Most of us know that when it comes to online advertising – Google is king. They advertise to people searching for a specific keyword. Think: Private Investigator in Dallas, TX. This type of marketing helps you attract people who are looking for investigative services on Google – the search engine that accounts for a little over 92% of all search traffic. This type of marketing is considered Intent Based Marketing. But what happens when you want to target an Attorney or an Insurance Adjuster? In other words, how do you target people who need your investigative services, but are not looking for you?
This is where Geofencing marketing strategies can help. Geofencing allows you to be more precise with your advertising by targeting people around a geographic location. This location can be anything: A zip code, a city, a neighborhood, even an actual address or office building. This is called Location Based Marketing. Again, if you know you have a market in (as an example) a Neighborhood in North Texas, then let’s advertise to potential customers in that area only.
A “Geofence” is a Digital Boundary of a Physical Location.
Imagine this: As a private investigator, you could target Courthouses, Mega Firms, Business Centers, or Corporate Offices. Anyone that “breaks” into your digital fence can be targeted with geofence advertising. Once they are in your campaign, they will keep on seeing your advertisement for up to 30 days after leaving that location.
This type of marketing works because we don’t have to wait for your audience to search for you. We are literally targeting them based on their location and get them to think about you before they need your services.
Where Does Geofencing Ads Appear?
The main way they see your advertisement is through display ads. This is served through a marketing medium called Programmatic Advertising – forget the name, you will spend days trying to understand all the intricacies of the system. In short, your advertisement will be shown everywhere they go online. From news websites, weather channel websites, sport pages, blogs, online magazines, etc. If there is an online advertisement section on the website, and we can bid for it, your advertisement can be shown on that site.
Geofencing also gives you access to a few other types of advertisement mediums – from Text Advertisements, Video Advertising, and Application Advertisements. These types of ads are a bit more costly because of how intrusive they are, but the cost is reasonable when you consider the size and type of your targeted audience.
Because geofence advertisements are location based, you can target people who attend conferences, events, or locations. Again, a digital fence is drawn around the location where your target audience will be, and then only advertise to them during that event or time period. Let’s take a conference as an example. When the attendees break into the geofenced location (The conference center), we capture their data and add them to a custom audience campaign. Now, you can advertise to these attendees for up to 30 days after they leave the conference.
Yes, COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we use this type of marketing, but the strategy is the same. Instead of targeting conference attendees, we would target attorneys at courthouses, adjusters at business centers, C-Level executives at corporate addresses, etc..
Why Would a PI Company Advertise This Way?
If we are trying to target attorneys – we know where to find them. Courthouses. If you have their business address, even better. The chances are that an attorney is in court assisting a client. The attorney may not need a private investigator, or he may not know how a private investigator can help. If they don’t know about you, then they are not going to search for you. Regardless of how great Google may be at advertising when people are in need, if the intent is not there, Google cannot advertise to them.
That is where location-based marketing kicks in.
Keyword-Based v/s Location-Based
With a keyword-based campaign, we are waiting for an attorney, business owner, or insurance adjuster to look for a private investigator in [insert city]. With location based, we do not have to wait for them to search – if we know the locations our clients frequent, we can target them right there and then. A courthouse, their business locations, a business center, legal center, etc.
We don’t know if they need a private investigator, but we know they have a reason to be where they are. Unlike Google Ads, with Geofencing we do not know what they need. Because of that, the advertisement needs to be more “generic” to make it work. So rather than advertising “Hire me because we offer surveillance investigations” we are advertising “Our investigative team helps you win more court cases.” (Or something along those lines).
Once they go to your website, that is where the magic happens – now you need to funnel them down the right page. What kind of attorney are they? [Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Family Law, Corporate] Once you have an idea of what type of attorney they are (based on the pages they visit), you will need to have a retargeting campaign to sell them on specific services. We could talk all day about retargeting campaigns, but ultimately, a retargeting campaign helps you target your visitors after they leave your website. This type of campaign works through Social Media.
More Affordable Than Google AdWords
With Google Ads you pay per click. Every time a person clicks on your advertisement, you pay Google $X.xx per click. With Geofencing, you pay per 1,000 impressions. Usually, anywhere between $7 to $10 per 1,000 impressions. If 1,000 people click on your ad, you still only pay $7 to $10 for those impressions.
Geofencing is Cheaper Because of Two Things:
- Not many people in the PI Industry are really advertising with this type of service yet. In 2010 when Google Ads were relatively new to Private Investigators, terms like “Private Investigator in [city location]” were extremely cheap. Nowadays, every private investigator that wants to reach a market is advertising against those terms. This type of PPC campaign is now one of the most expensive (but still wroth it) types of campaigns. The reason this has gotten so bad for private investigators has to do with how agency owners setup their campaigns. They mess up their campaigns, misconfigure the ads, and end up increasing the cost of clicks across their city.
- Geofencing has fees based on impressions, not clicks. This type of bidding strategy gives you the ability to target more people without spending thousands of dollars to reach them.
NOTE: There are some types of Geofencing that cost a hefty penny. Most will come from Text Messages or Video Advertising.
Where Can You Get Geofencing From
Geofencing works through Programmatic Advertising Mediums. The companies that sell the programmatic advertising use three different platforms: demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and data-management platforms.
They provide you with the platform – you then log in and create your marketing campaigns, digital ads, locations, etc. Most people, when they’re getting started with Geofencing, use marketing agencies like ours to handle their geofencing advertising services to create and manage the campaigns on their behalf.
Why Do We Recommend Private Investigators Use Geofencing
That is a good summary of what Geofencing is, how to use it, and how it works. Hopefully, this is starting to get your gears turning. So let’s take a look at what Geofencing does for private investigators and why we recommend it.
- It is relatively new – to the industry. Geofencing has been around for a good while now, but Private Investigators are just now starting to play with it. Because of how new it is, you would be one of the first ones in your area to use Geofencing to target people.
- You’re the first person to advertise to your audience – if we know where your audience is going to be, you could use Geofence advertising to target people there before they are even thinking about hiring a private investigator.
- Mobile targeting – While Geofencing is going to help you target desktops and laptops, it primarily works via GPS coordinates. In other words, it is going to help you attract Mobile Devices more than desktops. If you have a good landing page for your advertisement, you can use this type of technique to target attorneys or insurance adjusters on the move.
- Geofencing is cheaper – Unlike Google AdWords, geofencing allows you to reach more people for a fraction of the cost. So, while competitors are spending thousands of dollars per month on a PPC campaign, you are spending a faction to reach that same audience quicker.
Remember, the difference between Geofencing and Google Ads is in Location v/s Intention. Geofencing is location based. Google Ads is intention based. If you have a general idea of where your clients, target audience, and customers are going to be – Geofencing is the most affordable way to reach them. We are not just casting out a wide net. We are casting out a net in an area we know your audience will be.