The Secrets Your Competition Isn’t Telling You About PPC for Real Estate Lead Generation

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16 Aug 2017

“PPC, Pay-Per-Click for real estate lead generation doesn’t work.  No, it’s better said that PPC for real estate lead generation is far too expensive for the results I get.  I tried PPC, and it cost a lot of money, took a lot of time and didn’t do much at all for me.  Overall, it was a total dead end for marketing and real estate lead generation.”

There!  We wanted to let our readers get their frustration out right at the beginning of this post.  If you’ve thought or said any of those things or something similar, you’re far from alone.  The average real estate agent who dips their toes into the PPC waters is usually disappointed and poorer when they decide to stop.

Then, why try PPC for real estate lead generation if we already know that it doesn’t work?  As in quite a few marketing strategies, there are many who think they do not work and a few raking in the leads and sales from them.  The reason this isn’t widely publicized is that the few who are successful certainly do not want more competition, so you’ll not learn their secrets of how to use PPC effectively from them.

The truth is that some education, careful planning, and a realistic budget can make Pay-Per-Click a real estate lead generation powerhouse.  One real estate agent we know was not really a people person.  He didn’t mix, mingle, meet, greet, or join to get leads.  In other words, personal networking just wasn’t his thing.  Yet he managed to generate a six figure commission income from a website in a small market, and almost all of his leads came from PPC.  Here’s how:

Rule #1: Know What You're Trying to Do

No, it’s not just taking every possible keyword or phrase you can think of for your site and market and setting up a campaign.  That’s a time and money-wasting strategy, and it’s really not necessary either.

Secret #1: Real Estate Lead Generation Key Phrases are Stable

After you’ve set up a Google AdWords account, you can do some key phrase research to see which phrases are used the most by buyers and sellers in your real estate market.  Another free tool that’s helpful is at Serps.com.  You can get a 30-day free trial, and that’s all you’ll need.  The reason is that real estate website key phrases are very stable, not changing and pretty much the same ones remaining the most widely used.  It’s not like you make widgets and keep changing your inventory, colors or characteristics.  It’s all about location, homes for sale, real estate and the key phrases you would use in a search.

So, knowing what you want to do is knowing the top three to ten key phrases for your market area and your real estate niche.  Of course, they change based on niches, such as those related to condominiums, land or commercial property.  However, once you determine the best phrases for your niche, they’re not likely to change much over time.

Rule #2:  Ignore the Per Click Cost Estimates

Many an enterprising real estate agent has stopped their PPC research when they see the estimates of CPC, Cost Per Click, for their chosen key phrases.  This is why the successful PPC marketers keep a secret of the Google Ad Quality rating system.  Everyone else just assumes that they will have to pay the big numbers they see to get in the top three or four paid results.

Secret #2: Learn Quality Score to Pay Less and List Higher than the Competition

When you’re setting up your Google AdWords campaigns, you’ll see a column headed “Ad Quality Score.”  Here’s what Google says about it:

Quality Score is intended to give you a general sense of the quality of your ads. The 1-10 Quality Score reported for each keyword in your account is an estimate of the quality of your ads and the landing pages triggered by them. Three factors determine your Quality Score:
  1. Expected click-through rate
  2. Ad relevance
  3. Landing page experience

An important part of the algorithm Google uses to rank the paid ads is this quality score.  The average, above average or below average score, will determine your ad’s rank compared to other ads with lower scores.  The amount you bid doesn’t absolutely determine where you rank.  Google would rather put higher Quality Score ads at the top because they get more clicks.  So, a competitor who doesn’t know this can bid higher than you for the same key phrase but still not rank higher.  Follow the instructions at those links and Google tells you what to do for a higher Quality Score and lower CPCs, Cost Per Click.  Google would rather get $0.50/click for an ad that gets 200 clicks/month than $1.00/click for one that gets 50.

Rule #3:  Work Hard on Items 2 and 3

You’re only going to do this once unless there are dramatic changes in your market, property types or niches, so take the time to do it right.  For Ad Relevance, use Google’s suggestions to write good ads, and you can do more than one for each key phrase to test results.  Once you determine which works best, stop the other ad and enjoy the results.

For the Landing Page Experience, you want Google to like what happens to get a higher score.  A bounce, immediate exit from the site without other actions, is going to hurt you.  You want the searcher to find what they want on the page and take some other action that proves it to Google.  That can be clicking a link to another page on your site, but even better for you, it’s the next secret.

Secret #3: Your Call-to-Action with the Key Phrase in the Lead Form

Google is looking for some action on the part of the searcher that shows they’re getting value from the landing page.  Google doesn’t care if you get a lead or not, just that the searcher finds what they want, so clicking a link is nice.  However, if you create a relevant offering and call to action form that gets submitted, you’ve made Google happy and you’re happy as well.

Pay Less, Get More and Close Deals with PPC

Follow these simple rules and you’ll find that your PPC ads will be more than worth the money.  Experience shows that you’ll start out paying the high price for a short period of time until Google has enough info to rate your ads for Quality.  Then your cost per click can drop by as much as two-thirds or more.  It’s true…it works.