Small businesses owners often don’t have the budget to prioritize advertising. On top of that, they need to be familiar with design, how to manage ads, and which sites to target for successful leads. It can turn into a full-time job.
Jed Carlson dealt with the gap in digital advertising automation while at musician-focused career management platform ReverbNation. He saw the potential of one of the company’s digital automation tools as an advertising product for small businesses and real estate agents.
In 2015, after incubating the idea for year, he spun out online advertising platform Adwerx to address the pain points independent agents and small businesses have when advertising in their local markets. Now he serves as CEO of the startup.
“Adwerx is addressing this notion that in order for companies of any size in this day and age to compete, they needed to understand on how to do digital marketing and advertising,” says Carlson.
“We address those businesses that don’t have the time, desire, or skillset to become an expert in digital advertising, nor the budget to pay an advertising agency a large amount of money to do it for them.” Their first major target market is independent real estate agents.
Adwerx’s enterprise automated advertising features automate the process behind marketing real estate listings. As soon as a listing goes live for an agent, the platform creates ad designs with the ability to modify and individualize.
Once the design is approved by the agent, the ad automatically targets a specific radius around the home and populates campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and premium websites. The campaigns can run from one week with the option to extend to five weeks.
Following the campaign, the realtor receives an impressions report in order to test different designs and landing pages to get the best engagement. “It’s an audience-centric model, not a website-centric model,” Carlson says.
While the Durham, NC-based company is largely focused on real estate agents, they also service mortgage brokers, loan officers, insurance brokers and financial advisors, with plans to expand into the automobile and dental markets. To service their customers better, they’re building customized products for each vertical.
“Any small business could use us and we were open for business for anybody, but it’s really for us about tailoring the messaging and the targeting for each vertical,” Carlson explains. Adwerx has helped over 115,000 individuals, and is running pilots with larger real estate firms like RE/MAX.
Last August, the company took in a $4.3 million strategic funding to fuel growth, though Carlson shares that they’re already profitable.
“We are huge fans of automation and automated advertising based on rules. For example, the real estate agent signed the listing agreement on a Saturday morning and advertising automatically starts for that house Sunday night and starts running in the local area — and nobody lifted a finger.”
“That’s something our clients are seeing just tremendous value from.”