If You Think PPC, Pay Per Click, is a Waste of Money…Mistake!

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14 Feb 2018

 

It can be fun to ask real estate professionals the question “How much real estate PPC, Pay-Per-Click, advertising do you do?”  The answers vary a lot:

  • “None, never tried it, not in my marketing budget.”
  • “Tried it, but never got any good leads”
  • “Tried it, spent a lot of money, leads not worth the cost.”
  • “I do a little” or “I’m testing it.”

It’s those last two answers that should get your attention.  They could very well be a successful professional who is getting high quality leads from PPC, but they don’t want to tell you.  After all, you’re competing with others in your market area with your PPC ads, and that can run up the cost of each click, so why talk about success?

The first three answers, whether they know it or not, are often because they’ve never learned the true value of real estate pay-per-click marketing, they tried it without doing it right, or both.  That one successful person isn’t going to tell you their secrets, but we can here.

Secret #1: Budget Isn't a Problem

No, money doesn’t grow on trees, but many real estate professionals do not really know just how their current marketing is working for them, item-by-item.  If they tried PPC and think there are better ways to spend their money to get leads, they probably aren’t measuring their marketing results for all of the ways in which they spend money.

Action #1: Know What is Working and What is Not

Often we do advertising in ways that everyone else does it and think that it must be effective because leads do come in.  But, where did each lead come from?  How many can you honestly say absolutely came last year from:

  • billboards?
  • bus signs?
  • refrigerator magnets?
  • writing pens with ads?
  • postcard mailers?
  • brochure mailers?
  • radio & tv ads?
  • other ways you spend marketing money?

If you can’t peg leads specifically to each and then divide what you spent on each by that number, how can you know the cost per lead?  Few can, but they use that type of measurement to determine that PPC isn’t effective simply because it can be easy to see what was spent and the leads that came in.  Your first action should be to try and determine as best you can how each way you advertise is working for you.  Then you may be willing to re-allocate some of that budget to try doing real estate PPC right.

Secret #2: You Can Spend Less & Do Better than Competitors

Yes, there is a competitive factor in real estate pay-per-click marketing.  When you first place an ad, its position in results is dependent upon mostly how much you’ve indicated you’re willing to pay-per-click compared to your competitors.  However, as your ads continue to run, Google is doing something behind the scenes to determine if your ad should move up in the listings even though you’re paying less per click than your competitors.

Action #2: Learn How to Move Up for Less

Take some time and go to Google and read their help and instructions about “ad quality scoring.”  From Google:

Quality is given extra consideration when determining which ads appear in the top slots. - For ads in top positions above Google search results, we use the same Ad Rank formula, based on your bid, the quality of your ad and landing page, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats. However, only ads that exceed a certain Ad Rank threshold are eligible to appear in these positions. The higher the ad quality, the lower the CPC threshold. This ensures that quality and relevance play an even more important role in determining the ads that show above search results.

Short and sweet, the quality of your ad and landing page and what people do when they get there is part of determining where your ad is in the display, and it can show up above competitor ads even when they are paying more per click.  Learning how to write quality ads, build landing pages that keep the visitor on the site, and using the right calls-to-action is how you spend less to get more.

Secret #3: Get it Right End-to-End First

Google is telling you that the quality of the ad, which is, by the way, the way it will get more clicks than the ads of competitor ads of lower quality, plus what the visitor does after they get to your site are going to determine what you spend.  But just spending less isn’t the whole story for success.

Action #3: Make it a Lead Generation System

First, while you may have great content on your site, think of this project as focused like a laser on getting a lead from a search click.  Here’s what you need:

Write the Ad to Get Attention

You're still going to be an ad in a list of ads, so you want to word it properly, especially the title.  Google's help will give you specific tips on doing this so that eyes are drawn to your ad and interest gets them to click it.  The CTR, Click-Through-Ratio is a major factor in your ad's quality score.  If you're writing better ads that get clicks, Google makes more money on your ads, even if you're paying less per click than competitors in many cases.

Create an Ad-Specific Landing Page

Don't just send the search click to a page on your site that has related content.  If it is very relevant, rewrite what you need to in order to make the entire landing page on point for their click.  If they clicked on an ad with the title "Home Inspections in YourMarket," then your landing page should have that in its title and do a great job of giving them relevant information that answers questions about local home inspections and some common problems in reports.

Great Offer & Call-to-Action

While you want the landing page to offer content that the visitor finds of value, you still don't have a lead.  You must have some kind of offer and delivery system to get the search visitor to give you their contact information.  In our home inspection example, you could offer a portion of an actual inspection report with no reference to the address or people involved.  A short form on the page offering "Get a real life inspection report's results here to know what to expect."  This is of interest to both buyers and sellers.

Now you have a plan to make real estate PPC, Pay-Per-Click marketing a budget-friendly and highly effective piece of your marketing plan.