Congratulations! If you are reading this you are most likely thinking about starting a PPC campaign for your real estate website. Below is a list of common questions & answers regarding real estate PPC campaigns. If you have a question and don’t see it on here, feel free to comment on this post or reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is PPC?
In short, PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click.
Pay-Per-Click refers to a popular online advertising model where advertisers do just that, pay only when a lead clicks on their ad. This is one of the most cost-effective lead generators, especially for realtors as it has the potential to capture actively searching clients.
A PPC ad appears at the top, bottom or banner section of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) and is included when a consumer searches online. These online searches can include anything from gifts to food to real estate!
Though most popular on Google, PPC ads appear on all forms of search engines including Bing, Amazon, Yahoo and Yelp.
Why should a realtor run PPC ads?
How can a PPC campaign help your business? Well, this question can be answered by asking another question. What is the best type of client? An actively searching one! And a PPC campaign is the best way to capture just that!
When a prospective lead types in “San Francisco Homes for Sale” it is safe to assume that they are in the market for a home in San Francisco. Instead of advertising to the masses, many of whom may not be interested, looking or even in your area, a PPC campaign will use your advertising budget and concentrate it directly at relevant potential leads.
Another benefit of running a PPC campaign is that it levels the playing field for online advertising. While SEO can be extremely effective by targeting niche keywords, very popular search terms have been monopolized by large companies like Zillow, Realtor, Trulia, etc. With PPC, a number of factors are in play ensuring that the budget isn’t the sole dictator for appearing on top.
How does Google Ads work?
GoogleAds is the platform in which Google’s PPC campaigns are run. Up until 2018, it was known as Google AdWords. So, how does it work?
When someone performs an online search that is relevant to your service, your ad will enter into what is known as an auction system. The first step Google will take is to weed out the irrelevant ads, meaning ones that don’t meet its specific criteria.
Once passed the first step, Google will continue with a process known as AdRanks. AdRanks will consider two elements of prospective bid winners which are:
- Max Bid
- Quality Score
Max bid is exactly what it sounds like. It will take into account the maximum amount you are willing to pay per lead. Quality score is more detailed and will consider factors such as expected click-through rate, the users search and what your site’s land page experience has been. The quality score is determined on a per ad basis, adjusting with each auction process.
Why is this important? A quality score plays an important role in the success of your PPC campaign. A high-quality score can win against a high budget, meaning even if you are a single agent or have an entry-level budget, you can still land leads through PPC.
Should I advertise on Bing as well as Google?
So now that you’ve made the decision to run a PPC campaign, you may feel as if Google is the obvious, and only, choice in regards to platform. Yes, Google is by far the Goliath in terms of search engines, however, Bing still has a stone or two in its sling that makes it a worthy opponent.
A few quick facts about Bing that most people don’t realize:
- There are roughly 5 billion (yes, billion) searches on Bing every month*
- Nearly 35% of the US desktop searches are performed on Bing*
- The average age of Bing users is 34+
- Bing PPC ads also show up on AOL and Yahoo Search Engine Results Page
- 85% of those who use Bing are in the US*
- 38% of those who use Bing have a household income of more than $100,000*
When looking at these stats it is suddenly apparent that PPC campaigns on Bing can turn out to be a highly profitable investing strategy. Not only will most realtors likely overlook the search engine, you will be able to tap a large number of prospective leads (in the ideal age group) which are left out when solely advertising on Google.
How much does PPC for real estate agents cost per lead?
The cost of lead can vary based on location, competition, season, etc, however, you can expect the cost per lead to be in the range of $5 – $15. In some cases, it can be slightly higher or lower.
How much importance should I put on cost per lead?
The cost per lead is certainly a factor, however, there are other metrics to look at as well. For example, the average price point of home a lead is looking at. At the end of the day, the main focus for you and your business should be on ROI, not on the cost per lead. What is going to generate the highest ROI for you?
What is considered a lead?
For most real estate PPC campaigns, a lead is someone that creates an account on your website. When a visitor clicks on a property they are interested in, they will see a pop up (i.e lead capture) similar to the below example.
Once they fill this out, their information is inputted into your CRM and you can now call, text & email them. It is important to note that not all leads will put in their correct information or have a phone number. This is completely normal when using a forced lead capture.
What is the quality of the leads like?
The answer will range/depend as the quality of the lead to one person may not be “quality” to another person. With PPC, you will get a range of people who are looking to buy or sell now, looking to purchase a year from now, looking for a friend, working with an agent (they could be using this just so you won’t follow up with them), fake contact information, etc. Over 1-2 years of running a PPC campaign, most real estate agents can convert between 1-5%.
“Quality” can also change based on your follow up. For example, a skilled closer can turn a “just-looking” into a buy now type lead. Many people will use objections because they aren’t ready to speak with a real estate agent, however, if you can provide your value, you will quickly find they are more serious about buying.
Like almost every marketing tactic, the longer you invest & refine your process, the better the results will be.
I highly recommend checking out this video by Greg Harrelson that discusses the truth about lead quality.
How long does it take to close a sale from a real estate PPC campaign?
This can range based on your monthly investment, your follow-up process, etc, however, real estate agents typically close a deal between 3 – 6 months of starting a campaign. This often pays for the entire year of running a PPC program. On average, however, the length of time for a lead to close is between 12 – 18 months. The reason being is that many of the leads will be at the beginning of their home search. This is why it is important to think of PPC as a long-term investment. For example, during the first year of a PPC campaign, you may have a 1% closing rate (or less). With a proper workflow & follow up, it isn’t unusual to increase your closing rate to 2-3% the following year.
What goes into setting up a PPC campaign?
For each campaign Asterisk Marketing set’s up, we do extensive research into your market to discover all of the neighborhoods, types of homes, zip codes & more. We use these findings to help build a campaign that focuses on the areas you want to serve and the price points you want to attract. We also create 100s of different keywords, ad copy, set up conversion tracking, Google Analytics & more.
What do PPC ads look like?
With Pay-per-click, you are running text-based search ads that can be seen on both Google & Bing when someone types in a keyword you are bidding on. Below is an example of a text-based search ad.
For additional reading, I recommend checking out the following guides:
How much should I invest in PPC?
This isn’t a straight answer as it depends on if you pay for other lead sources, your goals, etc., but we recommend investing a minimum of $900/month with an optimal budget of $1,500 – $2,000/month for most single agents. The benefit of investing in this amount is:
- You generate more leads so you have a higher chance of closing one
- We (or your PPC manager) have more data to work with in order to optimize your campaign and maximize your results
Another factor to consider is how many deals do you want to close. Most agents convert between 1-3% of online leads. If you convert at 1% and want to close 12 deals in a year, you will need approximately 100 leads/month, therefore you should invest between $1,500 – $2,000/month. If your average GCI is $10,000, you can expect to earn close to $100,000/year from the PPC campaign.
Bonus Tip: When putting together your PPC budget, think about how much you will make, not how much you are spending. The biggest mistake most people make is not investing enough in themselves.
What goes into the monthly management of a real estate PPC account?
Each month we spend time optimizing your campaign by adjustings bids, creating new ad copy, managing budgets, pausing underperforming keywords, monthly reports & monthly strategy calls. PPC is certainly not a set and forget it type of strategy if you want to maximize your results.
Bonus Tip: For each one of our clients, we offer monthly strategy calls. To get the most out of your campaign, be sure to take advantage of those calls.
How should I follow up with leads?
Calling the person is the single most important thing you can do when trying to convert leads into sales. Text & email workflows are very beneficial, but they can not replace picking up the phone and building a rapport with the lead.
Trying to reach the lead within 5 minutes is also pivotal. According to LeadSimple, calling within 5 minutes is 21x more effective than calling after 30 minutes. After 5 minutes, the odds of qualifying a lead drop by 80%. According to HubSpot, 50% of all leads will work with the first vendor they speak with.
Here is a list of other follow up tactics we recommend doing:
- When you are calling the leads, pretend you are calling a friend. Don’t overwhelm the lead with scripted screening questions. The goal of this call should be to find out what they are looking for, their motivation and to book an appointment. The rest of the screening questions can be answered at a meeting/tour. You should also have your elevator pitch perfected as to why the lead should work with you vs another agent.
- Create a workflow for new leads that sign up so an automated email & text get sent out. Need inspiration? Check out the workflow we put together. If you are a client, we will add these to your website for free 🙂
- Create workflows based on different scenarios (6 months out, 1 year out, window shopping, working with an agent, looking for someone else, active, not interested, etc.)
- Create a custom saved search for each lead and re-name the saved search with a description of what they are looking for, your name & phone number (ex. Denver 3 Bedroom Homes – Mike Smith Royal Le Page @ 123-234-1231
- Monitor your CRM daily to see who is active, currently online, etc. If someone is online, try giving them a call/text/chatting online.
- When a lead favors a property, send the following email/text – “Hey Bob, I saw you inquired about 123 Park Ave. Did you want to set up a time to check it out?”
- Set up each lead on a monthly market report based on the areas they are looking in
- Use tags to quickly filter leads (ex. contacted, time frame, city, type of home, etc).
- Use the urgency filter to quickly find hot & cold leads
- Send out e-blasts for holidays, monthly newsletters, etc.
- To find hidden sellers, use local directories to find out if a buyer owns a home in your (or nearby) city. If they own a home, mail them your listing package.
- Always focus on providing value to your database (no one likes a pushy salesman) so when the time comes to buy or sell a property, you are the clear number 1 choice.
- Continue to refine your follow up process and learn from other successful agents.
I strongly recommend also checking out the following videos to help with lead follow up.
The Truth About Lead Quality
PPC: Cracking The Code On Conversion
How Al Lewis Closed 60 Deals from PPC in 1 Year
Do I have to sign a contract or is there a setup fee when working with Asterisk Marketing?
With our PPC campaign, there are no contracts or set-up fees. Our campaigns are month to month so you can pause or cancel at any time. That being said, we strongly encourage you to stay with a PPC campaign for at least 6 months to 1 year to see the full potential. Just like anything in life, results don’t happen overnight, but the longer you stick with it, the better it will be.
I am sold! How can I get started?
If you are ready to get started with a PPC campaign, please fill out this questionnaire and an Asterisk Marketing representative will get back you to!