Testing fuels all online marketing. It’s the only way to consistently improve your ads and get better results.
However, there’s one big, fat mistake real estate investors make. They extend this logic when testing marketing agencies. And Google permanently bans real estate investors who try this.
Not only is it ban-worthy, but it won’t get you any more motivated seller leads.
In this episode, I reveal why you shouldn’t test marketing agencies like you do your ads. I’ll also show you a better way to test different marketing agencies (without getting your account banned). Listen to the episode now before you commit this fatal mistake.
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, hello and welcome to this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWordsNerds.com. How are you? I hope you are well.
Look, if you want help getting some online leads for motivated sellers, getting deals online, you know where to go. It's AdWordsNerds.com/strategy. You can get on there, jump on the calendar there with my team and they will help you out. [01:12.8]
Now, today, today we're going to be talking about a wonderful subject, which is basically how to nearly guarantee that Google is going to suspend your ad count, and this coming from real life, folks. I come on here, and if you don't know, this is your first episode, okay, first of all, welcome.
Second of all, here's what I do. I work with real estate investors and only real estate investors to help them get online leads and deals. We do that primarily with pay-per-click marketing, which is Google Ads, Microsoft ads, otherwise known as Bing ads, Facebook ads, and so on, and a whole bunch of other weird stuff that we test and experiment with that most people don't even know about, all right, and that's all we do. That's all we do. We're great at it. [02:02.6]
Now, here's the thing you have heard me say many times, that testing is important, right? This is a core component of online marketing and one of the reasons, and all marketing really, of course—even direct mail, you're often testing, right? One postcard versus the other and so forth—I mean, testing isn't just a part of online marketing, but it's a core aspect of what makes online marketing great, because online marketing made testing easy.
Before, if you wanted to test a mail piece, you had to print two mail pieces. Maybe you needed to have two phone numbers or two different offers, so you could test it, and then you had to tabulate the data and figure it out, right? There's some labor involved testing anything that exists in the physical world. [02:55.0]
But online, if I want to test two different ads in Google, all I do is make the two different ads and let them off into the world, and Google will serve those ads evenly or some other way that I want to test and it'll do all the data crunching for me, and all I’ve got to do is log back in a week or two weeks or however long it's going to be and look at the numbers. And I can see not just how many people clicked each ad, but how many of those people converted, right? It's extremely easy to do, and because testing is easy to do, it becomes easy to constantly iterate and improve and that is really a big part of why online marketing was so disruptive when it first kind of burst onto the marketing scene. We had this sort of digital testing environment that made constant iteration a reality. That's one of the biggest parts of why online marketing is great and you've heard me say test, test, test. You've heard me talk about testing landing pages and testing ads and so on and so forth, right? So, you get it. Testing is important. [04:04.7]
Now, it is very logical on the surface to extend that theoretical advice, this test., test, test, always be testing, right? It's easy to extend that advice to online marketing companies and say, Here's what I’m going to do. I’m going to hire two online marketing companies. I’m going to have two different accounts. They're going to advertise my business and I’m going to see which one does better. That is totally rational, on the surface, totally makes sense.
Here is why this is a terrible idea. It is a terrible idea. A terrible idea. Before I get into my explanation, you need to understand that, look, obviously I run an online marketing company, so it's going to be easy to view this argument in the context of, Oh, well, Dan doesn't want to compete with other companies or whatever, right, whatever this is in his best interest. [05:10.8]
I’m telling you, I don't care. Okay, I don't care. You can work with anyone you want. AdWords Nerds has more than enough clients, right? We're busy. This is not about you coming to work with me and me somehow making more money. It’s not what this is about, okay, absolutely. You can be talking about two other companies I’ve got nothing to do with and I’m going to give you the same advice, okay, which is that this is a bad idea. It is a bad idea to hire two online marketing companies and run them side by side and see what it does better. [05:47.0]
There are two reasons this is a bad idea. The first reason is it is explicitly against Google's terms of service. If you run, let's say, two companies, two ad accounts, and you are driving them both to the same website—let's say, your website is “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com” or whatever it is, that's your website—and you have Company A running ads to “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com” and Company B running ads to “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com”, and you're targeting, I’m assuming, the same target market and, I’m assuming, the same basic keywords because you're a real estate investor, right? You're targeting to “sell my house” and “sell my house” or whatever.
What you are trying to do in this case, because these two accounts are going to compete head to head, is run the same website multiple times in the same auction. That is against the rule. [06:50.0]
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If you think about it, if I ran Coca-Cola and I could have multiple accounts running in the same auction, what Coca-Cola would do is just spend a bunch of money and every single ad you saw when you typed in “Cola” or whatever would be Coca-Cola. The first ad would be Coca-Cola.com, and then the second ad would be Coca-Cola.com but running in a different account, and then the third ad would be Coca-Cola.com running in yet another different account and so on and so forth. You can see how this would be terrible for Google because it would simply allow large companies to own every single piece of ad real estate. [08:00.0]
If you are a real estate investor, you should be thanking your lucky stars that this is not allowed, because what would happen is Trulia and Zillow or hedge funds or whatever would just run dozens of accounts for a single website and run them all on every single keyword and we wouldn't be able to do any of this at all.
So, first of all, it's explicitly against the Google terms of service to do this, and what that means is that if Google finds out that you're doing it, they will just flat out suspend your account. They will just say no more Google Ads for you. Having gone through this process, it is common for them to say, Yeah, we're suspending you and there is no recourse. There is no appeal. That is that. That can be an absolutely devastating blow to your business if you allow it to happen. [08:57.2]
Okay, secondly, people are like, Okay, no problem, I’m going to get around that. I’m going to get around this problem. The way I’m going to get around this problem is instead of running ads from Company A to “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com” and ads from Agency B to “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com”, I’m going to use different websites. It's like the first one is going to be “WeBuyHomesConnecticut.com” and the second one's going to be “WeBuyHousesConnecticut.com”, and I’m going to get around it that way, okay.
This seems on the surface to be okay, except that it is still against Google’s terms of service, because if you imagine, let's go back to our Coca-Cola sort of hypothetical scenario. Coca-Cola could just do Coca-Cola.com and “Coca-Cola1.com” and “Coca-Cola2.com” and “Coca-Cola3.com”, and it's all running the same business. They're just using different websites and they could absolutely block everyone out of the search results. [09:54.5]
It is still against the rules to use different domains that ultimately end up with the same business, and they will find this out. If you ever use the same credit card, if you ever use the same bank account, if you are operating under the same LLC or registration or whatever, tax ID, they will find out and they will suspend your accounts, so this is extremely, extremely dangerous to do, okay. It's extremely dangerous to hire two companies to run ads to the same business in different accounts. It's against the rules.
Now, that is not even all. That is not even the complete reason that this is a bad idea, because let's assume, okay, imagine that you evade detection. You decide you're a rebel and you want to live on the wild side and you're just who you are, taking on the risk. It's cool maybe if I get suspended. I’m just going to see if I can do it, and you're going to do this anyway. Let's assume you get around that. [11:05.0]
What's going to happen is you are going to get worse performance from both campaigns, from both Company A and Company B, than you would have gotten if you hadn't done this, and that's because you are competing against yourself. It's you go into an auction, because after all Google Ads, Microsoft ads, Facebook ads, these are all auctions—you are competing against other people who are lodging bids for the clicks you are competing with, so it's an auction, meaning that the more people in the auction, the higher the prices go—and so, if you are self-competing and, let's say, Company A says, We want to bid on “sell my house fast” and Company B also hired by you says, We want to bid on “sell my house fast”, you are now bidding yourself up. You are paying more per click for no reason. [12:10.5]
Not only that. If one company generates a click from that search, that means that the other company can't, and so essentially you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. You are picking your own pocket every single step of the way, sometimes, by the way, and this is what was happening in the context of me—this was from a client of ours and this is why I’m talking about this—paying for the same click twice, paying for it once when Company A generated it, and then that person going to Company B, clicking the ad again, also taking your money and filling out the form, so you'd get the lead twice.
I cannot tell you what a terrible idea this is, both from the sense of, on, it's incredibly risky, and, two, from the sense that you just get a completely poorer performance than you would have gotten from any one company. [13:08.8]
Look, again, I understand, I run an online marketing company. It's easy to view this as me saying, Hey, don't do this because it's not in my best interest or whatever. That isn't what I’m trying to say. What I’m saying is this is not in your best interests.
Now, I am all for it if you want to test companies against each other and see which company gets better results or see which company you just like more or you like their customer service more. I am all for it. I’m all for it. You just can't run them both simultaneously.
If you want to test an agency against another agency, I have done that myself, here's how you do it. You hire one agency for a while, work with them. I recommend three months. Work with them for three months. Then pause that account. Go to a different agency and work with them for three months, and compare not just the end of the three months versus the beginning of the three months. Compare your entire experience across those three months against your entire experience across the second three months. [14:16.2]
Does this make sense? Instead of doing it simultaneously, which is, again, against the rules and incredibly risky and not even a good way to test, test one company, pause it, and then test another. That is the only way to get an accurate idea of how those companies stack up.
Look, this is like saying I’m going to hire a one stock market advisor for three months and then another for the next three months, and a lot changes in three months, so if you have a stock market crash and your second three months, obviously you’ve got to take that into account. There's no way to really get a pure split test this way of this kind of thing. But if you need to test companies against each other, then that is the way to do it, one and then the other. Don't do it simultaneously, folks, I’m telling you. I have seen too many people get permanently suspended in the last year for doing stuff like this. It is risky and it is not worth it. [15:13.0]
I hope that makes sense. I hope that was valuable. Look, every week I’m going live and posting content and tutorials and how-tos in the REI Marketing Nerds Facebook group. It is awesome and it is free. You can go to AdWordsNerds.com/group and ask to join. I’ll be happy to add you in and we would love to see you amazing investors from all over the country in that group, talking and chatting and sharing every single day.
As always, this Daniel Barrett from AdWordsNerds.com, signing off, and I will talk to you next week. Cheers. [15:47.8]
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In the past decade I’ve worked with real estate investors, I see one common mistake happen over and over again. The worst part? Not only does this mistake cost you time and money in the short-term, but it also makes your long-term success impossible. What’s this mistake? Jumping from one marketing channel to another when
If you’re a regular reader, you know that here at Adwords Nerds, we advocate the use of multichannel marketing for generating leads as a real estate investor. The reason is simple: the REI industry is changing, and these days, you need to build a relationship with your audience before they become motivated sellers. And,