“Creating a well converting landing page is about presenting a sentiment that your audience will connect with. You have one page to build up enough trust to collect personal information from someone who in most cases has had no interaction with your brand before.”Jillian Zacchia
Google search continues to be a dominant traffic source to drive qualified leads, tours and leases to your community. According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day or 1.2 trillion searches a year! As future residents increasingly look for apartments on their mobile phones (i.e. “Apartments Near Me”), it is important to have a robust Google Paid Search/Ads campaign. Below are five steps to review when you’re creating a Google Ads search campaign to market your apartment community.
#1) Determine Your Target Audience – If your community has a lot of 1-bedroom availability, you may tailor your paid search campaign just to one-bedroom searches in the area. Contrarily, if there is a lot of new competition in the area, you may tailor your Google Ads campaign to focus on your community’s unique features, such as its amenities or current concessions. Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to use to get key keyword ideas. When you’re determining your target audience, think about the keywords, regions and devices that future residents will use to visit your apartment community website.
#2 ) Create Simplified Landing Pages – If you’re sending traffic from Google Ads to your website’s homepage, STOP right now! Before you start a Google Ad campaign, it is important to optimize your website to convert paid search traffic with simplified landing pages dedicated to your paid search’s target audience. For example, you may create a website page that’s tailored towards 1-bedroom, out-of-state relocations, concession or pet-friendly aspects. These pages are created for a specific search audience (i.e. “One Bedroom Apartments Near Me,” “Apartment Specials in my City,” etc.). It’s possible to start with one landing page that’s tailored for your entire paid search campaign and includes your current move-in special, short 2-3 sentence description, property phone number and email submission form. This simplified landing page can be linked to the main website for visitors to see a detailed overview of your community, including availability. As your paid search campaign gains momentum, you can expand additional simplified landing pages based on campaign performance.
The main goal of a simplified landing page is to provide fast relevant information about your apartment community and quickly convert this traffic to leads (i.e. phone calls or submitted emails) for your leasing team!
#3) Set Up Conversion Tracking – Once your simplified landing page is created, identify each goal on the page (i.e. “call property” or “submit email form”) and tag these goals through Google Conversion Tracking, which will allow you to see what paid search keywords trigger specific actions on your website.
#4) Set Up the Campaign – Google Ads makes it relatively easy to set up a paid search campaign. When you’re first creating a campaign, start with a low daily budget (i.e. $5 or $10/day) and a low cost-per-click “CPC” bid, generally under $1.00. This will give your campaign time to get traction and for you to see initial results of the campaign’s performance. You can always adjust the budget and bids overtime as you optimize the campaign based on specific keyword performance.
Additionally, you’ll need to identify the specific region to serve your ads in Google search. For example, you may select the specific city, surrounding cities or county that’s located near your apartment community. As a rule of thumb, you generally want to start with a smaller region and expand overtime as you analyze the campaign performance.
When you add your keywords, you can add quotations around the keywords (i.e. “luxury apartments in Orange County”) to make sure you appear on these specific searches. Google considers this broad match search (we will cover phrase, broad and exact match search types in the future). Furthermore, you can add negative keywords, so your ads are not served on specific keywords. For example, you can add “specials” as a negative keyword, if your apartment current doesn’t have any concessions or move-in specials.
Lastly, when you’re crafting your ad copy, make sure to display the asking market rent in the ad. It’s important to pre-qualify the search traffic before they click through and visit your website.
#5) Analyze and Optimize! – After your campaign launches, regularly check first few days to make sure the campaign is delivering. Generally you’ll want to wait a few days to a week to see how individual keywords are performing. If you installed Google conversion tracking, you’ll be able to see what keywords are converting actions on your website and pause keywords that are not creating certain actions. If your campaign is not delivering to its full budget within 30 days after launching the campaign, you can expand the targeted region/s, keyword list and bid amounts.
Ultimately, you’ll continue to optimize your campaign based on performance, website conversion and apartment availability.
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