Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 8 , 2020

Real estate companies with the right paid search strategies can see a higher ROI, growing client base, and more wins over the competition.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why paid search marketing is key for real estate companies
  • How to take advantage of retargeting
  • Ways to leverage location-based ads
  • Tips for effective paid search ads

Before the pandemic hit, home sales were reportedly at their highest in more than a decade. Sadly, the virus has caused many buyers to feel less confident about purchasing a home, and sellers less likely to put their homes on the market.

But there’s good news. Overall, experts are calling this a temporary dip and predict that the housing marketing will make a “V-shaped recovery.” 

Perhaps now more than ever, real estate companies should be taking advantage of all the resources at their disposal, particularly when it comes to marketing efforts. While search engine optimization (SEO) is a big part of any marketing strategy, only a limited number of companies end up on the first page of Google. That’s where paid search marketing comes in.

Making paid search a part of your digital marketing program can be hugely beneficial to your company, especially right now. Let’s break down why. 

hawksem: real estate paid search blog

One of the most important elements of paid search marketing for real estate companies is retargeting (also called remarketing). (Image via Unsplash)

Why real estate paid search marketing makes sense

When it comes to digital marketing, many companies start with SEO. That entails things like a speedy, well-designed website, quality content marketing, and an updated Google My Business page. 

Optimizing your marketing efforts to get high spots on the search engine results page (SERP) is great. However, when you work with an extremely specific, localized product like real estate services, you need to throw something else into the mix to truly stand out from competitors.

Paid search marketing gives you the opportunity to focus on your local target audience. It also allows you to differentiate between renters and buyers, potential homeowners and current homeowners, and much more.

In short, this approach allows you to place your ad in front of potential clients, even if they submit search queries using key phrases similar to unqualified searchers.

Other benefits of paid search marketing for real estate companies include:

  • Quick lead generation results
  • The ability to do clear budget planning
  • Access to detailed analytics
  • Enhanced brand awareness

Pro tip: Google recently announced an update to their ads policy which will “prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code.” This goes along with Google’s existing policies barring personalization based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

1. Take advantage of retargeting

One of the most important elements of paid search marketing for real estate companies is retargeting (also called remarketing). This strategy uses targeted ads to tastefully follow those who have visited your site or interacted with your brand in the past. 

People in the market for real estate do a lot of research. They can wander from one website to another, searching for deals, browsing options, or window shopping to compare prices. These people could visit your website but easily end up working with another company.

To avoid this pitfall, Google Ads offers a remarketing option. As potential clients leave your website, your ads pop-up elsewhere across the web. These ads serve as a gentle reminder about your company and keep you top of mind.   

2. Capitalize on branded searchers

The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) searchers are your highest-potential clients. These are the people who are serious about purchasing a property. However, many real estate agencies avoid taking full advantage of branded keywords for the fear of not getting enough ROI.

Branded search terms are for those people who have heard something about a real estate agency in your area and tend to add a brand name to the general key phrases.  

If you aren’t using branded keywords, your competitors could be taking advantage of them and luring away your hot leads. If you’re just starting out and haven’t raised much brand awareness yet, you could pivot and use this strategy to redirect the competition’s audience to your doorstep.

To make sure that all your qualified prospects stay yours, you should be taking full advantage of the branded keywords. Don’t leave them out for the competition to grab.

3. Explore geo-targeting

A real estate business is generally local, though of course there are national brands with local branches. Either way, when it comes to real estate purchases, location is everything. 

After all, people searching for real estate options almost always know exactly where they want to buy, sell, or rent a property. That’s why geo-targeting is one of biggest benefits when it comes to paid search for real estate companies.

Google Ads lets you adjust your ads to appear to clients in certain locations or a set of locations. Not only does this feature allow you to narrow down the search options, it can also help cut your PPC costs.

Pro tip: Google Ads geo-targeting also allows you to set up negative locations. This feature can be especially key for real estate marketing. It allows you to exclude locations you don’t need from your PPC campaign, like a same-named city in a different state.

hawksem blog: real estate paid search

Besides being more targeted and actionable, landing pages should provide a seamless user experience and gently guide the visitor down the marketing funnel. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Create optimized, dedicated landing pages

The success of your paid search marketing campaign heavily depends on the value you offer on the landing pages. As users click the ad, they should arrive at a high-quality page that answers their questions, feels tailored to them, and has a clear call to action (CTA) to lead them to that next step.

Pointing the traffic to a generic web page (like your homepage) increases the bounce rate and raises the cost per click. Besides being more targeted and actionable, landing pages should provide a seamless user experience and gently guide the visitor down the marketing funnel.

The best PPC landing pages for real estate businesses should contain:

  • Eye-catching, well-written copy
  • Strong contextual media
  • A single, strong CTA
  • Clear features and benefits of the offer from your ad
  • Testimonials or other proof points to support your claims

Pro tip: Google Ads rewards campaigns with high-quality landing pages by boosting the quality score and lowering the cost per click (CPC).

5. Run consistent A/B tests

A single element in your paid search ad — whether it’s the image, headline, or anything in between — can affect its success. That’s why A/B testing is crucial to figuring out how to best optimize your ads. 

You may consider adjusting headlines, images, text, layout, and other factors to see how it affects the ad’s performance. Then you can channel your budget toward the higher-performing ads.

Avoid split testing completely different ads — the tweaks should be minor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to figure out what exactly makes one ad better than the other.

6. Study the competition

As long as you don’t plan to copy your competitors exactly (which may work in the short term but isn’t a good look for your business), it’s wise to keep an eye on the tactics and tools they’re using in their paid search.

Check out what works for your competition, and see how you can potentially leverage their strategies for your own gain. 

Type your target key phrase into Google search and see which ads come up. From there, you can use tools like SpyFu, SERPstat, and Keyword Gap to see which keywords your competitors are aiming for. You can also check out their landing pages and see how they stack up against your own. 

The takeaway

There’s no reason for real estate companies to not take full advantage of paid search marketing. It generates fast results, allows for clear budget planning, offers a variety of ways to target a specific audience, and more.

For the real estate business, paid search ads aren’t just a nice addition. They can become the driving force behind your digital marketing program and bring you serious ROI. 

Want to learn more about paid search marketing tactics for real estate agencies? Let’s talk.  


Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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