The most important thing you can do in any paid marketing for your real estate business is to make sure you have a solid foundation and a plan. It’s imperative that you make sure you know, BEFORE you spend it, how every dollar is going to make you money. Now you might not be making money right away, but your plan should be built so that every dollar you spend will make you more money at some point. Additionally, in my personal opinion, you really shouldn’t be spending any money on your marketing until you have your free/organic marketing down. There’s such a thing as organic reach, and getting into paid marketing should be like putting fuel on an already existing fire, not trying to start a fire to begin with.
The paid marketing plan we have for you involves digital platforms only. You can track your data on digital platforms far easier and far more accurately than non-digital platforms, so we focus on digital. When it comes to LinkedIn, it is still so new in its development as an ad platform compared to others that the organic side still really outpaces paid advertisement. LinkedIn also likely represents a very small segment of your available market because by and large, their users are more limited to white collar professionals when compared to other more mainstream platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others.
Regardless of the market, we suggest that you spend your first dollar on Facebook and Instagram as a reach campaign. And we consider Facebook and Instagram as one because ads are run from the same platform, and they are both owned by FACEBOOK. Why a reach campaign? It is one of the slower paths to profit, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to get in front of thousands of people in your market. We really like using a video format for reach campaigns because you get that “know, like, and trust” factor from a video so much better than you can from other types of content. Your audience can hear your voice, see your face and body language, and it’s as simple as making a quick intro video, or a video about an interesting feature in a neighborhood or business within your market. In virtually every market in which we’ve run ads for clients, from California to Florida to New York and cheaper states in between, we’ve consistently seen results where we can get our clients’ face in front of their audience for less than four dollars per thousand people. That’s an incredible value, and for a dollar or two dollars a day, it’s a great way to get something out there and gain visibility.
After a reach campaign, there’s a progression that I would go through as I got more and more marketing dollars available as an agent. It’s important to be reinvesting a part of each of your commission checks back into marketing. You want to dig your well before you’re thirsty, and keep those deals rolling in.
The next platform we suggest for paid advertising is YouTube, and specifically a lead generation campaign. This may be a less popular approach, but we recommend it because YouTube is a little less competitive than Facebook, and a lot more targeted. After Facebook’s congressional hearings in the spring of 2019, by fall of 2019 they had removed a bunch of real estate targeting options. You can no longer target by age or gender, or thousands of interests that were previously available. There are still plenty of ways to target on Facebook, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not like what Google can do. And the Google Ads platform is used in running ads on YouTube. With Google Ads, you can target people likely to move within a short time period, people who have recently moved, people who are renting, people who are homeowners, people who are homeowners and likely to move, and so much more. The data available is incredible.
Once you have YouTube ads up and running profitably, and you’re comfortable with spending ten or more dollars a day on this platform, we suggest using lead generation ads on Facebook and Instagram. This is because of the ability to access such a large user base on these platforms. Next, move on to Google Ads. Google Ads is one of the last platforms we recommend because out of all the platforms, “it takes money to make money” is the rule, not the exception with Google. Not only is it more expensive, but you may not see results immediately and it can be a tough pill to swallow if you start off spending lots of money on a single platform without seeing a quick return. You’re going to be competing against brokerages running ads on search results, and you’re going to need a really good IDX integration for capturing your leads. Many of your potential leads are going to be people looking for a search result, and it would be much better for those people to find you first instead of passing you up for Zillow. Google Ads is highly competitive, but if you are able to pay to play, you will get really good results using it.
After Google Ads, we recommend adding YouTube discovery ads. Here, you will start building content for your YouTube channel and gaining more and more visibility in front of your audience. As you promote your content with discovery ads, your core content videos will start to show up organically in YouTube search results, as well as in search results on Google. This is another slower path to profit than others, but will pay off in the long run.
With all of these platforms, the most important thing to remember is to track all of your data. It doesn’t do you any good to be spending money if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. With the data you compile, work backwards to figure out how many conversations it takes for you to get a transaction. How many leads does it take for you to have a single conversation? How many impressions does it take for you to get a lead? Calculate what a comfortable ROI is for you. You may be willing to spend two thousand dollars to essentially buy a transaction. Or, in your market, a transaction may be worth north of ten thousand dollars. If, for example, you’re in the south part of Ohio, that number is going to be a lot less. These numbers are all relative to you and your situation; not just the market, but your brokerage, your current volume, desire for growth, and other factors.
Last but not least, you need a solid follow up system. Texting a lead one time is not good enough. Calling them one time is not good enough. Don’t be creepy, but do put in the work and use the tools you have available. Follow up with multiple text messages, voicemail drops, phone calls, and emails. Whatever that system looks like for you, whether you use kvCORE, CINC, or Zapier and a Google spreadsheet, it needs to be robust and you need to implement it. Your follow up is what will make all of the money spent pay off.