This article was inspired by a discussion we had during a recent mastermind meeting. One of our agents brought a neighborhood magazine she received at her home. So, we decided to search for Realtor ads, discuss how effective they may be, and how we could possibly improve them.
Where Are the Realtor Ads?
First off, it was difficult to separate the real estate ads from all the other ads in the magazine. Not a single one of them stuck out.
They blended right in with the rest of the ads from landscapers, dentists, chiropractors, lawyers and others who paid a lot of money hoping an ad in this magazine will elevate them as the local expert.
What surprised me was that none of the Realtor ads featured a recognizable brand.
Here’s why this is a problem. If readers look at your ad and don’t know instantly what you are offering, they will skip to the next page.
Some of the agents partnered with a lender to share the cost of the ad. In that case the lenders’ logo overshadowed the agent leading to more confusion with the reader.
I mention this because these agents are with brokerages whose name readers would immediately recognize. Yet, the agents decided to promote their own “personal” brand over the well-known brand of their brokerage, and lost out.
The Myth of a Personal Brand
Creating your personal brand on social media seems to be the silver bullet of marketing these days. Most coaches talk about how to promote yourself on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you follow guru’s like Gary Vaynerchuk or Tom Ferry you may believe that personal branding is the only road to success, that posting on social media will generate all the referrals you need.
While social media is “free”, you may be missing 2 critical facts:
- personal branding is a very long term strategy – you have to do it consistently for years to see real results and become the most recognized Realtor of your neighborhood.
- you have to supplement your personal branding efforts with paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram to extend your reach beyond your sphere and grow your audience.
Next week I will explain why you need a strong Corporate Brand. Why social media will NOT replace a well recognized brand. And why you are probably wasting money if your brokerage gives you the “freedom to brand yourself”.
To be continued…
Today I am going to share with you the real results of 2 Facebook ad campaigns we ran in December and January. Facebook ads seem to be a hot ticket for generating cheap leads. At least that’s what many gurus promise.
Honestly, I’ve been running FB ads on and off for the past 3 years, with mixed results. Most of the ads were for open houses. And I noticed that their cost has increased substantially in 2017. So, we decided to test new FB campaigns to generate both buyer and seller leads. Here’s how we did it and what we found.
The Buyer Leads Campaign
The objective is to get potential buyers to submit their name, email and phone number to see the interior pictures of one of our listings.
The FB ad shows a picture of the outside of a property. It announces a Hot Listing Alert and prompts the viewer to click a link to see inside pictures of the specific property.
Here’s a picture of the ad:
When a viewer clicks the link, they are forwarded to our IDX website. We are using a Chime as our web platform. When the viewer arrives at the landing page they are prompted to enter name and email (they may also use Facebook or Google+) to log in, before they can see the photos.
Click through rate: 8% of people who saw the ad clicked the link.
Cost per click: $0.61
Form completion rate: 4% of visitors completed the login form.
Cost per lead: $3.49
When a viewer clicks the link, they are forwarded to a landing page and asked to enter their address. After they enter their address, but before they see the home valuation, they need to submit their name, email and phone number. When the form is completed, they see an instant home value and comparable sales.
The landing page we’ve been using for the past 4 years is Home Value Leads, a very affordable service that computes surprisingly accurate home values.
Click through rate: 3.51% of viewers clicked the link.
Cost per click: $0.61
Form completion rate: 19.3% of visitors gave us their contact info.
Cost per lead: $3.16
Lead Quality and Follow Up
The cost of leads from both campaigns was super cheap!
By comparison, leads generated with Commissions Inc cost about $10 a piece, that’s without the cost of their platform (which runs $1500 a month). I recently talked to a sales rep from realtor.com, and he tried to sell me on leads costing $100!!
The leads we generated from both FB campaigns require immediate follow up by phone, email, and text. The key to converting the leads is to get them to communicate with you, ideally on the phone.
Most online leads are not ready to buy or sell immediately. They may be 6 or 12 months out and will require rigorous and consistent follow-up to become a real customer.
We are currently working with a number of buyer and seller leads that came from these campaigns. None of them closed a transaction, yet.
My bottom line: Facebook advertising is still the most cost-effective way to generate online leads!
Are you unsure which social media site to use for your real estate business? There are a confusing number of choices and trying to use several at once can be overwhelming. Here is a cheat sheet you can reference to select and use the social media site (or sites) that would work best for you.
Primary Users: Men & Women 18-64
Strategy: Use your personal page to stay in touch with your sphere of influence. A mix of business and personal messages works best. Video gets priority on Facebook, so including footage of listings or of yourself sharing real estate information will get you in front of more of your contacts.
Notes: If you use only one social media site, make it Facebook. More people use it than any other site, so it’s likely most of your contacts will use it on a regular basis.
Primary Users: Men & Women 30-49 who are college graduates and have relatively high household income
Strategy: Build a strong profile that includes recommendations, endorsements, certifications, awards, and a summary of your expertise and experience. Connect with your current sphere and add people as you meet them at networking events or around town. Post market reports, local information, and real estate related articles.
Notes: LinkedIn is a great place to show off your expertise and experience because you can publish content. Potential clients often use the site to learn more about you, and that’s why a strong profile is a must.
Primary Users: Men & Women 18-49
Strategy: Promote your username on all your marketing materials. Ask your sphere to follow you. Then, tweet often. You can share links to articles and videos you find, write, or record. You can also tweet about new listings, open houses, and local events.
Notes: Twitter can be a great way to drive people to your listings, website, and blog. It’s also a good way to reach younger buyers and sellers. Because you must tweet often, Twitter is often best for agents with assistants or teams who can manage the profile.
Primary Users: Women 18-49
Strategy: Pinterest is best used to stay in touch with the women in your sphere (only 16% of men use the site). Mix business and personal pins for the best results.
Notes: Pinterest is popular among stay-at-home moms. If you work a lot with that demographic, Pinterest can be an excellent resource.
Primary Users: Real estate agents and those serving the real estate industry
Strategy: ActiveRain is useful for two purposes – generating referrals from agents and publishing blogs to attract buyers and sellers. Publish regular blogs about your market and be sure to network with other agents who use the site.
Notes: Active users of the site swear by it. If you enjoy writing or recording videos about your market, ActiveRain can be a great way to connect with people who don’t already know you.
P.S. – Facebook business pages are losing their reach as more companies advertise on the platform. Recent research shows posts on business pages reach less than 5% of the people who like the page. Unless you plan on spending money to advertise your business page, stick with using your personal page.