I’m excited to follow up with all of you on my previous post about real estate lead generation, because today I’m taking a deeper look into some real estate lead generation websites I’ve worked on over the past year.
Some of the work I have to show you is from as far back as January of 2017. However, I still continue to produce marketing projects for this client to this day. I’m going to share with you some traffic campaigns, email sequences and SEO work I’ve created in the real estate marketing niche.
Basically what I am sharing with you is a case study of 18 months worth of work on building different real estate lead generation websites. To make this post easier to navigate I’ve included a table of contents with auto-scrolling links to the various sections. Enjoy!
Over the last year and a half I have been managing the marketing for serial entrepreneur, Erwin Szeto (the client), who is listed on the top 20 influencers in the world of real estate in Canada. He’s on the list with the likes of Stefan Aarnio, Scott McGillivray and the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott. I like to think my marketing work has played some small part in propelling him to that status.
I met the client through my association with the Rock Star Inner Circle, which is a network with hundreds of small business entrepreneurs.
When I first met the client he was largely known as “Mr. Hamilton”. The client explained to me that he had positioned himself as a trusted expert on real estate investments within the Hamilton area. However, he wanted to expand his business to include more regions on the west side of the GTA, like St. Catharines and Niagara. The client had recently switched from using TopProducer to Infusionsoft for his CRM.
Also, the client was hosting his own monthly networking events for lead generation and so he was interested in running a PPC advertising campaign for the very first time to increase the attendance.
Niche Content Microsite
The first thing I got started on was a whole bunch of keyword research and SEO. I proposed creating a niche content microsite that included SEO articles targeting geographic keywords & topics with above-average click volume and low competition. The articles would be repurposed into a downloadable PDF, which would be used as a lead magnet. With the microsite being built with WordPress I would use a plugin for pop-up opt-ins. I knew all of this would make for a valuable real estate lead generation website and the client accepted my proposal.
And thus, investinstcatharines.ca was conceived.
Google Ads Campaign
Again, this was the first time the client was trying paid traffic with Google. In order to meet the high expectations of pay-per-click advertising I called on my friends Thomas and David from Reverb Consulting.
I wrote and designed landing pages on the investinstcatharines.ca domain. A 3-step traffic funnel was created to generate leads for the networking event. The first page offered the lead magnet, the thank you page followed up with the networking event offer and then the final page allowed users to refer a friend to join them at the event.
Infusionsoft Marketing Automation Campaign Builder
I incorporated marketing automation with Infusionsoft by creating various email sequences to track who received the lead magnet, who registered for the networking event, who attended and who was a no-show. Based on the tagging I could segment the leads into different groups for future marketing offerings.
Below are some highlights from the Google Ads campaign. I’m really proud of the results because our efforts lead the networking event to grow so large that another venue was required to accommodate everyone.
In just 6 months time, I grew the attendance by 292.5% from 27 people to 79 people.
You can see in these before and after pictures why we had to move the networking event to a larger space. The attendees were essentially getting squeezed like sardines inside the office meeting space in Oakville. So the networking event moved to the Sheridan College Conference Centre.
Here’s an overview of the results from the Google Ads campaign.
Paid Search accounted for 26% While still accounting for over 50% of all conversions.
In the first 3 months of site launch, paid search accounted for 40% of site sessions and 82% of goal completions. Organic traffic never accounted more than 40% of total traffic.
Total Site Sessions: 4605 Unique Visitors
Often with ads, (when done poorly) you will see a low number of pages per session. When people are unfamiliar with a brand and they ended up on there because of a click they are likely to bounce. This shows that our ads were targeted with appropriate copy to bring in the right people.
Pages Per Session on ads was 2.55
Generally, the lowest conversion rate on a site will be seen by ads. It stands to reason that the people who have actually searched out your site directly would be the most likely to convert compared with those who’ve ended up there because of an ad they just saw. However, the average conversion rate for organic traffic was 1.49% with the next closest to paid ads being referrals with 6.18%. We were able to outperform both organic and referral traffic as the highest converting channel.
Paid Ads Conversion rate was 9%
This is where we can look at everything that happened over the course of the campaign. As you will see paid goal conversions accounted for over 50% of the total amount. What you don’t see here is that both direct and organic have first click attribution numbers from paid. Meaning, while they eventually converted through a direct visit or an organic search, there is initial contact made with adwords:
Totals for the campaign
Total Clicks: 1739
Total Cost: $4,308.11
Bounce Rate From Ads: 25%
Average Pages per Session: 2.56
Goal Conversion Rate: 8.69% (Average for site was 3.74%)
I’m proud to report that the client spent $4,308.11 for the advertising campaign, which grossed $14,939 in sales from leads generated during the campaign.
Split Testing Headlines
While collaborating with Reverb Consulting, we had noticed we were experiencing a drop off between people who converted on the first landing page but then did not convert on the second. This drop off was bigger than what we wanted to see. It was an indication to us that something about the second page was not connecting with visitors.
So, in the forth month of the PPC campaign we decided to set up a split test to try different headline copy ideas.
The second landing page was the one with the offer to get on the guest list for the networking event. During this time, the client’s networking event was called the St. Catharines Inner Circle Meeting.
The headline on the landing page mentioned St. Catharines by name, so we had a hunch that maybe our ad traffic was getting confused and thought the networking event was actually taking place in St. Catharines, when it actually took place in Oakville.
A lot of our click volume was coming from the Halton region, including areas like Oakville, Milton, Burlington etc. We hypothesized that our traffic wasn’t taking up the networking event offer because they believed the event was in St. Catharines and therefor to far of a commute to attend.
I decided the best way to alleviate this problem was to remove the mention of St. Catharines in the headline to see if it would improve the conversion rate.
And sure enough it worked!
Insights And Discoveries
I also want to note that the data we collected and the split testing we were doing lead us to another insight. When we first started the campaign we cast a pretty large net for geo-targeting. We were showing our Google Ads to anyone who was searching our targeted keywords across all the major cities in the GTA.
Over time we began to notice that most of the clicks on our ads were coming from wealthier cities in the GTA. Meaning that people in Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph etc. weren’t looking for real estate investment opportunities in St. Catharines as much as people from Oakville, Mississauga and Burlington.
This lead us to switching up some of our marketing tactics going into the back half of 2017.
Halton REI Microsite
Armed with these new insights, we decided to do a quick rebrand of the networking event. The client decided to call it the Halton Real Estate Investors Meeting, or Halton REI for short.
I quickly got to work on making a new WordPress site for the Halton REI, which was great because with the expert search engine optimization work I had done for this new site, we could organically target people searching for investment property info on the westside of the GTA but who lived near Halton. We use this site to collect leads for the networking event.
Throughout the rest of the year we made marketing videos to promote the networking event including testimonials and reactions from the attendees. The client also has a podcast website and another website about real estate investment information in Hamilton that I managed. We even got into some retargeted Google display ads before the end of the year.
The Secret Organic Traffic Strategy You Need for Your Real Estate Lead Generation Websites
If you’re creating your own real estate lead generation websites and you’re hesitant to spend money on paid traffic advertising with Google or Facebook, this is what I would keep in mind…
Over the last year and a bit I’ve been looking back and reflecting on all the real estate lead generation websites I had done. I had figured out how to best build a website and how to target keyword content to generate qualified traffic made up of investors doing research on which cities would be good places to invest in real estate.
I had figured out how to create appropriate lead magnet content to collect subscribers and grow the client’s audience. And then I figured out how to market the networking meeting to grow the attendance each month.
If you’re a realtor looking for real estate investor clients and you’re trying to figure out your own digital marketing or website strategy I have some advice I would recommend.
First you need to pick a particular geographic area you want to position yourself as an expert. Let’s say you’re a realtor in Durham Region (east side of the GTA). You would need a website ranking for content that investors would be searching about in Durham.
Then you need to market your realtor services for those geo-locations. Create web pages about why your services are better than the competition in the cities and neighbourhoods you want to target.
When building out a website you need to be conscientious about its architecture. It’s good practise to group your content into silos; where you’re creating a ‘parent page’ that links out to ‘child pages’ within it.
For example, you could make silos like this:
- durham real estate investing
- durham population
- durham economic development
- durham real estate market
- durham zoning bylaw
- durham transit
- durham real estate investor services
- pickering real estate investor services
- ajax real estate investor services
- whitby real estate investor services
- oshawa real estate investor services
- clarington real estate investor services
- scugog real estate investor services
- uxbridge real estate investor services
- brock real estate investor services
If you build out a content marketing strategy like this for your website you should notice that you probably won’t get a TON of traffic, but it will be HIGHLY QUALIFIED and most importantly it will be ORGANIC.
This means you won’t have to spend thousands and thousands in ad spend to generate real estate investor client leads like my client did. Your website should be able to do that for you all on it’s own. Just remember to always take your time and create high quality content that will build trust in your audience and position yourself as an authority.
If you found any of the information in this article useful, leave me a comment below. Feel free to follow up with me with any questions you may have.
And if you’re looking to generate real estate investor leads with your own website and would like some help or advice, then definitely reach out to me on my contact page.
Latest posts by John Cerpnjak (see all)
- After Making Real Estate Lead Generation Websites for Over a Year Here’s What I Learned - August 20, 2018
- Stumbling into My Own SEO PR Strategy by Accident - July 31, 2018
- “Do We Need to Switch to a New SEO Plugin?” - May 17, 2018