Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Technology has forever transformed the way the real estate industry operates. Online MLS databases and email lists have been around for decades, and make communicating with your clients easier than ever. These automations break down barriers between you and your audience, increasing your reach. With technological advances like these, why are you still advertising on archaic channels like newspapers and billboards? In today’s digital world, there’s a more cost-effective way to advertise your real estate services. It’s called Pay Per Click, or PPC.
You've probably encountered the most common type of PPC on the results page of your favorite search engine. The search results that appear at the very top with the “Ad” tag discreetly attached to them are considered PPC advertising. You might have also noticed ads embedded as articles on your favorite news sites, or an ad in one of your online searches reminded you of a product you were just browsing. All of these are PPC marketing techniques and can also be applied to your real estate marketing.
Print advertising has its advantages but the one thing it lacks is strategic targeting. A newspaper ad reaches a random set of readers with no guarantee that they’re the right target market, making it a real risk. You’ll never be sure if you’re reaching the right audience (the people who are actually interested in your services), and you can waste your advertising budget on a lot of irrelevant eyeballs.
PPC allows you to more accurately target customers who, based on online behaviors, are most likely looking for the services you offer. For example, you can choose what keywords will trigger your ads in online searches, such as “Homes” or “Real estate” or your business location. So when John Doe Googles “Homes for sale in Chicago,” your ad for Chicago real estate services will appear alongside his search results.
You can also take advantage of a PPC medium called “retargeting” to reach folks who have previously visited your real estate website and are already familiar with your services. This audience may just need that extra push before they get in contact with you, and retargeting is the perfect way to reach them.
Most PPC platforms have a feature that allows you to select the geographical area where your ads will appear. In fact, you can set an ad’s visibility to be as specific as a certain neighborhood. This gives you the control to spend your budget in a more strategic market area. If you own a real estate business that primarily operates in Toledo, you don’t have to spend money on an ad that will appear in Indianapolis. With geographical targeting, you can focus your marketing on a relevant audience. No more wasted ad spend!
PPC’s main advantage over traditional advertising methods is the ability to target very specific audiences. This gives you the ability to focus on customers who are interested and invested in what you have to offer.
Should I Attempt PPC Myself or Hire Someone Else?
When we are asked that question, we invoke our favorite 15th-century lyricist, Shakespeare. “To Thy own self be true.” Although PPC can definitely be learned, its steep learning curve is best tackled by those who commit to practicing it every day for months and master it in years. If you have had success in learning new online platforms, go for it. But if you struggle with new technology, hire a seasoned expert to do it.
If you’re ready to start putting some of your advertising money into PPC, here are a few platforms worth considering:
- Google: Ads - With Google having the largest market share, the Ads platform (formerly Adwords) has the highest view rate but along with that comes more competition. This means that you may have to spend more money to get your ads to show up on the first page of search results, which is typically the only page that matters.
- Bing: Bing Ads - Don’t discount Bing. According to Comscore’s latest report, Bing’s market share has reached 21% to Google’s shrinking 64% and it would be worth taking advantage of Bing’s lower ad price point.
- Yahoo: Gemini - Early internet adopters still use this method that sits at 12.7% of the market share, and with the lowest price point for ads, taking advantage of this can yield you a pretty impressive return on your ad investment.
How Do I Gauge a PPC Expert’s Capabilities?
You must set expectations, set a timeline, and hold them accountable. If your goal is to acquire more phone calls or website visits for your business, measure the before and after - and always be realistic. PPC takes about a month or two of data gathering to allow for sufficient data to develop an adequate strategy. If an "expert" promises you instant leads through PPC efforts, their main focus is on making a sale, not helping you succeed.