With so many different online marketing channels available, it can be hard to determine the best way to drive high-quality leads to your website. Most builders will see the best results from Paid Search, Remarketing, Google Display Network, and YouTube. These tried and true methods each have their own unique advantages and uses, as well as new targeting capabilities that make them ideal for builders.
Paid Search is one of the most effective ways to reach buyers who are actively searching for a new home. Paid search provides a unique opportunity to serve ads to buyers at the exact moment they express intent to buy a new home by searching on Google, Bing, or other search engines.
- Google: With a large majority of market share, paid search on Google is a must. With proper management and a tight keyword structure, Google AdWords will deliver high-quality leads with measurable ROI.
- Bing: Paid search on Bing is a great opportunity that is often overlooked or dismissed, despite having 30% market share. Similar to Google AdWords, Bing Ads will serve people actively searching for a new home in Bing Search results, as well as Yahoo! and AOL. With less advertiser competition driving up the cost of bids, Bing Ads give you the ability to drive qualified leads at a lower cost-per-click (CPC) – usually around 25% less than Google AdWords.
Remarketing has never been more important. With potential distractions online increasing and attention spans decreasing, buyers have a higher likelihood of leaving your site prematurely. This, combined with the abundant options buyers have online, is why it’s extremely important to drive prospects back to your site. Use remarketing to reinforce your differentiators and remind them why your home is better than the others they are considering. Even if a buyer does not click on your ad, seeing your remarketing ads as they browse their options online will help you earn a spot on a buyer’s short list.
- Ad Creative: Buyers will likely see your ads multiple times; therefore, you should have ad variations that highlight each of your differentiators. If a buyer sees the same ad repeatedly, the message will grow stale and lose its efficacy. Animated banner ads are also a great way to showcase multiple photos and messages in your ads, as well as help you stand out on the page.
- Segment Audiences: One of the best ways to maximize the effectiveness of remarketing is by creating different audiences based on pages that were visited, time spent on site, and time of their visit. Segment your remarketing lists by community to serve highly targeted ads. This also gives you the opportunity to cross-promote your communities. If you have multiple communities in the same area with the same target buyer demographic, use this as a way to secure multiple spots on a buyer’s short list.
- CRM Remarketing: CRM remarketing takes your list of prospect emails and matches them to individuals online. This is a great way to target your high value prospects online, including those who may not have been to your website yet or recently, or whose cookie has been deleted or has expired. If possible, segment your CRM lists into A and B prospects, and prioritize ad spend accordingly.
Google Display Network
Some skeptics view display advertising as ineffective or low quality. However, when deployed and managed with the proper targeting, the Google Display Network will drive qualified leads to your site at a lower CPC than many other online channels. Unlike other display advertising platforms or programmatic advertising, Google Display Network gives advertisers the option to specifically target individuals based on their online behavior. This is referred to as “In-Market Audiences”. Not only does the Google Display Network segment audiences who are searching for a home for sale, but Google specifically segments people who are looking for a new construction home for sale. Use Google’s New Homes For Sale In-Market Audience and layer this with demographic profiling such as age and income to drive quality site traffic.
YouTube is now the second most used search engine in the U.S., reaching more 18-49 year-olds than cable. While it’s true that buyers will not necessarily go to YouTube and search “new homes for sale”, when used as part of the aforementioned Google Display Network, YouTube allows for precise targeting, including In-Market Audiences. Use imagery and messaging that is compelling, and between 15-30 seconds in length, similar to a TV spot. If you can’t have a video professionally made, a video shot on a high-quality phone, with an energetic sales person(s) inviting the viewer to an open house etc., can also be effective.
Individually, but even more so together, these channels will drive quality traffic to your site. But only if used properly. While self-serve advertising platforms like these can seem relatively easy to use, proper targeting and optimization requires time and expertise. If not executed correctly, it is almost certain that your campaigns are driving unqualified traffic or not maximizing ad spend. Any management fees will pay for themselves by eliminating wasted spend and driving higher quality traffic. If you are unsure about your campaign’s health, contact us to audit your campaigns.
One of the biggest advantages of online advertising is that it can be precisely tracked which allows for measurable ROI. Since each market is different, continually monitor your campaigns to see which messaging and channels are driving the best quality leads for you in your market. Then use this data to optimize campaigns and sell more homes.
By Bill Doughty
Digital SEM Strategist
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