Is Real Estate lead generation using PPC still viable?

To PPC or not to PPC, that is the question

One of the toughest challenges for brokers in today's online environment where costs per click have rise astronomically over the last ten years, is building and nurturing a cost effective pipeline of new buyers and sellers. In addition to the rising costs per click there is the additional challenge of a time lag, per the NAR (National Association of Realtors), between when home buyers first start researching homes online and when they engage a realtor that ranges from 1-12+ months, with the majority falling between 3 to 9 months.

Given the delay factor, the first thing one has to come to terms with is that the only way to determine if a paid real estate lead generation campaign is viable, you have to allow for at least a one year period to determine if its effective or not. Its probably not worth beginning a paid marketing campaign unless you are willing to commit to for at least 12 months. If you are willing to do, read on...

Your market area has its own unique pricing and consumer behaviour When it comes to real estate, we have found that each market place has unique characteristics when it comes to user behaviour and the average cost per click. This is important to factor into your business model and determine viability. How many brokers are advertising using PPC in your market place? Do you force registration after a period of free use or not? How long should that period of free use be?

Are you actively cultivating each part of your lead nurture process? While real estate online marketing has its unique characteristics, there are certain marketing principles and practices which if not applied will hurt your lead to client conversions. The age of personalized marketing is upon us! What does this mean for brokers? It means that you need to do outreach that communicates in an attentive service oriented way to your registered lead. You can't automate personalizion. Yes, you can come close, but consumers are more savvy than ever before. They can tell an authentic personalized email from a fake automated one. We are not saying "don't send out drip emails". They have their place, in an education oriented and transparent context, but they are not a substitute for authentic real time communication based on your leads activity on your website.
Lead nurture is more important than ever before. There is a way to do this that can build trust or undermine trust. Timing is everything! The more in sync you are with your lead, the more likely you will build the basis for a good relationship. Why is this important? Conversion percentages matter in marketing and they matter a GREAT DEAL in real estate marketing. A 1%-2% increase in lead conversions can make a VERY SIGNIFICANT difference and make a campaign very viable!

Continuous Testing is Essential It is imperative to test on a continuous basis. Test your landing page, copy and different incentives to optimize registrations. An increase in 1 or 2% percentage points here will likewise make a big difference. Small incremental gains across the sales and marketing funnell will add up!!

Stay in front of the Prospect If a lead has not unsubscribed from a drip email feed, it is because there is something useful about the information. A drip feed, if it is done right, will have this effect more often than not. More importantly this keeps you and your agents in front of the lead. At some point, when that PIVOTAL MOMENT arrives and a lead is ready to engage an agent, you will certainly come to mind? If you have not done this and another agent has, it is more likely that not, that the other agent will be the first to come to mind and you will have lost out.

Your PPC requires consistent testing and refinement Be sure, if you are adopting "broad search", that you are on the lookout for keyword phrases that are not relevant for your market and adding these to your "negative keyword" list. That way, these keyword phrase will be screened out and you will not be wasting your pay per click budget each month. Likewise, filter out underperforming ads or non-performing keyword phrases as these will hurt your CTR's.

Do you have a systematic Referral Program in Place? Why, you might ask? The reason is that with a systematic referral program in place, the lifetime value of a client will increase, which in turn will effect your entire business model and marketing metrics. You may be able to afford a much larger marketing budget as a result.

Percentages Matter! Improvements across each part of the entire marketing and sales funnell add up! To make PPC viable, you need to do this! Let's take a look at the math. If you are spending a $1500 per month on PPC at an average cost per click of $2 and generating a 3% click to lead conversion, that would represent 750 clicks per month and 22 leads a month. An increase of 1% in clicks to lead conversion for a total of 4% would generate 30 leads a month, an additional 8 leads a month or 96 leads per year.
Now, let us assume that 2% of your website registrations will turn into buyers and some of these will also be sellers. In the first example above, we are generating 22 leads per month or 264 leads per year. A 2% lead registration to client conversion would yield 5 Buyers.

In the example where we increased our website click to registration conversions by 1%, we are generating 30 leads a month or 360 leads a year. If we also increase our "website registrations to client conversions" by 1% to a total of 3%, we would be generating a total of 11 Buyers. By improving two parts of the marketing and sales pipeline, that would represent 11 Buyers (some of whom will also be sellers) vs. 5 buyers. A HUGE DIFFERENCE! Add in a systematic referral marketing program and these numbers can keep growing.

If you are going to do PPC and make it a VIABLE LEAD GENERATION channel, you need to TEST ONGOING across the entire spectrum of the marketing and sales funnel! It is not worth going into PPC unless you are willing to do so. This is not an arena where you can hope for the best. You must bring a disciplined marketing and sales approach to this effort to get a good ROI.

Thanks for reading this post and visiting our Blog. If you would like to learn more about our services and programs, please call us at 800-265-0597 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time to discuss your business growth marketing needs.

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