Becoming a real estate investor often leads to asking one of the most important questions every day: How will good people find me?
Attracting high-quality leads is much more than slapping around keywords on the internet. Digging deeper into the secrets of Google Ads puts you right back in the driver’s seat of attracting the clients you want without burning a hole in your pocket.
In this episode, learn how to weaponize your Google Ads account and fight against the leads that steal your time and money. Sound good?
Show highlights include:
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You're listening to the “REI Marketing Nerds” podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords Nerds, a high-tech digital agency, focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition, and live a freer, more awesome life. And, now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: All right, everybody. Welcome to this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWordsNerds.com, and this is Week 3—you can't see me. You can't see me. I just held up the number four, but it is Week 3—Week 3 of our guide to Google PPC for real estate investors. [01:01.0]
Yes, folks, we are digging into some of the foundations, the basics of what Google PPC is, what Google Ads are and why they're so important for investors. If you have not heard the last two episodes I started with “What is Google PPC?” It got into why I think it's important. We talked about the pros and cons in Week 2. We talked about Google PPC versus direct mail. What are the pros and cons of both of those? And why I think Google PPC ultimately wins out for the vast majority of real estate investors.
This week, we're going to get into some technical specifics and, look, if you don't have a Google Ads account in front of you, it's totally fine. I'm going to keep this high level enough that you're going to be able to take away some understanding. But it's still going to be technical enough that, if you are doing Google Ads at all, Google PPC at all, you will be able to take something from this episode and use it to save you money or get you deals. That's my promise to you, because this week we are covering one of the most critical things to understand about Google PPC, one of the most critical things to understand, and that is match type. [02:10.9]
Now, look, you imagine Facebook ads, right? Facebook ads, you've got all these ways of targeting people like by their age and what they like, and, oh, they love Harry Potter and yada-yada-yada. In Google, we don't really have that, right? In Google, we have what people search for, and so in order to target people differently, different types of searches, different types of searchers, we use keywords, right, like—
sell my house fast we buy house we buy ugly houses sell my house —all that stuff, right? Keywords.
Keywords are what we tell Google we want to target. They are the targeting mechanism that we use inside of Google PPC. But just typing in the word is not enough control because generally what happens, if you just type in a word into Google, you just give it a word as a keyword. [3:08.4]
Let's say, “sell my house”, that's our keyword. I just pop it into Google, just like I was writing it in a letter, writing it in a note-taking app or whatever. I just write that in there. Google interprets that as what is called a broad match keyword. Broad match keyword. Now, what does “broad match” mean? It basically means we are telling Google, Hey, Google, I want my ad to show up whenever someone searches for something, broadly matching “sell my house”. Broadly matching “sell my house”.
Now, that might not sound like a bad idea, right? And actually broad match keywords have some advantages. They tend to put you in front of the biggest audience and they tend to be the cheapest cost-per-click keywords that we get, so that's in the pro column. [04:01.0]
In the con column, however, is the fact that the phrase “broadly matching”, remember we said, Hey, I type this word in. I want people that broadly match this keyword that I'm giving you. Google interprets broadly matching, well, very broadly. “Sell my house” might be the same to Google as “sell a house” or “buy my house” or “buy a house in grand theft auto”, or just the word “Zillow” or just the word “Trulia”, or even the word “realtor” or the word “MLS” or “housing prices”. I mean, literally could be hundreds of different things. Google interprets broadly matching very liberally, and so essentially what we do is we give Google all the controls cool for who our ads show up in front of. [04:58.3]
While that can be a strategy that we use and there are instances where, at AdWords Nerds, we do use broad match keywords in our accounts for real estate investors, generally you want to stay away from broad match keywords. They just are kind of off-topic. They're kind of off-focus. They don't convert particularly well, even though they're cheaper. Generally, the lead quality is going to be lower.
So, we're not using broad match keywords and we're not just typing our keyword into Google. What are we doing? We're going to use the other match types.
One layer above, one level above broad match is what is called modified broad match, and to make a keyword into a modified broad match keyword, instead of just typing it into Google, like “sell my house”, just typing it in, we need to put a plus sign before each word, so—+sell +my +house
The keyword “sell my house”, now when we type it into Google, the way we type it in is “+sell +my +house”. [06:07.2]
Why do we do this? Modified broad match, what it does is we say, Okay, Google, you need to have the words “sell”, “my” and “house” in the search before you show my ad. They have to have said “sell”. They have to have said “my”. They have to have said “house”. They have to have typed that in, so I don't want the Zillow and I don't want the Trulia, and even “buy my house”, that doesn't count. They have got to type in “sell my house”.
But I'm going to give you a fair amount of control, so they can type those words in any order. They could type in “my house sell” or “house sell my”. And they could add as many words as they want within that search, so they could type in “sell my house Houston” or “sell my ugly house”, or “I want to sell my house”. As long as it says “sell”, “my” and “house” somewhere in the search, I'm happy, and all other variations, those are good. [07:10.4]
That's what modified broad match does. Every word that has a plus sign in front of it has to be included, but they can be included in any order and with anything before, after or in the middle.
Now, what modified broad match does is sort of strike a middle ground between broad match, which, again, is just whatever Google wants, and the more focused keyword match types, which we're going to talk about in a little bit.
Generally, the most general, the most broad I will go in a real estate investor Google PPC campaign will be modified broad match keywords, and modified broad match keywords produce a good amount of volume, have a good amount of people searching for them because there's a lot of variation in there. They convert less often than the other types of leads, but they tend to be cheaper. It's generally a match type that I want. [8:00.0]
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Now one layer above that, above modified broad match is phrase match keywords. Phrase match keywords. Now, you remember, if I just type the words in, “sell my house” and just type it in, that's a broad match keyword. If I put “+sell”—and literally the plus sign, I'm not spelling out plus. That's just the plus sign—“+sell +my +house”, that's modified broad match. Phrase match is if I put—“sell my house” —in quotation marks, so, quote, “sell my house”, end quote. That is a phrase match keyword. [09:07.3]
Now, what this does is say, Okay, Google, you need to include the phrase, “sell my house”. They have to type that in and they have to type it in in that org. Now, remember, modified broad match, they could type those words in any order and they could put words in between them if they wanted. What phrase match says is “sell my house” has to be there in order and there can't be anything between those words, but you can still add things before it and you can still add things after it.
“Sell my house” in quotation marks would trigger when someone typed in “sell my house”. It would also trigger when someone typed in “I want to sell my house” and it would trigger when someone typed in “sell my house Houston”, right, because we are adding words before or after the phrase that's in the quotation marks. But it would not trigger if they typed in “sell my ugly house” because, remember, we can't put anything in between those words. [10:09.8]
So, phrase match is one level above in terms of focus. It gives us a little bit more control. It takes a little bit of control away from Google. What that tends to do is shrink the total audience. Volume will tend to go down, but quality will tend to go up. You can start to see a pattern.
Generally, whenever we shrink the audience size, usually, assuming we're targeting the right people, the conversion rate and the rate at which those leads turn into deals will go up, and so there's always a balancing act in Google PPC between the size of the audience and the quality of the audience. This is a big part of what a PPC manager will do for you when someone like AdWords Nerds is managing your account.
Okay, now we've got broad match, just typed in, “sell my house”. Google can do whatever they want.
We had modified broad match. I typed in “+sell +my +house”. That meant that Google could rearrange those terms in any way, add anything anywhere, but they had to include the phrase or the terms “sell” and “my” and “house”, but in any order. [11:13.4]
Then, in phrase match, we put in quotation marks, quote, “sell my house”, end quo, and that meant that they could add terms in the beginning and they could add terms at the end, but they had to have “sell my house” and they couldn't put anything in the middle.
Now we have one level above that in terms of focus and these are exact match keywords, and that's if you put the phrase in brackets, so we have, left bracket, [sell by house], right bracket.
[sell my house]
The phrase that we want is in the brackets. What that means is, Google, no shenanigans, okay? No funny stuff, all right? I only want people that type in exactly “sell my house” and I don't want people that add anything at the end or add anything at the beginning, no additions, no mixing it up, no remixing, only the stuff that's in the brackets in exactly that order, “sell my house” in exactly that order, nothing else. That's what an exact match keyword is. [12:12.6]
Exact match keywords, as you can probably guess at this point, have the smallest audience overall because there's a lot of ways to get disqualified, right? If I type in “sell my ugly house”, it doesn't count. If I type in “sell my house fast”, it doesn't count. It's only “sell my house”, in this example. But the conversion rate, the click through rate, the overall quality of the leads is the highest. I know exactly what they typed in. I know exactly who I'm getting in front of. I know exactly who to market to. I know exactly what to say, because it's the most control I have over exactly who sees my ads.
Now, the combinations of these keywords, how many broad versus modified broad match, to phrase match, to exact match, what the percentages are in your account, that is a huge part of the art and the science of creating a Google Ads account, because here's a truth, a hardcore truth about Google PPC many people will not tell you: there is no perfect list of keywords. [13:16.6]
There is no one list of keywords that always works for real estate investors in every market. There is no one set of keywords that produces better leads than every other set of keywords every time. What there is is a lot of different markets and a lot of different investors, each of whom have different competitive landscapes and different sets of needs, and, therefore, will need a different strategy.
When you are designing your Google PPC campaign, you've got to take that into account or hookup with someone that knows how to manage these types of accounts, so that they can build a strategy that actually makes sense for you, because if you come to me and you say, Dan, I want you to manage my Google PPC campaigns, and you've got a million dollars to spend, it's going to be a very different strategy than if you have $500, and you could do deals in both scenarios, but the strategy needs to be right for you. [14:12.9]
It doesn't matter what somebody said in some YouTube video or someone's said in some books, or someone's said on some website. It's got to be right for you right now, because, look, 2020 is not 2021, is not 1990, is not 2004. It's always changing. It's always different. So, there is no right strategy. What there is is a right strategy at the right time.
I hope that makes sense and, look, we are not done. We've got one more episode in our deep dive on Google PPC for real estate investors. If you have not heard the first three episodes, go back a couple of weeks. Listen to those episodes because I go into the foundational stuff, and we’re going into pros and cons and going into terminology, and next week we will be buttoning this up and talking even more ways for you to leverage Google PPC in your real estate investing business. Talk to you then. [15:04.8]
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If you want to avoid going broke on lazy marketing, you have to find the stuff that’s proven to work. It’s overwhelming dipping your toes in the pool of Google PPC, but there are ways to split-test without drowning. You don’t want to miss what’s going on in the water by lounging on the side.
Becoming a real estate investor often leads to asking one of the most important questions every day: How will good people find me? Attracting high-quality leads is much more than slapping around keywords on the internet. Digging deeper into the secrets of Google Ads puts you right back in the driver’s seat of attracting the