Should I advertise on Google? It’s a question every estate agent will ask at one point. If you’re a little more experienced with the broad digital marketing mix, you’ll also be asking whether AdWords is the best medium to increase instructions, whether it provides sufficient return on investment compared to other online marketing, and so on.
Well, there are undeniably some advantages to AdWords over other marketing channels:
AdWords creates a level playing field
People search online when looking for a property to buy or rent. Landlords and vendors look for agents to market their properties. When someone searches there are tens of thousands of sites a user can visit, but there’s only ten top spots on page one of Google, and only the top five get any significant clicks through to their site.
For many popular search terms such as “flat to rent in <city>”, the major UK property portals will dominate the top positions on the natural search results. So, unless the user searches for your company name specifically, or unless you’ve got a fantastic SEO campaign, there is no guarantee your website will appear for them.
Then if you’re looking for new instructions from landlords and vendors you’re going to want to appear for ‘estate agent in …’ and ‘letting agents in …’ phrases, but unless you’re a very well-established agent, with a site that’s been around for years, and with lots of decent content, you’re not going to in those important positions either.
Advertising on AdWords gives you a way to compete with the very top results in Google for the most in-demand search terms. In addition, Google places ads above organic search results. In other words, you will appear higher up the page, increasing the possibility of the searcher clicking through to your website.
So, even when you target your local market, using AdWords can be the best way to get into the top positions on Google for many competitive property-related keywords.
You can measure closely what it delivers
We’ve heard it many times ….
“I used AdWords and we just seemed to spend money quickly and didn’t know what we got from it!”
Failure to track results is not the failure of AdWords. A good AdWords campaign will target a defined audience and deliver clicks from that audience to your website. Running AdWords can eat up your marketing budget depending on the search term you’re competing on, but if set up correctly it will deliver tangible results, which are completely measurable if the tracking of the campaign is set up using both AdWords conversion tracking, and Goals set up in Analytics. Using AdWords, you can even track calls from Google and calls from your website that are a result of your AdWords marketing. You can measure down to every click and that data can power improvements in the campaign optimisation which will continually improve the results.
You’re in control of budget and strategy
AdWords allows you to define your audience, target very specific geographic locations, focus on keyphrases in multiple ways, exclude keyphrases which are from the wrong type of user, turn on and off days and times, serve your ads differently on different devices, set different budget strategies, and automatically adjust your campaign activity to specific goals, and so much more.
Most people use only the very bare basics of the AdWords system, only scratching the surface of what is possible. If you take control of just a fraction more than your competitors within AdWords, you get an advantage which is worth more than simply spending more on ads. In fact, you can pay less than your competitors and still appear above them in the ad positions.
The data you receive from AdWords can be used to inform marketing elsewhere
Any AdWords campaign is constantly producing data. It’s also relatively easy to run tests to compare different audiences, bidding strategies, keywords, and more. The results of these tests provide you with additional data you can use to improve and optimise future AdWords’ campaigns, but it can also help with other areas of your business, including with other digital marketing strategies.
For example, if you are running an SEO program as well as AdWords, the data from AdWords that tells you which keywords convert most effectively can be fed into your SEO strategy, allowing you to focus it on the phrased which matter.
It gives you access to remarketing
Ever wondered why, once you’ve visited a site, you keep seeing ads for what you were looking at? Well, that’s Remarketing, and if you have an AdWords account you have access to it. It allows you to ‘remind’ people about your services. This can be very effective for estate agents as not everyone searching for property-related keywords are ready to act immediately.
For example, a landlord might begin a search for a new estate agent to manage their portfolio several weeks before they are ready to speak to you directly. The same applies to sellers, buyers, and renters.
Remarketing on AdWords keeps you front of mind with people who have already interacted with your brand, and helps ensure they come back to you when they are ready to talk.
It’s excellent for engaging a local audience
AdWords is especially effective to a local audience. Not only can you target your adverts based on geographic location, but you can use the creative copy to target specific areas and services – for instance, you can target your ad geographically specifically to people searching from an area like Finchley in London, and your creative copy can specify ‘valuations’ + ‘Finchley’ keywords, making your ads highly area targeted.
For agencies opening a branch in a new location, AdWords is invaluable. Depending on the experience of the team running the campaign, you can receive instant visibility across the area from the moment the doors open.
Of course, all the above benefits of AdWords are only possible if you set your campaigns up properly. For example, choosing the wrong keywords, failing to effectively use negative keywords, not fully analysing results, etc, are all things that will impact campaign performance negatively.
You need to consider all these things when setting up your campaign. Alternatively, you should use an AdWords expert to run your ads to ensure maximum campaign optimisation – and ROI – from the start.