Experienced realtors know success in this competitive, exciting industry hinges on relationships and connection.
And the ones who do it well? They take marketing seriously. It’s all about meeting your target market where they are, and pay-per-click (PPC) services are how you do it.
Real estate marketing can take many forms, from networking and local real-estate farming to blogging, web design, social media posting and search engine optimization (SEO), but it’s hard to beat the effectiveness and fast results that a proper PPC campaign can bring.
From the benefits of PPC for realtors to expert optimization tips and everything in between, here’s how PPC services can help you grow your real estate business.
How does PPC benefit realtors?
In the most basic sense, pay-per-click marketing is a boon for realtors because of how it can directly connect you with your target market. Picture it: Someone is looking to buy or sell a home or building in your area, or advertise a property that’s already for sale. They head to a search engine and type in a query for a local real estate agent. Then boom, there you are – and at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), no less.
Of course, there are a handful of other digital marketing elements to put into place that’ll best support your PPC plan – namely, a snazzy real estate website, SEO best practices, third-party reviews online, a solid social presence, and other forms of advertising like video, display, and remarketing. But if you’re looking to rocket to page 1 and gain visibility from the right people in the right place at the right time, PPC really can’t be beat.
PPC service deliverables for realtors
When you’re shopping around for a PPC agency to help you with your real estate digital marketing, you may see a varying list of service deliverables.
The ones you prioritize will depend on factors like your budget and goals, but here’s a breakdown of the most common PPC service deliverables. (For what it’s worth, a full-service agency like HawkSEM will offer all of these and more).
Current PPC campaigns audit
It’s understandable to want to hit the ground running on improving your PPC program. But part of that involves understanding its current state. A proper paid search agency should take the time to conduct a PPC audit, if you have an existing marketing strategy.
This way, they can assess what you’re currently doing, identify any quick-win opportunities that may exist, and better align with you on where to go next.
Industry research, audience personas and competitor analysis
Once the foundation is set, it’s time to zoom out. Often, an agency will want to check out both your biggest competitors and the state of your particular market at large. You don’t want to merely copy what another real estate brand is doing, but this stage can illuminate audience segments, platforms, keywords, or other opportunities you may not be taking advantage of.
Researching the current real estate landscape (with tools like Google Trends) can provide inspiration for future ad campaigns. Not only that, but digging into your target audience’s demographics, along with their needs, wants, and concerns, will help them (and you) better understand what your ideal clients are thinking and seeking.
Pinpointing platforms and areas of opportunity
In terms of paid search, most people think Google is the only game in town. And, sure, it holds most of the global market share, but there are other platforms worth exploring – including ones your target audience might be using.
For example, your PPC agency may let you know that their research led them to the fact that a decent segment of your audience uses Bing as their search engine, so you may want to export your campaigns there after building them in Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords).
Comprehensive keyword research
If PPC advertising campaigns are a wheel, then the keyword is the central hub that keeps everything spinning, stable, and moving forward. The agency you partner with should know what they’re doing when it comes to keyword research. That means they can help you discover new opportunities by way of keywords, from audience segment targeting and selling points to value propositions and tactics for besting competing real estate agencies. The result: Getting your real estate company to surface in more, better search results.
Campaign creation and execution
With the above building blocks in place, now’s the time to move forward confidently into campaign creation. Your agency may start by creating custom audiences to ensure your campaigns and landing pages are hyper-focused and personalized.
Armed with your list of keywords, you can start creating action-oriented ad copy to boost your clickthrough and conversion rates. This is also the stage to come up with (or codify) a manageable, scalable ad creation process moving forward.
Creative buildout and landing pages
Even the best real estate ad copy will fall flat if it’s paired with lackluster visuals. When you’re crafting these campaigns, don’t leave imagery and landing page design as an afterthought. This is a great time to check out what competitors are doing as far as things like landing pages and visuals go as well.
Once you’ve crafted landing pages that flow seamlessly with your PPC ads, resist the urge to “set and forget.” Rather, it’s important to A/B test things like photos, CTA buttons, headlines, and other campaign elements to ensure they’re as high-performing as possible – more on that in the next step
Testing and optimizing
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) should stay top of mind, especially when it comes to your landing pages. You can achieve this by testing page elements and optimizing accordingly. Along with A/B testing, you can leverage heatmapping tools to give you more info about user behavior and pinpoint areas of improvement.
While testing elements and monitoring performance is key, you want to give your current campaigns enough running time to show significant data. It can be tempting to tweak something immediately when you notice it’s underperforming, but when you give a campaign at least a few weeks to run, you may be surprised at the response.
Gathering up all of your paid search campaign data and building out custom reports with the results offers transparency to your team, keeps everyone on the same page, and can be helpful to share with higher ups who want to see the key takeaways.
But between your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, Google Analytics and/or Data Studio, and any other platforms you’re using for paid search, syncing all that info together can get complicated fast.
HawkSEM’s proprietary ConversionIQ system was created to solve just that problem (along with a few other common roadblocks that can pop up with PPC campaigns). This technology solution helps you easily create reports from multiple sources, while also helping you identify more qualified leads, prevent wasted ad spend, and manageably scale.
The ConversionIQTM System
Our smart way of marketing to drive more revenue.
ConversionIQ is our proprietary methodology built to drive actionable insights, full-funnel attribution and high-quality conversions that continuously improve your bottom line.
Patch of Land uses the latest technology to solve the problem of slow and inefficient private real estate lending. When they hit a wall with their digital marketing efforts, we partnered with them to unlock new opportunities and dramatically boost their ROI.
As a result, we helped their team achieve a 250% increase in lead volume.
Reduced cost per lead by 25%
Grew new sessions by more than 100%.
Realtor PPC tips from the experts
In the ever-evolving real estate industry, marketing pros know you’ve got to stay agile to stay competitive. Let these tips from our expert team members help guide you as you create and refine your real estate PPC program.
Google is all about search intent. The search engine wants to connect searchers with the answers they’re seeking. That’s why it’ll benefit your campaigns to prioritize local searches. Adding a location to your keyword will turn it into a long-tail keyword (AKA a search term that’s three words or longer, generally).
While these terms may have a lower overall search volume, they’re worth exploring for businesses with location-specific offerings, like realtors. Again, this goes back to intent. If you’re selling property, someone from any region could potentially buy it. But if you’re seeking people selling their home or property, you may want to focus on your specific market.
Along with focusing on local terms, our marketing experts suggest sticking to those high-intent keywords when it comes to your search ads. Think: “Realtors in [city]” and “Best realtor to sell my house.”
During the targeting stage, it’s important to get clear on whether you’re targeting buyers or sellers in your campaigns. Since you’ll approach these two personas differently, it’s wise to create different campaigns for each segment, if you want to connect with both.
In this same vein, it’ll be in your best interest to take advantage of interest targeting. Most networks that gather audience data will have the option to target based on a life event like moving. Life event targeting is useful because it’s likely that there will be certain behaviors and intents connected to these events. You can leverage this targeting on platforms like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), Facebook, and Pinterest.
No surprise here: a campaign intended for lead generation will require a different approach from one design to sell an actual property. Thus, your landing pages should be designed accordingly – that means crafting a landing page for the specific property you’re trying to sell and/or your own brand page for lead gen (if you have the budget).
Geofencing is important for real estate marketing teams. This ensures your brand is advertising only to your desired area or territory. Not only that, but ZIP code and radius targeting are good options if you want to zero in on specific neighborhoods.
Results From Our Marketing Plans
Conversions up 7x
Increased enrollment and filled seats in our sleep
Increased e-commerce conversion rates two fold
3x lead volume
30% increase in conversions
Doubled holiday sales
How to optimize your real estate PPC campaigns
Alright, so you’ve got all the elements in place and your pay-per-click advertising campaigns are up and running. Time to sit back and relax… just kidding.
In the paid search world, stagnant can quickly turn to stale, meaning your competition will lap you in no time. Optimizing your campaigns ensures they stay fresh, relevant, and targeted – so how exactly do you optimize?
Mesh automation tools with a human touch
Of course, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) features can make certain repetitive or time-intensive tasks easier. But experience tells us that leaning too heavily on automation can lead to an ill-defined audience, outdated keyword list, and subpar traffic. The easy fix for this is to take the time to gauge campaign performance and A/B test to ensure all the right elements are in place.
Bid on your brand terms
Again, this tactic may not be right for all industries, but it’s a smart move for realtors. That’s because someone who is searching your brand name likely saw it on a sign or heard it from a friend or colleague and is in your target market. Rather than having a competitor (who’s also bidding on your brand terms) or a directory site pop up, you can stake your claim and ensure they find you instead.
Explore video and virtual reality (VR)
Video and VR may not make sense for every industry’s digital marketing, but they certainly do for real estate. From virtual tours to 360-degree views, these technology tools offer to do a lot of the heavy lifting to turn a window shopper into a warm lead – so don’t be afraid to take advantage of them, if you can.
Monitor your Quality Score
Google created Quality Score (on a scale of 1-10) as a way to measure the estimated quality of a brand’s ads, keywords, and landing pages. Businesses with a higher Quality Score (ideally 8 or above) can reap benefits like a lower cost per click and better ad positions. Your score is determined by three factors: expected clickthrough rate (CTR), ad relevance, and landing page experience. You can find your Quality Score in your Google Ads account in the “Keywords” section.
Leverage ad extensions
Google has noted that their unique ad-rank formula takes extensions (now called assets) into account, so there’s no real reason not to use them. These enhance your ad by allowing you to include more context and information without giving up valuable ad copy real estate (pun intended). Choose from assets like:
Agent Find is a real estate technology company providing mortgage lenders with the digital tools needed to boost their mortgage lead conversions. They came to us seeking a digital marketing agency that could manage their PPC campaigns, drive qualified leads, create and manage landing pages, accelerate growth and help them gain market share.
By taking the reins of their paid search efforts, we were able to help the Agent Find team increase conversion rates by more than 150% and improve lead quality by 85% while cutting cost per lead in half. Want similar results for your real estate brand?
Increased conversion rates by 150%.
85% improvement in lead quality.
Why partnering with an PPC agency can help you scale your business
It’s exciting to start seeing the uptick in traffic, leads, and business once you’ve launched a successful pay-per-click campaign. But to grow your real estate company in a way that’s manageable and sustainable, you may need to call in reinforcements.
That’s where an agency comes in. Rather than trying to do it all and risk a stressed-out, overworked team — or an under-performing search engine marketing (SEM) program — partnering with a marketing company that specializes in PPC puts your efforts in the hands of capable, experienced industry pros who are driven to bring you the results you want.
Not only can this help you scale your program properly, but it ensures you’re maximizing your efforts and ad spend, investing more in what’s working and reconfiguring what’s not. And while an agency comes with its own fees, the results often pay for themselves, making a partnership like this well-worth the investment. (Check out these results HawkSEM has been able to bring to brands like Nike, DirecTV and Wyndham Capital Mortgage.)
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The bottom line
If you want to grow your business through online marketing tactics that get you in front of qualified real estate leads, then you wourse, with great power comes great responsibility.
Whether you want to build a paid ads plan from scratch or simply improve on what you’re currently running while being able to focus on all the other tasks on your plate, the right PPC agency can work with you to take your campaigns to the next level – with next-level ROI as a result.
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- Dramatically improve ROI
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- Increase conversion volume
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