Zack Bedingfield: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Zack Bedingfield

The Zack Bedingfield Q&A Session is happening on 27th March 2018 at 10:00AM PST (1:00PM EST)

Zack Bedingfield is the Search Engine Marketing Manager at CallRail, and heads up all of their paid user acquisition programs. Prior to that he managed PPC for clients at PureCars, a MarTech company also in Atlanta, GA. Before moving to Atlanta he worked at an agency in Clearwater, FL where he originally started as a copywriter. He’s currently looking to continue expanding CallRail’s paid acquisition program while continuing to make full use of the CallRail product to drive results. In his spare time, you can find him at concerts throughout Atlanta, playing video games or poker.
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Zack Bedingfield – Search Engine Marketing Manager for CallRail – Transcript

Zack Bedingfield is the Search Engine Marketing Manager for CallRail.

The Q&A Session with Zack was held on March 27th, 2018. This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.

Excited to be here and answer any questions.


What is one thing that you feel most SEM managers need to do more of?

Close the attribution gap — obviously multi-channel, multi-funnel is the *it* thing right now, but outside of tracking all of your channels and the various touchpoints — the quicker we can tie revenue won to individual clicks/campaigns, etc., the more efficient we can be and the better we can understand how our efforts tie into revenue — this is obviously more important/apparent in a role like mine where I’m doing primarily lead gen as opposed to ecommerce.

What search things have you tried that you were sure would be a great idea that turned out to be a waste of time?

Probably hyper-segmentation — anyone who’s been in a search for a minute knows that finding this line/ toeing this line is one of the main things we’re doing — it’s necessary to break down targeting segments, in-market segments, demos etc., but it’s not always necessary to create your three ad groups with different match types for each — that is going to be dependent on volume — unless I have a significant enough volume for XYZ keywords then I’m ultimately doing too much work from the get go when I essentially segment too much.

What are the ways to target/message to qualified prospects/searchers in Google PPC? In other words, how to use Google Adwords to target a specific persona/niche in a market? Other than the defaultgeo/interests/keywords…

Best bet here is likely using customer match lists or offline conversion imports to bid more aggressively for traffic you know is likely “more qualified” — your standard targeting options are going to remain the same, but without delving into display, this is one of the best levers, so to speak.

What’s the smallest thing you’ve done in SEM that has had the biggest impact?

That I’ve done? Oh man. I don’t love this answer, but probably consistent landing page testing/CRO — I know it’s not a TINY thing, but consistently working on CRO and testing new landers probably has the biggest overall effect on ROI than anything else. Getting more abstract with it — probably admitting that there is always,ALWAYS more to learn and many people to learn from…

Question: which is the best marketing channel regarding ROI?

This will be highly vertical dependent, but can I say SEO? If you have a strong organic presence, your ROI is always going to be best there. The issue is that it takes a long time and a strong, long-term strategy. So, ROI over time — organic. If you’re looking for the most trackable — quickest return — I think overall paid search is best, but again this is going to vary by vertical. B2C kills it on FB, but I personally don’t have any experience there.

Is there still home for BH/GH SEO in your own perspective?

I’m probably not qualified to answer this, so I’ll shoutout my fellow CallRailer @clyden to see if she’ll appear. To answer somewhat abstractly: driving revenue growth is the goal of any online marketer — as long as the strategy employed is moral, and reflects long-term goals, won’t hurt the business, website, I don’t see any issues.

Does CallRail have a promotional mug I can have? Gotta represent, let the haters know.

I’ll see what I can do =P

How do you feel about the paid search AI partners out there now?

I want them to be fantastic, but I don’t know if they’re there yet. I’m a firm believer in the notion that AI *will* outpace us, and I’m excited about it, because I think it opens the doors as marketers for us to work on other stuff — which means we can do even better, but I’m still waiting.

What are the legal issues in acquiring users based on freebies we can give them like free Netflix subscription? Are there any specific things we should mention in the terms and conditions?

There *is* some rule, I don’t know what it is though — other people in brand marketing know better than me =P

Do you bid on hot high price keywords or long tail keywords?

I bid on everything that gets a positive return and then sometimes keywords that don’t, but I think they have a positive impact on revenue via lift in organic, or denying page equity to competitors — so yes, expensive keywords, but also crazy long-tail keywords, and short keywords, etc., etc.

Can you describe the strategic overlap between content for paid, earned, and owned channels?

The bottom line on my end is always revenue/customer growth, so the end goal is always that.That said, I personally view paid as a jack of all trades — it can drive low funnel leads, high funnel interest, everything in between. Earned, I typically view as higher funnel, but the way to treat a lot of that content is to make sure it can convert, but we’re not betting on it converting, and owned is probably similar + building brand equity with current customers.

What are one or two features of CallRail that users typically don’t utilize to their full advantage?

We just rolled out call highlights — which *should* make keyword mining calls easier. Historically I think that’s the biggest “feature” that’s underutilized. Prospects/customers can rephrase certain features or express pain points that open up the possibility to bid on new keywords. Call highlights essentially pulls these keywords from calls automatically.

What do you think would be a good strategy for clients who don’t want to pay too much in PPC and want to “start small” knowing that $100 a month will get you nowhere or even want to cover social networks, PPC, SEO with small change? That happens a lot over here with new emerging companies that still trust in traditional marketing likemagazines and print.

Historically, my strategy is to break down the costs based on a little research and show them that spending $x just wouldn’t be profitable. Let’s work out customer LTV, conversion rates, margins, estimated costs and show them here “if we spend $x we can be this profitable and you want to spend 1/50th of that.” All that said — I know clients don’t like to hear this and that is why I’m in-house =P

What were three early stage lead acquisition campaigns that CallRail executed successfully? What were the strategies and the thinking behind them?

I’ll give you one really good one that I know some others have been talking about lately – webinars. We can leverage in-house knowledge to both help current customers better navigate their issues with digital marketing *and* we can fill up the pipeline with up-funnel prospects. We’ll probably do another webinar soon on PPC =P

What is your approach to tackling paid search or display for clients with incredibly niche markets? I’m about to start a campaign for a client who wants to aim digitally at a very targeted audience that may only be 20 people a year. I’m looking for unique ways to identify their target demo, and I may just have to fly around and interview previous successes they’ve had.

That is tough. Obviously, you can qualify and target them in search if there’s maybe *some* keyword volume, but other than that, similar audiences via list uploads, both for FB and AdWords is probably the best bet.

What is your AdWords lead conversion rate (from lead to customers)? And have you made any AdWords changes that have positively impacted them in a measured way?

Roughly 50%, but that varies based on growth targets, I’m happy to sit at a higher user acquisition figure at a worse CPA if I’m hitting growth targets.

With keyword strategy changing faster than the weather in Arizona, how should companies start optimizing using voice search in mind. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, but it is a hard balance to write content that suits both the search engine and searcher intent. What are you doing to tackle these changing strategies?

We started a strategy a while back for this exact thing — let’s write short, informative content that fits the bill for knowledge cards. Prime example: if you have a Google home available — ask Google “what is a call tracking number?”

Hey Zack, does CallRail have a texting service as well? Where you put out a number people can text for tracking?


If you had a budget of $500/month right now, how would you focus that for a new/existing business?

It would depend completely on the business. $500 may be suitable for business A, but not business B based on product value, the cost of getting into the market etc. I’d build a website, spend some time in Google analytics, do some keyword research and then watch Black Panther again.

Hey Zack, thanks for doing this – can you share some tools that you’re using that are not popular?

*Not* popular?

for ambient noise while I work may be the least popular, outside of that – and these are definitely more popular, Unbounce, SEMRush, SpyFu,, preact-boilerplate.

Just a quick question: what are your thoughts on Single Keyword Ad Groups as a campaign structure? We are working on a tool that builds those out and helps maintain them, and your thoughts would be helpful.

I think they are good and bad — I brought up over-segmentation in an answer earlier and I think that’s really where the issue is *sometimes*. With significant volume I think SKAGS and segmenting/negating out matchtypes is the best move for performance, *but* I’m not confident that Google will continue to let that structure reign supreme — ultimately their goal is to automate accounts as much as possible, and I think it’s possible that kind of account structure will be an issue in the future.

Are there any campaigns you know of that have done similar free give aways to get user acquisitions?

Not that I’m aware of, but they couldn’t be too terribly reputable — what great product have you gotten that you were convinced to buy just because they gave you a free hat?

IsCallRail using PPC to drive visitors to landing pages that have live chat that enables conversions (ex. Drift or the like)? If so, how are you tracking and measuring conversions?

We are and we’ve got event goals set up in GA for those that we import into AdWords.

Question: regarding AdWords ROI, is it worth paying a high price to show at top position 1,2 compared with just showing on the first page?

Going to vary wildly — which is one of the main reasons we have jobs in PPC. This is also going to be super budget dependent. I’m happy to sit in position 2 or 3 if I’m limited and conversion rates are similar. That said — if budget is uncapped, it may be Revenue+ to sit at one to deny page equity and get a small boost in organic.

Do you write your ad/landing page copy yourself or do you employ the services of a professional copywriter? Are you a professional copywriter? Do you have an English degree or something? Idk what to ask so there it is.

I do! My degree is in ethnic studies, so I wrote a lot in college, but my first marketing job was proofreading/copywriting, I switched to PPC after about a year and a half – I’m going to interpret your question to mean my copywriting is flawless.

What is CallRail’s approach to partnership acquisition?

We’re working on this now, but I don’t think historically we’ve had a super formal strat.

That concludes our AMA with Zack. Thanks for spending some time with us.

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