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.

real estate lead generation

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.

email automation


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:

Paid: 133
Direct: 61
Organic: 24
Referral: 24


Totals for the campaign

Total Clicks: 1739
Total Cost: $4,308.11
CPC: $2.48
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.

real estate lead generation websites

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.


seo pr strategy

I’ve been reflecting on how strange it is that I’ve seemed to attract more media coverage ever since I put a deposit down on a pre-construction unit in the Playgorund condos project at Garrison Point in west downtown Toronto.

The other day I got quoted in a CBC news article, “Major construction on Fort York pedestrian bridge gets underway“, after being approached by a reporter while walking home.

This is after I spoke about the first-time home buyer experience in a podcast and was mentioned in social posts previously.

It wasn’t my intension to bring more attention to myself necessarily, I was just doing my own thing.

It’s got me wondering if some part of success is just buying expensive things and being recognized for it. 😛

Oddly enough, it feels like somewhere along the way I managed to stumble into my own seo PR strategy.

The cool thing is it basically gives me more links to share without having to take the time to make my own original content.

I can essentially just curate the content other people have created about me.

And this all got me thinking about how one builds a personal brand over the course of a career.

Some thoughts on SEO PR Strategy

Maybe I think about things differently than other people, but for me, I think of myself as both a person and a business. It’s as if I’m a commodity but I’m desperately trying to make myself stand out among all the other people doing cool stuff on the internet, or just in life in general.

Trying to work out your own seo pr strategy is probably most similar to trying to build a personal brand.

I always struggle balancing my time with client work and then my own projects. In some ways the client work is the service side of my business/persona. While at the same time my own personal projects are like the creative endeavours of my own self-expression. I know I’m most happiest (or at least feel fulfilled) when I’ve got things on-the-go for both those two sides of the same coin.

However, when I spend too much time dedicated to client work, that’s when I start to feel like I’m falling out of touch with my own brand and my professional identity.

Every time that happens I have to re-focus and I find asking myself these questions help me get back on track:

  • Why am I doing what I’m doing?
  • What do I define as valuable, what do my clients define as valuable?
  • How do I become an expert?
  • What can I do to build local renown?

Some thoughts on Earned Media as an SEO PR Strategy

The cool thing about having other people create content, where you are the topic of that content, is that it helps with your own link building. From a business perspective there are 3 types of media: paid media, owned media and earned media.

Let me give quick definitions of each.

Paid media is messaging that you pay to have broadcasted. This would include the likes of advertising.

Owned media is messaging that you create and own yourself. You know, writing your own blog posts, making your own podcasts or videos etc.

Earned media is when other organizations create messaging about you. It’s the most difficult media to acquire for a business because it requires that the things you do to be inherently newsworthy enough that other people want to talk about it. It’s because of this fact that it’s the most valuable media. Some examples who be a TV appearance or presenting a keynote speech at an event. The fact that you’re being invited to take part in a conversation positions you as a thought leader.

Which is probably something we all know we want to do over the course of our careers.

If you have any of your own thoughts or ideas about link building, personal branding, earned media etc. feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message on my contact page.

In case you were wondering what media I was actually covered in, I’ll embed some of the stuff below.

CBC News Quote:

cbc news quote john cerpnjak

Social Posts:

IN OUR FIRST OFFICIAL INSTALMENT, OUR “ROCK STAR OF THE WEEK” IS: JOHN CERPNJAK As seen in the picture above John is working his way towards one of his goals right across the street! He put a deposit down on a 800k condo! The building is in it’s early stages and is expected to finish in 2020, while the first 5% down payment is due in just 2 weeks! With a Quote from university that has shaped his perspective on life to this day, John lives life on his terms by being busy with work! His goals are to have his work’s reputation to proceed him, to get to a place where he no longer needs to apply for jobs or ask people for work, but rather that those opportunities come his way… to have more opportunities than he can even handle! From the team here at Rock star, we hope that all the best befalls you, and that like you said, opportunities don’t hide from you. Life is an ever long struggle, and there will always be a pathway that you haven’t been down. We can tell you ourselves that failure is nothing new to us, it is the biggest learning opportunity that you can come into. We hope you take your mistakes, and ultimately turn them into something which can push you closer to your goal. WITHOUT A DOUBT YOU’LL GET THERE! If you’re interested in being featured on our page, and sharing your story and goals to help others understand that living life on your terms is something we can all achieve, send your submissions to SUBMISSIONS@ROCKSTARINNERCIRCLE.COM

A post shared by Rock Star Real Estate (@rockstarinnercircle) on

Podcast Guest Appearance:

I recently had a client ask me if we should switch to a different WordPress SEO plugin. They had come across a comment on social media where someone through the recommendation of Perry Belcher had switched from using the Yoast plugin to SEOProcessor. For those of you who don’t know, Perry Belcher is actually kind of a ‘somebody’ in the digital marketing industry, so it makes sense my client would be bringing this concern to me.

Let’s not kid ourselves here, SEO plugins are generally nothing more than a graphical user interface to input some targeted keywords that will be placed in the <title> and <meta> tags of a HTML document’s <head> section. Sure, an SEO plugin can also scan over your text inside paragraph and heading tags to provide recommendations around keyword density and overall readability of the content. But an SEO plugin on its own is not going to drastically improve your website’s ranking.

Understanding how and why websites rank the way they do in search engines is fundamentally so much more than just activating a WordPress plugin and inputing keywords.

The nature of the internet is human-centered

It’s every search engine’s mandate to serve users with high-quality, relevant information to ensure a good user experience. (Google literally says so in their Webmaster Guidelines.)

And that is exactly what you and every other website creator should be doing too.

Sure, search engines run on artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithmic codes, but what is all this stuff trying to do? It’s trying to replicate human thought, human communication and human connection.

Some people may not be aware of this but the nature of the internet is human-centered. Meaning that everything you do online should be for the betterment of humans.

When creating content, creators should be creating for humans rather than creating for search engines. If your ultimate goal in content creation is to rank higher, you’ll fail in the long run. Your goal should be to create the most valuable content for humans as you possibly can. There’s a simple logical reason for this. Search algorithms are being updated all the time to better serve humans. White hat and black hat SEO practises have been around since the beginning of WEB 2.0 but it’s the black hat practises that are becoming obsolete over time. The majority of the white hat SEO practices from 10+ years ago are still the tried and true practises of today. Essentially, white hat SEO hasn’t changed much, certainly not like black hat has changed. White hat SEO practises are human-centered.

The purpose of a SEO plugin

An SEO plugin is a tool to help you rank better in search engines. It’s not the solution for ranking better. The solution to ranking better is layered and complex but I’m going to layout some key points you should know.

In order to really get SEO you’ll need to study up on concepts like search intent, information architecture, content hubs/silos, backlinks etc. All these concepts will inform aspects of your keyword research and ultimately your content marketing strategy. Once you start executing your strategy a SEO plugin will help you keep track of the keywords you’ve already targeted, it will help you generate and submit sitemaps to search engines and it will help monitor both your internal and external links, or broken links.

How to actually rank well in search engines

Let’s say you’ve had a website for a few years, you’ve been publishing quality content on a weekly basis and maybe you even rank in the top spot for a few targeted keywords. How do you improve from here?

  • Get your business listed on Google My Business and it’s equivalent for the other search engines.
  • Set up schema markup and structured data for your website with schema.org
  • Expand your online presence and reach by guest posting and creating high quality content for other websites that are related to yours. This should help grow your online followers and increase your authority.
  • If you’re not doing it already, use more rich media (videos, audio, infographics, slides/galleries etc.)
  • Make sure all your website’s content is mobile responsive as search engines provide different results for mobile search versus desktop search. Make your website as mobile-friendly as possible.
  • Implement Google’s AMP
  • Make your website support HTTPS/SSL, basically, purchase and install an SSL certificate from your web hosting provider.
  • And make sure your website remains fast to load. Although, page load speed is dependant on so many different things, from how your website is developed to what web server configuration you’re using.

Notice anything about that list? None of the tasks listed above can be executed using an SEO plugin. Or at least, most of the SEO plugin developers haven’t implemented all these things as features into their software plugins yet. Meaning that you as a website owner will have to set SEO project goals and manage their execution yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about basic seo tips you can check out my other post.