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Google advertising: how to play the pay-per-click market

If you think Google is taking over the world, you may be right. Certainly, says Nelly Berova, Google’s PPC campaigns are a must for estate agents.

Nelly Berova

Nelly Berova image pay-per-clickEstate agents wanting to generate leads through Google may already know that there are two main campaigns they can run: an SEO campaign (organic marketing), or a paid campaign (PPC marketing).

Pay per click imagePPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to ‘earn’ those visits organically. To run PPC campaigns on Google you need to know how to use the AdWords platform, which enables businesses to create ads which appear on Google’s search engine.

If you are only on the portals, you rely on how many properties you have, if it’s only five, you won’t be seen by many..

Recent changes in the way Google displays the results after someone performs a search means that the paid campaigns have an advantage over the organic listing. Google now shows at least four paid ads before showing anything else. For searches including a location – for example ‘estate agents in Wimbledon’ – Google will show results from their ‘Places’ directory below the paid ads. This is a free directory, but Google decides the order of the listing and only then any organic listing. It all comes down to market share, so if your agency is not using Google’s AdWords platform, you are missing out on a sizable chunk of your potential market share.

Isn’t PPC expensive?

This is down to what you consider expensive. Any form of digital marketing can be measured and should be seen as an investment. If, for example, for every £100 you invest in PPC you get one lead from a vendor or landlord, will you consider the campaign expensive? Your PPC spend should be based on the number of leads you want, your conversion rate and the cost per lead and conversion. If the figures add up and make sense, then it is only a matter of effective PPC management.

What if I just want vendors or landlords’ enquiries?

Generally, there are more searches from buyers and tenants than vendors and landlords, however you can control who you attract to your website by how you structure your ad copy. If you bid on a phrase such as ‘property to rent in Wimbledon’ but you only want to attract landlords, your ad should be written to appeal to landlords and not tenants.

Why run a PPC campaign if I already pay Rightmove or Zoopla?

This is where many agents, especially the smaller ones, miss the point. The aim of the online game is to gain as big a market share as possible. Being visible only on the portals means you rely on how many properties you have (if you only have five properties for sale, then your brand will not be seen by many) and you are mainly targeting buyers and tenants. What about vendors and landlords? How do you ensure they choose you as one of their preferred agents for a free valuation or to commission you to provide them a service? If you have a lot of stock and want more buyers and tenants, how do you reach people beyond what the portals can offer? Digital marketing (and PPC) is there to ensure you engage with your potential clients months before they need to engage with you and to ensure them that you are the agent with a large chunk of the local market share. The right brand perception, trust and credibility are vital components directly affecting your conversion rate.

Can I focus just on my area?

This is one of the best features of PPC – you can control everything. From the budget that you spend to the keywords you bid on, and the areas you cover. If you just want to appear on the results page when someone in your preferred location performs a search, you can do that. Equally your keywords can include the exact locations you wish to cover, for example ‘estate agents in Wimbledon’.

How do I know if it is generating business?

This is another advantage of running a PPC campaign with Google – you can measure most things. I say ‘most’, as everything depends on how well your website is structured technically and if you track everything properly. You should be able to measure how many form requests you have received through your website as a result of a PPC campaign, and you can measure the number of calls you receive if you use a phone tracking service. It is then down to proper housekeeping of data to measure conversions from the leads you have.

Do you have a digital marketing question? Email the editor: [email protected] and Nelly Berova, from Art Division, will answer it in a future article. 

February 15, 2017

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