12 Step Program to PPC Marketing Success

Education & Training with RealtySoft.com Chief Evangelist

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.


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  1. Hatcher Team 08/19/2011 06:39 PM
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Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Blogging & SEO
Online Marketing Help Center
pay per click

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Randy Elgin
Sells Affordable Homes for sale in the San Antonio
Keller Williams, San Antonio, Helotes, Leon Valley

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

August 21, 2011 09:34 AM
Bill Gillhespy
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
16 Sunview Blvd

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

August 21, 2011 01:39 PM
Tim Ventura
Harris Real Estate University

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.

August 21, 2011 02:49 PM
Dave Keys
Chief Search Strategist Real Estate SEO Expert
MOVE UP in Google Search Learn How Here

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.

August 21, 2011 03:40 PM
Aaron Silverman
Improving the Real Estate Experience through Educa
Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC

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


August 22, 2011 02:58 PM
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Additional Information

Tips and commentary on using the Internet and technology tools to manage and market a real estate business.