PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising, is an advertising model that most real estate agents have taken great advantage of. The ability to measure results and accordingly adjust campaigns on the fly significantly reduce spending and effort. Before you get bogged down on the specifics, let’s examine how you can make it work for your real estate business.
Google AdWords offers one of the most comprehensive models and has proven effective for many real estate agents. After bidding on an amount that you are willing to pay per click, the end result is leads to your website. From there, you decide what the conversion, or the action that you’d like each visitor to your site to take, is and that has value, potentially turning them into clients.
You assume less risk with PPC advertising as a real estate agent because you have better control over who sees your ad and can essentially capture them in the form of forms the visitor fills out, phone calls to your office or emails to your inbox.
However, the fallacy that most real estate agents believe is that clicks are all that matters. What truly matters is capturing the lead, making sure it is a qualified lead and following up.
How to Ensure Qualified Leads
The first step in attracting qualified real estate leads through your PPC ads is to ensure that you target the right people. This is done on search engines like Google through carefully thought out keyword targeting. Simply targeting “Atlanta real estate” is going to potentially place your ad on search result pages for people looking for a whole slew of unrelated searches. Your ad might be seen on a page where the results came from a search for “Atlanta real estate investments” or “Atlanta real estate laws”.
So it’s important to be more specific. What do sellers want to know when it comes to selling their homes? One area is home values. “Atlanta home values” is more specific and will draw people who are curious about their property’s value because they are more likely interested in selling their home. To be more specific, “Atlanta condo values” will yield people searching more pointedly for condominium property values.
The message and call to action on your ad is the next surest way to deliver the right people to your ad and to get qualified leads.
Examples of PPC Ads
Since you don’t have the luxury of beautiful, compelling photos to complement your PPC ad, it’s important to choose the right words to attract the right people to click on your ad. An ineffective ad provides only general information and no reasonable call to action. For example:
Atlanta Real Estate Agent
Contact Me Today to Help Sell or Buy Your Home Today
How boring is this? And it doesn’t tell me much at all about why I should choose you over all the other agents in Atlanta.
A more effective campaign is specific and makes you stand out and mirrors the searcher’s end goal. How about:
How to Sell Your Home This Winter
Call me today to help sell your home during the slow winter months.
The ad answers plays to the season as a slow one for home sales but will likely attract people to feel like, with your help, they can sell their home.
Determining Success of PPC Ads
You’ve targeted the right keyword searches, created a great PPC ad and are starting to get searches. Where those clicks end up is the first important “after the click” step. Most agents think that their homepage is the best place to send clicks. That may be true, if you have the right information to drive someone to fill out a form, call or email you, in other words, the way you capture leads. However, if your homepage is too general, you may be missing out on some great leads.
You only have a short moment to continue to compel your web visitors to take the actions you want them to take once they arrive at your website. Creating a landing page can help reduce any hesitation and drop-offs by creating a clear message of what you offer, who you are and why that person should contact you.
Every specific message should have its own landing page on your website. If your ad targeted luxury home sales in a specific neighborhood, then create a landing page that specifically addresses your sales success of luxury homes in that specific area. If a different ad targeted your services in helping first-time home buyers purchase their first home, target this topic specifically with the copy on your page and use great images that show people happily closing on their first home.
Testing PPC Ads
One of the awesome things about PPC ads versus other forms of advertising is that you can test different ads and remove or change them often. If you are targeting the same audience for the same keywords, create two different ads and determine which one captured the most qualified leads. Cut out the one that didn’t work.
You can also test times of year with certain ads. This doesn’t just apply to certain seasons but to selling or buying trends. During the slower winter months, create an ad that calls potential home sellers to start prepping their homes for sale in the spring. On your landing page, you could provide a bullet list of the steps you take to prepare a home owner for sale and to call or email you to get started.
Measuring PPC Ads
Did the PPC ad work for you? What will determine success for you? The desired end result is, of course, landing clients who will actually sell or use your services to purchase a home. How do you do that? Track a few things:
- The clicks you received throughout your campaign
- The total amount you spent on the campaign
- The number of qualified leads you received via form, phone or email (it’s important to make sure that you ask whoever answers phones or receives email to track this)
- The number of actual clients that resulted from qualified leads
You can measure qualified leads in several ways:
- Have a specific phone number extension tied to each ad
- Make sure that you ask anyone who doesn’t reach your specific extension how they reached you
- Have the email form or resulting email after clicking on an email address provides a subject line you create tied to each ad
If you set up your Google AdWords with goals in order to track the perceived value of a lead based on the next steps after a person clicked over to your landing page (form, clicking the phone number or clicking on an email address), then you can more clearly see how many leads you get. Whether they are qualified is something that you will have to make sure you measure specifically.
By dividing the total amount you spent on your campaign by the number of qualified leads or the number of actual clients you received from the ad, you can see the cost per acquisition or cost per sale, respectively. You can also then compare your total spend for the specific period of time against the resulting sales from that campaign and see if it’s worth the spend.
Keep Refining your PPC Ads
If you find that your PPC ad did not yield the results you desired, it’s up to you to do some investigative work and further testing to see what does work. It helps to take a scientific approach and make one or two changes at a time.
Was it your audience (as determined by the wrong leads)? Change your keyword targeting and/or copy. Did you not yield the clicks you desired? This could, again, be your keyword targeting or copy. If you got tons of clicks but no actions taken on your landing page, take a look at your landing page. By examining each step in the PPC process, you can further refine your campaign to yield the results you desire.
And don’t forget, once you get those leads, it’s up to you and your team to follow up consistently and immediately to avoid wasting a good lead.
In another post, we’ll discuss how to target your ad properly from the get-go.