Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Hobin, the 41-year-old CEO of G5 Search Marketing, is already on his fourth startup. He migrated to Bend from the Bay Area for the lifestyle, and he insists on closing up the office Fridays at 1 p.m. during the summer months so his team can get out and enjoy nature. As laid-back as his approach may seem, it’s working. G5 has grown by an annualized 100% over each of the past four years and built its headcount from 15 to 45 employees since the end of 2007 even as the rest of Bend’s economy has floundered.
It helps that G5’s target areas — self-storage units, assisted-living homes and apartments — are well suited for Internet searches by potential customers. It also helps that Bend welcomed an influx of health-conscious, tech-savvy transplants from the boom years in California. Hobin has been able to find excellent local talent, especially given the current job market.
G5 offers a platform of search engine optimization, map optimization and pay-per-click advertising, along with a dashboard report that tracks and measures performance as compared to more traditional points of contact. In short, G5 is battling the Yellow Pages for business, and if it were a boxing match, it would have to be stopped.
Click by click, Hobin leads me on a journey through the G5 system, from the site the company designed for a self-storage client, to the phone number that appears only at that site, to its optimized Google placement at the top of a list of thousands, to the recorded phone calls made to that number, and finally, to the results.
The bottom line speaks for itself. The cost per lead using G5’s system is on average $5.63, compared to $175 for the Yellow Pages. That’s a factor of 31. “Our clients see our results and they go tell their friends and we grow,” says Hobin. “What we do works. And we can prove it.”
Hobin predicts that G5 will double its business again over the coming year, adding another 20 or so employees along the way.