Pay-per-click marketing is one of the fastest ways to generate mortgage leads. If you have a website and a few thousand dollars of marketing budget, you can drive traffic to your business in minutes. With that said, people new to mortgage PPC run into two problems: complicated ad networks & hyper-competitive markets. In this comprehensive post, we break down how to set up a winning mortgage PPC campaign that propels you past the competition.
What is Mortgage PPC?
Mortgage PPC, also known as mortgage pay per click, is an internet marketing model where brands pay for ads that drive traffic to a website. The most common pay-per-click platforms are Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Often, when you hear the term, “mortgage PPC,” people are referencing paid search ads on Google or Bing. More specifically, mortgage PPC is a marketing strategy that is used to generate leads quickly for loan officers, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents. With this said, many loan officers, brokers, and marketers struggle to maneuver the Google Ads platform. However, the journey to mortgage PPC success starts with keyword research.
Mortgage Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of mortgage PPC. If you do not know what keywords to target, you are shooting in the dart. Furthermore, keyword research opens your eyes to keyword phrases that many advertisers forget to target. Often, mortgage advertisers focus on the obvious keywords: Mortgages, Lenders Near Me, Mortgage Company, etc. Not only does this saturation in the market increase cost, but these terms are often used by people with no intent to buy a home. For example, “mortgage,” is searched thousands of times a day in your market. However, many of these searches are for education purposes. The trick to keyword research is leveraging long-tail keywords – specifically, phrases that show intent. A long-tail keyword is a longer phrase that borrowers tend to search when they are farther down the sales funnel. For example, “First Time Home Buyer Loan Programs,” is a long-tail keyword that is commonly searched. This phrase shows who the borrower is and what they are looking for. By targeting long-tail keywords, you can bypass the competition and cater ads directly to user intent.
When conducting keyword research, there are hundreds of tools you can use. I recommend using Google’s keyword planner. It is located within the Google Ads platform and is completely free. This tool will give you accurate and relevant data for your research. When you are ready to use the Google Keyword Planner, navigate to Tools & Settings and select Keyword Planner. From there, you will see two sections: Discover New Keywords & Get Search Volumes /Forecasts. Select the Discover New Keyword section.
Once you select the Discover New Keyword section, you will see another two options: start with keywords or start with a website. I recommend starting with a handful of keywords you want to target. If you have a website with comprehensive content within your niche, starting with a website can be useful. However, most mortgage brokers and loan officers have a simple landing page that will not generate any keyword ideas.
Once you type in a few keywords, hit search and hundreds of keyword ideas will populate. Furthermore, you can see search volume, competition, and CPC rates. Select the keywords that are in line with your business and save them to a plan.
This info will guide the next step to your mortgage PPC strategy: ad group builds. An ad group is a group of keywords and related ads that share similar targets. For example, many mortgage marketers will create FHA, VA, and FTHB ad groups. Within each ad group, there will be related keywords and ads that are specific to that audience. You can use ad groups to organize your ad structure and increase relevancy in your ads.
Relevancy, Relevancy, Relevancy
Creating a successful lead generation campaign using Google Ads comes down to relevancy. It is imperative that your keywords and text ads are relevant to your target audience. Not only will this improve the user experience, but Quality Score and Ad Quality are important metrics that determine if your ad is served above organic listings.
To understand this better, we need to dive into Google’s business model. Google’s primary customers are search engine users. Therefore, to better serve the search engine user, Google needs to serve relevant results. However, Google makes the bulk of its profits from paid advertisements. Because of this, Google needs to thread the needle of serving paid ads to relevant users. For this reason, Quality Score and Ad Quality are huge performance factors.
The easiest way to ensure a high-quality score and ad quality are to serve ads that are relevant to the keyword targets. For example, if someone is searching for FHA loans, your ad should mention FHA loans in some compacity. Understanding how to be relevant on Google is one of the foundational principles to a successful mortgage PPC campaign.
Mortgage PPC Ads That Convert Traffic
Authority: Google loves brands that have authority. Furthermore, most of Google’s SEO updates and Google Ad Quality Score are meant to boost websites that have authority and trust in their niche. By nature, this helps reduce ad spam and gives search users a better experience. While you may not be a global enterprise, you can leverage brand consistency, awards, trademarks, and reviews in your ad. This will do two things: stand out against ads with little to no brand continuity & bolster your ad rank – giving you more exposure for less cost.
A great example of this can be seen in the following ads:
This real estate ad leverages their brand credibility by stating they are, “In The Top 1%” Stating you are the top 1% of real estate companies is something not every brand can leverage. This group of realtors is able to dominate the top spot for, “Phoenix Real Estate,” in large part, because of their brand credibility in the local marketplace.
These next two examples show how small and large lenders can leverage trademark or registered symbols to stand out against competitors. While the TM and R symbols are not the entire reason why the ads ranked in the top three, it is a great way to create credibility for both consumers and Google. When crafting text ads, consider your brand assets that consumers view as authoritative. This could be a trademark, an award, or a large inventory of reviews. Leveraging these assets will help bolster your ad past the competition.
Call to Action: Awareness is a key step to the mortgage conversion funnel. Without an emphasis on why your brand matters to the consumer, it will be impossible to create a sustainable pipeline. With that said, if you do not close your narrative with a strong call to action, you will lose business – it is just that simple. Often, brands create ads that educate consumers, however, fail to push the homebuyer to any meaningful action. To convert a lead from a mortgage PPC campaign, your ads need to end with a strong and relevant call to action.
The above examples bring together a text ad that builds consumer confidence and pushes users to action. Ultimately, every consumer is comfortable performing different actions. Some people want to get on the phone, while others are more willing to fill out a form and wait for a contact. The goal is to give as many options as possible, from calls, texts, emails, and even chatbots. Once the function is in place, close the text ad with one of the following simple phrases, “Call Now, Text Now, Learn More, Get a Quote, etc.” When you open up the communication options for users, your lead volume will exponentially increase.
Bring Value: The third piece to a strong text ad is the value proposition component. A value proposition is a feature of your service model that makes your brand more attractive to consumers. A few great examples of value propositions are fast closing times, lending credits, experience level, etc. A great value prop will be unique, standing out from other competitors. Without added value that only your brand can provide, your ads will blend into the sea of mortgage text ads.
The above example outlines CapCenter features that bring the most value to the user. By outlining 3% down and zero closing costs, consumers are more inclined to see the direct benefit and click on the advertisement. While your brand may not offer a benefit on the price, it is vital to highlight the advantage that customers receive when working with your business.
Descriptions: Now that we have outlined how to write highly converting headlines, it is time to discuss the definition portion of your ad. Your description needs to be within 90 characters. It is important to create a description that further highlights consumer benefits that you did not write in the headline. Every text ad example in this post does a great job at adding benefits, highlighting features, and utilizing different CTAs. The last tip for writing ad descriptions is placing your target keywords within the 90 character limit. This will help ranking factors and click-through rate.
At the end of the day, before you can generate a lead, you need to generate a click. The best way to drive traffic to your website through mortgage PPC is by creating text ads that show authority, display a value proposition, and urge action with a strong CTA.
Ad Types: There are three ad types that are important to understand: Expanded Text Ads, Responsive Search Ads, and Dynamic Search Ads. Expanded text ads are slowly being phased out by Google, but it is still important to discuss. An ETA is simply a 3 headline and 2 description ad. Google will display Expanded Text Ads exactly as written.
Inversely, Responsive Search Ads are made up of 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google will create combinations of ads based on your headlines and descriptions. As you gain more data, Google will promote the ad combinations that have higher click-through and conversion rates. It is important to know that ad quality is very important when it comes to developing RSAs. Be sure to include keywords in your ads and monitor your ad strength on the RSA dashboard. Ultimately, Google is always updating its ad types, however, if you stick to Google Ad copy basics, you will always stay relevant.
Mortgage PPC Bidding Options
The last major factor to discuss when it comes to Mortgage PPC and Google Ads is inventory bidding. When you run a Google Ad campaign, you are buying inventory on the search results. Additionally, the inventory is sold to advertisers at an auction. When you set up a campaign, you get the chance to set the max CPC bid for the auction. With this said, the CPC bid is not the only factor that determines where you will land. Google equally weighs ad quality with cost per click to allow the best overall results to win the auction.
There are a few ways to manage your bid but it ultimately comes down to an automated or manual bid option. For new Google Ads users, I recommend starting off with an automated bid style. However, do not forget to set a max CPC or Google will spend your entire day’s budget on one click.
Additionally, I recommend only using an automated conversion bidding style if you have at least 30 conversions in a two-week time period. If you give too much power to an automated system but do not have enough data, the algorithm will make all the wrong decisions. However, if you have ample data, AI-driven bidding can be powerful.
All in all, mortgage PPC campaigns can be an amazing lead generation tool for lenders, brokers, and loan officers alike. Ultimately, do your research and make data-driven decisions and you will see success.
If you are interested in more marketing topics, dig into the following posts:
- Yext For Loan Officers
- LeadPops Review
- Homebot Review
- Mortgage Marketing Tips
- Mortgage Marketing Trends
- Ranking #1 For Mortgage Lenders
- Realtor Relationships
- Zillow Mortgage Leads Review
- Digital Marketing Plan for Mortgage Companies
- Loan Officer Website Templates
- Loan Officer Websites
- Mortgage PPC
- Mortgage Broker Marketing Plan
- Loan Officer Marketing Tips
- Go High-Level CRM
- Loan Officer Marketing Template
- Can Loan Officers Work From Home?
- Mortgage Automation: Zapier for Loan Officers
- Consumer Direct Mortgage Marketing
- How to Market to Realtors as Loan Officers
- Mortgage Public Relations
Henry has spent the bulk of his career working for mortgage companies and marketing agencies. He uses his experience in the martech industry to guide his strategies and insights in the mortgage and real estate world. He firmly believes that marketing success in every industry boils down to a technology-centered strategy.