When it comes to finding new leads, REALTORS® need to be creative.
If you want to expand your reach, you need different ways to find new leads and convert them into lifelong clients.
One method that I was recently introduced to by another agent was search marketing, commonly known as PPC.
I talked with RESAAS Premium user and RE/MAX Central agent Bryan Short, who is currently based in Las Vegas. Short has been a REALTOR® since 2006, with his primary focus on the residential market.
What is PPC? A quick explanation
PPC stands for pay per click. When done well, PPC can help you to attract new visitors to your real estate website and turn those visitors into clients.
Here’s how PPC works: You bid on selected keywords that you feel are relevant terms that potential customers might use in their search queries. The amount you pay for each click will depend on how much you’re willing to bid on these keywords.
The higher the bid, the better chance that your ad will be listed at the top of the ads displayed on the page. These ads can appear on search engine result pages (SERP) or on websites that are related to your targeted keywords. When it comes to paying for PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website.
For example, when I searched for ‘real estate in San Francisco’, I received plenty of results. But the placement of these results aren’t random: the top four, which have a green “Ad” box in the result, are from PPC.
PPC in action
I interviewed Short to see how PPC became a valuable way to turn his leads into customers.
Prior to working in Las Vegas, Short worked in Spokane, Washington. At the time, he was running print ads to promote his own listings.
During his time in Spokane, Short saw that the market was predominantly strong in the summer time, so these print ads in magazines were being seen mostly by out of town visitors. He realized that he needed to find a new way to market to people.
When he was introduced to PPC in 2008, he gave it a try and never looked back.
For Short, PPC allows for the agent to create a “super direct path between what the customers want and what the MLS can provide.”
“You don’t know how people will come into your life, but you better make sure that you have multiple ways for them to do so,” Short said.
An example of this was the situation of a woman that Short came across who was looking for a single-story home. Short reached out to this woman first and received no response. But by the second and third email, Short had started talking to this woman and asking her about what she was looking for.
“I asked her what her timeline was, and she told me that she will have a date for when her cast will come off,” Short said. “She had fallen down the stairs and broke her hip, and now she’s looking for a single-story home so that she doesn’t have to climb any more stairs.”
Through this connection, Short ended up listing the house that she lived in and helped her buy a new one.
How was this connection made? Through PPC, Short was able to turn this woman’s want into a reality.
The secret: niche paths
The secret with PPC is to come up with niche paths that you can map out.
“All REALTORS® typically come up with the same thing: they focus on their city name and then ‘homes for sale’,” Short said. “With such a standard campaign, in the best case scenario, you are going up against every other agent under the sun in that area.”
But when it comes to going niche, you are able to carve out a path for yourself and you’ll have less competition.
You might also be thinking that specificity might lead to less traffic and therefore less people encountering your name. But Short says that while there might be less traffic, these prospects are more likely to be further down the decision making path and more likely to buy.
“Let’s say your path is ‘homes by golf courses in Las Vegas’. Instantly you can tell right away that this potential client is not only location aware, but they know what they want nearby their home,” Short said.
If your ad is right smack at the top of those search results as a PPC ad, chances are you’ll have a lot more traffic being driven to your real estate website with leads that are rich and valuable.
“With nearly 4 billion people putting their ‘want’ into Google every day, try to think about the scenarios where you want to acquire prospects.”
Making a plan with the data
Once you have all this rich data, you can begin to make catered marketing plans which includes:
Which keywords to bid on
What to focus on in your marketing campaigns.
Taking the success story of the woman looking for a single-story home, Short came up with a marketing strategy on the fly for customers like this woman, and others that might be in a similar situation.
“I can look through my contacts and sort them by age range and go through their past experiences were to see what needs and issues they have, and what solutions they require,” Short said.
“So for elderly customers looking for single-story homes, I can select all my customers aged 55 and over, and send a campaign along the lines of, ‘Tired of homes with stairs? Check out these homes in Las Vegas’, and then send this campaign directly to this group.”
When you take the time to analyze the data and focus on the needs of your clients, you can turn it into an inbound path from where the customers are and link them to your business.
“How can I make things better for you?”
The job of a REALTOR®, Short said, is to ultimately provide clients with solutions that will make their life easier.
“At the end of the day, the consumer just wants what they want. They really don’t care about the agent at all,” Short said. “I always like to look at each sale as helping to improve my clients. I always ask, ‘How can I make this better for you?’”
When it comes to using PPC to help figure out your next marketing plan, Short stresses that you need to take the time to put the work in. He suggests taking advantage of different channels, such as print ads, follow up calls and SEO strategy alongside PPC.
Short also suggests taking the effort to take the data to see what will bring the most benefit to the customer. By creating special paths, it will show the customer that you are detail-oriented and focused on the customer as an individual.
Pay per click or PPC is a valuable way to collect data and use it to create tailored marketing plans to turn website visitors into lifelong clients. This means that it is critical to keep your eyes and ears open, do your research, and keep a consistent presence on your social networks. These, along with the data gained from PPC, will help you launch your next great campaign to generate great leads.
What are your thoughts on PPC? Have you used it before as a way to capture leads? Let us know by logging into your RESAAS account and commenting here!
Rachel Wong is the Digital Content Co-op student at RESAAS. She loves coffee and beer, writing and talking, and has been the same height for pretty much ever. Check out her RESAAS profile ›