Why bother with PPC, when you hear about how many agents and brokerages have tried Pay Per Click and failed at it? You can hear stories of money wasted, not leads generated, and no business to the closing table. I'm sure that many of these are accurate representations of their experiences, as there are plenty of ways to do PPC wrong for real estate.
One reason to give it another or first look is where SEO isn't getting you now. Google's algorithm changes of the last couple of years have pretty much filled the first page of "yourtown real estate" search results with the big players: Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Redfin.com, Homes.com, etc. I don't see the small individual real estate agent websites climbing back onto the first page anytime soon, if ever.
Let me just start by giving you a quick overview of why I think you should be doing PPC on Google:
- You target the prospect with your key phrases: Instead of hoping that a search robot locates your page about repair negotiations in your market, create a key phrase in your PPC campaign, and the only visitors who click on it will be the ones you want.
- You control the budget: You set how much you want to spend per day or month, so you're not surprised with big bills you didn't expect.
- You only pay for actual site visits: If they don't click and come to your landing page, you don't pay. Unlike running an expensive print ad and hoping it gets seen or gets you a lead, you pay for an actual prospect to visit your site.
- You know what's working and what's not: Your account reporting shows which phrases are getting clicked, and what each costs, as CPC, Cost Per Click, varies based on many factors including competition.
- You can also track conversions: In other words, you not only know what key phrases delivered traffic, you can set up your lead generation on your landing pages such that you know which are converting to actual leads and prospects.
- Your CPC can come down based on best practices: Google gives you an "ad score" for each of your ads, and it is based on a number of secret factors. However, we do know that CTR, Click Through Ratio, and site visitor behavior can result in higher ad scores which means lower costs per click. You can actually get a better position than your competition even though they are paying more per click.
In my opinion based on years of doing PPC on Google, doing it right can be very valuable to you. Transferring some of your marketing budget from print to PPC could be the best decision you'll make this year. I definitely believe that you shouldn't be paying some "SEO Guru" to "put you on the first page" of Google, as even if they do, it probably won't last long. Gaming Google is fast becoming a lost art.
If you are paying someone for SEO work, take that money and move it to PPC. Do it right, and you'll find that your site will begin to see targeted traffic growth and qualified leads. A very important part of "doing it right" is to have the right landing page content and call-to-action. If you don't, the visitors will come, but the leads will not.
Anyone who does their content right, creates compelling calls-to-action, and spends some money on PPC will definitely see an improvement in their site's performance and their income.