text. Keep playing around with it to refine your ads. Try to use all of the character allowances for descriptions as possible. Add a 15-30 video ad if you have one. Try to use some of your keywords in your descriptions.
It could take about 2 weeks for an ad to ramp up to efficacy. After about 6 weeks to 3 months ads should be cycled with new messaging to keep the offering from going stale. Consider adding new photos, or rewording your ads, perhaps you're running a promotion or engaging in a community event for PR.
If money is a little tight, try setting a Target CPA (Cost per Acquisition). This is a goal amount that you'd like to strive for to buy your customers. How much are you willing to spend in order to get a sale. After a few weeks of data gathering, Google will aggregate your average CPA. You'll be able to see how much you are paying, on average, to gain a sale. If you set a Target CPA that is just slightly lower than what you're paying, you'll be able to capture some of those sales, for less money. Mind, you'll decrease the amount of sales you get, but you'll be paying less per customer.
If the cost is in time, consider contacting a college to work with. The students can spend their time and energy working on your company ads under the tutelage of a certified and licensed professor. Terms and conditions will vary, but you'll get to be a rockstar to students who are learning, and get some of the most up-to-date treatments for your site.
Don't Stress About it Too Much
Marketing is a gift to some, appraising is a gift to others. We can't all have every gift. You don't have to do everything completely correct, and you don't have a mastery of all of these tools to begin. Take your time, try things, break out of your comfort zone just a little bit. You may not know that you have a talent that you've never explored before.