Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising started in 1998, where advertisers on Goto.com would pay the company to appear at the top of their search results for keywords relevant to their brands. While the sophistication of PPC advertising has evolved since the late 90s, the concept remains the same.
Today, PPC advertising is most commonly used on Google. The largest search engine in the world has been using PPC ads to generate the bulk of its revenue for decades (in fact, 79% of Google’s revenue is from PPC advertisers).
However, PPC for real estate is where things can get a little complicated. The keywords for real estate terms are extremely competitive, which means advertising will be more expensive.
Are you looking to learn more about PPC advertising for your real estate business? We’ll discuss the reasons you should use PPC for real estate and help get you on the way to launching your first successful PPC campaign.
What is PPC Advertising?
If you’re here reading this article, you probably know the basics of PPC advertising and why it’s useful for real estate businesses. But you may not be aware of everything that goes into this dynamic advertising channel.
Here are the main components of everything involved in pay-per-click advertising you need to know before getting started:
Keywords are the foundation of PPC campaigns. Advertisers choose relevant keywords or phrases they believe potential customers use when searching for products or services.
Targeting the right keywords will make or break your PPC ad campaigns. It’s important to do plenty of keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner tool so you know you’re targeting keywords with low competition and high conversion rates.
Ad copy is the text that appears in your PPC ads which are displayed to your audience. Your ad copy in each of your advertisements needs to be concise, engaging, and relevant to the keywords and landing page it links to.
Ad copy is where strong writers will excel. However, those not blessed with strong writing skills will probably need to work with colleagues or freelancers to write effective ad copy for PPC campaigns.
In PPC advertising, you need to specify how much you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. You can set bids manually or use automated bidding strategies provided by the advertising platform.
Bid strategies can include maximum cost-per-click (CPC), targeted return on ad spend (ROAS), and other options when working inside Google Ads.
You’ll be required to set a daily or monthly budget for your PPC campaign. This budget determines how much you’re willing to spend each day or for the length of your campaign.
Tracking and Analytics
Effective PPC advertising requires tracking and analyzing data to measure performance and make adjustments. Tools like Google Analytics and the advertising platform’s own reporting tools help you monitor clicks, impressions, conversions, ROI and other critical metrics.
Benefits of Using PPC for Real Estate
Pay-per-click advertising can be extremely effective for real estate professionals when executed the right way. Here are just some of the benefits.
- Targeted Audiences: PPC advertising allows you to target specific demographics, locations, and keywords. This means you can reach potential buyers or sellers who are actively searching for real estate services in your area or within your niche.
- Immediate Results: Unlike many other forms of digital marketing, PPC can provide nearly instant results. As soon as your campaign is set up and approved, your ads start appearing to your target audience.
- Budget Control: With PPC advertising, you have control over your budget and can set daily or monthly limits. This allows you to manage your advertising expenses effectively and not overspend on advertising.
- Cost-Effectiveness: PPC can be cost-effective because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. If your campaign is well-optimized, this can lead to a high return on investment (ROI).
- Data and Analytics: PPC platforms provide detailed data and analytics, allowing you to track the performance of your ads. You can see which keywords, ads, and campaigns are generating the best results and make adjustments accordingly.
Drawbacks of PPC Advertising
While using PPC advertising for real estate can be highly effective, there are some downsides to consider.
The cost-effectiveness of PPC advertising is a double-edged sword. On one hand, advertisers who know how to optimize their campaigns and manage their budget will find that PPC advertising is a low-cost way to generate leads and convert new customers.
On the other hand, those new to PPC advertising may find they are spending too much money on their initial campaigns and not getting the results they need. In this case, it would be best to study how to run PPC ads and manage a budget through resources like YouTube, marketing books, and popular podcasts.
Unfortunately for newcomers, PPC advertising is an extremely crowded space. To make matters worse, real estate is one of the most competitive industries for pay-per-click advertising.
However, those new to PPC advertising aren’t dead in the water just yet. The majority of people you’re competing with don’t know how to run PPC ads effectively. They are simply throwing together a landing page, typing some ad copy, linking their credit card, and pressing start (you can bet that Google is happy to take their money).
The only way to beat the competition is to be better than them. You’ll need to invest in a high-quality landing page and test it for its effectiveness in converting visitors. The same goes for your ad copy, bidding strategy, and keyword targeting.
While your PPC campaign may generate leads and appear to be converting lots of visitors, it’s important to assess the quality of those who’ve converted.
I can’t count how many times I received a notification claiming I’d converted a new lead, only to reach out and never make contact. For one reason or another, many of the leads “converted” from PPC campaigns will amount to nothing. It’s not fair, but hey, that’s life.
Creating Your PPC Strategy
Now that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of using PPC advertising for your real estate business, it’s time to start creating your strategy for converting new clients and growing your business.
Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in any marketing campaign is to identify the people or groups you want to target (also known as your ideal clients).
For example, real estate agents in Miami may target homeowners in Brickell aged 35-55 making over $200,000 per year. Conversely, a commercial real estate investment company may look to target business owners active on LinkedIn with 50+ employees at the company.
First determine your target audience, then let’s move onto keyword research.
This is the fun part, and luckily Google gives you plenty of tools to use for keyword research.
As we mentioned, the first one you should become familiar with is the Google Keyword Planner tool. It’s gone through several iterations and improvements over the years, but the Keyword Planner tool uses data directly from Google so you know it’s accurate and up-to-date.
However, before using the Keyword Planner, create a spreadsheet and write down 10-20 keywords you think your target audience would use to search for your services. This could be “real estate agent near me” or “how to sell a distressed home”. Make your list, and then navigate to the Keyword Planner.
Start entering in your chosen keywords into the tool, and begin analyzing the data. You’ll find that Google will tell you the search volume and level of competition for the keywords you’ve entered. They will also give you suggestions on similar keywords related to your list that may present additional opportunities.
Use this data to find keywords with varying levels of competition and search volume. Try to stay away from most of the keywords with high competition, as you’ll need to spend more money to outbid others competing for these search terms.
Setting Your Objectives
After finding the keywords to target, it’s time to set your objectives for the campaign.
Start by asking yourself what you’re trying to achieve with your advertising efforts. Are you looking for buyer leads, seller leads, investment opportunities, wholesale deals, or trying to promote your property management services?
Having a clear understanding of your objectives is crucial for a successful PPC campaign.
Creating a Budget
Before launching any advertising campaign, you’ll need a budget to manage your finances effectively.
Unless you’re working for a large real estate company with a big budget (coming from someone else’s pocket), you should always try to run advertising campaigns that are cost-effective and high-converting.
When creating a budget, set aside a good amount of money you can allocate to each campaign. There’s no right or wrong amount, but a good rule of thumb is to start with what you can afford to lose, since your first few campaigns are unlikely to generate a high ROI.
Advertising copy (or just “ad copy”) is the text used in your PPC advertisements. For Google Ads specifically, the ad copy is the blue hyperlink shown at the top of search results as well as the meta description underneath.
The ad copy is extremely important when running PPC ad campaigns, as the text at the top of search results is what will convince your audience to click your ad over others.
Finding ad copy that works is a trial and error process. You’ll need to test different ad copy to see which is generating the most clicks and conversions. Try one iteration of ads for a week, assess the results, and make changes as necessary.
Much like ad copy, a high-quality landing page is an important component of a successful PPC advertising campaign. It’s one thing to entice your audience to click on your ad, but converting them is another story.
Use landing page software to create a web page that’s visually appealing, informative, and has clear calls-to-action to persuade your audience to convert. This could mean directing them to provide their email and phone number, request a quote, sign up for a networking event, and much more.
If you don’t have the time or skills to create a landing page yourself, there are thousands of freelancers that would be happy to build one for you. But remember, you get what you pay for. Hiring a freelancer to build you a landing page for $20 will certainly lead to disappointment in the quality of work.
Using PPC for real estate can open many doors to new clients, investments, and overall growth for your business. Regardless of your specialization, pay-per-click advertising continues to be a very effective way for real estate professionals to convert new leads and scale their businesses.
However, it’s important to understand that PPC advertising is hard, and you may not see results right away. It takes time to become familiar with running campaigns, managing your budget, testing ad copy, building landing pages, and many other aspects of pay-per-click ads.