Update: ROI of SEO plus PPC in real estate (year 3)

As most of you know, a few years ago my wife @Carly got licensed in real estate.

A big part of this was based on her desire to join this amazing community of professionals and have a rewarding career adjacent to our main business here at Real Estate Webmasters Inc

The other reason, however, was to have a testing ground for REW’s Renaissance platform, CRM, and lead generation programs.

To have a TRUE demo as it were. And be able to share results without worrying about asking for permission or competitors knowing specific clients’ details etc.

It’s been a pretty great way to learn more about the business side of real estate. (And a lot of fun)

For Carly’s marketing, we focus exclusively on SEO / PPC via REW and I thought it would be a good time to share the results we’re seeing “right now” from programs.

Hopefully, this gives you some perspective if you’re thinking of taking on SEO / PPC yourselves or if you’re considering hiring Real Estate Webmasters to do it for you.

Alright, so here at the year-to-date numbers:

Total leads 662 : (For a single agent website after junk is deleted)

Total deals: (in 2023) 7 deals in first 3 months (includes signed contracts not yet closed)
Estimated CGI: $80,000 (I’m doing napkin math, haven’t calculated it out yet, but this is close)

Here is how the leads break down:

PPC - we’ve spent a total of $5,880 CAD ($4,355 USD) on PPC this year.
Our cost per lead is higher than REW average by quite a bit due to the fact that

A: We focus almost exclusively on luxury-related keywords which tend to be more expensive
B: Because we use Carly’s account to test things, CPL can vary quite a bit.

CPL on PPC is $25.34 CAD (or $18.77 USD) again, keep in mind this is much higher than REW’s average due to A and B above.

SEO: We have 330 leads generated via SEO.

We have only spent $3,000 USD on SEO this year so far (barely anything) and this is because

A: Real Estate Webmasters SEO has been sold out, so we have not had available capacity
B: We’ve been doing SEO for quite a while now, and so we can get away with short period of smaller investment and still keep maintaining traffic and rankings.

Traffic has stabilized around 5,000 visits per month from SEO and will likely only increase again once we start investing more heavily in additional SEO / content.

Most importantly for SEO though - we dominate the rankings for our target keywords and get some amazing luxury/waterfront leads from them.

We also get the powerful 1-2 punch from our adwords / SEO combination: Where we show first in the ads, and we know that if they see our ad first (but don’t click) they are far more likely to click on our organic result (I call this the 2 billboard effect)

Here it is in the real world: (what the consumer sees)

That’s where we’re at! Full transparency of what you can accomplish if you stick with an SEO / PPC program over time.

The final numbers?

Spent $7,355 USD this quarter for 662 leads ($11,11 CPL blended cost)

Landed over $80,000 in GCI (this is all leads in DB, not just those that came in this quarter) new leads generally close down the road.

Achieved an ROI of over 10 x 1 on our investment.

We have a database full of leads that we can continue to work to extract move value over time.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors have seen Carly’s brand multiple times since we launched.

Not going to lie - there have been ups and downs in deal volume. The first year was well over $10M in the deals, the next not so much. This year is shaping up to be awesome.

Real Estate is TOUGH (and life happens, it’s not just real estate that is tough)

But that’s a current view of where we’re at this year so far.

It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work (I completely empathize with you real estate marketers out there)

But the rewards are definitely worth it!

Any questions, let me know :point_down:t2:

1 Like

Wow! That is impressive. I was doing some of the math and if you continue on this path your real estate business will generate from your SEO and PPC approximately $320,000 this year based on your quarterly numbers and you will spend approximately $29,420 to generate those closings. This would be a 9.2% return on investment if I am doing the math correctly. Based on the average number of leads of 2,648 you would pay approximately $11.11 per lead. Great cost per lead if I am figuring this correctly. I know each quarter can be different I am just looking at what the potential run rate might be for the year and it looks really impressive. Let me know if I am way off base or I figured it out correctly. I wasn’t a great math student!

The $11.11 USD per lead is correct yes.

The 9.2% ROI is not though.

Calculating ROI is (($320,000/ $29,420) - 1) x 100 = 987% ROI.

But you are right, seasons change (and while I don’t want to overshare) that would not be our target (or her target).

The reality is, we’ll dial everything back in the summer since we have a lake home we like to enjoy, so we back off on paid lead gen almost completely while still cherry-picking leads that are more appropriate to work from the lake (only luxury ones, or ones that are on the lake) so a more realistic target for our real estate business (hers that I help with) is something like 15 deals, not 4 x 7 = 28.

Keep in mind, because Carly is a demo site, we dramatically overspend for her needs. We technically don’t need to do PPC at all (since an agent only needs 50 leads a month and she gets hundreds from SEO) but we run it anyways because we want to have a test site and be able to experiment on our dime (in the real world) so that we can bring any best in class tactics we discover to all of our PPC customers.

What Carly’s budget “should” be - (or any high-end luxury agent should be)

SEO - $12,000-$24,000 per year (if she decides she wants to build a team)
PPC - $6,000-$12,000 (cherry-picking luxury leads)
Renaissance - $6,000 per year
Retainer / “custom stuff” + backend upgrades $12,000 per year

Total $36,000-$54,000 per year (all in)

Target GCI - $200-$300k (ish)
$10-$15M in sales volume (we’re in Canadian so commissions are lower than US) this same sales volume in the US is $280,000 to $450,000 (considering 2.8-3% as typically reported deal commissions)

At the end of the day, it’s a great living while not having to do ANY of the “marketing stuff” - though she still has to work hard, following up on the leads, going to showings, negotiating the deals, and supporting all that comes after it.

But she gets to choose just the “people part” which is the part that she enjoys the most :slight_smile: