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Showcasing hot properties with paid search

  Article , Travel , Success stories

Coastal agency targets buyers with Bing Ads Image Extensions

Family first

Garden City Realty, Inc. logo

Christi Bessinger is the advertising and marketing manager at Garden City Realty in Garden City Beach, South Carolina. She’s also new at the job — which makes her feel extremely fortunate, because vacancies are few and far between at the company that considers “family” to be its most valuable asset. 
“Garden City Realty started in 1973, so it has been in business for over 43 years now — and it has always been a local company with deep roots,” explains Bessinger, who took on her position in January 2016 and quickly found herself among the ranks of proud employees. 
To quote the company’s website: “The staff is as warm and friendly as our serene coastal surroundings.” Sure enough, Garden City Realty has spent nearly half a century helping buyers and sellers in the blissful vacation-friendly surroundings of laid-back, inviting Garden City Beach and neighboring Surfside. Cultivating a distinctive corporate culture has paid off: When the company surveyed its buyers and sellers, an amazing 100% said they would once again choose Garden City Realty for their property needs. 
We're very pleased with Bing Ads — over a six-month campaign run we’ve seen tremendous results.”

— Christi Bessinger, advertising and marketing manager, Garden City Realty

Entrepreneurial estates

Although vacation rentals represent a significant portion of its business, Garden City Realty is heavily focused on property ownership as well. Whether getting buyers the best selection of homes along the Myrtle Beach coastal area or helping sellers generate maximum market exposure, the agents at Garden City Realty are uniquely qualified, personable and local to the area — significant factors in assisting people with such important life moments.  
“Although some people are coming to us to buy a regular residential home, some are coming to buy vacation rental properties, investments — or they may be looking to buy their retirement home or their second home,” Bessinger says. “We have people looking to buy anything from a $70,000 condominium to a $3 million oceanfront home. It’s a unique area; you can go down the street and see a million-dollar house and then go a couple streets over and there's a $60,000 property.” 
The target audience for Garden City Realty is fairly broad, but it can be incredibly specific in region and likelihood to purchase. That’s why the company works closely with Visual Data Systems (VDS), a pioneer in internet marketing, technology consulting and web design.

Staying on the cutting edge with Bing Ads

Christi Bessinger, advertising and marketing manager, Garden City Realty

Christi Bessinger, advertising and marketing manager, Garden City Realty

With guidance from VDS, Bessinger and the Garden City team have been making significant marketing gains with paid search advertising and Bing Ads, which they began using in late March 2016. Ad extensions have served as key features, with Sitelink Extensions directing searchers to specific listings, while Image Extensions represented their properties with dynamic photos. Such moves met their business goals to boost online traffic and drive more leads, conversions and sales. 
From increased “Contact Us” form submissions to online inquiries to revenue, the benefits have been immediately evident. More importantly, the new traffic was a highly-valued audience, since Bing Ads could deliver an older, higher income and more educated demographic than their previous search efforts. Using Bing Ads’ targeting capabilities, Garden City Realty can adjust bids on the fly and use that bid adjustment to focus on age, gender, geographic location and other criteria that help focus their message.
Of course, when you’re selling beachfront vacation homes, there’s a very specific demographic you need to target. Bing Ads was a natural fit for Garden City, because Bing Network users tend to be older and more affluent, with a higher proclivity to purchase. Using Bing Ads targeting capabilities, the company’s message can be targeted to reach the right audience by location, day of the week, age, gender and more factors. 
“We're very pleased with Bing Ads,” Bessinger says. “Over a six-month campaign run we’ve seen tremendous results.”
Results include:

  • New visits increased 48.35%.
  • Transactions and average session duration has increased.
  • eCommerce conversion increased 65%. 
  • Cost-per-click (CPC) conversion rate has increased 44%, across thousands of new users.
Such trends seem likely to continue, as VDS stays on top of the constantly evolving spate of Bing Ads tools, and Garden City considers itself open-minded and technologically driven. “We want to stay current and up on trends,” explains Bessinger. “We always want to build on what’s working and whatever is new, different and outside the box. We definitely want to pursue that.” 
VDS is weighing features like Upgraded URLs, Enhanced CPC and Universal Event Tracking for Garden City Realty, confident because it has employed them for other accounts. “Our focus right now is helping people build their brands,” says Robert Gray, president of VDS. “And Bing Ads is going to be very important for that because we're big on return on investment.”
Brent Hartley, a VDS marketing consultant, says that in the world of costs per click, knowledge is power. Features like Universal Event Tracking (which allows customers to track their campaign performance) and Remarketing in Paid Search (which works in conjunction to reach those who’ve previously visited a website) provide such valuable insight.
We always want to build on what’s working and whatever is new, different and outside the box.

— Christi Bessinger, advertising and marketing manager, Garden City Realty

Expanding its roots

Expanding its roots

Expanding its roots

Increasingly, such growth seems aimed toward the mobile market. “From the data that we accumulate, it seems like people are moving more toward mobile, whether it be our vacation rentals or our sales,” explains Christi Bessinger. “Things are shifting more and more every day to mobile.”
In some ways, however, the core business will never change. Garden City Realty will continue to maintain its roots in the business of caring for clients and bringing them quality, personalized service. But ultimately, roots exist for the purpose of growing, stretching and reaching out for new sources of nourishment.
Combining old techniques and new technology, the Garden City “family” seems well-positioned for the future. “Our agents have years and years of experience combined, and we’re proud of that,” explains Bessinger. “We’re always looking for what's going to take us to the next level.”

Check it out

View or save an infographic recap of how Garden City Realty used a combination of location targeting and Sitelink Extensions from Bing Ads to increase ecommerce conversions by 65%.

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