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Using PPC with IDX for real estate lead generation

February 06 2013

This article comes to us from the Diverse Solutions blog:

diverse ppcShort for "pay per click," PPC advertising is when you pay a search engine for prominent placement of your website on their search results pages. With even a small budget, any online business can increase traffic with PPC – the trick is knowing how to convert your traffic into real leads you can pick up the phone and call.

How pay per click works

Pay per click allows you to advertise your website at or near the top of search results or other pages of a provider's website. There are many providers to choose from, however Google AdWordsGoogle AdWords, which manages ads shown in Google search; or Yahoo! Bing NetworkYahoo! Bing Network, which covers ads seen in both Bing (Microsoft) and Yahoo search, are the more well-known providers. Either of these options covers a broad audience and are great for beginners looking to promote their IDX and real estate website(s).

Setting up an account with any of these services is pretty straightforward. Simply sign up as a new advertiser, add funding to the account (usually in the form of a credit card), then create a few ads and decide where you want your ads to appear.

In most cases, you'll simply create an ad that will appear whenever someone performs a search on Google (or Bing or Yahoo) related to your site.

Here are the basic steps...

1. Define your search terms

People are repeatedly searching online for certain terms. Consider how many people search for phrases like "Chicago real estate" or something similar every day. You can find out how popular a search term is by using the keyword tool available on Google Adwords. For example, when searching for the popularity of "Chicago real estate," the results show there are 90,500 global monthly searches.

Try several variations of the search term or phrase you want and then decide which version you think is mostly likely to attract home buyers, renters, condo buyers, or whoever is your target audience.

At that point, you're ready to research the cost per click (CPC) that you will be charged each time someone clicks on your advertisement. Costs vary greatly depending on the search term or phrase, however the fees for the same terms are generally consistent between the major providers.

2. Determine your budget

Depending on the amount of competition you're facing and keywords being used, the cost for one click on your PPC ads can range from a few cents to several dollars per click. Broader terms (like "chicago real estate") will cost more than more specific terms (like "chicago gold coast condo rentals"), so targeting for more specific neighborhoods, property types or a combination of both can help keep your CPC down and keep charges from adding up too quickly.

PPC providers like Google Adwords have pretty flexible budgeting options to ensure you don't exceed more than you want to pay on any given day or during a campaign period. Once you know your CPC rate, you can determine how many clicks on your PPC ad you can afford to pay for on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, then set the parameters to your campaign accordingly.

As an example, if the terms you've chosen cost an average of $1 per click and you're hoping to get 100 clicks per month to your real estate site, you'd be looking at spending $100 per month on PPC – a daily budget of $3.30.

3. Combine IDX with PPC

The ability to set a definitive monthly spend is a major benefit for REALTORS® working with limited budgets or otherwise looking to experiment with paid advertising for their real estate website. With PPC ads, you're only paying for the people who actually click on your ad and view your website.

There's no guarantee that the clicks on your PPC ad will equate to more sales, but linking to the IDX pages on your site can help ensure more of your PPC traffic converts into leads.

Visitors who come to your website via a PPC ad (or organic searching) primarily want to see homes, so it's important to show them listings related to their search terms front and center.

Getting Started with PPC

For some real estate agents, PPC is used only to jump start traffic to a new website till they can start ranking in the regular "organic" results insearch engines – for others, PPC is a regular expense that's included in their ongoing marketing budget every year. Either way, PPC advertising is scalable for any budget and for any period of time, and combined with IDX, it's ideal for real estate websites to generate and convert new traffic.

Sending targeted PPC ads with IDX data puts the power in your hands to attract the exact clientele you're seeking as you work to grow your business. Simply launch a PPC ad campaign with your desired keywords or phrases and link it to a landing page with the pre-filtered IDX data to start connecting a larger audience to homes they want.

To view the original article, visit the Diverse Solutions blogDiverse Solutions blog.