What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising?

As the name suggests, you place an ad and every time someone clicks your ad, you pay a certain amount.  Some popular examples are Google Adwords and Facebook ads.

Why would you want to use it?

It’s like putting a billboard next to a busy road where lots of people will see it, but in this case the busy road is a popular website that lots of people use.  Google Adwords is very powerful because it allows you to tap into Google’s traffic and attract people who are searching on Google for a solution to a problem they have… a problem you can solve.

How does it work?

Each site works a little differently.  Let’s take Google Adwords as an example.  If you’ve used the internet before, you’ve probably seen Google ads.

If you go to Google and search for something, usually at the top and also on the right column you’ll see ads.  People have paid to be in those spots.

google adwords

 

How do you get your ad there?

To start, you go to:

http://www.google.com/adwords/

If you already have a Google account, like a Gmail account, you can sign in with that and Adwords will be linked to your existing account.  Otherwise you may need to create a Google account.

You create a campaign and then create an ad.  You don’t have a lot of space to work with, so you have to be brief in the wording you choose and try to grab people’s attention.

Your ad typically consists of 3 parts:

google adwords parts

Headline:  This is the first thing people typically see, the first line of the ad.  It typically appears a little bigger than the rest of the text and it’s a link people can click to get to your site.  For example, you could make it something like, “Need to Sell Your House Fast?”  It could get people’s attention and should be something close to what the person typed in to search for.  It could be a question, or it could state a benefit that the person would get if clicking your ad (for example, “Sell Your House This Week”).

Display URL:  A URL is a website address (for example, http://google.com).  You choose what URL is displayed.  This shows up under the title currently, but occasionally Google can move where it’s displayed.  This isn’t necessarily the same exact website address that people will land on when they click your ad, but it should at least be on the same domain name.  For example, maybe you use www.MyRealEstateSite.com as the URL, but when someone clicks your ad they’re actually taken to www.myrealestatesite.com/wholesale if you wanted to take them to a specific page on your site.  For the actual URL you send people to, be sure to send them to the most relevant page on your site where they can take action.  This might be a landing page on your site with a form people can fill out.  It should give them the information they’re expecting to see when they clicked the ad.  If your ad mentions “Rent to Own Homes”, you wouldn’t want to take them to a generic page with information for buyers, sellers, investors, etc.  You would take them to a page that has only information about what your ad promised and it should be clear how they can take action.

Description:  This is the main text of your ad and just appears as normal text.  It briefly gives more information.  Typically you’ll want to list benefits that a person will get by clicking your ad and going to your site.  For example, “Get a free written offer on your home within 24 hours.”  The ad body can contain 2 lines of text.

If you’d like more information about how many characters you can have in each part, and other details, this page will tell you:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1704389?hl=en

Once you create your ad, there are other important things to set up.  For example, you need to choose your “keywords”.

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words and phrases that people are typing into Google.  You get to pick which searches will trigger your ad to come up.

After all, if your ad is about buying people’s houses, you wouldn’t want it coming up when someone searches for “funny cat photos” would you?  That wouldn’t make sense.  That person isn’t looking for what you offer.  Even if they clicked your ad for some reason, they wouldn’t be likely to take any kind of action on your site because that’s not what they wanted.  Clearly, you want your ad to come up when someone searches for something relevant to what you’re offering.

You have to think about what your ideal prospect might be typing in to Google.  You have to put yourself in their situation and get a little creative.  For example, if you’re targeting motivated sellers, you might want to use a phrase like “sell my house fast”, “how to sell house fast”, “buy my house”, “sell house with no equity”, etc.  If you can help people facing foreclosure, you might go after a phrase like “how to stop foreclosure”.

Google will give you suggestions of other phrases that people have searched for before.  You can use these, or you can make your own.  But going with what people have already searched for is a good route normally.  They’ll even show you how many people are searching for those phrases.

You can add multiple search phrases to each ad.  Try to pick phrases that are closely related to your ad.  If there are some other phrases you want to target that aren’t too close to what your ad is about, you can create additional ads.  For example, you might want to have one ad that’s about selling a house in general, another one about avoiding foreclosure, another one about selling with no equity, another one about relocating, another about selling a home, etc.  Then, for each ad, you can choose keywords that are related to each ad.

Another important aspect of your ad is choosing who can see it.  You probably don’t want people in China seeing your ad.  Google lets you choose which countries and language groups can see your ad.  So for most people, that means you’ll want to choose the United States and people who speak English.  But you can get more specific.  You can choose to have your ad displayed only when people in a certain city, or a certain state, search for your keywords.

Why would you want to do that?

For a couple reasons.  First, if you’re only buying and selling houses in a certain area, it would be a waste of money to have people in other areas clicking your ad because you pay every time someone clicks your ad.  Second, you have to bid on these ad spots, and the more competition, the higher price you’ll pay each time someone clicks your ad.  If you’re targeting the whole country, that means a lot more competition.  You’re competing with every investor in the country.  But if you narrow it down to your local area, the cost will go down because you’re only competing against other investors in your area and large investment firms who actually do invest nationwide.

That leads us to the last important part of the process:  setting your bid and budget.

Everyone who places an ad puts in a bid for what they’re willing to pay per click and what their budget is.

The budget part is nice because you can set it to what you can afford and what you’re comfortable with, knowing you won’t rack up a huge advertising bill.  So, for example, you could set your budget to be $5 per day (or $150 per month).  You would know it wouldn’t go over that.  But setting it to that doesn’t mean you’ll spend that much.  In many cases you’ll spend less because you aren’t getting enough clicks to reach that budget.

Let’s just use a simple example.  Let’s say you put in your daily budget as $5 and you put in a bid amount of $1 per click.  If only 3 people clicked your ad in a given day, you’d only pay $3.

The bids are a little tricky because you don’t want to pay more than you have to, but if you bid too low, no one will see your ad.  You can put in whatever amount you want, but if you put in a really low bid and other people bid higher, your ad may not show, or theirs will appear in a more prominent spot than yours.

For example, let’s say you bid too low.  Your ad may not show up on the first page of search results.  You know when you search for something and you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can click to go to page 2 of the results, and if you don’t find it there, page 3, and so on.  If you bid low, your ad might show up on page 2 or 3, or beyond, which means not as many people will see it, and they’ll be less likely to click it.

After you submit your ad, there may be a brief waiting period before it goes live, as your ad may have to be approved.  Once it’s live, keep a close eye on things.  Check in on it each day and see how the ad is doing in case you need to make adjustments.  Maybe your bids are too low, or maybe your budget is too low to get enough clicks and you need to increase it to get better results.

Google shows you how many “impressions” your ad had.  That means how many times your ad was displayed.  Of course, most of the times your ad is displayed, someone is not going to click it.  They’re going to click something that’s not an ad, or they might click someone else’s ad.  But watch the numbers and you’ll see which ads are doing the best.  Don’t be too quick to change things.  Sometimes you have to run an ad a while before you really know how it’s doing.  But over time, you might find that certain ads aren’t doing so well and you might need to adjust them.

Also, don’t expect every person who clicks your ad to contact you.  Most will not.  That’s just the way things go with websites.  You’ll always have a lot more people visiting your website than what will contact you.  If your numbers seem low, make sure you’re sending people to a page that is most relevant to the ad they clicked and that it’s clear on the page the benefit they will get for contacting you and a clear way to do so.

Google Adwords is a powerful way to attract people to you.  Every day, people are searching on Google for answers.  Some of those people are ideal prospects for you.  By getting your ad in front of them, you can attract some of them to your website and get them to contact you.

We only went over Google Adwords here, but there are other types of Pay Per Click ads, such as Facebook advertising.  Facebook is similar in many ways, but it lets you really get specific in who sees your ads, like people who belong to certain groups or who have certain interests.  The main difference I see between Google Adwords and Facebook is what people are looking for.

It may sound great to have your ad on Facebook because so many people use it.  But when people are on Facebook, often they’re just on there to relax and goof off.  They’re likely wasting time and just surfing around from one thing to another.  With Google, on the other hand, you’re dealing with people who are searching for help with something.  Do you see the difference?  Someone who is actively searching for a solution is more likely to be motivated and take action and contact you.

I’m not saying Facebook doesn’t work for getting real estate leads, it does.  But it’s a different animal, so to speak, and has to be approached differently.  It’s pretty easy to lose a lot of money on it and not see results if you’re not sure what you’re doing.  Like Google Adwords, you can also set your budget on Facebook, so just keep an eye on what you’re spending.  Sometimes it takes a while to see results.

If there is enough interest in Facebook advertising, maybe we’ll cover that in a future module.  And you’re welcome to try it.  I know of Done Deal Website customers who are using it successfully.  If you’d like to see that, let us know.

In the meantime, you can check out Google Adwords and get your feet wet with Pay Per Click advertising.