Real Estate Webmasters report on the industry.
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Real Estate Webmasters is excited to announce our first new platform release of 2019!
This latest update brings exciting new features to REW’s suite of mobile apps, aligning the user experience of iOS and Android versions. We’ve also added new features to help manage Google Maps usage and streamline the REW CRM. The roll out is set to begin tomorrow!
Keep in mind, clients who have completed extensive customizations on the front or backend of their site or app may require custom work to implement the framework update. You can get in touch with your Product Consultant for details.
Here’s a rundown of new features making their way to Vision.
More Options for Google Maps Display
Agents will now have more control than ever with how maps are displayed on property details pages.
We’ve added a lazy load feature to the dynamic maps displayed for properties, in addition to a manual click-to-view option and the ability to disable the map altogether.
Greater Control Over Map Defaults
For pages with IDX snippets, site administrators can now set the default maps setting on IDX snippets to open, closed, or hidden. Website visitors will see the option set by the administrator.
New Maps Lead-Capture Setting
There’s also a new lead-capture setting on both Vision and Discover where agents can require a visitor to register as a lead before being able to view the map on a property details page.
This offers another great way for you to capture lead information through property details pages.
Here’s what is coming down the pipe for Discover.
New Lead Capture Option for Maps
Similar to the Vision update, Discover site owners will also be able to require visitors to register as a lead before viewing the map on property details pages.
This feature provides yet another way to encourage leads to register on property details pages, the best place to capture leads.
The Middle Footer Column is Now Editable
We’ve heard your requests. Agents now have full control over the links in the footer’s center column.
Existing footer links won’t be altered, but you will now have the ability to customize these links whenever you like. Edit away my friends!
REW Leads iOS
Coming soon to a REW iOS Leads app near you.
Added Support for All the Latest Mobile Devices
We’re happy to announce that we’ve added full support for the following iOS devices:
- iOS 12.1
- iPad Pro 12.9” (2018)
- iPad Pro 11” (2018)
REW now supports all of the most recent Apple devices!
REW IDX App
Stay tuned for some exciting new features coming to both iOS and Android versions of the REW IDX app.
Listing Directions (iOS)
Guide potential leads right to your doorstep (or your listing). Your branded IDX app will seamlessly open your device’s default Apple Maps app and display directions from a lead’s current position to any listing.
New Save Search Prompt (iOS)
We’ve added a new save search prompt that will encourage leads to save their current search at an opportune moment. This will keep your clients coming back to the app time and time again.
New Android Features
Android users rejoice! We’ve added three new features that iOS users have had ample time to enjoy:
- Property images now appear in push notifications for listing updates
- Leads can now add and edit their own notes on property listings, which remain private to their device< /li>
- The mortgage calculator now matches iOS functionality and is accessible from listing details
Here are a few new features coming to the REW CRM this month:
- Cleaner, simpler, and easier-to-read dashboard labels on mobile
- Improved server performance for images
- Better Zillow integration. When leads are re-assigned in the CRM, it now syncs with Zillow
- Improved lead sort options for filtering leads by agent, and number of searches
All REW CRM clients will be notified by e-mail when their site has been updated.
We encourage you to check on the REW blog regularly to get updates on the latest product releases, as well as tips and tricks on how to get the most from your website!
Thank you for your continued support and feedback. Keep those suggestions coming.
03/06/2019 10:46 PM
If you had any doubt before, it should be gone now: The Platform Wars Are Here
Last week Gary Keller announced that KW Command was ready for prime time and that Keller Williams had a clear advantage over the competition when it came to “end-to-end” platforms provided by franchise to brokers & agents. I was given a tour of the platform and it is clearly not ready for prime time yet. I was also not a big fan of the hyperbole and the way Gary Keller oversells his platform. Granted it’s coming along, and it is better than what they have now, but it certainly isn’t the best of breed (and it’s not done).
RE/MAX has announced that they are looking to release their Booj acquired platform in Q2 according to Adam Contos as announced at R4. Admittedly I have only reviewed the platform as it exists for non-RE/MAX clients and have not seen the innovations / changes made specifically for RE/MAX so I cannot comment on that. But what I will say is this, next to Real Estate Webmasters (REW), Booj was probably the best available customizable enterprise platform in real estate. So if they kept the good engineers, innovators and designers at Booj in place and let them do what they do best, I am expecting to see something quite competitive from LLC later this year.
My main questions on the RE/MAX LLC platform are:
- Can they execute on a roll out in a reasonable amount of time to 600 or so MLSs and 54,000 agents?
- Have they built a platform for scale (and will it hold up)?
- And of course, what happens to all those independent Booj customers that were on the platform when they were acquired?
-Are they going to benefit from all this new tech as well?
- Will RE/MAX & Booj give them the same amount of attention and priority as RE/MAX brokers?
If I’m RE/MAX and I’m investing in a competitive advantage for MY brokers, I’m not sharing it with the competition. But that’s just me.
Keeping the non RE/MAX customers long term has honestly never made sense to me from a RE/MAX perspective, nor does it make any sense at all for Independents to stay on a platform owned by RE/MAX given all the noise / concerns in the marketplace around data & privacy.
I’d love to hear from Booj customers now as to where they are on this and has their experience changed since the platform was first acquired. Did Booj and RE/MAX make good on their commitments? Please leave me a comment below.
And now onto this week's big news: Compass Buys Contactually
Before I comment on the acquisition, I am going to state my position on Compass; I feel it’s important for context.
So here goes: I am NOT a fan of Compass and I think they will fail.
Compass thinks they can buy their way into an industry and when they hit the scene they had almost as much false bravado is my good buddy Gary K (or Gary V, take your pick). Time has shown that for all their big talk about being innovative and this amazing tech company, they really have not succeeded in bringing anything transformative to the marketplace. Anyone remember Leonard Steinberg confidently informing us that Compass single-handedly invented technology? It was right after they invented yard sign.
I think you’ll fail because:
You can’t buy people’s loyalty (and buy market share). You can’t. It’s not a long term strategy.
You claim that you are amazing at technology devel opment. My opinion is there are far more qualified and capable technology vendors already in the space, and you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking us on while executing against your growth goals.
Your model has not been tested in the deep waters of a changing market. Anyone can make money in a good market. Let’s see how well you pivot in a downturn.
You’ve lost your momentum. I heard Robert say on stage at Inman New York that Compass is slowing down and focusing in the markets they have made investments in and would likely not be expanding (ie buying their way in) to additional markets the same way they had done in the past.
I think you’ll run out of money before you succeed. You are VC funded and the markets are changing. If things keep going the way they have been (just my opinion), the kind of money it would take to continue your stated expansion simply won’t be there and you’ll far short of the target. Just my 2 cents on that, take it or leave it. I’m no expert on VC’s or markets…. I just hope I’m right.
If everyone else also has “the greatest tech platform on the planet” you have no pitch! You’re just like everyone else. Except you don’t have anywhere near the depth of real estate knowledge of most of your competition.
So now because all the best companies have realized it takes a platform to be competitive, you’re running a real estate business like everyone else.
And guess what? My money is on the brokers with generations of experience in the deep waters who understand that there is more to this business than just buying people with bonuses thinking you’ll figure it out as you go.
They are smart, they are LOCAL, they have a smaller market footprint (and thus can be far more agile in development and rollout for a lot less money). They aren’t so arrogant as to think they can be all things. The best brokerages know they should focus on building great real estate businesses and hire the experts (technology, marketing, training) to bring in the value they need to complete their offering.
So that’s where I stand on Compass: I hope they lose. I really do. There are too many great brokers out there who have worked to hard and earned their spot. This is their space. They will win.
And now for the Contactually acquisition.
First let me say this: Zvi Band is truly one of the nicest, smartest and most genuine guys I have ever met. He is one of the “good guys” and a wonderful family man. I love and respect him, and for him to have made this decision, I know that he did so to do right by his family and his employees. Zvi, I am happy for you my man. You deserve this exit and I am proud of the company and product you have built.
Nothing but love.
As for Contactually and Compass.
I hate to say it (I really do) but in my humble opinion Compass just took the #1 spot for best CRMs owned by a real estate franchise. Contactually is a very good product, built by very smart people (it is WAY better than what I have seen in Command) and it is even competitive with the top tech vendors who are not franchise owned (REW, FUB, BT, CINC etc).
Of all the CRMs you could have purchased, you bought the best one.
You’re still not end to end (as far as I know you still don’t have a front end offering, TM, Accounting, Lead Gen etc.) but if you keep buying and integrating companies like contactually, you might not ever be a great real estate company or have great culture, but you’ll be one hell of a tech company.
As for those of us not owned or controlled by “the competition,” well, I can only speak on my own behalf really.
I look forward to having some worthy competition. We’ll double down, triple down, whatever it takes to make sure that our customers (the TRUE real estate companies) are not only competitive with Compass from a technology and marketing perspec tive, we’re going to help take back any market share that you “bought.”
We’re about to release the next version of our CRM into Beta group with the planned full release date to coincide with REW Summit + Inman this July.
We cannot wait to start incorporating it into our customers' websites so that they have even more reason to be able to capture the market share that they deserve.
Screenshot of new REW CRM 2.0
REW (Real Estate Webmaster Inc) is 100% privately owned by one person (that would be me) and I LOVE what I do. I love this industry, and most of all, I love our amazing customers. We work for them (the real estate broker) and their customers. We have no shareholders, we have no VC investors and we have no pressure from outside sources to exit and we are completely self funded & profitable (we always have been). We are also celebrating our 15th year in this industry this way and are NOT built to sell.
We we are built for is partnering with amazing brokerage firms to work to build them a customizable solution to compete with ANY VC backed startup or franchise funded projects. We’re fast, agile, and the most experienced firm on the planet.
If you’d like to take a closer look at what we do. Let me know, I’d be happy to take you on a tour.
03/01/2019 02:45 AM
This past weekend, after much fanfare and 3 years of what seemed like a never ending circle of promises and delays, technology startup Keller Williams finally announced that they are launching their much hyped platform “KW Command”.....soon…..?
The actual date the public will see anything from Keller Williams is still unknown, but they’re close…..?
About Keller Williams: Keller Williams is a relatively new entry into the real estate technology space having announced their intentions to become a spin off of the wildly successful “Keller Williams Real Estate” which (at the time) had been the fastest growing real estate company by agent count in history.
Prior to their founder, Gary Keller’s bold announcement that “we are no longer a real estate company, we are a tech company” the previous real estate company had a long history of failed technology partnerships. From their early attempts with Wolfnet and MarketLeader, to their more recent debacles with companies like Placester, Keller Williams Real Estate has proven again and again that they cannot execute in technology initiatives or drive technology adoption of their massive customer base of Realtors. This is not commentary on the aforementioned vendors, but rather on Keller’s inability to execute.
Keller Williams was always great at recruiting and training new agents (it was their bread and butter) so why move away from what brought them so much success?
Many would argue that recently the writing was on the wall for Keller Williams Real Estate and their antiquated model of bricks and mortar offices, high splits / fees, & a previously novel profit share model which has more recently been eclipsed by companies like EXP Realty.
Let’s become a tech company!
I mean why not right? Truly this is a baffling move that still has the rest of the real estate technology world (and real estate world) scratching their heads.
How are they going to do it?
Just like Compass has recently tried to spend their way into the real estate world, drawing criticism from many, including Gary Keller, Keller Williams CEO, has promised a BILLION dollar technology fund in order to seemingly spend their way into technology success.
What we learned from the Compass example is that you can have a lot of money and a lot of very smart people, but doesn’t mean you are guaranteed victory. In fact, it is most often times that those with this kind of overconfidence fall (and fail) the hardest in the end.
When it comes to technology and real estate, both Compass and Keller Williams are attacking the same problem from opposite ends of the spectrum (becoming relevant in real estate), but the one thing they have in common, a founder / CEO with an excess of hubris.
As for Gary Keller though, the newly self appointed CEO of this new technology start up “Keller Williams”, this Narcissist is just getting started!
(Image taken at KW Reunion Of Massive "I'm With Gary" Slogan. With Gary? Isn't it Keller Williams)
This past weekend, he has compared his new technology offering to a combination of Netflix and Amazon, “built on top of an AI platform” declaring Keller Williams Technology has won the arms race and that all other technology providers and brokerage companies, in fact “everyone else is playing for second place.”
These are bold words from from a brand new technology company (basically a start up) which in spite of their leaders announcement, has never actually launched a platform. Words from a CEO who does not know the difference between basic machine learning and AI.
This is the same Gary Keller who recently attacked his competition in the recent video where he compared EXP Realty to Donkey Kong while admitting he had no regard for an NDA that he or his company had si gned.
But why are technology companies so upset?
Having promised an “End-to-end” technology solution “for free” to all Keller Williams agents and brokers, they are now a competitor of all other technology companies in the space. Keller has stated he believes KW agents spend a billion dollars per year with these technology vendors, and it is his goal to eliminate this revenue and offer what he calls a superior solution, for free.
And what does he do on on the main stage as he announces his “platform”? He calls out every technology vendor and real estate company, stating that we’re “second place” and that we will “never catch him”.
Gary, you announced your platform YESTERDAY! And it has not even launched yet (nor is it even finished). Are you serious? You haven’t won any races, you just learned how to tie your shoes.
I have reviewed the product in detail after being sent screenshots anonymously from KW Agents all around the country and will be posting a review of it’s features in a separate article, you might want to bookmark this page and watch for it.
PS, good luck with the change management and adoption piece (worldwide to 150,000 independent contractors in multiple languages that already love how they do things and don’t like change) that part’s wicked easy too Gary, you got this ;-)
02/21/2019 07:13 AM
Having your own home search app offers an unprecedented level of client engagement. Over the past few months, we’ve seen huge adoption of the branded REW IDX App by top agents and brokers.
But how do you get your branded real estate app into the hands of home buyers?
We’ve assembled a list of actions that you can take today to get more people downloading and using your app.
But First... What is REW IDX App?
REW IDX App is a branded home search app for agents and brokers.
We've previously discussed why every real estate agent and brokerage should have their own app.
Our CEO Morgan Carey has also weighed in on the selling points of an app.
In short, apps offer a superior mobile experience, they drive customer engagement and follow-up, and they showcase you as a market-leading innovator.
But, you don't receive any of these benefits if no one actually uses the app.
That's why you need a solid understanding of what this app offers your customers, so you can sell it to them.
How to Pitch the App to Your Clients
Here are the major selling points to your clients:
- The app is simpler and easier to use on mobile
- The app offers a more lightweight search experience
- The app has advanced search tools like Augmented Reality and Search Nearby
- The app offers direct access to you, their agent
In short, by using this app, your clients can save time, stay organized, get better information, and, most importantly, find the home they're looking for.
And by helping your customers, the app also helps you. That’s why you’ll want as many people using it as possible.
So there’s some marketing work to be done.
To help you get started, here are some actions you can start today to get more people using your app.
Spread the Word
Research shows that most people become aware of an app due to some kind of referral, either from family, friends, or co-workers.
Absent an already large enough population of enthusiastic users to do this for you, you're going to need to be the kick-off point for this campaign.
1. Talk about your app! The first step is to tell your family, tell your friends, tell your colleagues.
2. Write a blog. You probably already have a blog on your website. so devote a post to it and publish it far and wide.
3. Blast it out on social. Use whatever social media accounts you have to communicate your excitement about the app. Tout its features on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and wherever else your clients are.
4. Promote it face to face. You meet with prospective clients regularly. At showings, over coffee, or at listing presentations. Pitch the app as a great way to stay in contact and get additional information.
And once you have your first group of users. nurture them. Offer assistance, advice, and support. Once you have this core of loyal users down. they can then carry the torch for you to a whole new set of users.
Paid advertising allows for guaranteed, targeted access to a wide range of people.
There are a few ways to do this:
5. In-app advertising. Using Google Ads Universal App Campaigns, you can advertise your app to people most likely to use it: those already using apps!
6. Run a search ad campaign. A good PPC campaign can do wonders, and Google allows tremendous granularity when targeting specific markets. For example, you can tailor your ads to searches like "real estate app", "home search app", or more ge nerate real estate searches.
7. Display and video advertising. Display and video advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or the Google Display network are a greay way to visually show off your beautiful new app. You can even promote some of the socials posts mentioned earlier.
A relatively easy way to get your app out there is to use the marketing tools you already have: your website, email campaigns and so on.
Here are some ideas…
8. Have an auto-reply set up for newly-registered leads? Include a download link.
9. Create download links in an easy-to-spot location on your website.
10. Drip campaigns. Include a reminder about your app in your email campaigns.
11. Email signature. Include links to your app in your email signature.
12. Create a landing page. Create an SEO-optimized landing page that targets app-related keywords in your market and showcases the features of your app.
In short, start integrating links to the app in your current media and communications, and make the app easy to find.
Create Some Buzz
This may be harder to pull off, but the potential rewards are worth it. The plan is to get yourself featured on some existing media relevant to your market.
13. Pitch a story about your app to local media. Here we’re talking tech blogs, real estate magazines, business news outlets, or even podcasts. Send a polite letter to a writer or editor detailing what makes your app special or interesting from a business/tech/real estate perspective.
14. App reviews. Ask satisfied clients to leave 5-star reviews on Google Play or the App Store. You can also submit your app for review to one of the many app-review sites. This is a great way to get the features of your app touted to a wide audience and to earn some SEO-friendly backlinks.
There you have it.
Start following just a few of the strategies outlined above and you can start your journey to mobile success.
Learn More About REW IDX App
The REW IDX App is a tool that connects potential buyers directly to available inventory in their search area.
The app also offers a host of extra features to users, including various map and search tools, augmented reality functionality, list sorting, and more. And all of this comes packaged in an easy-to-use interface.
These attractive features mean the app will bring you new leads, and allow you to communicate with them more consistently.
02/15/2019 10:31 PM
This article is part of a series about real estate PPC. We highly encourage you to read the entire guide as it's released. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!
- Part 1: What is PPC?
- Part 2: How Much Does Real Estate PPC Cost?
- Part 3: The ROI of Real Estate PPC
- Part 4: How to Convert PPC Leads (Coming Soon)
Your website should be an investment, not a business card.
In real estate, PPC is the most cost-effective way to generate traffic to your website, and fast.
But what type of ROI should you expect from real estate PPC?
In this blog, we'll cover all the factors that go into the expected expenses and commissions you can earn from PPC, including advice on how to improve your ROI.
We'll also go through a practical example, using typical results for a Real Estate Webmasters PPC client, with the goal of giving you the truest possible sense of the effectiveness of PPC.
Quick Jump Links:
- Calculate Your PPC Investment
- Calculate Your Gross Commission Income (GCI)
- Calculate Your ROI
- How to improve your ROI from PPC
Calculate Your PPC Investment
They say you have to spend money to make money. The same is true for PPC.
Here's how to estimate the expenses that go into a PPC campaign.
Determine Your Monthly PPC Budget
In our last blog, we covered the expected cost of real estate PPC. If you haven't read it, now's the time!
To set your monthly PPC budget, you'll need to determine the following:
Expected Cost Per Lead
According to WordStream, the industry average cost per lead in 2018 was $116.61.
Contrast this to Real Estate Webmasters, where our PPC clients averaged a cost per lead (CPL) of $21.06 in 2018—approximately 1/5 the average industry cost.
That said, we've seen cost per lead range anywhere from $5-50 for REW clients. This is based on factors like your competition, your market, your website conversion rate, and the skill of your PPC specialist.
Example: Let's assume I'm the average REW PPC client, so I'll estimate a cost per lead of $21.
Lead Volume Target
We recommend generating 1-2 leads per agent per day.
Example: Let's generate 1 lead per day for a single agent.
PPC Program Fees
Most PPC agencies will charge a fee on top of your ad spend, typically as a percentage of your budget.
At Real Estate Webmasters, your total monthly PPC budget includes a 20% program fee.
The program fee is the small portion of your overall budget that we collect to personally manage your campaign. This includes a multitude of tasks, including writing your ads, building the campaign in Google Ads, creating landing pages on your website, developing high-performing keyword lists, regularly analyzing and optimizing your campaign, communicating those results to you, and more.
There's a lot that goes into it!
Example: We'll use the 20% PPC program fee.
Calculating Your Annual PPC Budget
We'll determine our monthly PPC budget with the following formula:
PPC Budget = Cost Per Lead * Lead Volume / (1 - Program Fee)
Plugging in our example figures:
PPC Budget = $21 cost per lead * 30 leads per month / (1 - 0.2 program fee) = $787.50 per month
This equates to an annual PPC budget of $9,450.
Other Technology Expenses
Depending on how much traffic you're driving to your website outside of PPC, you may want to consider your website costs as part of your PPC expenses.
Example: In our case, let's assume I'm a brand new agent with 0 traffic outside of PPC. To be conservative, I'll incorporate my entire website cost into my ROI calculations.
My website setup fee is $5,000 and my monthly SaaS fee is $499, so my total annual technology cost for my first year is $10,988.
Total PPC Investment
Adding these two expenses together:
Total investment = PPC budget + technology expenses
Bringing these all together into one figure:
Total investment = $9,450 annual PPC budget + $10,988 technology expenses = $20,438
In summary, if I'm an agent who's just invested in an REW website and I'm looking for 1 lead per day with a cost per lead of $21, I can expect my first year expenses to total $20,438.
Calculate Your Gross Commission Income (GCI) from PPC
Let's get to the good part: What type of Gross Commission Income (GCI) should you expect from PPC?
Above, we set our monthly budget based on our anticipated lead volume.
Example: In my case, I'm aiming for 30 leads per month, or 360 leads per year.
Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
How many PPC-generated leads will you turn into real-world sales?
Based on past client performance, we consider 2% to be a reasonable conversion rate for agents who practice diligent lead follow-up.
Most agents fall within a 1-3% lead-to-sale conversion rate.
Of course, this is where your skill as an agent comes in. A great agent can improve this figure with a strong follow-up strategy, compelling branding, and a reputation of past sales.
We'll cover how to improve lead conversion rates later in this PPC blog series.
Example: I will use 2% as my sales conversion rate.
In most markets, the buyer's agent and seller's agent will each receive 2.5-3% in commission of the home's sale price.
Example: I make 3% commission per sale.
Whether you're an agent or broker, you'll need to factor in your commission split.
Commission splits range from 50/50 all the way to 100% depending on your brokerage and production as an agent.
If you incur a per-transaction fee, you'll also want to factor that in.
Example: I have a 60/40 split with my broker and a $0 transaction fee, which is typical for most mainstream agents.
Average Sales Price
Of course, your average sale price will be perhaps the biggest factor that impacts your bottom line.
Example: I sell homes at an average price of $350,000.
Gross Commission Income (GCI)
Putting it all together, let's calculate our income from PPC in three steps:
Expected sales = Annual PPC Leads * Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
Income per sale = Side Commission * Commission Split * Average Sale Price
Expected GCI = Expected Sales * Income Per Sale
Example: Condensing these calculations with our numbers into one figure:
Expected Sales = 360 leads * 2% Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate = 7.2
Income per Sale = 3% commision * 60% split * $350,000 average sale price = $6,300
GCI = 7.2 sales * $6,300 income per sale = $45,360
Not too shabby.
Expected ROI from PPC
ROI is calculated as the growth you earn on your investment. To be clear, an ROI of 100% means you've doubled your investment.
Here's the calculation:
ROI = (Return - Investment) / Investment * 100%
Summing everything together from our example:
ROI = ($45,360 - $20,438) / $20,438 * 100% = 122%
What does this mean? An average agent running PPC with Real Estate Webmasters who sells homes at an average of $350,000 will likely more than double their investment.
How to Improve Your ROI from PPC
How much can you impact the ROI you receive from PPC? A lot.
While some factors are more or less out of your hands (side commission, split with broker, average sales price), there are a few levers you can pull to impact your ROI in a big way.
1. Lower Your Cost Per Lead
As we discussed in our cost of PPC blog, there are two main ways to impact your cost per lead:
- Improve your Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Improve your website conversion rate
The best way to improve your Cost Per Click is to hire a PPC specialist with experience running real estate campaigns. High-quality ads, regular campaign optimization, clever keyword targeting, and letting the campaign run for at least 6 months will go a long way to keep costs down.
To improve your conversion rate, you also need great landing pages. In real estate, that means a beautiful website with clearly displayed listings. Using forced registration is also the key to capturing more leads.
To give you a sense of cost per lead's impact on ROI, here's a comparison of ROI with a $10, $21, or $30 cost per lead.
$10 CPL = $193% ROI, $21 CPL = 122% ROI, $30 CPL = 85% ROI
The take home message? Effective campaign management and a great website can go a long way to improving your returns.
2. Generate More Leads
Your website and SaaS costs are fixed. Therefore, the more leads you generate on top of that, the more you get out of your investment.
There are two ways to generate more leads:
- Achieve a lower cost per lead for the same budget
- Increase your PPC budget
Above, we discussed how to achieve a lower cost per lead. But if your campaign is already optimized, your only option to generate more leads is to increase your PPC budget.
Let's go back to our example. Say I've decided to generate 60 leads per month instead of 30. Yes, my PPC budget has to double, but because of the fixed cost of my website, my overall investment only grows by about 50%, while my sales grow by almost 100%.
30 leads per month = 122% ROI, 60 leads per month = 204% ROI
That's why we always recommend setting your PPC budget as high as you can comfortably manage.
Disclaimer: You can only work so many leads. Make sure that you or your team are ready to handle a higher volume of leads, as to not impact your sales conversion rate.
3. Improve Your Lead-To-Sale Conversion Rate
This is the big one. Your skill and diligence as an agent is the single best way to improve your ROI.
Let's look at the difference in ROI between a 1%, 2%, and 3% close rate, everything else being equal.
1% Conv. = 11% ROI, 2% Conv. = 122% ROI, 3% Conv. = 233% ROI
As you can see, conversion is everything. But what is the difference bet ween a 1% agent and a 3% agent?
The answer: Lead follow up.
The truth is that most agents don't do a thorough enough job with online lead follow-up. Agents will often get discouraged by fake names and emails, or leads who aren't willing to buy as quickly as a referral might be.
In our next blog post, we'll discuss how to improve PPC sales conversion rates, but here are some quick tips:
How to improve your lead-to-sale conversion rate:
- Speed to Lead - Contact every lead within 5 minutes
- Follow Up - Don't give up. Try to make first contact at least 7 times.
- Hire an Inside Sales Agent - If you're too busy to call your leads, hire someone else to.
- Create Scripts - Perfect your sales pitch.
- Automate Follow Up - Use saved searches, action plans, and email drip campaigns to your advantage.
- Track Your Success - Tracking your conversion rate will make you more likely to hit your targets.
- Campaign Feedback - Tell your PPC specialist which lead types are converting to sales.
4. Keep PPC Running Long Term
One common mistake is giving up on PPC after only a few months because there hasn't been an immediate return.
But the longer you run PPC, the greater ROI you'll see.
Why staying with PPC long-term improves your ROI:
- Cost per lead - CPL tends to decrease over time as the campaign optimizes
- Sales cycle - Many online leads take 3-12 months to turn into sales
- Follow-up process - You will perfect a follow-up process that works for you over time
- Campaign feedback - Your PPC specialist can start to target leads for which you see the best results
- Upfront cost - The initial cost of a website isn't a factor in year 2 and 3
- Reinvestment - Investing the returns of PPC into a greater budget can exponentially grow ROI
- Future business - Closed buyer leads will turn into future sellers and referrals
On average, Real Estate Webmasters PPC clients see great Return on Investment from PPC, typically in the range of 100-200%.
Of course, no investment is foolproof. This isn't a get-rich-quick scheme.
However, with savvy campaign management (from your PPC specialist) and diligent follow-up (from you)—we're extremely confident you'll see great returns from PPC.
If you'd like to turn your website into a true investment, our PPC team is here to help.
Continue the Real Estate PPC Guide
- Previous: Part 2: The ROI of PPC
- Next: Part 4: How to Convert PPC Leads (Coming Soon)
02/04/2019 04:39 PM
It’s no secret that REW clients have a knack for personalizing our platforms, and Vision is no exception to the rule.
Thinking about a Vision, or looking for a fresh perspective to breathe new life into your existing site? Check out our list of some of the most innovative and effective Vision sites thus far.
Custom Vision Sites
While Vision is designed to provide an immersive brand experience and attract quality leads straight out of the box, here’s a shortlist of our clients who have chosen to take their sites to the next level with a few custom tweaks.
Military Home Search
The Military Home Search team uses key customizations to cater perfectly to their niche: military relocation.
From helping you find homes near your military base to spotlighting nearby schools, the Military Home Search team covers all bases of Colorado Springs real estate.
This site dazzles with thoughtful content that’s relevant to the home buyer. Whether you’re keen on a Colorado Springs community or you’re planning relocation, the Military Home Search team takes the stress out of home buying.
Orange County Lofts
Nook Real Estate eases the visitor in to their site, sticking to a sleek feel and minimalist style.
If you’re searching for your dream Orange County loft, you’ll find it here - and at your own pace.
Royal LePage Solutions
Royal LePage Solutions adds an artistic flare to their site with a black, white, and red color scheme across images and text.
This color splash design pulls the brand together, showcasing their professionalism and consistency.
Vision Sites with Video
With so many real estate websites out there, it’s crucial to find innovative ways to set your brand apart. Why not let a video tell your story?
Here are a few examples of Vision sites that truly live up to the platform’s name by showcasing their vision through video.
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate | Kansas City Homes
The Kansas City Homes site is immediately eye-catching, featuring an upbeat montage of Kansas City landmarks and activities.
Every page on this site is thoughtful and well curated, proudly introducing their caring and community-oriented team.
Thanks to stunning visuals, 30A Realty’s luxury branding shines through. From the hero video to agent photos against a beachy backdrop, this site knows how to make a grand entrance.
Four Seasons Realty
Four Seasons Realty welcomes you to California with dynamic video and a distinctive color scheme.
The simple layout of this site conveys Four Seasons Realty’s marketing savvy and true passion for their market.
Vision Sites with Simplistic Style
The 2019 site visitor is compelled by sleek navigation, vibrant imagery, and compelling text. The following Vision sites brilliantly showcase their brand while keeping things uncomplicated.
Seabrook Island Real Estate
Seabrook Island Real Estate evokes grandeur and simplicity in equal measure.
While keeping details to a minimum, this site brings you close enough to Seabrook Island to hear the waves.
Concept Properties has nailed modern impact with their Vision site. Deep, powerful colors introduce you to Boston’s eclectic communities and the agents that represent them.
SIG Real Estate USA
This site has all the info you need to buy or sell in the D.C area, while keeping things simple. Amplifying visuals wherever possible, SIG Real Estate USA have no trouble getting their point across in style.
Vision Sites That Make It Look Easy
It can be challenging to build out a detailed, informative site that isn’t too overwhelming, but REW clients can quite easily pull it off. Check out these examples of Vision sites that cover a lot of ground while maintaining a succinct and stylish framework.
You can count on C21 Atria to bring details to light in a digestible format. Not only does the site proudly showcase the new CENTURY 21 brand, it also makes finding your Toronto home a breeze.
This site points you in the direction of your perfect Vancouver home, with dynamic visuals and clear-cut navigation. The photos alone present each Vancouver community as a distinctive, breathtaking place to call home.
Home Sales Palm Beach
Choose your ideal South Florida lifestyle, and go from there. This site simplifies your house hunt, and answers all your real estate questions with info that’s relevant to your search.
01/31/2019 01:30 PM
This article is part of a series about real estate PPC. We highly encourage you to read the entire guide as it's released. Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!
- Part 1: What is PPC?
- Part 2: How Much Does Real Estate PPC Cost?
- Part 3: The ROI of Real Estate PPC (and How to Improve It)
- Part 4: Coming Soon
It's the first question we're always asked when an agent or brokerage is considering PPC:
"What's my expected cost per lead?"
To be honest, there's no simple answer. But, by answering the following questions, we can get a pretty close approximation and help you understand the mystery behind the cost of PPC:
- How does the Google Ads auction work?
- Cost Per Click: What is the expected CPC in real estate?
- Conversion rate: What is the expected real estate PPC conversion rate?
- Cost Per Lead: What is the expected PPC cost per lead in real estate?
- What should your monthly PPC budget be?
- How do PPC specialists keep costs down?
In this blog post, we also compare WordStream's real estate industry PPC benchmark data to the results achieved by Real Estate Webmasters PPC clients in 2018.
Spoiler: REW clients are killing it.
Let's get started.
How does the Google Ads auction work?
Every Google search triggers an ad auction. This auction will determine which ads show for that search. If the search keyword is one of your targeted terms, you enter the auction.
Two main factors go into the Google Ads auction:
- Cost Per Click (CPC) Bid: The maximum bid each advertiser has set for that keyword
- Quality Score: How relevant and useful each advertiser's ad is for that keyword
Quality Score is what gives Google Ads a special twist:
Ad space doesn't just go to the highest bidder. The more Google trusts you, the less you pay.
Why? Google wants its ads to be relevant and high quality.
Ultimately, Google calculates Ad Rank (which ads are displayed and in what order) based on a combination of the highest bid and quality score.
Cost Per Click: What is the expected CPC in real estate?
Cost per click (CPC) is the fee you pay per click. Across industries, the average CPC in Google Ads ranges from $1.00 to $7.00.
Real estate PPC cost per click typically ranges between $0.50 to $4.00.
Industry Average vs. Real Estate Webmasters
In 2018, REW PPC clients paid about half as much as the industry average for each ad click:
- Industry average CPC (2018): $2.37 (Source: WordStream)
- REW average CPC (2018): $1.25
This goes to show that advertisers can save big if they play their cards right.
Factors Affecting Cost Per Click
Why does CPC vary so much? Here's only a short list of what can affect a keyword's CPC:
Ad quality - Compelling ads improve the click-through rate, which improves Quality Score
Website quality - High- quality landing pages have higher Quality Scores
Ad position - Quality score being equal, you have to bid higher to show up higher
Campaign age - Quality Score takes time to improve, so longer-running campaigns tend to decrease in cost
Keyword competition - The more advertisers competing for your keyword, the higher you have to bid
Locating targeting - Costs will vary based on who you're advertising to
Seasonality - The supply and demand of advertisers vs. searchers fluctuates throughout the year
Conversion rate: What is the expected real estate PPC conversion rate?
In real estate, the PPC conversion rate is the percentage of visitors from ad clicks that take a registration action on your website.
This could mean creating an account, submitting a contact form, or inquiring about a listing.
Industry Average vs. Real Estate Webmasters
Once again, REW outperformed the competition by a long shot, with nearly 2.5 times the industry average conversion rate.
- Industry average conversion rate (2018): 2.47% (Source: WordStream)
- REW average conversion rate (2018): 5.94%
Remember: that's just an average. At REW, we see conversion rates on PPC campaigns range all the way from from 3-20%.
Factors Affecting Conversion Rate
Like CPC, the conversion rate can be affected by a variety of on-site and external factors. These factors include:
Registration settings - Do you ask users to register to see listings?
User experience - Does your website impress the visitor?
Number of listings available - Do you provide valuable information?
Market competition - Does the visitor have other options?
Real estate niche - Certain property types have higher conversion rates than others
Seasonal fluctuations - Conversion rates typically increase in peak selling season
Because of this long list of factors, even campaigns within the same market can experience wildly different lead counts.
Cost Per Lead: What is the expected PPC cost per lead in real estate?
Cost per lead is a function of your campaign's CPC and conversion rate.
Estimating cost per lead is a simple calculation:
Cost Per Lead = Cost Per Click / Conversion Rate
Industry Average vs. Real Estate Webmasters
Here's where it all comes together. On average, REW PPC clients pay 5 times less than the industry average.
- Industry average cost per lead (2018): $116.61 (Source: WordStream)
- REW average cost per lead (2018): $21.07
An important disclaimer about cost per lead...
These are impressive results, but here's something to keep in mind:
These are averages across all clients in all markets.
Just like home prices vary from market to market, cost per lead will vary too (that's not to say cost per lead directly correlates with housing prices).
Without first running your campaign, we truly won't know your campaign's cost per click, conversion rate, or cost per lead with any certainty.
If you're ever promised a specific cost per lead by a PPC specialist, run the other way.
Cost Per Lead in Competitive Markets
In highly saturated markets, or those in the luxury real estate space, you can expect a rough cost per lead of $20-50.
A few market examples include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Utah, and Washington.
Cost Per Lead in Less Competitive Markets
In small-to-mid-sized American markets and all Canadian markets, we typically see cost per lead range from $5-30.
A few examples include Alabama, British Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Minne sota, and Ontario.
What should your monthly PPC budget be?
Once you've estimated your average cost per lead, you can determine your monthly budget. Rest assured: Google will never exceed your monthly budget over a 30-day period.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend generating 1-2 leads per day per agent, especially when you're just starting out.
Here's how to calculate your monthly advertising spend budget:
Number of agents x leads per agent per day x expected cost per lead x 30.4 days
Using our average client data, here's an example calculation for a single agent who wants to generate 2 leads per day:
1 agent x 2 leads per day x $21 per lead x 30.4 days = $1,276.80
Most agencies that run PPC will also charge a management or program fee, so take that into account when setting your budget. Of course, you should also factor in the cost of the website you're driving leads to.
How PPC specialists keep costs down
The role of a PPC specialist is to allocate your PPC budget where it will be spent most efficiently. Without proper management and expertise, click costs can quickly spiral out of control.
So how do we manage those costs? An experienced PPC manager will:
- Create compelling ads
- Create effective landing pages
- Choose and monitor high-performing keywords
- Maintain the strongest ad for the best price
- Set device bid adjustments to favor mobile or desktop users
- Adjust location targeting
- Set an ad schedule
- Set a bid strategy
- Experiment with different ad formats and extensions
- Monitor conversion tracking
- Keep up with the latest Google Ads trends
Fewsh. I'm exhausted just reading that list.
The right PPC specialist can truly make or break your campaign.
As with all forms of marketing, PPC can be unpredictable. An individual PPC client's cost per lead is very tough to predict.
In general, you should expect a cost per lead between $20-30 unless you're in a very competitive market.
Thankfully, experienced PPC specialists play a huge role in keeping costs down. Even with a program or management fee, you'll typically see much lower costs than running the campaign yourself.
If you're interested in real estate PPC services, you're in the right place. We at Real Estate Webmasters are Google Certified Premier Partners, working exclusively for real estate professionals.
Check out our PPC services page to learn more.
Continue the Real Estate PPC Guide
01/28/2019 04:30 PM