Having seen the ins and outs of the lead generation industry, I must say that I find it disappointing when agents say that paying for online advertising is a waste of money.
Let’s say that I have received a job offer in Austin, Texas, and I decide to start looking at properties that will meet my family’s needs. What is the first thing that I am going to do if I have never been to Austin and don’t know anyone there? I’m going to Google it.
So I enter “Austin Texas homes for sale” into my search engine, and Google returns pages upon pages of websites that promise to help me find the perfect home in Austin.
Am I going to look through pages and pages of results? Of course not. I’m a consumer in the technology age, and I have the attention span of a four-year-old.
Right away I see are about 10 advertising spots at the top and side of the first page. If my attention span makes it past the ads, then I’ll find organic search results for Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc.
To say that the chances of beating these big names out of top organic position is nearly impossible would be an understatement. That leaves everyone else with a limited but fantastic option to ensure first page search engine placement: pay-per-click (PPC) advertising — a guaranteed way of driving lots of online traffic to a high converting lead capture website.
The ad slots are at the top for a reason — because they catch the consumer’s eye before anything else does. Now that we understand the importance of the ads, how can you ensure that your website stands out from the other glaring nine or so ads the consumer is looking at?
Well, generally the headline in all the ad spots is going to say something about Austin and homes for sale. So naturally the eye will move slightly downward to the ad copy. This is where one of the main problems can be found.
In looking at some of these ads, you will see nearly identical ad copy. And if there are multiple websites in Austin, Texas, with the same website provider using the same ad copy for each, what is going to convince a consumer to click on your ad?
The importance of having personalized ad copy for your site is absolutely key to your success in convincing consumers to click on your web link.
The other issue is that if the consumer is browsing different sites and signs up on all five websites designed nearly identically by the same platform provider, then how are they going to remember which site they looked at the last time they browsed? They won’t, and you end up with a lead that never comes back to your site.
Chances are these consumers will most likely not even sign up on more than one website that looks the same, regardless of seeing a different logo and landing page image.
An agent’s website should give consumers what they want
First and foremost, when a prospect clicks on your ad, you are looking for that conversion from website visitor to registered lead. If your website is outdated or convoluted with unnecessary information, they aren’t going to sign up.
If they like what they see, they are much more likely to sign up with you and keep coming back to your site. Once your lead is registered on your site, you have to be able to offer them what they need and want.
Buyers and sellers search in a similar manner and want to see properties and pricing. Take them to properties quickly and efficiently, and make sure your images are big enough to capture their attention. Offer them the ability to perform easy and informative searches that fit their criteria.
Be sure they are able to move easily from one property to the next, and show them sold property data as well so they can make informed decisions. As we all know, effective drip emails are also vital in this industry.
If you don’t stay in a lead’s inbox, then when the time is right, they will just go to Zillow and click whatever agent’s photo is paired with the listing at the time. Let the drips do their job, and pay attention to your lead’s activity on your website.
In the technology age that we are in, it’s perfectly acceptable to reach out to prospects via social media and text message. In fact, with the younger generations, a text message or Facebook message is far more likely to elicit a quick response than a phone call or email.
Studies show that reaching out to prospects within five minutes of website registration typically results in the highest closing ratios, and in many cases a text will be read immediately — followed by a reply.
This is not to undermine the importance of drip emails as you will always want to stay atop your prospect’s inbox. PPC lead generation is not a silver bullet; your pipeline of prospects needs to be nurtured to the fullest until they are truly ready to close.
Your customer relationship management (CRM) is your personal assistant
One complaint that so many agents have with PPC lead generation is that there is a low conversion percentage from lead to client and that it isn’t worth the investment. It isn’t surprising.
Lots of people like to window shop, and using a search engine is now the most natural way to do that. As I mentioned before, most of the people that are either window shopping or truly buying are going to click on the ads right in front of them.
But PPC lead generation is an investment and as with any investment, you can’t just put your money in and walk away. You have to work the leads by using the system effectively for best results.
The software engineers who design these systems have given you all the tools that you need, but in the end, it’s still a numbers game. The more you use those tools as they were intended, the more relationships you can build and the more transactions you will close.
Keep in mind that when people want information on any subject, they are going to use a search engine because it’s the fastest way. This is true for real estate as it is with any other consumer need.
Advertising with a search engine is absolutely essential if you want to stand out among the big dogs of the industry. Once you get to the point of being in one of the top ad spots, make sure you are offering something that the others aren’t.
Don’t advertise with terminology that is the same as the others around you. Offer a website to your prospects that gives them what they want to see: properties and information on those properties.
Follow your prospects’ activity, and reach out in a reasonable amount of time. Establish the relationship from that first call, and your prospect will become a lifelong client.
Candi Looney is a marketing research analyst for Quantum Elite.