If you are not doing some form of marketing campaign you are missing a lot of opportunities in today's sizzling hot real estate market. A good marketing campaign should include ad purchases on Google. But Google is scary and trying to figure out if I should spend money on a Google Ad campaign is nerve-wracking. National speaker, Jarod Spiewak of Comet Fuel formerly Blue Dog Media, joins Dishin' Dirt today to teach you when and if you should be doing Google Ads as well as how to determine the amount of money you need to spend. Most importantly, he will teach you how to know if the ad campaign is paying off. You don't want to miss this great Podcast on growing your business the right way.
Also, I examine what is going on with CloudStar software attack and of course, Gary's Good News Only!
Dirt with Gary Becker in South Carolina's only podcast dedicated to the real estate agents correct. And Greetings. Welcome back everyone to another episode of deshon dirt I am your often irreverent and opinionated, but rarely wrong host Gary Pickering. Coming to you from Blair Cato and downtown soda city, aka the capital city, aka Cola, South Carolina. Well, it feels good to be back behind the microphone after vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii last week with a family. And while I was gone, we finished up our three part series on South Kona code 40 dash 57 370 and was required of you in explaining agencies. So I hope everybody got a chance to listen to those three podcasts. If you did not, you can go back and listen to old episodes, addition dirt, and get all the information that you needed. Now I recorded that episode before I left for vacation. So it's been a few weeks since I have recorded a new podcast. But today we do have a huge show for you. And we have a very special guest who's going to cover a topic that should be important to everyone listening today. When I started dition dirt last fall, my idea was to provide you the real estate agent, the most important yet the most up to date legal information on things that were happening in the real estate industry. But I also wanted on occasion to bring you good quality guest I also wanted to help you grow your business. That's what we love to do over here at Blair Cato when we do closings, we're not a law firm that just asked you to give us business. We want to partner with you to help you grow your business. And we have lots of great tools to help you grow your business, this podcast being one of them. But this is why when I started this podcast, I wanted to have such great guests like Steven Cooley from Keller Williams and Fort Mill. And he came on twice to discuss how to grow his team, and also how he became the number four agent in the world at Keller Williams my growing a team. That's also why I had Wall Street Journal best selling author of every job as a sell job. Dr. Cindy McGovern, she's from San Francisco had her on the show. And this week, we've done the same we've gone out and got a another nationally acclaimed guest speaker from New Hampshire to join our show. And so this week, gerrits biac is going to join us He is the lead strategist from Blue Dog media plays a leading expert on avoiding common money draining pitfalls, and turning an ordinary social media campaign into a cash cow that will feed your growth. So today, what he's going to discuss is how not to waste your money with crappy Google ad campaigns. And if you've ever thought of advertising on Google, you need to listen to this podcast, you would be so surprised at how inexpensive and how effective a proper Google campaign can be. But you can also learn today how easy it is to throw your hard earned money away. If you don't know what you're doing. You may right now be wasting money and not even know it. So if you're looking to grow your business, you think you you're at that point, or maybe you already are doing some type of social media campaigning, he's going to talk to you about Google ads, how they're effective, when they're not effective, and how to understand whether or not they're proper for you. So everybody can get something out of this show today. We're also going to go over what is happening at Cloud star, what is cloud star? How does it affect your closing, and what kind of ransomware attack to happen to them that could affect everybody in real estate for the weeks to come. And finally, we're gonna have another episode of Gary's good news only. But we do have a lot to go over today. So let's go ahead and get started. So with us today from comet fuel in New Hampshire is a very special guest, Jared ski wack. And he's going to explain to you how not to waste a bunch of money on crappy Google ad campaigns. Jared, first of all, thank you so much for joining us all the way from New Hampshire. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Alright, so my first question, I always like to lay down that background for real estate agents. They need to know who you are, and why you have so much information and knowledge so they know to listen to you and I already know. Yep. So I know. You've got tons of great information and great credentials. So tell us a little bit about why you know so much about Google ads. Yeah, sure. So I to give you the long short of it. I've been in the industry since I was 14 years old. I ended up graduating high school early ended up graduate college early on my first marketing job when I was 17. Started in corporate marketing. The first ever job was for a real estate Corporation I focused on residential real estate side they did both commercial and residential by only touch the residential side. After a little over a year being there, a new corporate world wasn't for me start freelance marketing online. Eventually, I got a job offer to be a full time making double what I was at the corporate job for a marketing agency. I worked there for a bit, and then I slowly cut down my hours went from full day time, eventually down to no time and was a full time Freelancer for a bit then I created my own marketing agency in which we do both Google as PPC as well as SEO and I'm also a real estate investors. So I also have that background as well. I got friends, it's taken seven and eight years to graduate college and you graduated before. It's quite, quite impressive resume there. So let's talk about what we're here for the Google ads. I know tons of real estate agents that do them, they swear by them. Some people don't know what they are. So start by telling us what are Google ads? How do they work? What are they typically cost? Sure. So Google Ads is the is the reason why google.com is free is because they make money through advertising. There's a bunch of different networks on Google ads. There's Google search, which is when you search for something on Google, and those ads appear on search, there's the Google Display Network, which is when you see image ads, or sometimes their video ads on other people's websites, these are publishing websites that just serve ads on websites. And then YouTube is also owned by Google. And so through the Google ads, you can also run video ads. So those are the three main networks, there are other ones, but 90% of people send money across those three networks, what they typically cost is going to be a really wide range depending on what market you're in, but also what networks are running on. For example, some people really spend a lot of money on youtube promoting other content that they created or an offer that they have, you know, find out, find out how much you could sell your house for today, whatever it may be. Now, the cost for something like YouTube may be as little as you may be paying two cents per view. Now, for a search, depending on your market, you may be paying 10 to $20 per click. So it can be a very wide range is gonna be highly dependent on your market. But really, the more competitive market you were in, the higher the cost per click will be that the title of our show today is not waste money or crappy Google ads. So why are Google Ads crap, a lot of it comes down to partly by what I like to call Google's ignorance tax, which is there are a lot of things within the Google Ads platform that don't exactly do what it says on the tin. One of the best things is the Google recommendations through the Google optimization score, you log into your ad account, and Google will say, hey, this campaign has a 60% optimization score. That seems pretty bad. We're all familiar with a 60% mean, a d a d minus whoops, that phone coming off, because I say Google, so. So because of that, what happens is you go through and then there are recommendations like oh, apply this recommendation, and you'll increase your score by 10%. But some of these recommendations are usually features that almost anybody in the industry would agree are harmful to the account. So there are various things that it just doesn't do exactly what it says it means or really big one is if you're not actually tracking conversions, because then at the end of the day, you have no idea how well your ads are performing, no matter what you say, no matter how much you say, I feel like it's, I feel like it's getting me leads, unless you're tracking it, you have no idea. So there's a lot of it's can be a very powerful tool and very powerful asset. But just like anything, if you don't use it properly, it can end up causing a lot more harm than good. For real estate agents, should they just avoid Google Ads altogether? Or when is it good for real estate agents to use Google ads? I have a lot of agents who swear by it. Yes. So of course, it's going to be great for some not great for others, the biggest thing that you can determine is if you have a basic technical understanding to either be able to set up conversion tracking on your own, or you have the funds to be able to pay somebody to set it up on your own on for you, even if you don't plan on working with them long term. Regardless of what else you may, may or may not do with that person, then yes, if you are not at the very least tracking conversions, it is not worth it for you, no matter how much you're spending, no matter how big your company is, no matter how experienced you are, whether you're spending $1 a day or $10,000 a day, because you will not know what percentage of your budget is being wasted. You will not know what your campaigns are making a lot of money versus losing a lot of money. What ad groups work best? what keywords work best? Should you spend 20% more per click between the hours of 10am 12pm? Or should you actually spend 20% less in this county versus this other county that because maybe you get the same amount of leads from each but the conversion rate of leads to actual customers of yours is way lower than county A versus county B, or you tend to sell or buy houses or on behalf of clients that are a lot more expensive. So you get a much higher fee because of that. So you want to bid more aggressively in these areas. When you have conversion tracking, ideally, end to end. So you can actually see what the actual value of each individual click, then you're going to be a much more powerful and a much more educated advertiser to determine how much money should I be spending, how effective are these ads? If I'm getting a really high return, then I should be spending more if I'm getting a really low return I should be spending less what areas should I double down on what areas should I cut back on. So at the very least, if you have a very simple landing page, very simple website You should be able to track your phone calls, call rail over 45 bucks a month, you can do it through other call tracking systems call rails just personally what I prefer, it's very inexpensive I'd rather you spend, I'd rather you lower your ad spend by $45 a month and not use call tracking forms, you can do it through Google Analytics, Google tag manager or right through Google ads, YouTube ads, you will find them the one step by step walkers. If you can set up those, at least those two things, then I would say you can start running ads, if you're not running. If you are not interested in setting conversion tracking, if you do not have conversion tracking setup, do not turn those ads on. So if you're a novice, and a lot of us are everything I've learned about social media has been through trial and error. Or I've gone on YouTube and typed in how to get more followers how to set up a YouTube page. And it's the most basic stuff. So if you're a real estate agent who's a novice at this, or you're an agent, it's just too busy to really pay attention, you'll throw the money out there hope it works, and you're not going to follow up. That's the agent who has to absolutely avoid Google. Yes, because it's dangerous. I've there have been times where I've worked with businesses in variety of different industries who are spending 1000s of dollars a month because they're there, it's not that much money for the size of the business that they are, we get into the account, the first thing we do is we set up conversion tracking for them. And it turns out, they were wasting 80 to 90% of their spend. Sometimes it's a lot lower, and it was working fine. It's just that they didn't know how much it was working. So it becomes very dangerous, where you're going, you know, should I be spending this marketing budget in other areas or other channels, should I be spending more money on Google, I should be spending less money on Google ads, unless you're actually tracking the outcomes, you're just kind of hoping for the best. So an agent that knows what they're doing, or somebody that has a marketing company that knows what they're doing, you're saying they're going to actually look at every ad, see how many times it was clicked between certain hours certain days. And then you're going to modify your ad bar to hit those particular targeted areas, whether it's particular county or particular time, a particular day of the week to maximize it. But those who don't know what they're doing, they're just going to pay a fee. And they're they don't have a clue whether anybody's even looking at their ad. Correct. So when you have the conversion data, you'll be able to see within your account, which of the well over 1000 different levers depending on what features you do or not do or do not decide to set up within your account, you'll be able to see let's just talk at a very basic level, if somebody is searching in, you know, they they search for real estate agent versus real estate agent in a specific city. So they have a general search versus a specific location. Well, you might see that one of them you pay $8 per click on the other one, you pay $5 per click on. So by default, what a lot of people will do is Oh, the one is cheaper, I want to spend more on it. But if that one that cost you $5 per click actually generating leads at $100 per lead and the one that costs you $8 per click Generate two leads at $80 per lead, then the other soon whenever I think I said 80 and 100, then the one that is 80 is going to be a lot less expensive, even though the cost per click is a lot more. So without that very, you know conversion data is very basic information to have within any sort of digital platform. And if you don't have that, that data at the very least, then you're not going to be able to make any real optimizations. And what becomes even more dangerous. Are the advertisers that still go in and they say, I'm willing to pay you 10% more on Mondays? Why don't I felt like it or the click through rate was a little bit higher? The cost per click was a little bit lower? Sure. But what was the actual conversion rate? What How many? What's the quality of those conversions from this search term versus that other search term? So there's a lot of things that you lose out on by not having something that's really fundamental set up within the account. So basically, that's how we determine whether my ads are actually profitable, or it's just a complete waste of money is by doing the analytics. Yes. So how would an agent know if they're spending the right amount of money? Is it by the rate of investment always talking about the ROI? I have to start looking at what's my cost? To my to me? Is this basically what we're doing? We're looking at ROI to see what the return on investment is here to figure out the right amount about essentially Yes, now if you're not already running ads, then you're going to be running projections, which the best way to always start off is what what is your ideal outcome. So let's say you're trying to get 10 more customers per month, let's say and you're like, Alright, great, then what you can do is you can go to even sign up for Google as for for free, you don't have to start spending money just to have an account. You can go to the Google Keyword Planner also for free. There are better tools out there. But if you want to do it quick and easy, and this is going to be the way to go. Go to it's under. They choose their interface all the time. So you might have to Google it, but go to the Google Keyword Planner. It should be under Tools or I should I think they moved to recently and it was just google where it isn't Google will tell you how to find it most recently changed the location to Wherever you're wherever you're trying to run ads in, and put in three or four different keywords that you have, and Google's going to give you a range of cost per clicks, the ranges are going to be pretty large, you might see it's going to cost you anywhere from two to $10 per click, there's a lot of things that determine where on that range or even above or below that range will end up on. But for a very basic way, just take the median of that. So let's just say $6 per clip, and Google's saying between two and 10. So just together 12 divided by two, six, so Okay, great. can take me $6 per clip, well, what percentage of clicks are going to turn into leads? I would say for lead gen, you estimate at least maybe around 10%? I'd say that's what we're looking for in most areas. Okay, great. So it's going to cost me $60 per lead, what percentage of leads are going to actually be qualified leads are actually going to turn into customers? For me. If you've been an agent for a while, you're probably going to have a pretty good idea of how many people reach out to you versus having to work with you. Let's just say 30%. Okay, great. So we take that $60 times that by three, that gives us the 180. Well, if you're trying to get 10 new customers, and that's going to be 18 $100 a month, probably, that's one way to plan it out. It's fairly straightforward. Is that going to be exact? No, there are much more sophisticated ways of going about it, but a very baseline idea, that's a good way to start. And then two things are going to happen at that number that you come back with is too high. And you're like, wow, you know, I want to spend like $500 a month, two things you're going to have to happen. You're gonna either have to lower your expectations, lower your expectations, or increase your budget, Google ads for real estate agents. We're in South Carolina, we have a fairly decent sized market in Columbia and Greenville. What is your overall thought about agents using Google? I mean, as for ads, I mean, do you think that is a viable tool for the agent? I think it is, especially because when it comes to when it comes to ads versus SEO, which my background is primarily in SEO used to actually be very against ads, and then I studied it for roughly two years before we were willing to offer it as a service. Well, it's like, oh, you know, maybe I was actually wrong with all my assumption, yada, yada. So anyways, when it comes to specifically with real estate, there are a lot of big players that we have to worry about. We have to worry about. Redfin, we have to worry about Zillow, we have to worry about Rocket Mortgage, we have to worry about, you know, depending on where you are, you know, there can be you know, the public MLS might list might have, like certain partnerships, or whatever it may be. So the challenge that you run into, is when it comes to something like SEO, it's incredibly complex, it tends to be that the bigger of a company, the bigger of a brand you are, the easier it is for you to rank and maintain that rank. It's very hard to consistently compete with those sorts of companies, if you are not putting a fairly significant amount of time, as well as a fairly significant amount of funds into now, long term. Seo tends to be less expensive, short term, it does not. So usually, at the very least what Google ads will allow you to do is compete head to head against these companies where you set your budget, if you want to spend $10 a day and it costs you $10 per click, you can do that. With SEO. You know, if you're in a market where let's just say for example, it has been two grand a month to even have a chance to competing. Well, if you spend $500 a month the issue is everybody's compete, everyone's still actively outpacing you. So you're just getting further and further behind every month, let's sure you're keeping a little bit of pace because you're still investing in it. But you're not going to be getting any traction, you're just going to be staying completely behind with some sort of equity that you're building on the back end. So Google Ads is going to get you where you want to be much faster, at least initially. Now, long term, ads on just about any platform tend to be more expensive than anything that's more organic, such as brand findability, content, marketing, SEO, etc. So what I like to recommend to people, especially if they're afraid of ads, and are really in love with SEO, SEO tends to be the bandwagon everybody's a little bit everyone wants it is, at the very least start with investing with ads, you're going after the same exact keywords, you know what really sucks? When you spend 1000s of dollars a month, going after SEO, wait six to 12 months finally rank and then nobody ends up converting Why? Because your website was horrible, or your lead process just wasn't what it needs to be or whatever it may be. You're you don't have enough Reviews on Google compared to the other agents for someone to actually want to work with you. But Google ads, if you have those issues, you'd know pretty quickly. So you get to essentially test everything, spend money on ads, take some of your ROI from your ads, reinvest it in the ads to continue to increase that velocity. So okay, great. You're spending 1000 you're making 2000 spending 4000 making 8000 Okay, great. Now let's take 3000 of that profit, put that in SEO in our Google Ads campaign is paying for SEO campaign for us. And what kind of Google Ads we talked about Google Ads we talked about, if I type in the word real estate in Columbia, South Carolina, that those are the things are going to show up in the banner So that that's what we're talking about for Google ads, mainly, yes, primarily the text ads on Google just. And so if I'm a real estate agent, I'm going to create that. So when somebody types in certain keywords, it's going to pop up my stuff instead of the my competitors. Correct? If I was a real estate agent, I wanted to say, spend 1000 or $2,000 a month, can I do that on Google Ads effectively moving? depending on the area? Yes, I like to think as a general rule of thumb, to try and get at least four to five clicks a day. Because there's two things that you're like, yes, if so even if Google's, this is where it gets a little bit complicated. Even if Google says you have to pay $10 a day, you can still pay less, it just the way that the ad auction system works is that the less you pay, the harder it will be for your ad rank to be high enough. And your ad rank is determined determines when you show up. So you might be able to pay $3, when everyone else pays 10, it's just that your ad only shows up a couple times a week, because you're paying so little that there's just very rarely does Google actually want to show your ad unless they have nobody else's ad to show essentially. So a little bit of a basic way of explaining it, but for the sake of time. So four to five clicks a day. I like that metric. Because what happens is if you're not spending a whole lot of money, which means you're not getting a whole lot of clicks, and how much money you need to spend to get clicks is gonna depend on your cost per click, that means you're not getting a whole lot of data. And so if you're trying to determine, which is this landing page, or where am I sending my ads? Am I actually getting conversions? Am I getting conversion within a cost that I find acceptable? Well, if you're getting one quick a day, and let's just say you need 50 clicks to determine if this is working or not very anecdotal, let's just go with that. Well, it's going to be 50 days or almost two months for you to figure out if that's working. So are you willing to sit there and spend that money for two months versus if you doubled that budget, and found out the same exact answer, but over the course of 25 days, rather than 50 days, or 30, rather than 60? Whatever I said it was. So that's another thing is just how quickly Are you getting that information, because how much data you get how many clicks you get determines how much actual information you will get out of your account. So you don't want to be sitting there just waiting, like, it's not really working. But for me to figure out, if this test that I made, or what I started off with is going to work, I'm just gonna have to, you know, sit and wait and watch the watch for the next three months before I get a couple quotes to figure out what's going on. I'm a real estate agent, I'm interested in doing Google ads, what would be the thing you're going to tell me, first and foremost that I need to know and understand to do this. So the first thing that I would recommend, and this is where I'll be a little bit selfish here is if you go to comic fuel.com, slash dition, dirt, one word, no apostrophe in it, then this will redirect you to a completely free resource that we use for every client that works with us, which is our variable performance planner. Eventually, there'll be other tools that once they come up where you can start an email list. And what this will allow you to do is there's like a 40 minute YouTube video that I have just walk you through how to use it, because it's a fairly intensive document to go through if you're trying to do it by yourself. But it walks you through a forecasted list of a range of results. And what that means is that you'll find out it will take in a factor of what if you got this range of cost per clicks, this range of conversion rates and this range of close rates, depending on the lead quality? What would the ROI be? What would the rows be? What would the profit after your marketing cost be? What would your customer acquisition cost be? What would your cost per lead be depending on what numbers you'd like to look at. And then if you know where you want to be, you can then use this to determine and kind of forecast where your potential profits would be, depending on how much money you're spending, depending on if you wanted to hire someone, you can also put in what you're going to pay them and they'll just factor into your costs, so on and so forth. And then you can see, oh, wow, this, if we have, I'm fairly confident in our close rate, I'm fairly confident our conversion rate, because maybe you get a lot of traffic already to your site, you know what your conversion rates are. But while we pay more than $2.50 per click, we're going to be losing money, we need to be paying a lead no more than $1.50 per click. So even if Google says hey, you need pay $2 I'm only gonna pay $1.50. And sure, that'll cap me in various places. But until we get our conversion rate up, we know it's going to be unprofitable before even spend a single dollar on Google as we know, it would be unprofitable for us to bid more than $1.50. So it's a very mathematic and finance related approach. But it's gonna make it much easier to start off with a campaign that has a much higher chance of success by knowing what the numbers may look like ahead of time. So bottom line, they got to spend some time to figure this out. It seems to me you got to spend some time to figure out what you're going to do. And then you've got to spend some time being willing to look the analytics to determine what's successful and being willing to pivot when it's not working to go to a different time a different day and things of that exactly measure twice cut once otherwise you're going to be spending a lot of money and hoping for the best oh well the name of the company comet fuel to New Hampshire but they do and why you help real estate agents all over the country. How can they find you at all you set up the link? We'll get that link again and tell them how to find you real quick. Yes, you can go to comic fuel comm slash dition dirt all one word apostrophe and if He wanted to just reach out directly, you can always just look me up on LinkedIn. Fantastic. Well, thank you very much, Jerry, for being with us. I hope you'll come back again because I know you and I've talked about you. I know you have tons of great topics to share with real estate agents. I'd love to have you back again. Now to our segment as well stuff What a mess this certainly is. This is from title news Monday, July 18. And the byline reads closings in jeopardy as cloud hosting vendor suffers ransomware attack. So what is cloud star cloud star is a cloud hosting and data security provider to title and settlement companies. Basically, it's the software the closing attorneys and title companies use to provide and prepare their title insurance policies, as well as the settlement statement. So what happened? Well, title cloud star was a target of a sophisticated ransomware attack. As you all know, ransomware is a malicious software or malware attack that encrypts data on a computer making it unusable. And these malicious cyber criminals hold that data hostage until a ransom is paid. And if the ransom is not paid, the data is either deleted or destroyed or just completely remains unavailable. So How bad was this attacks? Well, according to cloud star president Chris curry, he said he does not know when the company's systems will be restored. Third Party experts are assisting and recovery expert law enforcement has been informed and brought in but due to the nature of this tack, and the time of our systems are currently inaccessible. And although we are working around the clock, we do not have a definitive restoration timeline. Curry said we'll continue to investigate the incident provide updates to customers. Cloud star operates six data centers in the United States and they serve 42,000 users. So what that means is about 42,000 companies across the United States who provide title or settlement statement services cannot access their software so they can complete these closings. Now, several of the other software vendors and title companies are offering their help to try to get the deal back and going. Sean Fox who is the Director of Sales and Marketing for premiere one that is the cloud service that we use. He said his company is helping cloud star clients get up in the Microsoft assure Cloud Platform solve program quest and quality are also offering help to their title companies as well seeing that they can help process but unfortunately, these companies do not have any of their data since the backups were affected in this attack as well. They are setting them up with blank databases on the other production software just to get them operational right now if the title company has not made plans, they're just hoping the cloud star comes back they will not be able to process any title orders. So there's a lot of customers who are going to be sitting out there unable to get their closings completed. The bottom line is is could cause closing delays if your closing attorney is using cloud star again. Blair Cato uses premiere one so it is not affecting us at all. But it could demonstrate how vulnerable we all are. Here is good news only. This is from the end report. First American financial has released its potential home sales model for the month of June 2021. And it found the potential existing home sales increased to a 6.3 4 million seasonal adjusted annualized rate of 0.2% month over month increase. The total represents an 81.9% increase from the market potential low point of February 1983. Ds news says the housing supply inches up should keep growing. While inventory remains low. June finally saw a month over month increase in homes for sale for the first time since March of 2020. That's according to REMAX that 1.9% increase in supply however is the baby step rectifying the 37.5 annual decrease in residential units on the market. Mortgage refinancing fees were dropped by regulators Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac according to CNBC are dropping a fee that they imposed during the pandemic It was a 50 basis point fee on all loans delivered during the pandemic that has now been deleted and mortgage rates slide for the third consecutive week according to em report they dip below the 3% mark with a 30 year fixed rate average of 2.88% down from 2.9% now on to Coronavirus News Coronavirus, Coronavirus as of 6am July 19. A total of 161 point 4 million Americans have been vaccinated that is 48.6% of the country's population. The number of fully vaccinated people in South Carolina is 2,055,000, which is representing right at 40% of our population as well. And the greatest news of all is 97% of the people who are now entering the hospital are unvaccinated. So if you're vaccinated, looks like you're pretty well protected. So that's our show for today. I wanted to thank Jared again for being with us today. If you liked this show, please like us, subscribe to us. But most importantly, please share us with all your real estate agent friends, as we continue to try to grow our show and we'll see you next week.