20 Steps To Optimize Your Real Estate Investor PPC Account

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If you’re not prepared, real estate investor PPC can eat your budget faster than Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

You could have the best copy, the perfect landing page, and pinpoint targeting but still be stuck on the hamster wheel.

Sustaining success with real estate investor PPC can be frustratingly complex, and without being able to prove results, you can kiss your ad budget goodbye.

Before giving up hope, know that your PPC ads can ALWAYS improve.

Our members generated 62.64% MORE Paid Search leads in Q2 2022 over Q2 2021, and 26.12% MORE Paid Search leads over Q1.

Whether getting the highest ROAS you’ve gotten in months or stuck on a plateau, there are always ways to improve.

A little secret… improvements don’t need to be Herculean efforts. 

You can get better results and do less.

We’re giving away the essential real estate investor PPC optimization strategies our PPC experts use to manage multiple members and increase lead volumes.

Here’s more proof…

70 Google Ads leads in 30 days!

43 Google Ads leads in 30 days.

And… 72 Google Ads leads in 30 days!

I could keep going and going.

We work smarter, not harder. We’ll also tell you when these optimizations should happen so you know exactly how to optimize your real estate investor PPC campaigns and how often.

Your account is about to be the healthiest and strongest it’s ever been.

What is Real Estate Investor PPC Optimization?

Simply, Google PPC optimization real estate investors look at your account data and make changes to ensure optimal performance. 

The digital marketing environment changes quickly. The settings and tests that upheld optimal performance last month (or even last week) might be working against optimal performance now.

Here’s an example. One of your keywords may have performed well for the first month, but when you look at your data from the second month, you see that it’s now driving up your cost-per-lead (CPL).

As part of your optimization regimen, you pause that keyword so your account will focus more on other keywords with lower CPLs.

Your optimization time is also when you become more informed about the secondary effects that your current settings, keywords, etc., have on your account.

Here’s another example. You have a keyword that’s doing amazingly well in lead volume and CPL, but when you dig into the search terms that your keyword is pulling in, you realize that they’re not relevant to motivated sellers. Suddenly all those unqualified leads that came in last week make more sense.

Routine optimization is the best way to ensure you’re pushing your performance in the right direction.

The Benefits Of Real Estate Investor PPC Marketing – Why Should You Do It?

PPC marketing is one of the first things we do when entering a new market to generate motivated seller, rent-to-own tenant-buyer, or cash buyer leads.

How to Optimize Your PPC Campaigns by Carrot

Why?

Because like the graphic above shows… 

  • Instant Traffic: With real estate investor PPC marketing, you can have traffic and, hopefully, leads quickly, usually within 72 hours of launching a well-structured PPC campaign.
  • Easy To Target A Specific Prospect: One of the best ways to know that you’re targeting the right person is by getting your website in front of the people actively looking for solutions to their problems on Google. “sell my house fast in Atlanta” as an example. That person, of course, needs to sell fast… that’s a targeted prospect.
  • You Only Pay When Someone Clicks Your Ad: With direct mail, you fork out the money upfront to pay the printing fees and postage with no guarantee that your target prospect will even engage or read your direct mail piece. With PPC marketing, you only pay when someone clicks your ad and goes to your website.
  • Get Traffic Coming In While You Build Out Your SEO: SEO can take a while to rank well on Google for competitive phrases. So while you’re building up your SEO… you can get traffic and leads today with PPC.
  • Easy To Measure: If you set your account and campaigns up correctly, it’s pretty darn easy to measure what’s working and not.

We know that PPC marketing can be effective for real estate investors… but you may be asking… “How hard can it be to optimize it? And why do I have to optimize stuff after I get my campaign setup?”.

Well… if you’re not tweaking and refining your Google PPC campaigns to cut out the keywords that aren’t turning into leads and continually optimizing to increase your return on investment… you may as well light your money on fire because a non-optimized PPC campaign is doing just that.

So let us dive in and optimize that PPC marketing campaign.

20 Steps To Optimize Your Real Estate Investor PPC Campaigns

What tasks can you do to optimize your campaigns? What should you look for?

Knowing what to look at, when to look at it, and how to interpret and form solutions around what you’re seeing can be one of the most challenging things to learn for new Google PPC users.

I’ll be honest. It can even be challenging for experienced users at times.

There are so many elements to look at in Google Ads. Metrics, bids, bid adjustments, settings, search terms… the list goes on and on.

Let’s narrow down that list and focus on optimizations that maximize your time spent on the account. You don’t want to be wasting hours and hours looking for optimizations to make on just anything, so invest your time optimizing things that will make more of a difference in the account.

Ultimately the most valuable optimizations tend to be those that push the account for more results that are valuable to you, like leads. We’ve got 20 of those that can help.

1. Select Your Advertising Platform:

Of course, before starting real estate investor PPC marketing, you must decide what platforms you’ll use. We always suggest starting with Google Ads because over 90%+ of all real estate investing leads we pull in through PPC are through Google Ads. The rest is through Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing) PPC. So, dive in and start with Google Ads! Then add on Bing and Yahoo Search Marketing as you go.

2. Define Your Goal:

The most prominent mistake investors make when they start their PPC marketing campaigns is… they just start.  They launch a campaign but don’t define clear goals for what they’re trying to achieve. “Get more leads” isn’t a goal. Make your PPC marketing goals clear and straightforward. “To generate motivated seller leads at under $260 per lead”. That’ll give you a good goal to shoot for so you know whether your campaign is even successful.

A good goal to start with is defining the cost per lead you’re aiming for and the return on investment you want to get over the long term.

For most investors, a cost per lead of under $200 is solid.

The further below that, the better. And as for return on investment… maybe a good start is to close your first deal from your PPC seller leads within the first 3-4 months… then ramp it up from there.

You just have to remember that most PPC marketing campaigns don’t start profitable. It’s the optimization process that makes your PPC campaign profitable as you go… and that can take 1-3 months to hone down a campaign… and ongoing work from there to keep that consistent. As long as you can make it through the initial optimization phase (the first 1-3 months), your PPC marketing should be profitable for you over the long run.

3. Research Your Target Audience:

google ads keyword planner for motivated sellers
Use the Google Keyword Planner to help you discover what your target audience is typing into Google. It’s crazy the insights you can get in there for how your prospects think and search for solutions to their problem. Then serve up ads in front of the keywords that you can help them the most.

Before you launch ads, know who your target audience is.

What problems or needs do they have? What are they searching for on Google? What solution are they looking for? What words do they use in their searches? Take all of this info and use it to help build out your keyword lists, ads, and landing pages.

4. Do Proper Keyword Research:

Doing your Keyword Research is one of the essential parts of your PPC campaign.

Use tools like Google Suggest, the Google Keyword Planner, Term Explorer, etc.

A big mistake that we see real estate investors make with their PPC keyword research is they aren’t looking at the searcher’s intent close enough.

For example, a seller types in the search phrase “House buyers in Dallas“.

Many people would look at that and assume that the person is looking for a company to buy their house. One of those “house buyer” companies. But… what if they’re searching for retail house buyers in the Dallas area?

If you’re a wholesaler or flipper with an ad up for that keyword and the house seller clicks on your ad… they may quickly realize that you can’t help them.  Those types of keywords with mixed intent can cost you a lot of money.

So pay attention to your data and ensure your keywords’ intent focuses as much as possible at the start on the exact people you can help.

This will help you avoid wasting money.

5. Use Negative Keyword Lists:

A “negative keyword” is a word that you can tell Google or Microsoft to look for… that if it shows up in a search… to prevent your ad from showing up to that person.

For example, let’s say you’re a wholesaler or house flipper and you need to buy at a discount. So you may want to add a negative keyword for something like “full retail” there to prevent any searches that have “full retail” or “full price” in them from showing your ad.

Why? Because this type of person likely isn’t going to sell at a discount. So if someone types in “sell my house in Dallas at full price, ” your ad wouldn’t appear.

This can keep you from paying for clicks on your ads where the prospects wouldn’t be your ideal client.

Get your free negative keyword list here.

6. Do Keyword Group Segmentation:

A big mistake most people who are new to Google Ads is that they throw all their keywords into one ad group in their PPC account.

Heck, I did when I launched my first PPC marketing campaign.

But an effective way to optimize your ad spend and drive down your cost per lead (also to better target your ads to specific targets) is to create separate ad groups based on a common theme.

Here are a couple of examples:

Notice We Have Ad Groups Setup For Different Types Of Keyword In This Campaign

Then within each ad group is a slew of keyword variations, ads, etc.

google ads ad group structure

As another example, you can use broader ad groups with more keywords within each group…

Google Ads motivated seller ad group structure example

Years ago, this approach didn’t work as well as it is now, given the shift to responsive ads. Responsive ads allow users to include keywords in different headlines within one ad, therefore, having a positive impact on Quality Scores.

7. Write Killer Ad Copy:

Lots of people say that phonebook advertising is dead.  It will be extinct someday, but people have been saying that phonebook advertising doesn’t work for years and years. (even back when people used phonebooks ;-).

The reason is that local company after the local company would say… “Hey, I need a phonebook ad.”

Then they’d look through the phone book and see what their competitor’s ads looked like… they’d mock up an ad similar to theirs (because that must be working, right?) and put it up there. Then they’d complain because they weren’t getting any calls from it.

But here’s the key, it wasn’t the phonebook that didn’t work… it was that their ad sucked.

It didn’t stand out from its competitors.

It didn’t give any compelling reason why they should talk with them vs. their competitors.

Real estate investor PPC campaigns are the same.

You can’t just look at what your competitors in your market are doing with their PPC ads and copy them. Why? Because you’ll risk being like all those companies over the years that fell prey to the “copy what my top competitors are doing” mindset that made everyone’s ads look the same.

Write ad copy that grabs your prospect’s attentionThese examples have high click-through rates as well as high conversion rates.

real estate investor ppc ad copy

Ads that stand out from the rest.

Make your ads sell the benefit they’ll get by clicking that link vs. how cool you are.

Which ad below stands out? The “we buy houses” one focuses 100% on their company… not on how they can help the client. The client wants to know how you can help them know how cool you are. But look at the one on the top… I can quickly see how they can help me. Fast closing. No fees. Any condition.

8. Have Clear Call To Action:

Let me ask you a question.

What’s the best way to make a sale?

Well… what I’ve found… the best way to make a sale is to ask for the sale. That’s it.

Too many people try to dance around the subject and forget to clearly and confidently give their prospects a call to action that gets them closer to making a sale.

Take these ads below as an example. 

Which one lays out how they can help me and gives me the most precise call to action of the 3?

Sure, not the 3rd one (the one outlined in Orange). That ad is too darn easy to just look past.

But the first one does a great job. It is clear (even has a specific price point), lays out the benefits, and says they have an exclusive rent-to-own listing. Cool… I’ll check that one out!

Tip: Their call to action could be more assertive by changing their “Sign Up Today” link to something like… “See Available RTO Homes” as our testing has shown works on our websites.

ppc marketing ad copy call to action example real estate

9. Create Effective Landing Pages:

The excellent high-quality motivated sellers or buyers from your PPC campaign won’t do you a lick of good without a landing page (or website) that performs well. You can see our conversion rate test blog posts we put out all the time where we show our members’ websites pulling in sometimes 20%+ more leads just with tweaks we make to their websites.

So don’t waste your traffic sending it to a low-performing website. Start doing conversion tests today (or have us take that off your hands by joining Carrot on our Content Pro plan :-).

10. Use Geo-Targeting:

Geo-targeting your PPC marketing campaigns is a no-brainer for real estate investors, mainly because real estate is such a geographically specific thing. If a person is looking for “rent to own homes in Ottowa Canada“… odds are they’re in Ottowa or are at least looking for properties in Ottowa.

But not everyone uses the location in the actual search phrase. Some people may type “rent to own homes,”… and Geo-Targeting is precisely how you get in front of those in the areas you want to target.

This will help increase your ads’ click-through rate (CTR), increase the conversion rate on your landing page (if you send them to a city-specific landing page), and help you cut down on wasted ad costs.

11. Utilize the Search Terms Report:

What is the Search Terms Report?

The search terms report will show the search queries that people are typing into Google to trigger your Google search ads. You can see the full terms people type in and the targeted keywords matching each search term. In addition, you can see statistics for each term over a certain period.

How to Use the Search Terms Report

You want to use the Google Ads Search Terms Report to find the top search queries when your ads show. The data you can find will be beneficial, and it is a report that advertisers should view weekly. Here are three best practices below when using the search terms report.

Add Negative Keywords

If you find terms that are not converting or unrelated to motivated sellers, you can exclude them altogether. You can click on the box next to the search term and click the ‘Add as negative keyword’ link at the top.

You can add the negative keyword to the Ad Group level or Campaign level or add it directly to your Negative Keyword List.

Find New Keywords to Target

The Search Terms Report contains some of the highest value data after you run your campaign. If you have an ongoing campaign, you can look at the report weekly and use it to drive more conversions at a lower cost. When you target keywords, seeing the search queries that people type before seeing your ads can be beneficial.

12. Use Ad Extensions:

Use the Google Ads Ad Extensions to grab more space on the page (they’re FREE).

using ad extensions for google ppc real estate

Google has this free thing they call “Ad Extensions.” This lets you add little links below your main ad to other spots on your website, like your “Fair Cash Offer” page or “How It Works” page as an example.

Bit’s of content your prospect would value that will help them make their decision. These do help increase the number of clicks you’ll get… just make sure you’re sending them to pages on your website that are set up to convert them into a lead.

Use the Google Ads Ad Extensions to grab more space on the page to get me to click the ad. Sold! I’m clicking that link!

google ads extensions

13. Evaluate Quality Score:

Google Ads has this thing they call the “Quality Score“.  There are all kinds of quality scores that Google looks at.

From an account-wide Quality Score that Google uses behind the scenes… to Quality Score for your landing pages, ads, and so on.

The quality score on your end is the easiest to control on your landing pages, ads, and campaigns.

Your landing page,s Google looks for “relevant and original content, transparency, and navigability.”

In other words… look like an honest company with real people behind it who care… and make your website easy for people to get the information they need.

Include things like a Terms of Service, Privacy Policy (all Carrot sites have by default), and content that matches your ad’s promise. Always try to improve your Quality Score… as we’ve found that the Quality Score is directly tied to improving your click costs in many cases.

14. Remove Ads With Low CTR:

One of the ways that Google adjusts which ad will show up wherein the ad positions on a Google search is the CTR… or click-through rate.

Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score.

If the ad in position #2 is getting a CTR of 7% and bidding $2 per click… and the #1 position ad is getting a 4% CTR and bidding $2.50… Google may show the ad bidding only $2 per click in the #1 position because of its higher engagement with the searcher, as indicated by the CTR (click-through rate).  Google makes more money this way because more people are clicking on the ad, the user wins because the ad is more compelling, and you win because you’re paying a lower cost for the same clicks because of well-performing ads.

If you have ads or landing pages with a low-quality score, Google may prevent them from even showing in the results. That’s how vital optimizing for quality score is.

So make sure to go through your account consistently, remove your ads that aren’t performing well, and launch new ads to improve your CTR every month. This will help you continually improve your click cost and hopefully result in more leads at a lower cost.

Most leads at a lower cost is a good thing :-)

15. Review the PPC Recommendations:

“Ad Recommendations” is a tool Google Ads provides to you. This score measures how well your account follows best practices for setup in Google’s eyes.

The hope is that by giving you a set of recommendations based on your account’s performance, you’ll be able to make changes to your account that will improve your campaign performance.

Recommendations may not always be the best direction for your Google Ads campaign.

Here are the common recommendations for a motivated seller campaign:

Budget

Remove Conflicting Negative Keywords

Add Broad Match Keywords

16. Focus on the “Right” Metrics:

Focusing on the right metrics is essential for a healthy real estate investor PPC account.

Impressions are important for brand recognition and can help you understand which terms motivated sellers are searching.

Yes, the more clicks, the more opportunities you have to convert visitors into real leads.
These metrics are important but do they help you make decisions that can influence your results?

Many investors focus on these metrics when they should focus on other, more important ones.

10,000 impressions won’t add a dime to your bottom line if nobody clicks on your ads.

5,000 clicks don’t put more money into your pocket than 500 clicks if nobody is converting.

It’s the conversions that matter more than the clicks or the impressions. Conversions are what puts more money in your pocket, not the other stuff.

How to Fix It?

While you should be paying attention to all of your metrics, resist the temptation to focus on vanity metrics alone. If your conversions aren’t increasing, you won’t be making any more money.

17. Increase Bids For Top Performing Keywords:

This tip is assuming you’re using the “manual” bidding option.

Once you’ve had a chance, ensure your Quality Score is solid. You’ve paused non-performing keywords… find the ads and keywords that are performing well (performance should be decided upon ONLY by the conversion of quality leads on your website or phone calls from those visitors… NOT by clicks), and increase the bids on the keywords that are performing well.

Some people may be thinking… “Well, what should I bump my max daily budget up to and my click bid?”

As much as you can pay to still bring the results you want.

One of the quickest ways to increase your lead flow on a campaign that is already pulling some leads is to increase your daily ad spend. Then if you’ve maxed out the number of clicks you can get on that daily ad spend with that bid price… bump those bids up and test to see if the results still hold firm with a higher per click bid price.

This is why it’s important to never “set it and forget it” with your Google Ads campaigns while in the optimization phase.

18. Identify Non-Performing Keywords and Pause Them:

Then work through the campaign, find the keywords that aren’t performing well, and pause them.

Since real estate is such a high-profit margin product… 1 closed deal can flip an entire real estate investor PPC campaign around to be from in the hole $3,500 to a $10k profit. So don’t quit too early or count specific keywords out too early.

But if you keep seeing a bunch of money being dumped into a keyword and it’s not converting into leads as it should… put a pause to those once you’re confident they’re not going to be good keywords for your campaign to focus on.

This is the #1 way that most do it yourself that we see doing their real estate investor PPC marketing can save a lot of money and headache… and sometimes cut their ad cost in half… is simply by pausing keywords that just aren’t performing.

19. Optimize Your Bid Management Strategies:

Your bidding strategy is determined at the campaign level. There‘s one manual option and four automated options.

Manual CPC

Manual bidding is an excellent place to start with real estate investor PPC bidding. You set your bids manually at the keyword level, and that number never changes unless you choose to update it manually.

Manual CPC gives you the most control but doesn’t take advantage of Google‘s machine learning.

Automated bidding strategies

Automated bidding lets Google do the heavy lifting. It tends to work best with campaigns that have been active for a while and have enough data.

Google has four automated bidding strategies.

  1. Maximize clicks: With this strategy, Google automatically sets your bids to maximize the number of clicks you get on your ads. You can set a maximum CPC for bids to ensure that Google doesn‘t overspend. Although, if you don‘t enter a bid limit, Google will try to get you as many clicks as possible without going over your daily budget. I recommend setting a limit. If you don‘t, Google will spend your entire daily budget whenever possible, even if the clicks are too expensive.
  2. Maximize conversions: Similar to maximizing clicks, but for maximizing conversions. You can set a target CPA (cost per acquisition or lead) to help guide its bidding. For this bidding strategy, you must have conversion tracking set up correctly. If you don‘t, you can still select Maximize Conversions, but Google won‘t have any information to make good decisions. In a worst-case scenario, you can severely overbid for traffic Google thinks is converting and burn through your budget.
  3. Maximize conversion value: This bidding strategy is a bit more complex than maximize conversions and requires more setup. In addition to tracking conversions, you‘ll have to assign a value to each type of conversion. If one conversion type makes you an average of $5000 and another makes you $20,000, Google will prioritize the higher-earning type when possible. Typically this option isn’t the best for the best real estate investor PPC but is suited for e-commerce stores.
  4. Target impression share: Target impression share maximizes your real estate investor PPC ads’ chances of appearing on the search page. You can select a percentage impression share you want to target and choose where you want to appear on the search page. This could be the top of the page, anywhere on the page, or the absolute top of the page. Setting a maximum CPC keeps Google from overspending. This strategy is best for campaigns focused on brand awareness. You want your ads to be shown as much as possible, even if you don‘t get a high CTR or conversion rate.

20. Make Sure Conversion Tracking Is Set Up:

Easily 8 out of 10 real estate investors and agents I talk to doing their own PPC go silent when we’re on the phone, and I ask them if they have conversion tracking on the campaign.

Conversion tracking is a simple thing you enable on your Ads campaigns by getting a little piece of code from your Ads account (here’s how) and putting it on your “conversion page.” Your conversion page is the page your visitors will see after they opt into your form.

For example, on Carrot, we have our streamlined “2 Step Lead Qualification Process“… so we make it easy for our users to put the conversion code on those “Step 2″ pages. It takes about 15 seconds in Carrot.

Even with our built-in LeadSource Tracking feature (where our system will tell you if your leads came from Google SEO, Google PPC, Facebook, etc… so you know what marketing is working), you can’t tell which keywords and specific ads inside your real estate PPC account produced those leads without setting up conversion tracking in your account.

Why Conversion Tracking Is So Important. You Can See What’s Converting Leads

google adwords conversion tracking

Many investors say, “I’m getting leads, so it must work.” 

But what if you knew exactly which keywords and ads were the ones pulling the leads and which ones were the ones just costing you money? You could drastically reduce your cost per lead just by turning off the keywords, costing you money but converting no leads.

Ready To Get To Work And Drive Those Leads With Real Estate Investor PPC!?

Real estate investor PPC marketing can be one of the most effective and fast ways to get your website in front of motivated sellers, cash buyers, tenants, rent-to-own tenants… and anyone else you want to reach.

But, it can take work, time, and experience to crush it with Google PPC marketing.

As the great Google Ads expert Perry Marshall once said…

perry-marshall-200

“Make sure you know what you’re doing before you begin, or you’ll lose your ass. “

The real estate investors and agents you see consistently well with PPC marketing aren’t just throwing ads up there and hoping for the best. They’re not just throwing ads up and checking them here and there.

They follow these steps above (or as many of them as possible) to hone their PPC marketing campaigns to drive the most high-quality leads at the lowest cost per lead possible.

To put this all into perspective for you… the average wholesale deal right now nets $10,000 in assignment fees, and the average flip profit currently nets $70,697, according to RealtyTrac… so if you’re going to give this a “try” with a few hundred bucks or even $1,000, save your money and don’t start.

Be ready to spend some time learning the PPC platform…

… spending some good time in there optimizing things for the first several months, and be ready to invest at least $3000 as a minimum before you decide if PPC marketing worked for you or not.

On a recent Carrot Coaching Call (we have weekly live calls w/ our Content Pro members), a member who is doing very well with PPC for motivated sellers using our website system said he didn’t close a deal until he’d already spent $4,500 in ads. Then he closed a deal that netted him $18,000. So if he had quit after a month or two under his belt and $4,000 in ads spent… he would have missed out on that $18,000 profit deal.

So dive in, get to optimizing, and let us know how things go!

Brendan Holmes

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