Make Google AdWords Work for You

Businessman using Internet on smartphone and laptopIt'll cost you, so here's how to calculate the most to pay.

By Sandi Leyva
The Complete Guide to Marketing for Tax & Accounting Firms

A lot of accountants are spending money on Google AdWords and other online advertising.

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Sometimes Google AdWords can be effective; however, there are three big issues I see with it:

First, your website needs to be top-notch. It also needs to be designed so that the people who click on your ad take the action you want. Most websites in the accounting industry need to be fixed first. Please do not spend a bunch of money on AdWords before you have your site done right. It will be money down the drain. (Same thing with SEO – search engine optimization – money, too.)

Second, you really need to know your keywords. If you don’t word your ad or place your keywords just right, your ad will not be very efficient, and your ad money will evaporate before your eyes. And it’s not ever just one set of keywords. Some companies manage thousands of keywords in one campaign. I remember being so shocked when I first realized this but it’s much more complex than you might first be led to believe.

Third, it would be quite rare for you to sell a stranger who found you through AdWords into a $1,500 tax return prep engagement, so in most cases, you’ll need to provide something for free to begin to build trust. I believe AdWords are best used in conjunction with a carefully planned followup or warmup campaign. Otherwise, they can be too expensive with poor results.

Getting Started

To get started, set up a Google AdWords account and determine your budget. You can actually do some fairly sophisticated math to determine how much you can afford to pay for a lead. Here’s a simplified example:

You only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad. You’ve been able to measure your history, and you know that for every 10 ad clicks, you will get one phone call. And for every 10 phone calls, you can close a $1,500 tax return engagement. Your hard costs on the engagement are $800 and you need to make $400. So $1,500 - 800 - 400 = $300 you can spend for every tax engagement. It takes 100 clicks to get 10 calls to get one sale. So you can pay up to $3 per click without going into the hole.

In your Google account, you can set your budget and what you’re willing to spend per click. You’ll need to watch what’s going on every day, especially at the beginning.

Lots of things can go wrong. For example, you’ll need to make sure “tax return” is in your keywords and not just tax, otherwise you will get people looking up their sales tax, payroll tax, property tax and tax assessor questions. You’ll need to learn how to narrow your search so it delivers the best qualified lead for you.

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