If you’re going after the online market for your real estate investing business, paid search is going to be part of the conversation. Don’t waste your money by failing to put in a little bit of “grunt work” (it’s research, folks!) on the front end. Whether you are a real estate agent, a broker, a buy-and-hold investor, a fix-and-flipper, a property wholesaler, a mortgage broker, or a hard money lender, you need fresh, qualified leads. The best way to optimize those leads is by determining the geo-targeted “sweet spot” that makes sense for your business.
Geotargeting: The practice of delivering different content or advertisements to website users based on their geographic locations.
Radius Targeting: The practice of showing advertising to customers within a certain distance from a geographic location. Also known as proximity targeting and “targeting a radius.”
Radius ZIP code targeting, the practice of choosing to show ads to customers within a certain range of a specified ZIP code, is a highly effective way for many investors to find their sweet spot. However, you still must determine which radius to choose, and how to draw your circle of influence.
Not Every ZIP Code is Created Equal
“Location, location, location” may be the most oft-repeated credo in real estate. It’s ubiquitous for a reason, and it definitely applies in geotargeting strategy: If you don’t do your homework and target the right ZIP codes you might generate leads that don’t fit the financial blueprint that makes sense for your business.
Identifying the right ZIP codes can make or break your marketing campaign. The right ZIP code for you will depend on your investment strategy. Here are some common examples of how strategies and local home values align:
- Homes-for-cash companies, or home-buying groups, generally choose areas with average home values up to $250,000.
- Top real estate agents often prefer to target neighborhoods with homes over $400,000.
- A flipper may want to pick ZIP codes based on their ability to obtain financing for deals in those areas.
- A mortgage company might want to look for higher credit scores in upper middle-class towns where home prices range from $350,000 to $600,000.
Hard money lenders in most states need a larger search radius because the volume of search applicants will be significantly less than the other industries mentioned.
Pro Tips for Geotargeting
Even with all the technology available to us today that enables us to speak directly to our target audience most of the time, certain tactics will optimize your paid search results. Here are a few “pro tips” for getting the best bang for your buck when employing a geotargeting strategy:
Pro Tip #1: Remove target areas that have a combination of commercial and residential.
Imagine that a potential client is searching from their work computer, but they live in a ZIP code that doesn’t fit your business’s financial lead criteria. By excluding dense commercial zones, you can avoid this scenario and cut out wasted ad spend. Do research and try to target ZIP code areas that are dense with residential zones.
Pro Tip #2: Know your financial criteria and fit your target ZIP codes to it.
Always be cognizant of the home values in each ZIP code. Choose residence-dense ZIP codes that make sense for your financial situation and your investing goals.
Pro Tip #3: Do Some Due Diligence on Any Outsourced Lead Gen.
If you decide to utilize an outside marketing agency for your lead generation, try to find a company that will allow you to test drive their services or offer month-to-month or more with no long-term contract. Depending on your budget and investment strategy, you may need one or more months to get enough results to determine if online advertising is a good fit for your business.
How will I know if this is a fit for me?
Every company is different. In general, though, a small company that needs between one and three deals a month to make online advertising profitable may find it makes sense to invest 7-15 percent of its annual gross revenue into online advertising. That type of metric should help you evaluate how effective a lead generation agency is working for you.
Note: To reach the full growth potential for your business, pay per click advertising should be used in conjunction with other forms of marketing (direct mail, magazines, and print). Choosing the right combination of budget and search areas will increase your chances of being successful in digital marketing ventures.