I was telling you yesterday how I accidentally became a Google AdWords consultant…
My first project was for a local office supplies firm: a difficult project in a market dominated by big competitors. The only keywords we could profitably bid on were niche long tail keywords. I also randomly remember that Tipp-ex used to sell well.
My early AdWords projects were good learning experiences. In most cases it was possible to deliver a quick improvement just by knowing what you were doing.
I did a few things to improve my skills. I attended a training day in London, with Drayton Bird and Howie Jacobson; the original author of Google AdWords for Dummies. Howie taught that AdWords was primarily a message testing laboratory, besides a source of customers.
I devoured Brad Geddes’ book Advanced Google AdWords, and hired UK AdWords consultant David Rothwell to help me. David didn’t tell me much I didn’t already know, but it gave me a degree of internal validation.
To get clients, I created a lead magnet called How to Waste Thousands on AdWords, in No Time Flat. On the thank you page I offered a printed ‘AdWords Account Setup Cheat Sheet’, which I printed at home and sent out in the mail to people who requested it.
Roughly half of the people who opted in requested the printed guide. On the cheat sheet request form I also asked people what their biggest AdWords frustration was, and logged these in a spreadsheet.
I added everyone who opted in to an AWeber email sequence with perhaps 13 emails, which were a mixture of story and content. Both the cheat sheet and the email series finished with a simple call to action: contact me to get help.
Back in 2012 you could still affordably bid on ‘Google AdWords’ related keywords. I created the ad you can see below. I tested dozens of ads against this one, and never managed to beat it.
I had clearly done something right, because by mid 2012 I was spending just £20 per day on AdWords, getting 5 or 6 opt-ins, half of which would request the cheat sheet. About one in ten would make a serious enquiry.
I’ve since advertised all sorts of things on Google. Solicitor services. Ink toners. Stairlifts (which was a total nightmare – see this story). Employer DBS checks. Window cleaning. Infidelity counselling. Nitrile gloves. Ergonomic beds (seriously). Elderly care at home. Yoga classes. Financial training. Vending machines. Telecoms solutions. Cloud hosting. Wedding marquees. Painting and decorating. Building maintenance. And many more.
In 2013 I read Sam Carpenter’s book Work the System, and began systematising my regular AdWords procedures. Based on that I employed an assistant to help with the projects, and created a training product called The AdWords Survival Guide. Which I was told later was like ‘doing a masters in AdWords’.
I’m sometimes asked… why didn’t I carry on with the AdWords business? Why didn’t I build an agency? I was good at it; especially the ad creation part.
There are a few answers to that question.
I mostly worked with companies that generated leads, rather than sold online. To my eyes things would be going well… conversions would be up, cost per conversion would be okay.
Then one day my phone would ring. “I’m sorry Rob,” the client would say, “but these leads haven’t led to any work. We’re going to have to end the project.”
“Uhh, did you try calling them?” I would reply. But it was too late.
In 2014 I noticed that two of my most interesting clients used the CRM system Infusionsoft. I had been aware of Infusionsoft for a long time, and knew that a number of big name marketers relied on it. One day I watched a presentation by a guy called Jermaine Griggs. Jermaine had won Infusionsoft marketer of the year, and ran a business called Hear and Play.
Jermaine explained how he ran a multi-million dollar business with a handful of employees, and an Infusionsoft account. He had systems in place to sort customers by engagement, with concrete measures for recency, frequency and money. As Jermaine pulled back the curtain on his campaigns, my jaw hit the floor.
I made an emotional decision that day to re-orientate my business around Infusionsoft. I couldn’t really afford Infusionsoft at the time, but it was a direction I felt compelled to follow.
More next week…