Shopping for real estate has taken a few turns over the last couple decades. Homebuyers aren’t as reliant on their agents to know which homes to see. Sellers have more data at their fingertips. And more of the face-to-face conversations have moved to the digital world – where people interact with real estate websites and communicate via email.
Reaching this highly-connected audience takes new marketing strategies, and at the helm is paid lead generation (otherwise known as digital advertising). Picture billboard advertising. It’s the same … just on a digital landscape. Common places you see ads are on Google, Facebook, and even in the articles you read online.
When you start a paid lead generation campaign, here are five things you should know:
1Diversify Your Lead Generation Strategy
Typical digital advertising rests heavily on search engines like Google and Bing. They reach a large audience given the nature of those tools, but other channels like Facebook and strategies like remarketing can produce amazing results for your marketing campaigns.
We recommend diversifying your marketing for the same reason Wall Street investors diversify their stock portfolios. It minimizes fluctuation between lead volume and reduces risk if any one source does collapse. Plus, you have a far wider reach on multiple channels than with just one.
2Avoid Frequent Changes in Strategy
Reaching full effectiveness with marketing takes time. Plain and simple. You may open the flood gates to leads with paid lead generation, but getting those campaigns to run at an optimal cost takes refining (which requires data collected over time).
Here, at BoomTown, we often recommend giving your business 60-90 days of advertising to find the right variances in ads. The most important thing to do during this time is stay constant. Adjusting budgets or stopping campaigns makes it hard to achieve statistical significance.
Think of it like this: Your marketing campaign is a speeding train, one that’s collected momentum. Hitting the brakes or making the train turn sharply reduces its speed and performance. It takes time to rebuild that momentum. If you need to make adjustments in your paid campaigns, make sure you account for the affects it has on results.
3The Seasons Impact Costs and ROI
Here’s a mock scenario you might see in digital advertising:
- In January, the average cost-per-click was $1.00. In July, it is $1.25.
- Generating 100 clicks in January cost $100. In July, it cost $125.
- From those clicks, you got 10 leads, which equals $100 (in January). In July, those 10 leads cost $125.
If your budget stays flat at $100, you won’t be getting 10 leads in July (like you did for January). You will get 8 leads. Seasons and market changes impact paid lead generation, both in cost and in lead volume. Unfortunately, the real estate industry is not immune to economic forces, so it’s important you know how the market shifts during the year.
Here’s a chart that demonstrates the interest in real estate over time:
As you can see, searches for “homes for sale” increase over the spring and summer seasons, then drop off during the winter (primarily due to holidays). But keep in mind, every market is different and these trends could look different for people in places like Park City, Utah. Here’s an explanation of how it impacts your digital advertising costs:
4Don’t Duplicate Efforts across Multiple Websites
Having more than one real estate website might seem like a great way to capture more traffic and increase visibility, but oftentimes, it can be a waste of time and money. Here’s our argument: If you have two sites in the same market and you’re running paid lead generation to both, you’re competing against yourself and driving up costs. You’re essentially bidding on the same keywords and targeting the same areas – creating an unnecessary competitor (i.e. yourself).
5Paid Lead Generation is Always Evolving
Add up the previous four points and you get our final recommendation: Give your advertising campaign time and be patient. Any strategy that works today is bound to change and fluctuate in effectiveness. That’s why it’s important to have dedicated advertising experts continually analyzing the results and optimizing it.
Markets shift and change, and so do your advertising strategies. If you want to extend your reach to more real estate shoppers and attract them to your website, make sure you have the right expectations going into paid lead generation.