The vast majority of home searches start online. Here are tips to help your brokerage stand out from the crowd.

There’s so much information in the online real estate space that some people think that it will eventually wipe out the need for agents completely. But we know they’re wrong. The connections, unique market expertise, and guidance real estate agents bring to their clients is undeniable.

Yet, you cannot ignore the basic fact that you must be present where your clients are looking. Most people start their next real estate move online, even before they’ve chosen an agent. If your agents reserve their warm smiles just for the open house, they’re starting out several steps behind. Enable them to greet their clients at the true beginning of their home search — online.

Google AdWords provides a cost-effective way to do this. The multifaceted tool offers more control than traditional forms of advertising. You can select the specific audiences that will see your ads online and when. You can choose the search terms (or keywords) that will make your ad appear in the search results. The budget you set helps determine the campaign’s reach and staying power, and the bid establishes how often the ad appears next to the related search results. You only pay for the ad when the person searching clicks on it.

Below are a few tips for making Google AdWords work for your agents by bringing them the leads they need to excel.

1. Consider where the ads will send users. I’ve seen too many real estate companies and agents spend huge budgets on elaborate Google advertising campaigns without thinking about where these campaigns will send people. This is the epitome of putting the cart before the horse. The leads could be going to the most artistically designed, well-written website, but these campaigns are worthless if your website isn’t set up to maximize and capture those the leads.

2. Move toward customized or custom-made websites. Real estate managers and brokerage owners should steer away from offering their agents template websites that aren’t customized. I understand that templates offer a cost-effective solution for providing every agent with a website, but you should encourage agents to customize their websites as much as possible.

3. Offer value online. Rather than creating just another brag sheet online, select website options that allow agents to provide value through their websites. Highlighting an agent’s expertise in a certain location through blog posts, market updates, or information on a unique property type will only make your online advertising campaigns more successful.

4. Set your website up for success. When qualified lead lands on your website, you should at the very least make sure they are greeted by a clear call-to-action, such as encouraging them to sign up for a market newsletter. And don’t forget your and your agent’s contact information.

5. Location. Location. Location! This popular real estate phrase also relates to AdWords since you can incorporate specific location targets into campaigns. Many advertisers will focus on a radius around their location. A more advanced approach is to additionally link AdWords campaigns to Google My Business accounts. This Google service drops your address right into the ad, allowing users to click on it and see where you are located.

6. Use it in your expansion campaign. Focusing your AdWords buy on specific ZIP codes, areas, or neighborhoods can help your company and its agents establish presence where you’d like to increase your market share. Consistently appearing in search results relating to a specific neighborhood’s real estate scene can be very powerful in not only generating new leads but also continuing to shape the brand of the company and its agents.

7. Unleash the power of data. A ton of information about your target client demographic is captured when you run a Google AdWords campaign. Real insight about your online visitors — such as the search terms they’re using to find your site, what time of day they visited, and what they did when they got there — can all be used to grow your company or your agents’ businesses. Google Analytics can be leveraged to understand which users (age, gender, location) are most likely to complete goals on your site — information you can then use in demographic targeting through Gmail ads and the Google Display Network.

8. Help associates sell property online. Agents can use the power of the internet to generate leads for particular listings online. Not only does advertising bring more eyeballs to a particularly unsellable listing but you could also use ads as a way to close the deal with potential sellers. Who wouldn’t want to sign with an agent who’s offering uniquely customized advertising that will get their home in front of a hand-selected online audience?

Principal brokers, owners, and managers of real estate offices are in a unique position to help influence agents to make the online experience better for the public during the real estate search process. However, you might as well leverage the power of Google to increase your market share at the same time. While Google AdWords offers more control over how budgets are spent, advertisers must implement a smart strategy to reap the benefits.


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