The real estate industry turned increasingly virtual over the past year, with online communication and virtual property tours becoming commonplace with many real estate agents. What this virtual push has cemented is the role that digital marketing has in real estate advertising.
Traditional Real Estate Advertising
Traditional real estate marketing strategies still work, but they are just not as effective as digital marketing can be. Traditional real estate marketing includes:
- TV Ads
- Radio Ads
- Physical Print Advertising (Mail, Flyers, and Newspapers)
- Cold calling
These traditional ads are all seen in our physical world. You might see billboards and flyers as you’re walking along a street or on the bus. You can hear radio ads when you’re driving in your car or in a public space, such as a store. These are all seen or heard by the public, with no possibility of targeting certain customer profiles.
Some forms of traditional advertising are brought directly into your home, such as TV ads, direct mail, or cold calling. While mail advertising and cold calling can allow you to target a specific location, it might not be able to tell you much about the interests of the people you are trying to target, or what they are looking to purchase at that moment in time.
Sending out thousands of flyers to a neighbourhood only to find out that no one is interested in selling their home can be time consuming and expensive. So is having TV ads or radio ads that can’t be targeted. While mass advertising through traditional methods can be a way to increase awareness, a more effective way of gaining and converting customers is through digital marketing. As the world continues to move online, the way real estate agents do business should too.
The most powerful form of real estate advertising is through paid search advertising (Google Ads) and social media advertising (Facebook Ads). Google Ads puts your page at the top of search results for specific search results and keywords. This allows your ad to be relevant and to only be displayed to users that shows some intent or interest in your product or service.
Facebook Ads works along the same lines, but it excels at increasing engagement with your brand by allowing your ads to be interacted with. Facebook’s collection of user data also allows you to target users based on interest.
How Can I Use Online Advertising to Get Real Estate Leads?
Working with Google Ads and Facebook Ads requires a certain level of knowledge in marketing. If you go in blindly and set up an advertising campaign without knowing what you’re doing, you could end up spending a lot of money with no results. In order to effectively use Google Ads and Facebook Ads to find customers that are looking to buy or sell their home, you will need to optimize your ad campaigns.
Choosing the keywords that you want to target is crucial for a successful ad campaign. Broad and general keywords, such as “real estate” or “home” won’t be very helpful. Online advertising shines when you use targeting to find potential customers, and that involves digging in deep into interests.
A better keyword would be “homes for sale”, but even then, this keyword is still too broad. In what geographic area does your business operate? Do you only list homes in a certain region? You might also want to target buyers that are similar to your current customers. Do you sell luxury homes, and your clients are mainly wealthy customers? Using this info, you can target more niche keywords, such as “Toronto luxury homes for sale” or “luxury Toronto home listings”.
Something that Google Ads allows is negative keywords, which are keywords that you don’t want your ad to show up. With negative keywords, you can filter out your audience to prevent clogging up your sales funnel with leads that won’t convert.
Ad Copy and Landing Page
In order to have a real estate ad campaign on Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you’ll need to create an ad copy and possibly a landing page. An ad copy is what your ad will show. This could be a few lines of text, with a call to action to capture attention and to drive clicks to your ad. For Facebook or display ads, you will need an image to go along with your ad copy. If you’re not well versed in graphic design or copywriting, you may want to get help from a professional.
A landing page is where visitors will go to when they click on your ad. This could simply be your home page, or it can even be a dedicated landing page set up to capture real estate leads. The goal of a landing page is to drive conversions. You want to turn visitors to your landing page into real estate clients. After spending money and time on perfecting your ad’s keywords, graphics, and ad copy, having a poor landing page can make your entire ad campaign worthless.
Real estate agents spend lots of time testing and perfecting their landing pages, time that they could use for other things to further their business. In addition to having a third-party help you with your keyword targeting, ad copy, and ad graphic design, search ads and social media ads can turn expensive, with no guarantee of success. Poor targeting can end up just like traditional advertising, with uninterested visitors looking at your ads and taking up your ad budget.
In a 2017 survey by Inman News for New American Funding, 84% of high-income real estate agents making over $100,000 per year and 74% of middle-income real estate agents making between $50,000 and $100,000 a year had a Twitter account, while 82% of high-income and 67% of middle-income real estate agents had a YouTube account. Social media advertising spans much further than just Facebook alone, and will require you to juggle between multiple accounts and platforms.
Email marketing allows you to engage your audience at a very low cost. You might acquire email subscribers from visitors to your website that are interested in your services, from your landing page from other ad campaigns, or from promotions that you might host. For example, you might decide to host a digital webinar about the local housing market in your area, with participants signing up for your newsletter in return.
With email marketing, you can keep your audience engaged and informed about the latest listings. You might send out a weekly email with your real estate listings to help boost visitors to your home listing.
However, email marketing requires you to know what to write. What type of content can you create and send out regularly, and will it be relevant to keep subscribers reading, or will it drive them to unsubscribe?
Lead Generation Services
Lead generation services combine the best of digital marketing into an easy way for real estate professionals to get real estate leads. With a lead generation service, the provider will obtain potential customers for you.
This might be through the provider conducting search advertising or social media advertising themselves, and then screening leads to send to you. This lets you skip the hassle of managing ad campaigns yourself and allows you to simplify your real estate sales funnel. Now that acquiring leads is out of the way, you can now focus your energy on converting leads into clients.
One example of a real estate lead generation service is WOWA, who provides real estate leads for real estate agents and mortgage leads for mortgage lenders. There’s no upfront or monthly costs, and you’ll only pay a referral fee for leads. In comparison, having an ad campaign through Google or Facebook will mean that you will be paying for ad traffic, even if they don’t convert into leads.
A more digital world means that more and more real estate advertising will be done online. Digital marketing reaches those that traditional physical ads cannot, while allowing advertisers to refine and target their audience. This creates a cost-effective way for real estate agents to acquire leads, yet it also requires experience in order to create an effective campaign. Lead generation services offer the best of digital marketing, allowing targeting of users while having qualified leads easily sent to real estate agents, saving time and money.