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December 18, 2009

Why Using Landing Pages By Themselves Will Increase Your AdWords Budget

Google AdWords, or any other kind of contextual advertising for that matter, is about one thing: getting a return on investment. Businesses of all types, from multinational corporations to sole proprietorships’ selling machine parts to real estate agents and investors love the traceability of AdWords and other pay per click advertising models – but it’s entirely possible to spend too much on your AdWords campaigns.

But the whole idea of AdWords is that you can have near total control over your advertising budget, isn’t it? Before we go any further here, I feel that I should mention that I am not knocking AdWords at all. People who end up wasting money on these campaigns aren’t doing so because of any flaw in this advertising model – they’re wasting money because the rest of their marketing strategy or even their entire online presence is ill conceived.

It’s not Google’s fault and in many cases, it’s not really these real estate investors or real estate agents fault either. It’s that they’re using a type of marketing strategy which is inherently poorly suited for the real estate business.

Should these people have known better? In some cases, yes – but there are plenty of newly minted investors trying to make their fortunes by investing in properties made affordable by the currently soft US housing market. These people, by and large aren’t experts on how to reach their target markets, let alone design or deploy an AdWords campaign. What you’re probably asking now is what exactly these people are doing wrong; and of course, how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

The biggest single mistake that real estate investors make when they establish a presence on the web is this: they’re thinking like the online snake oil peddlers, not real estate brokers. There is an enormous difference in how (for instance) someone promoting a dubious home based business does business online and how a reputable real estate investor does business online.

In a nutshell, that’s what it comes down to – but that’s not the whole story of course and it’s useful in this case to look at exactly what misguided real estate investors are doing, how they’re doing it and of course, how this approach results in an AdWords budget which is much larger than it needs to be without producing a solid return on investment. So without any further ado….

Landing pages

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: using landing pages only and real estate just don’t mix and making landing pages the central part of your online marketing means wasted money in your AdWords campaigns, just as sure as the sun will set in the West tomorrow.

Just what’s wrong with landing pages alone? Nothing, if you happen to enjoy wasting time and money.

But I’ve read that landing pages can produce results? OK, there’s a grain of truth here. It’s possible that you could see an inquiry or two at some point as a result of your landing pages – but of course, you’d be able to get the same or better results by standing in Times Square wearing a sandwich board advertising your real estate investment business.

Neither of these methods is really a great way to promote yourself if you’re in the real estate business, in case you were wondering. At least wearing a sandwich board in midtown Manhattan won’t mean budgeting for AdWords ads which don’t get clicks – and it’s a lot faster and cheaper to make this kind of advertisement than it is to build multiple landing pages.

Let’s get to the heart of the problem here. When people decide to build their online presence around landing pages, what they tend to do is to take a shotgun approach, desperately building landing pages for any and every keyword which they think will possibly lure in interested parties.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this other than being a massive waste of time, these same would-be online real estate investors then put a lot of effort and budget a significant amount of money on Google AdWords and other PPC advertising to drive traffic to these many different pages. This would still be fine if this approach actually tended to produce worthwhile results – but if you’ve tried this yourself, you’re probably already all too aware that it simply doesn’t work in 99.9% of cases and even less often in the real estate business.

It’s an approach to online business which is taken from the often less than reputable world of affiliate marketing; while I don’t mean to defame affiliate marketers, you have only to look at how many of these people adopt the same marketing model we’ve been looking at here – and how little return they see on their investment of time and money.

Now of course, some of you are probably thinking that AdWords ads don’t cost you anything unless someone clicks through and I won’t argue this point. However, the problem is that the money budgeted for multiple campaigns is tied up and could more than likely be used better elsewhere – and it adds an entirely unnecessary layer of complexity by requiring you to manage any number of campaigns at once rather than one.

That’s right – one. All you really need is one well designed, professional looking website and a blog in order to get exactly the same results as you will from having a site and who-knows-how-many landing pages. Your main website should be a traditional, largely static site whose purpose is to provide you with a professional business presence online (you know, like grown-ups).

Your blog can easily provide the same function as a dozen landing pages – and you’ll need just one PPC campaign with a budget and management needs which the average person can actually get their head around. You’ll also look more reputable, plain and simple. In an industry like real estate where your appearance is everything, why would you want to make yourself look cheap; or make running your business more difficult than it has to be?

Duncan Wierman is an Ex Software company CEO turned Real Estate Investor and Marketer. Discover how you can use creative online marketing methods to do more deals online. For more details on how to set up an automated internet marketing system, please visit Duncan Wierman’s website and get is free 14 day e-course.