Technology is the future. The future is now. Adapt or get left behind. How many times a day/week/month would you say you’ve heard these generic punch lines? And how many times would you say that they’ve really resonated with you? Unfortunately, the majority of you probably answered the first question with an astronomical number, and the second question with “never”. Well, maybe it’s about time you took these sayings seriously.
What if I told you that 95 percent of home buyers use the internet as their primary tool when buying a home? Would you listen then? Because guess what? According to the National Association of Realtors, 95 percent of home buyers primarily use the internet when buying homes. Needless to say (I hope), this makes the internet a massive net of leads just waiting to be picked off by a savvy agent. And those who ignore the online world will never know these leads even existed.
But how do you connect with those leads? The most common method, and most proven method, is via a Google PPC campaign (PPC=Pay Per Click), otherwise known as Google Ad Words. PPC is by far the best medium for online advertising as a real estate agent. Unlike other forms of marketing, with PPC you only ever pay when someone clicks on your add meaning you’ve paid for a real view. Google isn’t the only provider of PPC; you can also use Yahoo, Bing and Facebook. With that said, Google is the biggest search engine in the world, and is a preferred partner for most lead generation providers. Yahoo and Bing can also be lucrative, but why go with a search engine that is used by a smaller demographic? Facebook can be hit or miss: people don’t go to Facebook in search of homes, evaluations or agents; they go there to socialize and network. More importantly, there is a big difference between demographic targeting (Facebook PPC) vs key word targeting (Google PPC). With Google PPC, you can secure a coveted spot in the top 4 slots on the first page based on the key words that the lead has entered into the Google search tab. This puts your advertisement in view of millions of potential leads in search of a home.
With all of this said, Google PPC can be a money sucking abyss if you don’t do it right. Here’s what NOT to do:
Send People to Your Home Screen
The Google PPC campaign itself is just half the battle. Sure, you’ll be seen by potentially thousands upon thousands of viewers, but how many people really reach out to an agent on their own accord? Not very many. Most online leads are looking for information at this stage; they’re not yet looking for an agent. So sending people to a home page of a website that isn’t optimized to capture leads, and is a “jack of all trades” in the sense that it offers something to both buyers and sellers is a complete waste. The more they have to search to find what they want, the more likely you are to lose the registration. Once the lead is registered, your follow up techniques are all you need to convert. But getting the lead to register means giving them a user friendly experience that gives them what they’re looking for without expecting them to search. This brings me to my next point:
Ignore the Need for Landing Pages
Where you send the lead needs to directly correlate with the key words that the lead has typed into the search engine. Buyers need to be sent to listings or a buyers landing page where they can request to receive listings. Sellers need to be sent to a home evaluation landing page; they need to be sent to a page that highlights what they were looking for. And these pages need to be optimized to encourage the lead to register. Think about it this way: if the lead typed “Toronto homes for sale” in the Google search tab and clicked on your paid add, then they will expect to see Toronto homes for sale. They aren’t looking for a home evaluation. They aren’t looking for a write up on your real estate accolades. You need to give them what they searched for. Landing pages are geared specifically to provide the lead with whatever it is they are looking for, and you need a different landing page for each service being advertised.
Automate Your Google PPC Campaign
Google PPC doesn’t work off of a “set it and forget it” formula. These campaigns need to be fully managed on an ongoing basis. I understand that your job as a realtor is time consuming as is, but automating your Google PPC campaign will absolutely waste your marketing dollars. These campaigns need constant monitoring as key words change, bid pricing changes, and Google tends to favor the most well managed ads. If you don’t have the time or the know-how to manage the campaign yourself, your best bet is to hire a professional. Sure, you’ll have the added cost of paying that professional to manage the campaign, but when you’re campaigns generate more leads than you could have every imagined generating on your own, will that really matter? At the end of the day, cost per lead is the only thing that you should care about, and a professional can get you the most leads for your total spend, including management fees.
Ignore The Need for a User Friendly Mobile Responsive Website
50% of all searches being done today are being done on mobile devices. Most websites function horribly on mobile. You’re website needs to be fitted so that a lead can efficiently search through listings on a mobile device without losing their minds. So make sure your lead gen provider understands this and has optimized your website and landing pages to work beautifully on mobile devices.
Google PPC is the most proven form of lead generation in the modern age of technology. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be a financial burden. Understanding these important facts will help to ensure that you aren’t a casualty of PPC.
Written By: Ben Blue