12 Step Program to PPC Marketing Success

Education & Training with RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist 15067

OK, before I get comments that correctly point out that every market is different, and that every marketing method has merit and value, I'll concede that now.  However, and it's a big however, even after the Internet has so dramatically changed the way people research, buy and sell real estate, there are plenty of real estate professionals who just can't seem to get out of a rut with marketing.

This post is about TIME and MONEY.  If you don't spend any money on marketing, then you can't change where you spend it ... not to mention that you're either really good at shmoozing or you have been in the business 48 years and work only with referrals (and you're probably too tired to worry about this article anyway).  The vast majority of us are struggling to wisely allocate our time and money in marketing efforts that make the phone ring, or make the email sound play on our computers.  And, time is money as we all know.  We only have so much of each.

I haven't been able to find a study or survey that shows the percentage of real estate brokerages or agents using PPC, Pay Per Click marketing for their business.  I use it, and have for ten years.  This 12-step program is to help you to free up your mind to accept an alternative to print ads, magazines, newspapers, shopping cart signs, refrigerator magnets, and yes, even direct mail!  No, not get rid of all of your current marketing, but definitely re-allocate some of the time and money you're investing.

Twelve Steps to New Marketing Success with PPC

Doubt and Fear Ahead

Step 1:  I will begin by admitting that I have a problem.  I resist change in my marketing ways as I fear loss of leads and wasting money on Web marketing I don’t understand.

Step 2:  I have heard or read that there is rampant fraud in PPC, Pay-Per-Click advertising.  I will open my mind to the idea that there are those who may have experienced this, but it’s far more hype than reality.

Worship SEO

Step 3: I am guilty of worship to the SEO God, and believing that I must spend time and money on gurus and schemes to get me onto the first page of Google's free results.  In this step I will open my mind to the possibility that, while SEO is good and necessary, I can buy my position without help and do it efficiently and very profitably.

Sharing Information Freely

Step 4:  I will no longer covet my information, instead sharing much of it freely on my website for the benefit of visitors who want to know more about real estate in my area.

Step 5:  The setup of my first PPC marketing campaign will NOT happen until I've made my website ready.  Visitors from PPC ads will arrive at a relevant and effective "landing page" that provides the experience and information they expect from the wording of the ad.

Lead Conversion

Step 6:  Improving my Google Ad Quality Score will be constantly in my plan in order to spend less while getting better position in the search results than my competitors.

Step 7:  Lead capture” will become my mantra.  I will make certain that every landing page where PPC ads bring my visitors will have an effective lead capture strategy.  I will use a website provider like RealtySoft with lead management and email follow-up systems so that I never waste a lead.

Junk Email

Step 8:  Meaningless auto-response emails will never again be part of my lead response activity.  I will reply quickly with a personal email to every lead-form submission or request for information.

Step 9:  Sloth is not good for business.  I will make the effort to develop my email drip campaigns such that they deliver valuable information, not buy canned campaigns that deliver the same old tired “hints and tips” all my competitors are delivering.




Crossing Off OpportunityStep 10:  Pride can be a fault and, though I’m proud of my accomplishments, I will remember always that new visitors to my website, particularly those coming from PPC ads, want to know about listings and real estate…not my closing record (even if they saw my face on a bus bench).

Step 11:  I will remember human nature and never dismiss a prospect as of no value simply because they give me an impossible price range or state they aren’t going to buy or sell for a year.  Deceit can come from fear or suspicion, and I’ll just keep responding knowing that there is a commission at the end of the process.

Measure for Success

Step 12:  Those who do not measure do not recognize success or opportunity and can’t improve.  I will constantly measure my PPC campaign costs against commissions generated, and make changes to improve my lead capture and income. 

I do consider SEO with every article and blog post that I write.  I also work SEO from a social networking perspective.  However, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I quit obsessing over whether I was in position 3 or 9 on the first page of Google for my best key phrases.  My PPC campaigns have run almost non-stop for ten years, with a very modest budget. And, the campaigns have generated most of my business, with my cost for clicks between 1% and 3% of commissions they generated.  Check out PPC for your business.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Craig Hatcher 08/19/2011 11:39 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Blogging & SEO
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Jim Kimmons
RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


It's clear early after this post ran that I've covered half the problem, getting Web leads in the door with PPC, but not the other half; working them through a process that nurtures, qualifies and converts.  So, I'll have another post up around the 25th, and I'll go into detail about the emails I send, why I send only a few via drip, and what they say to try and keep the buyer coming back and convert them eventually into a commission.

Thanks for asking.


Aug 19, 2011 01:19 AM #4
Scotti Jowers
CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes - West Monroe, LA
Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale


I'm in the SEO learning process right now. I've been a bit afraid of PPC up to this point, probably due to a lack of understanding of how I can control the budget.

I'm also in the early stages of changing to a new website and host. I'm currently with z57 and I'm not completely satisfied. What can RealtySoft offer that I may be missing?

Aug 19, 2011 01:41 AM #5
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Nothing beats the old fashioned referral from past clients, they are tried and true and a great base for any real estate agents base. PPC is great if you have the money to spend but it is not guranteed that you will get any customers from it. it seems teh money we used to spend on newspaper ads and monthly magazines is no use dto advertise and promote us on the web. That money needs to be used in the best ways possible,

Aug 19, 2011 02:18 AM #6
Jim Kimmons
RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


While comparing website service bells and whistles is part of the process of selection, it's what you do with the leads you generate that makes all of the difference.  Realtysoft's integration of the IDX into the site itself instead of framing it gives you an SEO advantage most sites don't offer.  However, the major benefits you should concentrate on is the marketing package that results in coversion of visitors to prospects and prospects to clients.  Watch the video on the RealtySoft home page about marketing.  Thanks for the comment.


Aug 19, 2011 02:24 AM #7
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Interesting post.  It seems in my area you must spend quite a bit of $$ to get one of the thop three spots via PPC for most keywords.  I've spent as much as $1,000 per month in the past.

Aug 19, 2011 02:46 AM #8
Jim Kimmons
RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


When I first started I spent more than necessary.  My question for you would not be about total dollars spent, but how much you're paying for each click on average.  A few major things to keep in mind will help:

  • If "yourtown real estate" is too expensive, work the longer tail, as in "yourtown real estate agents," or "yourtown real estate statistics."  Fewer searches, very focused, less expensive.
  • Get as targeted with key phrases as possible, too wide is too expensive.  I'd rather get far fewer clicks if they're very targeted and this will also usually mean less expensive.  Use the Google Keyword Tool to find longer phrases that may get fewer clicks but are also far less competitive.
  • Get your CTR (Click-Through-Ratio) up, as that's part of your ad's quality score, and that determines the position and the cost.  Higher quality scores will move you up but lower your CPC, Cost Per Click.
  • Improve landing pages, and create them to be highly relevant to the ad wording.  This is another Quality Score item, and will cut your cost while improving your position.
Thanks for the comment.
Aug 19, 2011 02:56 AM #9
Gabrielle Jeans
WebTech Dezine, Gabrielle Jeans Real Estate Coach - Toronto, ON
Real Estate Web Solution, Real Estate Trainer and Coach

Step 10 is my favorite. New clients want listings not records. The records can be there but they came there for listings.

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Aug 19, 2011 03:10 AM #10
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

@Jim - I will say that when I used PPC, I let a 3rd party company build, run and monitor the campaign as I didn't know much about it.  I do know that most keywords, either longtail or general are very expensive here.

Aug 19, 2011 03:23 AM #11
Jim Kimmons
RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


Those companies generally add as much as 30% to the cost of the PPC campaign for their fees.  I was a Certified Adwords Professional for a while, and consulted, but would not take on clients that way.  I taught them how to do it themselves, and they managed their own campaigns.

If you think about it, what incentive is there for a company like that to improve your results and Quality Score, as they're paid a percentage of the amount you spend.  The more you spend, the more they make.  Not efficient.  In my area, I only work about a dozen key phrases, and four of those provide almost 100% of my clicks.  We're not introducing new products regularly, so the key phrases that work for us normally don't change.  Once set up, it's just monitoring, which is just a few minutes a week.

If a company will manage a PPC account on a flat fee and improve results, then that would be better.  Others are charging a flat rate per month, but not telling you what that means.  One real estate agent told me that he was in the top three paid results for $39/month.  The problem is, he didn't watch what was happening.  The company merely set a budget that assured them profitability and the ads would stop running quickly each day.  Their budget would be spent, and the balance would go to their profit.


Aug 19, 2011 03:31 AM #12
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Hi Jim,

I have been doing PPC for 3 years now, expensive but like you say the return is well worth it.  We call every lead, a few personal emails, plus a informative email drip campaign.  Way ahead of last years numbers!!

Dick Beals

Aug 19, 2011 06:44 AM #13
Jim Kimmons
RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist - Taos, NM


Validation always welcome!  Competition can make it more expensive in one area than another, but it's still much more effective than newspaper and magazine advertising IMHO.


Aug 19, 2011 06:49 AM #14
Sam Giannakakis
Sam Giannakakis, Residential Mortgage Group - Wayzata, MN
Mortgage Officer 612.816.1511

Very interesting, I have been thinking about running a ppc campaign for a while. I am going to bookmark this blog for later reference! Thanks

Aug 19, 2011 07:43 AM #15
Craig Hatcher
Georgia Residential Realty, LLC - Atlanta, GA

Thanks for the post, I agree with others you have definitely got me thinking about a pcc campaign.

Aug 19, 2011 11:37 AM #16
Nick Smith
Silvercreek Realty Group - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate, We Love Boise

Thanks for the grate blog post. The rules to SEO seem to change everyday but PPC is a good way to drive traffic to a website.

Nick Smith
Silvercreek Realty Group
Cell 208-859-6590
Fax 208-319-8969

Aug 19, 2011 12:47 PM #17
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

Good post, isn't there something else that has a 12 step program (HA),  PPC does help, we all use to spend a lot more than this on those Yellow Pages that no one uses anymore and we are all afraid to quit.

Aug 19, 2011 03:00 PM #18
Randy Elgin
Keller Williams, San Antonio, Helotes, Leon Valley - San Antonio, TX
Sells Affordable Homes for sale in the San Antonio

Wow, what a great post. I've done the SEO and get leads from the internet. I've never done ppc so now I think I'll give that a go.  Thank you

Aug 21, 2011 02:34 AM #19
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Good morning Jim,  You present a very well reasoned and defended post.  Certain to open some people up to the PPC campaigns.  Thank you !

Aug 21, 2011 06:39 AM #20
Tim Ventura
Tim & Julie Harris® Real Estate Coaching - Blaine, WA

Great article, Jim! Yes, PPC can be very valuable if done correctly, but I've seen so many people throw PPC money away on poorly targeted campaigns that I truly hope your firm can help provide guidance.

As for SEO: I just launched a 100% free service called Site Submit that allows agents to do their own SEO promotion for hundreds of directories, search engines, blogs, and social networks. It won't replace PPC, but may save agents some money.

Site Submit is a community service, so there are no gimmicks - hopefully people can use the money they save there for services like your PPC tools & education. Everybody knows that it's a tight market right now, so my hope is that more cost effective solutions (combined with better education about internet marketing) can help agents prosper online.

In addition to our tools, I'd also like to recommend that agents check out tools like TwitterFeed, which allows you to stream blogs (like your ActiveRain blog) directly into Facebook, Twitter, and other services. Another excellent tool is ping.fm, which agents can use to update all their social networks at once from a single quick post.

Aug 21, 2011 07:49 AM #21
Dave Keys
MOVE UP in Google Search Learn How Here - Brea, CA
Chief Search Strategist Real Estate SEO Expert

Jim, as an organic SEO guy, I've had to agree more and more over time with your premise here. I'm not a PPC guy at all but I'm paying attention to it and learning a little at a time. In many ways, PPC works as effectively and under the same SEO principles as organic SEO. If your market is heavy with competition and placing for high volume common search terms becomes too expensive, a creative campaign can target niche keywords very effectively. It's the same exercise as organic SEO: getting into the mind of a searcher and a potential lead and spending ample time on keyword research to come up with and discover niches that the broad-search folks will never target, and if done right, will yield a much higher conversion rate. Both sides of the SEO fence, paid and organic are all about Time and Money as you so well pointed out. I'm hearing more frequently, stories of people (including real estate agents) who make a great deal of money by mastering the ropes of the PPC market.

Aug 21, 2011 08:40 AM #22
Aaron Silverman
SuccessfulRental.com, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC - Charleston, SC
Improving Real Estate Experience through Education

I plan on implementing a PPC campaign.  Thank you for this timely post.  Very good information. 


Aug 22, 2011 07:58 AM #23
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