Not if you’re using PPC, or Pay-Per-Click Advertising.
But can PPC be used for all real estate agents?
And if so, what are the best strategies to maximize leads from a real estate PPC campaign?
Let’s find out. First, we’ll take a closer look at what real estate PPC is and why it works.
What is real estate PPC?
Let’s start with what PPC basically means: Pay-Per-Click is where you pay for each click on your ad.
What differentiates PPC advertising from other marketing efforts involving search engines is how people come across your message.
For example, organic search results and social media works by having a search engine perceive what a user is looking for based on their search terms. The search engine then presents them with what it views as the answer in the form of search results, with the best answer at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
However, PPC isn’t based on what a search engine ranks as the best answer to a question or query. Rather, you pay to appear at the top of those search results.
You have likely seen these hundreds of times before.
You’ll find PPC ads on Amazon, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, and Yelp. However, Google is by far the leading source of search traffic. Because of that, it’s easily the best place to run PPC campaigns.
Now that you know what a PPC ad is, you might be thinking, “I have to pay each time someone clicks on my ad? I don’t have the resources for that.”
But if you take that approach, you’ll be missing out on a major source of leads.
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Why use PPC for real estate leads?
Since nothing comes for free in marketing, you’re going to be paying for results either way.
Let’s take a look at four reasons PPC ads play an important role in landing real estate leads.
Find leads looking for you
As we described at the introduction, your PPC ads target the specific market that’s looking for what you’re advertising.
But it doesn’t end there—they’re also the same people who are searching for your services at that very moment.
This means you can find leads wherever they are in the buying cycle. Remember, the user is already at a search engine, which means they’re looking for answers. So you can use specific keywords that they’re looking for to lock in on your target audience.
For example, you might be looking for leads who are at the beginning stage of their real estate journey. So using specific keywords for those looking for listings in your specific market, such as “best neighborhoods in north Atlanta for young families” or “new vacation home listings in the Hudson Valley” will land your ad in front of potential leads at just the right time.
Or if you want to target sellers, you can find them with different PPC keyword strategies, like “How much is my south Minneapolis home worth?” or “Find Burlington realtor to sell my home.”
To fully appreciate what’s possible with using PPC ads to find the right leads for you, pause and think about what they allow you to do: You can find the very person who is looking for your services exactly when they are wanting to pull the trigger in the place where they are most likely to be influenced.
PPC ads are not the result of an organic keyword strategy that is designed to rank well over time in the SERP of Google.
Instead, you are paying for your ad to appear at the very top of the results page—instantly.
That makes it an incredibly powerful real estate marketing tool for at least two reasons:
1. You don’t have to wait for Google to rank the content you’ve written.
2. Because you’re paying for a spot at the top of the search results, you can actually compete against giants like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow.
Even though real estate PPC is used by everyone from big brands to smaller businesses, it still has a proven ROI. How is this possible?
It comes down to a well-established conversion rate. Put simply: The revenue-per-conversion of PPC is high, which makes real estate PPC cost effective for anyone doing it right.
Small businesses all the way up to the heavyweights consistently acquire leads from PPC because of how often real estate is searched for on Google—a trend that has exploded in the past year, with 97% of homebuyers having used the internet in their home search in 2020 according to NAR data.
But just because PPC can be effective doesn’t make it a guarantee. Just like every other marketing effort, the best strategies need to be used to get leads.
Let’s take a look at the best real estate PPC strategies for more paid leads.
How much real estate PPC campaigns cost
By now, you’ve seen the advantages of PPC. However, you still want to know how much you’ll pay for the pay per click.
In general, average costs of PPC campaigns in real estate by using Keyword Planner can range between $.50 and $5.00.
How do you make sure you’re not wasting money by just paying for clicks? After all, leads are the goal from any real estate advertising effort—not just attention.
Let’s take a look at the best real estate PPC strategies for more paid leads.
Real estate PPC Strategies
Since we’ve already established that Google has the most search traffic by far, we’ll focus on using Google Adwords.
But before we begin our PPC ad campaign, we need to establish who we’re targeting.
Strategically focus on your target audience
Three words of advice that every real estate agent lives by: Know your market.
These words are just as valuable when deciding how to target your ads. In order for your PPC efforts to count, focus on:
- Knowing what areas you plan on targeting
- What type of homes you want to sell
- The types of buyers or sellers you’re targeting
Knowing who you are targeting is especially important for a successful PPC ad campaign. Understanding who they are will reveal what type of home they want, and thus what area will interest them.
To do this, use Google Keyword Planner to find keywords that are based on what people are actively searching for (average monthly searches), and forecasts to see how they might perform in the future.
Consider what your target market is looking for: Homes in a certain neighborhood, homes near a specific school, or other features that attract homebuyers. In the case of sellers, what are they wanting to know about selling their home in your area? Take all of these phrases and plug them in to Keyword Planner to see average monthly searches. Compare that with competition and find out how hard it will be to compete with other agents for these keywords.
Once you have this established, it’s time to let the artificial intelligence behind Google Adwords do the heavy lifting. The “Performance Planner” feature will recommend to you the best use of funds to have the most effective campaign. It will also show you the projected monthly and quarterly performance.
Pay attention to your Quality Score
As you plan your campaign on Google Adwords, you’ll notice several different categories that Google uses to show what to expect with your campaign. And a key one is “Quality Score.”
Paying close attention to this Quality Score metric will help you make the best choices when it comes to your PPC campaign.
Good ads get clicked on—it’s as simple as that. Thus, a good ad will have a high clickthrough rate, or CTR.
Ads with a good CTR will have the following:
Great ad copy
A well-written ad is enticing, concise, and clear. There’s no confusion about what the offer is, and the user will know what to expect if they click it.
Well-suited to the target audience
A specific ad that deals with what your target audience is looking for. It will immediately resonate with the user's needs or wants, motivating them to click. This sharply contrasts with a generic, catch-all ad that won’t motivate anyone to click on it, much less convert.
Stand out features
A great ad can use enticing features like sitelink extensions that show what specific landing page a click will lead to, providing direct access to what they want to know or buy. For example, an ad might feature a sitelink extension to a specific set of listings for a neighborhood that’s in high demand.
If your ad contains examples of these three aspects, you’ll receive a good indication that your ad is ready thanks to a high Quality Score from Google.
The opposite is also true: If Google is saying your Quality Score is low, then you know you need to make some changes.
The key is to not fight Google on this; after all, Google is invested in your ad doing well. If the Quality Score indicates you need to change something to improve, change it.
Improve your page score
Google’s machine learning doesn’t just pay attention to copy and landing page fit. They also have a feature on AdWords called “Recommendations.”
This feature gives even the most challenged user a major advantage by showing how to improve their ad. For example, new keywords may be suggested that a target audience is using, thus making it more relevant to your ideal audience.
As you apply these recommendations, you’ll notice your optimization score improve. And a better optimization score will lead to a higher click-through rate.
Optimize your landing page to capture leads
A great PPC real estate ad campaign needs more than just ad copy and features. Those ads that get clicked should result in leads, not just clicks. That’s why your landing page needs to match the purpose of the ad.
Google knows the importance of a great landing page, and will even pay attention to the relevance and usefulness of your landing page that’s connected to the ad. So make sure that the landing page is exactly what the user was expecting—or better.
As the consumer is looking through that landing page, make sure they do what you want them to do on your landing page: Contact you. In order to do that, consider using lead capture software that invites the user to enter their contact information.
Follow up with the lead
At last: you have your specific target audience clicking on your well-suited ad and entering their contact info on your optimized landing page via lead capture software. There’s only one final step to take: Follow up with the lead.
By having an effective drip campaign in place, those leads will be primed to make an appointment. This can be as simple as a phone call or as extensive an in-person consultation—it all depends on your market and customer. Just be sure that a follow-up takes place to keep nurturing the interest of the lead.
PPC ad campaigns can be one of the most effective tools for a real estate business looking to get more leads. Their proven benefits give even a newcomer the power to go up against the big guns.
But they need to be planned out and strategically executed to be effective. That means knowing who you’re targeting and what they want, and then correctly using Google’s AdWords tools to reach the right users. And before the ad goes live, an effective landing page, lead capture tool, and follow-up method all need to be in place.