Many years ago when I started my career in real estate, I was taught to work my "sphere of influence" to guarantee success. That advice nearly cost me my business, as it never produced the results that I needed. I decided to focus my lead generation efforts online and within a few months I was doing better than ever.
If the traditional method of using your "sphere of influence" to generate leads isn't working for you either, then you'll enjoy this article. You're probably aware that a large majority of business happens online these days. So how can you tap into the internet and start generating new business right now? Google AdWords is one of the most powerful ways to accomplish this.
Do you have a real estate website that you would like to drive more business to? Maybe you tried setting up a real estate website several years ago and it just never produced anything for you, so you gave up. If so, it's time to try it again. Google AdWords is too valuable of a resource to simply brush off and move on. I couldn't imagine not knowing how to utilize this resource moving forward with my business in 2015.
Google AdWords is one of the best ways to get valuable targeted traffic to your website and/or promotional content. I'm going to offer five tips that, had I known about when I first started with AdWords, would have saved my advertising budget. I hope these tips help you, as they have helped me.
If you've never used Google AdWords before, don't worry. I have created an easy-to-follow guide to help you get started. It should only take about 20 minutes to setup your first campaign with this guide. Simply CLICK HERE to view the visual walk-through I created for real estate professionals.
If you are familiar with Google AdWords and you're ready to learn some tips to help you become more successful, then let's get started!
Tip #1: Spend Some Time On Your Website As a Consumer Before Getting Started
What's it like to be on your website for the first time? That is one of the most important questions that you can ask yourself when beginning an AdWords campaign. Be honest and compare your site with other local websites that you are competing with. If your site is "dated" or less desirable than your competitor, then you need to fix it before starting an AdWords campaign. There is no point in paying to drive people to a website that will never convert them. Your website can be the hub of your business, gaining you more positive exposure than you could ever create otherwise. Every educational email you write to your clients is potentially a page for your website that you can share with many others. You can then market your content with Google AdWords and amplify your knowledge to your city. If you develop a useful site that people like, your leads will snowball every year. I know that this is the best investment for my time in today's tech driven real estate industry.
Tip #2: Develop a Strong Ad Concept
You will need to invest a substantial amount of time to learn in depth AdWords techniques to optimize your campaign performance. Before you ever get started with your campaigns, you will need to have a strong ad concept. Who are you trying to attract and what are you offering them? Maybe you have a special listing promotion that you would like to advertise. Make a web page for that promotion and advertise it to your specific geographic areas using relevant keywords. Maybe you want to connect with buyers looking in a popular neighborhood. This is a common lead generation strategy for many AdWord savvy agents. Spend some time planning out your ad concept to make sure you’re promoting something that will yield a high search volume.
Tip #3: Provide Original Content with Value
I have a strategic web page for real estate in Colorado Springs that I promote. This page is designed for homebuyers researching the area and looking for available properties. I would not advertise this to sellers or people looking in rural areas because I have more specific pages for them. If I am going to pay for traffic to this page, I need to be confident that consumers will enjoy the content and the layout of the page. It needs to load fast, be attractive, concise, and offer something of value. My Colorado Springs web page has area statistics, the most recent homes for sale, and a list of popular neighborhoods. Consumers check out this page about 100 times a day, according to my Google Analytics stats. After landing on this page, over 70 percent of them journey onto another page. I use this page (and many others) as an entry point for consumers to find my site and start using it on a regular basis. I can increase the amount of traffic I need to this site by adjusting my AdWords budget. That's the beauty of pay-per-click advertising.
Tip #4: Watch Your Click-Through rate (CTR)
A click-through rate measures the amount of times your ad gets clicked on, per 100 impressions in Google's search results. If your ad gets clicked on 4 times in 100 impressions, then your CTR would be four percent. This is an important unit of measure because it tells Google how relevant you ads are to consumers. Make sure your click-through rate stays low. You never want your overall campaign CTR to drop below one percent. Ideally, three percent or higher is preferred. If you have any keywords that get lots of (500 or more) impressions and no clicks, either get rid of them, or optimize them to perform better. Keywords with low click-throughs will affect your overall CTR status, which can cost you money. Notice the keywords with higher click-through rates and focus your efforts there.
It's important to understand that Google does not want to show irrelevant ads at the top of their results. Google's reputation is based off of the accuracy of their search results. If Google starts showing irrelevant or "spammy" ads in their search results, consumers will complain. For this reason, Google wants the ads at the top of their results to be valuable to its users. To get the best results, use your landing page to provide information that consumers are looking for, and optimize it for your targeted keywords. Google rewards those who understand this. Your CTR is one of the strongest units of measurement to determine your ads value to consumers, and ultimately, to Google.
Tip #5: Monitor Your "Average Position" (Avg. Pos.)
Your Avg. Pos. is shown on all of your campaign stats. This unit of measure refers to the average ranking position that your ad is landing within the paid search results. For example, if your advertisement averages 3.5 Avg. Pos., it will likely be shown in the third or fourth paid ad slot each time in the SERPS (search engine results page). This number is important because it lets you know how competitive your ad is. Since my best performing campaigns are always in the number one spot, I do everything I can to optimize my ads to have a number one average position. The traffic in the number one position is much higher, which increases my click-through rate. This keeps my costs down by showing Google that I am the most valuable ad to consumers in that keyword group. This is my goal with every keyword.
Your Avg. Pos. rate will also help you keep an eye on your competitors as well. If you drop from an average position of number one to number three, then it's likely you have some new competition for your keywords. Now you can adjust and optimize to gain your spot back, or move on to better keywords. I tend to drop any keywords that are stuck in the fourth position or lower. This protects me from having a keyword rack up a bunch of impressions without any clicks, because it's too far down in the paid results.
Tip #6: Match Your Paid Keywords with Your On-Page Content
Since Google is concerned about showing irrelevant results in their web searches, it helps to make sure your landing page content matches your keywords. For instance, if you were to bid on the keywords "Homes for Sale in Portland, OR", you'll want to make sure those words are in your webpage. Use them in your title tags, written content, and anywhere else that they NATURALLY fit. Don't stuff keywords unnaturally because Google will penalize you for it, but do get those keywords in there.
If you would like to grow your business using AdWords this year, get ready to put some hours in to get it started. It takes some getting used to. Once you have setup your campaigns and found some that work well for you, the time requirement becomes much more minimal. I only check in on my campaigns once a week to make sure that they are still performing well. I spend the rest of my time responding to the leads that the campaigns generate, which feels great.
Andrew Fortune is a top REALTOR® in Colorado Springs, Colo. who enjoys technology, SEO, real estate marketing, and hiking with his wife and three daughters in the mountains. He is very active on social media and can even be found online playing Battlefield 4 in his down time.