PPC Landing Page Mistakes killing your conversions

There is no use going on about the obvious – landing pages are important. I know that, you know that. But, what beats me is why businesses spending tons of money on ads, and getting landing pages designed, don’t pay attention to whether their PPC landing pages are really getting them conversions or not.

To be fair, marketers now do spend time and money on improving their campaign landing pages, but there still are mistakes that creep in, and this isn’t a rarity – I have seen more PPC landing pages with some very obvious mistakes, than I could have imagined.

Let’s cut to the chase and discuss some evil landing page practices that are probably killing your PPC conversions very slyly.

The Sisyphean Mistake – Running without an Objective

Greek king Sisyphus was condemned to roll a boulder up the hill for eternity, only to see it roll back down when he neared the top.

PPC Landing Page Mistakes - Don't run a campaign without objective

Image Credits – HumbleStudent on DeviantArt

The futility of things we do every day!

Sisyphus under a curse, marketers because of unclear objectives or just the regular burnout slack.

Sisyphus was cursed. But, you as a marketer cannot afford to waste time running ad campaigns not helping you meet your objectives. So, the very first thing:

  • Define an objective,
  • Have every element of the landing page reflect it, and
  • Diligently measure how effectively the objective is being met.

Redirecting the campaign traffic to website

One common mistake stemming from a lack of objective is directing an offer campaign to a very vague website.

Let’s take a look at this ad for “GMAT training institutes,” for instance. The headline and the offer are fine – it says “free demo.” Fair enough!

PPC Landing Page Mistakes - Example Ad copy GMAT

But then, the ad directs the visitors to the following web page.

PPC Landing Page Mistakes - No mention of the offer

Guessing from the ad, the objective here should be to get more people to sign up for the demo.

But, the page doesn’t have a single mention of GMAT itself, let alone the free demo. It isn’t equipped to capture leads either. This page and several others I found completely miss the point, and probably many opportunities because of that.

Yes, sometimes directing traffic to website has worked better than a landing page, but that’s when the website is easier to navigate, the offer easy to spot, and website equipped for conversions. None of that works in this page’s favor.

Here’s another example of the same mistake with another search term “french classes NYC.”

PPC landing page mistakes - French tutoring keyword

Even though the ad is for “French classes” explicitly, the page has references to all the different classes the school offers, with the CTA to “email” or “call” the school buried deep in the text after a long page of copy.

Highlighting too many offers on one landing page

I did a quick search for “french classes NYC”, and found this page 1st on the list. It’s a good webpage, seem very credible, but isn’t really ad campaign material.

PPC landing page mistakes - test using a dedicated landing page

Now this isn’t a landing page, so navigation definitely is a distraction point. In addition, there are multiple calls to action, including “Join Mailing List” and “Why Learn French.” “Why Learn French” is not needed here, for ad campaign traffic. So, it would help if they have a dedicated landing page for the campaign, instead of using this website page.

Also, the “Join Mailing List” is the only form visible here; the main CTA “Click here to enroll” is buried under a heap of copy. Instead, you need to focus on the getting people to enroll as that’s the objective of this page, not getting people to join your mailing list.

Making the visitor do all the hard work

Take a look at this page for example. This is linked to an ad for the search term “deals on travel packages”. Not only does it have way too many fields than necessary, thus increasing friction, it has no credibility elements.

Why would someone fill out an 11 field form, without getting any proof of the credibility of this website?

PPC landing page mistakes - Long form with no credibility

  1. Why is the company field necessary here? If it was specific to a business travel package, then it might be relevant, but at this stage and considering the fact that it’s a generic inquiry form, it’s a little absurd to have it.
  2. They have a “travel purpose” field here – why are they making the visitors do the segmentation. They can instead segment this in their ads, and have dedicated PPC landing pages for different kinds of travelers – business, adventure, etc.
  3. Why does comment have to be a mandatory field here? Again a major friction point.
  4. 50% discount on a Honeymoon package tour is the offer on the main background image. Shouldn’t this offer be created and run separately?

Here’s another example of this. Even though the search query in the following example is for “GMAT training institutes,” which reflects on the ad, but the visitors are once again asked to select the course in the form. This would definitely create some friction in filling the form. Once again, don’t make the prospects do all the hard work.

PPC landing page mistakes - making visitors do the hard work

No information or credibility factors to motivate the form-fill

Let’s consider the same travel landing page we saw in the last example.

“Studies suggest that a typical traveler takes around 30 days to actually book the package after deciding on the vacation, and all this time is spent researching different locations and deals.”

So, if your PPC landing page gives no information to help this research, the chance of visitors sharing this much information in exchange for some package details is slim.

They would instead go to websites like TripAdvisor and try to read real traveler reviews from there. So, one way can be to embed reviews from TripAdvisor and other third party websites on the landing page. You are already spending money on the clicks; why not give your landing page some credibility as well.

Check if your PPC landing pages are working properly

I had no intention of questioning my fellow marketers’ good sense by including this very obvious mistake. However, I saw more businesses making this mistake than I had expected, so I had no choice. Here’s a MakeMyTrip ad that shows up 2nd on the paid listings for “deals on travel packages.”

PPC landing page mistakes - Make My Trip ad

And this is what it is linked to:

PPC landing page mistakes - Make my trip landing page error

That’s probably eating up a lot of your advertising money, folks!

Form Headline – CTA mismatch

PPC landing page mistakes - CTA headline mismatch

There is a lot that is wrong with this landing page design-wise, but I will not get into that. Just look at the message mismatch between the form header and the CTA. They say “Get access to 10+ hours of free course material” on the header, and “Start my Free Trial” on the CTA.

This is a very short form, and might get submissions, but what’s the next step? Based on the offer and the number of fields, I would also question the objective of this landing page. If you are offering 10+ hours of course material, you can be upfront and ask for phone numbers as well. Otherwise, you would get many junk form fills and later unsubscribes.

Hyperbole in heading, without any proof

Consider the same landing page above. Using hyperbole, like “World’s Best GMAT Prep Course” without any proof to support the claim is a bit of a stretch, that too on a page that seems to have no credibility at all looking at the other page elements.

No Text on Page

Yes, you shouldn’t stuff keywords, but there should be at least some text content on the page – it would help with the landing page relevance. All the content on this page is in the form of images, which would also increase the page load time, thus increasing bounces.

PPC landing page mistakes - All image landing page


Not optimizing for mobile

One-third of last quarter’s paid search spend went to mobile, according to research from Covario, a San Diego, California search marketing agency.

“The quarterly analysis – which covers Covario clients in the tech, consumer electronics, and retail industries – found that smartphone and tablet media spend have been steadily increasing for the last two years, while desktop search spend has dropped from 91 percent of search spend to just 67 percent.” 

So, if you are not optimizing your PPC landing pages for mobile, it is likely that you are just losing money on clicks. If you have disabled your ads on mobile search, it might save you from losing money on clicks, but it would also lose you a good percentage of traffic that comes from mobile

Using the same search keywords, I found quite a few landing pages that were not optimized for mobile search. Take a look at these for example:

PPC landing page mistakes - Bad mobile experiencePPC landing page mistakes - Bad Responsive Design
  1. In the first example, the overlapping text makes it impossible to read. To create responsive landing pages, you can use tools like LeadSquared, and hide extra text on mobile so that landing page is readable and the content easier to consume.
  2. In the second example, the form is all messed up – it’s likely that the visitors would lose credibility for this page.

Overall, of all the landing pages on paid mobile ads that I saw, around 30% were perfectly optimized for mobile, 20% were optimized but had some issues, and rest were not mobile optimized.

Not optimizing the page load time

We are the most easily distracted generation of digital surfers. The average attention span of an internet user is less than that of a goldfish, as you would have heard. If you are therefore not optimizing your PPC landing pages to load faster, you are giving your visitors another reason to bounce off. I have already discussed this point in the example above where all images are used instead of using text.

Check the speed of your landing pages and optimize images that you use on the landing page to begin with.

Concentrating on you, rather than on the prospect

PPC landing page mistakes - Not concentrating on the prospect

There is one fundamental mistake these guys have made. In addition to the fact that this is a website home page, they claim “More than 85% of students, who do a demo with us, ultimately join us.” This claim concentrates on the business not the students – they should instead focus on how the course would help the students.

Following best practices blindly, while ignoring result based findings

While optimizing your landing pages to follow best practices is a great thing when you begin, modifications need to be made continuously after analyzing the results. So, everything that’s been discussed above needs to be tested and should not be taken as a rule of thumb. Never fall for any best practices, without actually trying them out.

In reality, this is the only mistake you need to avert – “don’t put recognized best practices over actual results.”

Bonus PPC Tip – Check the keywords you rank for

While searching for examples for this post, I came across many ads ranking for search terms they shouldn’t rank for. Please make sure to show your ads only for keywords relevant to you, otherwise you would just lose money. Use negative keywords feature in Google Adwords for this. Here’s an example:

search intent + ad mismatch

So, there! Here is my list of PPC landing page mistakes you need to avoid. Feel free to share your examples of mistakes you have noticed, or made and recovered from.

The webinar on ‘7 Killer Content Marketing Strategies for 2015’ conducted by our expert content marketer, Meenu Joshi and LeadSquared CEO, Nilesh Patel was a huge success. We saw a record number of registrations for the webinar. Those of you who missed it, here’s a summary of some of the questions asked during the session.

You can watch the webinar recording here:

View the Recording

Question 1

We are offering online courses. Which platforms should we use, apart from Google & Facebook, to generate leads?

You can find a list of 56 online sources & tactics for education lead generation, here. 

You would probably be spending money on Google and Facebook ads. If you have video tutorials, you could upload them on YouTube as well since YouTube videos are searchable. There are several other video sharing channels that you could look at, like Dailymotion.

You should look at blogging as well. From what I have seen, whatever education clients we have worked with, blogging has worked really well for them, especially quizzes. Students generally search for stuff online. If you write high quality content, you can succeed with that.

For instance, if you offer a course in one particular category, like GMAT, and you publish articles around that, like news articles – that will get you some traction because people would be searching for that kind of stuff in the peak time. That would get traffic to your website. Then you could have some offers on your website which could be downloadable or put behind a form, so that the traffic that your blog posts are getting you, could turn into leads as well.

Question 2

Does video marketing help in lead generation for school businesses? 

Content Marketing Strategies

I think video marketing would help school businesses. You could include the testimonial pieces depending on what kind of school it is. An example would be testimonials of parents. It would help people learn more about the business or school in this case.

The video would basically include a story and if they (views/prospects) like the story, they would sign up. YouTube would make a good channel because it’s easy for videos to rank there. Identifying those keywords (for video titles/names) is the key.

One of our customers who is into corporate training has used video marketing and seen good results. His conversion increased by 600% after using videos in landing pages.

Question 3

I have a Facebook page for my company which offers online courses for healthcare, business, management, arts, etc. If I write a post about management, I’m always afraid it might not be relevant to healthcare audience and the rest. So how do I create content in such a scenario?

You need to have a blog.

  • If you have multiple kinds of audiences, you could have a dedicated blog which could have a different domain name or it could be a sub-domain, on which you host that blog and make sure that the content is basically relevant there.
  • To make it simpler, you can have different categories for different courses. If it is properly segregated, it would be easier for the audience to find content that is relevant to them.
  • With respect to Facebook, if you have a wide variety of courses and your audience understands that your company offers a lot of things, they would certainly benefit from all content that you share and people who want to pick certain content, will pick content that is relevant to them.
  • You could also even out the content by writing multiple contents for multiple categories. Then you could share that on Facebook multiple times and find out which posts are getting you most traction and at what times of the day.

We have also seen people opening different Facebook accounts but that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, because you have one brand or one business name, and you are operating multiple accounts. It’s something you need to try out and decide what’s working.

Content Marketing Strategies
  • If you are promoting content, you can use Facebook Custom Audience and other methods to segregate the audience. However, if it’s organic content, you can’t really do that.
  • Also, if you are sharing content online, you could use hastags with specific keywords like, #heathcare, #management, and so on, making it more relevant for that particular audience.

Question 4

For online financial skill training, which tools do you suggest to get learners and which tools would help me prepare videos?

To get learners, you need to invest in marketing. Do content marketing. Spend money on ads. Since you are talking about financial skill training, I’m assuming it is targetted for graduates and above, so you have to find that audience online.

For offline, you can check the partnership model –  you find other institutes or companies who are not offering competitive programs but have something which they can offer to their students in partnership with you.

Use tools like LeadSquared to organize your marketing, especially if you are dealing with large volumes of leads. You should use tools to organize your marketing, otherwise, it is just going to be unmanageable after a while.

Also, make sure your call telephony is integrated with a marketing system like LeadSquared. We have seen consumer businesses, who use cloud telephony, lose leads due to lack of integration. Cloud telephony tools like Super Receptionist will help.

Content Marketing Strategies

When it comes to tools for preparing videos, I think Articulate is a good one. For more options, take a look at this post on 9 Video Marketing Tools for Marketers.

Question 5

What is the ideal platform for broadcasting webinars to large audiences?

GoToWebinar has worked out well for us. You could also check out Google Hangouts. WebEx is another one.

Content Marketing Strategies

Question 6

Is blogging useful for content marketing and website promotion? How many blog posts should I write per week/month?

Content marketing would definitely help you, depending on the kind of industry you are in. You should have a proper website. The frequency of the blogs would depend on the quality of the content. For our education clients, we used to blog about 8 times a month. It depends on the quality of the content rather than the quantity. If your content is not of high quality, neither Google nor people would appreciate it.

Question 7

If I want to run a contest for a software company, which platforms should I use – Pinterest or Facebook?

Not Pinterest is what I would say as it is more visual. If you have a contest idea where visual content would help, you can use Pinterest. Otherwise, try Twitter and Facebook. You would need to test it.

Question 8

Are case studies a good way to connect with readers? What platforms, apart from the company website, can be used to leverage these client case studies?

Case studies are definitely a very good way to connect with your prospects. We publish case studies in different formats for different purposes. Case studies that we publish on blogs drive highly relevant traffic organically. To assist our sales team, we also publish them in shareable formats, like PDFs. It helps further sales conversation, and close the deals faster because people from a particular industry are generally interested in knowing how their competitors are benefiting from the solution.

This would apply to all the different businesses, B2B and B2C. Prospects would trust a solution more if they are able to see a problem that they identify with getting addressed.

You could send it to the clients in different formats like videos, PDFs, testimonials, etc., and of course, have it on your blog. Sometimes, 3rd party reviews and discussion platforms help as well, because that’s where people generally go to compare alternatives.

Question 9

What should be the frequency of sending mailers on a monthly basis?

What’s important here is what you are sending and are your recipients interested in what you are sending. If the content that you send is all self-serving like “buy my stuff” or “this is our discount”, people would not appreciate it. The more informative, conversational, and relevant your content is, the higher could be its frequency – a week or more.

We had a client in education who was sending 2 emails a week, and there was a very low unsubscribe rate on that list. It created a good ‘top of the mind’ with the prospects. The content that was being sent, was for the benefit of the students, like video tutorials and so on.

Question 10

How do you think one should plan an email marketing campaign for a B2B company?

Identifying the persona and interests, is the first place you should begin. In most of the B2B companies we have seen, when it comes to email campaigns, they typically create a list and expect the prospect to respond. Seldom or few companies have invested in content marketing or created an organic list of subscribers. It’s hard work and a lot of effort needs to be put into that. Also, you need original or differentiating content.

One of our customers who is in IT business focuses on Groovy and Grails – they write blogs and some of them are fairly technical in nature. Their audience is CTOs of fast-growing companies who use one the most advanced technologies to build their product. In spite of that, their blog is always among the top searched items and that’s how their audience (CTOs) contact them.

Coming back to the question, once you connect with your prospects, you can send them white papers in email campaigns or any other relevant content. However, the planning for email campaigns will be secondary. What is important is identifying the right kind of audience and finding them online.

For more inputs on B2B Email Marketing, take a look at this webinar recording and blog post on B2B Email Marketing Best Practices.

Question 11

Which blog site should I use to publish my blogs? 

WordPress is one of the best content management systems (CMS) and you should definitely consider it to publish your blogs. For more inputs on blog sites, check out this post on the Best Blogging Platforms.

Question 12

What kind of questions/engagement should we initiate on Facebook/Twitter? 

In case of Facebook, try to use images to enhance or initiate engagement. Holding online contests will also help. Take a look at this post on 5 Social Media Tactics for Lead Generation to understand how you can leverage social media to generate revenues for your business.

In case of Twitter, you should catch trends that you could jump in with and create conversations around that. If you do that, you will get noticed. However, you have to be careful about that as well. Sometimes, brands have tried to do this and it backfires.

Content Marketing Strategies

For more inputs on Twitter, take a look at this SlideShare presentation on 10 Ways to use Twitter as an Effective Marketing Tool.

Question 13

We are in the real estate industry. How we should promote our projects?

Content Marketing Strategies

You should be watchful of the trend of how people are buying. We recently conducted a webinar session on How to be a Smarter Real Estate Marketer. That session would probably give you an answer to your question.

Question 14

Will content marketing be helpful for corporate training business? Currently we are using Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, but not webinars for lead generation. What are the other alternatives that we can use?

Content Marketing Strategies

Blogging will help, apart from the channels that you have suggested. I think webinars would also be useful. I know of a gentleman who was in corporate training and is doing webinars, and that is really helping him. Someone else I know from ‘Patent Services and Advisory’ explained to me that people appreciated her webinar sessions where she talked about subjects relevant to that industry.

Question 15

For a SaaS product, what should be the CTA to ensure registrations/visits on a page? We are a SaaS tool for Cloud users. It’s an analytics tool.

You can test out multiple things. “Sign up for a Free Trial” or “Take a Demo” are the most common ones you would begin with. But keep testing.

Question 16

We want to experiment with guest blogging but since we have not done it before, can you suggest a way of engaging bloggers to write on our blog?

You could start off by implementing the ‘Influencer Strategy’. Find people from your relevant industry using tools like Grin or Followerwonk and then approach them. But good bloggers don’t appreciate it a lot. So make sure that when you are connecting with them, you research them properly, and offer them something that they would appreciate in return.

Question 17

Is it a good practice to publish content and showcase them alongside a landing page? When people land on our website, is it good to show them content, even if they don’t convert into a lead? (I mean, engage them even if they aren’t interested in your product.)

It is not a bad idea. Knowledge sharing is used by many businesses to engage with visitors, even if they don’t convert. It also acts as a nurturing medium, slowly generating interest in someone who may not be ready at that point of time.

It also helps establish the brand/business identity. For instance, if someone lands on your landing page or form, finds the content beside it interesting, he/she may share it with others through word of mouth or mention it on social media/social forums. Now, although, the visitor may not have converted into a lead, he/she promoted that content, making it visible to a larger audience.

However, too much content alongside the landing page is not good. There’s a difference between the kind of content that should be put on a form and behind a form. For example, testimonials are suitable content for the form while E-Books/Whitepapers are suitable behind the form (after form-fill).

Here’s an example of the kind of content that you ‘can’ have alongside a landing page. In this case, the content alongside the form includes other offers which would be worthy of sharing:

Content Marketing Strategies

For more webinar content, visit our blog to access all our previous webinar recordings.

Update : It’s almost 2016! And we’ve got a little gift for you to begin the new year on a productive note – a free, exhaustive and super-handy blog promotion checklist!  Hope it helps :)

Selling real estate is an unruly, undefined art. You need to cover all the conventional advertising hotspots, you need to hunt in every corner of the web for good leads, and every once in a while, you need to get creative with your real estate marketing. 

It’s extremely tough, and that’s why last week’s webinar on “How to be a Smarter Real Estate Marketer” with our guest presenters, Santhan Reddy and Srikrishna Mamidipudi, was a huge hit and highly appreciated by all our attendees.

Deep Red Ink‘s Santhan and Srikrishna delivered a great session on the real estate marketing ecosystem in India today. In case you missed it, here’s a summary of some of the questions asked and answers to them by our guest presenters. Click on the link below to access the webinar recording:

View the Recording

Question 1

What are the most common mistakes real estate marketers make?

  1. How the leads considered “cold” are dealt with:
    The first mistake that comes to my mind is the hot, cold and warm lead system. Cold leads are generally not given much attention compared to the “warm” and “hot” leads. This is not really a good approach to take because in real estate business the buying cycle is almost 6 months long. So considering someone in very initial stages of buying as “cold”, and not concentrating on them at all is not a good assumption to make.
  2. How marketers track data within a system:
    The other common mistake is to not track every single lead that enters your system. There should be a transparency in the whole lead lifecycle – what’s happening to the lead at each stage. However, there is a general fear among the employees of a real estate developer in keeping these things transparent. Sometimes, there are malpractices within the system. Keeping these things transparent would mean that the system cannot be abused.
  3. How you use different media:
    Different media are better used at different stages. You would want to use mass media to deliver a certain message very early on in the buying cycle. You would use your website or brochures to communicate with people in the middle of the cycle, and you would want to use social media slightly later in the cycle. Each medium has a place and how these mediums are used seems a bit arbitrary. The industry needs to learn a lot more about the best place to use the best medium.

Question 2

Any suggestions on fixing that?

This is something we are trying to get better at as well. Even though we understand that leads are there at different stages, how to actually nurture them so that we don’t lose people at different stages is a hard thing to nail down.

But something I see as promising is properly using email and SMS at this stage. These are things people are more acquainted with. SMS especially has a lot of contribution to this stage. I think communicating with customers in a way which is valuable to them is important. Give them lots of value and then you’ll see that you are gradually gaining their trust.

Question 3

Lead quality is easy to measure online, but offline is generally where people struggle. Can the same system be used for both, to measure lead quality?

There are ways to do that but not as effectively as online. For instance, in case of online, we have tracking URLs. There are a lot of tools available for the online marketer. In case of offline, you would want your customer touch points to deliver a positive experience, a consistent experience. Whether somebody is calling your call center or somebody is directly coming to your construction site, or talking to your sales person, a consistent experience is important.

Today, somebody who walks directly into a construction site needs to talk to a sales person in many cases. Lack of consistency here won’t allow us to track the quality and intent of such offline leads. It generally affects online leads as well, but in case of online leads the impact is much higher.

So, delivering a consistent experience at different touch points will really help you understand the quality of your offline leads as well. If you start thinking of quality of leads from each individual medium, let’s say, from a hoarding or a newspaper, it becomes very difficult. But on the whole if you look at offline as one larger bucket, then it’s much easier to make the assessment of lead quality from offline media.

Question 4

How does ROI compare in terms of lead generation from Google Adwords and property portals?

If I look at it in terms of how well does it compare, there are 2-3 variables in this. What I have noticed is different property portals do differently in different cities. The experience with a property portal in Hyderabad is not the same in Chennai. Similarly with Adwords, with the amount of competition there is, it depends on how savvy your competition is and how they use it. We have seen variations in different locations even in the case of Adwords.

Overall, you are not directly in control of what happens in property portals. As a marketer, I take that as a challenge. I run adword campaigns for my clients and I always try to perform better than the property portals. In fact, if the marketing department of the developer does this well, they will always outperform the property portal because a customer would rather take the word of the salesmen whom he has been talking to for the past couple of weeks, over the property portal who has neutral information.

Property portals are good at early stages in the lead cycle. The conversion really comes down to your sales and marketing teams. If your sales process is not delivering a good experience, even the best property portal can’t help you, but with a good and consistent experience, you can convert leads from property portals as well as Adwords. We have seen comparable performance of PPC and portals in certain months, but in most cases PPC campaigns outperform the portals.

Question 5

How we can safeguard the broker’s interest? 

Technology has helped us a lot in protecting the interest of property consultants, channel partners and brokers. Essentially also, it’s not just the technology but the attitude. The leads which are brought in by property consultants, brokers and channel partners need to be kept transparent. You would need to see that the lead that is handed over to a real estate developer, marketing team or sales team, is actually attributed correctly and the progress of the lead in the system (whether they come for a site visit or actually end up buying an apartment) is displayed easily to the broker.

There is an online system we have seen where a broker can directly enter the lead and follow the lead’s progress until the end. A lot of times, if the systems are not transparent, there is always a doubt on the broker’s side whether his lead is being attributed to him correctly or not, what’s happening to the lead later on, etc. So it’s a combination of right attitude with technology.

Question 6

Out of 100 new leads/calls, what is the average percentage of site visits, we can expect?   

In the beginning, out of 100 new leads, we would get an average of about 8-10 people coming to the site. By optimizing this further, last year we were at 18. I recently had another conversation with a person who joined my clients’ business, and they were probably doing 29 out of 100. So there is scope for improvement. 29/100 is the best number I have heard so far.

Question 7

At the very initial stages, how can we make out who is a genuine buyer and who is a general enquiry person? 

Today’s marketers have got this question wrong. There are a few exceptions. Most people who are contacting you are in fact interested in buying your home. In our industry we classify this as whether somebody is going to buy soon or if somebody is going to buy later.

A lot of times when people are very new to the market, they don’t understand how to go about buying a home and their questions tend to be quite simplistic. They appear to be unsure and guarded. In some cases, they don’t want the salesman to know that they are not sure of where they are.

Many of these cases are seen as people who are not likely to buy. Of course, we have come across cases where people do submit wrong numbers and those things do happen. But the majority submit genuine information. The industry should definitely start looking at the buying stages and treat the people earlier in the buying stages differently.

Question 8

If a buyer is ready to book the flat on a particular day but suddenly gets into a fix reading negative reviews/feedback about the company, how can we fix this?

In the spirit of delivering a consistent experience, it’s important that if this problem has already been remedied, then you should be able to talk to the prospective buyer about it. It is hard. Many prospects won’t open up and say that they read a negative review and instead, will make an excuse (I’ll come back next month/I’m not ready now), since they have built a relationship with the salesperson and don’t want to say no to them straight away or back out of what was developing to be a contract. The prospective buyer may not be forthcoming about seeing such negatives.

But if the prospect is forthcoming, it is important to be attentive. If there is a problem and it has been solved, mention that. But if the problem has not been solved, tell them what it is and what the company is planning to do to solve it.

Even with the best interests of the real estate developer, there are some things that are not solvable. And that unsolvable kind of situation is very important to a particular client. Then it’s probably better to lose that client than to somehow convince him to buy it.

Question 9

Is there any scope for video advertising in real estate? Would it be a viable option for a developer to attract an audience via video ads?

Definitely. Every medium has viewers and YouTube being one of the most consumed mediums in India today, is a good platform. You only need to find the right message, good execution and good creative.

Question 10

How to understand customer’s sentiment of actually which stage of buying he is in right now?

Understanding customer’s sentiment requires you to do a lot of things offline. Regular team interaction is taken up only to understand what customer sentiment is like. It involves a certain amount of risk for a developer to start an active social media presence. Most developers feel under-equipped to handle negative comments. Those customers who are not happy with the project will come forward and share their experiences. More interaction between prospective buyers and the marketing team will give you that information.

In case of online, you can understand which stage a lead is in, from the keywords you are bidding on. If you are bidding on stage 2 keyword like ‘property buying guide’ and people are clicking on those ads, you would know that perhaps those who are clicking on them are quite early in the stage.

If you are looking at a property show, you can expect a lot of people coming there to look for information. You don’t expect too many people to come for a site visit immediately from a property show.

You can also talk to your sales team and call center team to find out what kind of questions people are asking. The specifics and details really determine the stage of the lead. If customers are asking details about the nitty-gritty, like what is a particular thing made of, what is the issue most customers are facing, or talking about water, electricity, local schools, etc., that tells you that they have already done their research on the project. You take clues from different things and you kind of form that picture.

Question 11

How to estimate the right marketing spend? Is there a percentage formula? For example, if I have a 40 crore inventory, then how much should my marketing spend be?

From what we hear from the industry, anything above 3-5% of your inventory is something that would be your budget for marketing. For example, if you are having 40 crore inventory, let’s say 4% of that is about 1.6 crores.

Let’s say our overall marketing spend is 1.6 crores. We start off  with a small percentage of that for our online budget. If 4% is the marketing spend that is available for a particular project, then we take the first 7-8% to start it off. We work in a very experimental kind of model. We run ads on many pages for a certain amount of time to figure out if they are working or not and put more money behind the things that are winners. As and when we start seeing traction, every 3-4 months we can go back and say – put more money in this – this is what we are seeing.

Over a period of 3-4 years, we are still in a journey of increasing marketing budget. Every time we go back and renew our contract, we ask for larger marketing budget. Essentially, it is for us to understand how to deliver results each time.

Question 12

Can you advice us based on your experience about overseas marketing (shows, ads, etc.)?

Looking at overseas marketing from a digital standpoint, some of the things are already indicative. For instance, when you look at Google Analytics, you see where your project is gaining traction geographically. It’s possible to create campaigns and target specific geographies. We have found real success only when we have had PPC campaigns running. Try to specifically create content for NRIs and talk about investments, facilities, and life experience over here.

Question 13

How to differentiate between customers who have viewed the landing page / downloaded the flip book / downloaded floor plans / asked for site visit? Are these customers the same or different?

It’s quite straightforward to differentiate it. LeadSquared actually helps us quite a bit in that. We have different forms on each of these pages (landing page, flip book, floor plans). So if someone schedules a site visit, it goes to a different form. Same goes for the other two. So we know if somebody has submitted one form or if they have submitted multiple forms. In many cases, it has happened that somebody who has downloaded a flip book has also downloaded the floor plans. So we get to know if somebody has downloaded something and if somebody has downloaded something multiple times. It’s quite easy to track that.

Question 14

Is it advisable to write blogs on the project and link them up to the website or have the complete details on our website?

Sounds like a good idea. The thing is content is everywhere. If you are producing a blog, my advice would be to provide content that is of value to your customer segment and something that is not easily available somewhere else and not just produced for SEO’s sake.