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Why Not Put Your Dormant Little Website to Work!?

Please welcome Agent Genius’ newest writer, Rob McCance from Atlanta.  Rob is an interesting guy- he wasn’t born with a real estate license, instead he studied electrical engineering at USF and did enterprise level software sales prior to engaging in real estate where he founded the Georgia Realty Group and now balances that career with web development and lead management. Rob will be writing about his passion of lead management and website design and use, so stay tuned.

mccance-article-one-imageI know what you are thinking: your site has been out there on “The Internets” for years, doing nothing. Every month you pay to host it, you pay for the IDX search and you pay for the edits. You spend countless hours trying to SEO it and attract people to your killer Blog. And all for what, usually almost nothing tangible.

Your site needs to generate some real leads.

I don’t know about you, but the purpose of my website is to generate leads. That’s it. Sure I offer up a lot of helpful information and I sure hope my visitors find that useful, but I really want them to sign in and become a client! After all, I’m not some public service .org site here, I’ve got two mini-me’s to feed.

Ok then, how do we get-‘er-done? Well, why not just create 10,000 one-way incoming links to your site, each link anchor text optimized for your keywords. And while you’re at it, optimize your home page for the same key word and viola; you might make it to page one of Google for that one key word. Yeah, just go ahead do that.

Alright – forget that for now, that will take forever, and that might not even work.

The solution: AdWords.

Here’s the deal: you should think of AdWords as just another cost of doing business. Temporarily stop hatin’ on AdWords. The key to AdWords is putting in some real work correctly setting it all up; the campaigns, ads and landing pages.

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If you get it right, here’s what AdWords can do for you: Every single day, 24/7, it can screen a huge number of internet searchers for you and send them to your site, looking for exactly what you are offering. It can turn a mediocre dead useless web site into a lead machine, and I should know.

Hey Google, screen these 174,464 searchers for me this month.

There are four levels of screening that occur when you have a well designed AdWords campaign along with specific landing pages:

Screen #1 – Searchers go to Google looking for terms related to Real Estate in your market.
Screen #2 – One of your ads displays, if that looks on target, searchers click to your landing page.
Screen #3 – Now on your landing page, searchers ask, “is this really what I am looking for?”
Screen #4 – If so, searchers enter your IDX and hopefully register with real data.

Now, after FOUR screens, you are on your way to having a bona fide lead. If the first two screens fail, you pay nothing. Sweet!

How about 2-10 leads per day from your now dormant web site?

Now you are probably saying, “yeah but, I’ll seriously pay for these leads..” All I can say is wrong. If I can obtain 2-10 leads per day in the ultra-competitive Atlanta Real Estate market and spend less than $200/mo doing it, this can be repeated in your market, probably for less.

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In my next post, I’ll show you how this is done. In the mean time, start opening your minds about AdWords because for now, until I get my 10,000 one-way incoming links, that’s the only way my site is going to be producing any leads, as brutal as that is…

Written By

Rob is the founder of The Georgia Realty Group, a real estate company focusing on the five large counties north of the 285 perimeter in Atlanta. Out of USF in 1991 as an Electrical Engineer, he then quickly shifted into software sales. For 12 years, he sold enterprise level Engineering Design Automation (EDA) software to Fortune 500 companies. His current focus is web site design, SEO and lead management activities and he also takes on the occasional excellent client. Find him at AtlantaRealEstateInfo.com

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Michelle DeRepentigny

    September 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Welcome to AG Rob! I have been intrigued by adwords since hearing @housechick talk about them, just was never sure about how to best utilize sperate landing pages, etc. Looking forward to reading your series on them.

  2. Bonnie Westbrook

    September 23, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Convince me! I usually avoid Adwords, so please tell us how it can help our websites. $2400 a year is a lot of money in a medium sized market place like ours.

  3. J. G. Keating

    September 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Interesting! Expensive but interesting! We’re in the process of building our web site, so now would be the time to factor adwords, right?

  4. Bob

    September 23, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Adwords is a fantastic way to jump start a website. You can generate revenue while you build an organic presence. If you get good at it to the point of an automatic ROI you can count on, you dont have to worry about organic.

    Welcome to AG, Rob.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    September 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Rob – Welcome to AgentGenius. Hmmm, AdWords? Well, I’ve listened to @housechick talk about them and enjoyed that, but so far haven’t taken the plunge. Interested to hear what you have to add to the discussion. I’m always up for more leads. So hurry up Wednesday – I’m eager to learn.

  6. J. G. Keating

    September 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I’m definitely interested in finding out more about it. I have never felt that they justified the cost. And then there’s all the pricing options to be considered and the placement etc.

    As you stated:
    “The key to AdWords is putting in some real work correctly setting it all up; the campaigns, ads and landing pages.”

    I’m in the business of selling houses, would the above statement not just increase the amount of time needed away from the actual purpose of the site?

    “If you get it right, here’s what AdWords can do for you:”

    And what if I get it wrong? Can be an expensive lesson!

    I’m looking forward to the rest of your series though, as a lot of sites use them so somebody is getting it right.

  7. Bob

    September 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    If you have a website and expect it to be more than an online brochure few will see, meaning that the purpose of the site is to generate leads, then you have 3 options:

    1) invest the time and money to get it found organically
    2) invest the time and money on PPC that will yield an acceptable ROI
    3) pay someone to do either 1) or 2) for you.

    Hopefully Rob is able to flatten the learning curve so one can lessen the cost and shorten the time needed to realize the goal.

  8. Portland Real Estate

    September 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    AdWords is your best friend on the internet. Nobody has a farther reaching network with more people viewing the ads. Google is god.

    -Tyler

  9. Matt Kelly

    September 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    How many of those 2-10 leads actually close?

  10. Bob

    September 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    That is dependent on variable factors.

    If your landing page touts REO deals, but REO inventory is scarce, then conversion is likely to be low.

    If you cant close, then number of leads doesnt matter. What you have is two stage coaching here:

    1) How to get leads
    2) What to do with leads

  11. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for all the great responses thus far. I’ll try to address each of these from the top down. A lot of this will get addressed in the next post, next week.

    Michelle – Thanks for the welcome! More info is coming. As for landing pages, take a look at my site. All 50+ neighborhoods on the right hand column are each landing pages!

    Bonnie – Hopefully I can be convincing. But in my view if you land just one internet sale in a year, that would more than pay for it. And you won’t land just one!

    JG – stop building your site until you have done an exhaustive KW research for your area. The results of that will drive your entire site URL structure.

    Bob – that is correct and that’s where I am now, but now I’m going after organic.

    Matt – right on rock star, and thanks for the welcome. Stay tuned.

    JG – I think there’s a lot in the same boat. When the most popular RE KW in your area costs $5 per click, it’s easy to bag the whole idea. Understood. I ignore these high dollar KWs.

    Portland – I’m in Portland right now. Adwords are the only way to go until you can get targeted organic traffic, which may be never.

    Matt – Leads gathered on the internet convert at the same rate as leads generated by traditional means, roughly 1.5%.

    Bob – subject of future articles coming from me. When you generate 50-100 leads per week, you better be treatin’ them right, or you ARE wasting your money.

    Thanks again for all the great input!

    Rob

  12. Rich Bailey

    September 23, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    If you take the low side of Rob’s numbers and some industry averages on lead conversion, assuming a lead is defined as an IDX registration, here’s what you come up with: 2 leads a day means 60 per month. If you close 2% of those leads (the industry average for IDX registration leads is somewhere between 2.5 and 3%), that’s 1.2 closed transactions per month. So in a year, that $2400 is getting you an additional 14 closed transactions. You decide for yourself if that’s a good return.

    Bob also makes good points about exceptional circumstances (like a low inventory of REO properties) and actually converting the leads. And the capture and conversion rates will vary greatly with how your IDX solution is set up; i.e. do you force registration, make it completely voluntary, or someplace in between. But you definitely need to consider the return, not just the cost in dollars.

    Looking forward to part 2!

  13. Dan Connolly

    September 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    As for conversion of internet leads I think there can’t be number or percentage accurately applied to that because it all depends on the skill and persistence of the one getting the leads.

    Some people can’t convert a sign call asking for an appointment to see the house, while others can take a reluctant forced registration and have them under contract a week after meeting them.

    Rich, I think if the industry average is closing 2-3% of forced IDX registration (so called) leads, they are only counting the highly skilled seasoned professionals in that average. That number seems way high to me.

  14. Bob

    September 24, 2009 at 12:19 am

    “And the capture and conversion rates will vary greatly with how your IDX solution is set up; i.e. do you force registration, make it completely voluntary, or someplace in between.”

    Rich, I would argue that the registration set up has less to do with it than the design and flow. After a lot of testing, I took a top site and changed the IDX, but kept the required registration aspect. Bounce rate dropped to less than 20% and registrations increased by 300%.

    The key to all this is testing. I’m hoping Rob delves extensively into the testing part. I havent done ppc since Overture was GoTo, so it’s definitely the Achilles Heel of my online expertise.

  15. Paula Henry

    September 24, 2009 at 12:31 am

    I have a fairly good internet presence, so I haven’t tried adwords. Only recently have I started to think about it, so I can direct my business where I want to work. I look forward to your lessons. Welcome!

  16. Rich Bailey

    September 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Dan, just to clarify, I defined leads just as registrations, NOT forced registrations. The studies I’ve read didn’t distinguish, and in my humble opinion, that does clutter it up a bit. What would be really interesting to see would be a study that takes registration requirements into consideration. But as you and Bob both noted, the rubber often meets the road after the registration occurs, so that remains a pretty significant, and hard to quantify variable.

    We’ve seen on rare occasion client conversion rates into double figures, but these are well-trained agents with a tested follow-up system, including a follow-up phone call within 15 minutes of the user registration.

    Bob, I concur 100%; the ease of use of the IDX search is a critical ingredient to capture rates. Perhaps one of the more undervalued ingredients, as well.

  17. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Good conversations. Here’s another thought:

    What would also be interesting when we talk about all these “industry averages” is to understand the parameters of the statistics. What got included, what didn’t, what were the time frames tracked, what was a success and a failure, etc.

    For example, I’ve seen a statistic that the average internet home shopper is 6-9 months out. On 9/30 (next week) I have two closings, both internet leads from my site:

    One of them I’ve worked with since 3/6/2008 when they first emailed me (yes I have them all in a database). 18 months.

    The other came in 7/8/2009, and is already closing. 2 months.

    So it’s hard to say if the close rate is 1%, 1.5%, 3%, whatever because if you track these leads until they are spent, which could be years, they may net a sale long after the data collection for the statistic is closed.

    I’m pretty sure these statistics we see being thrown around do not have data collection timeframes this long.

    Thoughts?

  18. Nick Nymark

    July 31, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Whats the statistics? How many leads have you received in the past year from Adwords and what is the ROI? Just curious if you don’t mind me asking.

  19. Rob McCance

    July 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Nick,

    I don’t have hard stats and that was sort of the point of that post, which was 9/24/2009 by the way.

    But little has changed since then. I spend $100-$200 per month driving traffic to my site via Adwords.

    This generates 50-100 registered leads per month and yes, it is this variable. Never been quite sure why.

    I close 8-10 transactions from this lead stream per year.

    In my area, these are $400k and up, with an average in the $500k to $800k range.

    Do the math, let me know if the ROI is any good.

    🙂

    Rob

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