If you’re a real estate agent or an independent agency, you already know that in order to be successful, your required skills are no longer limited to just selling a property. In today’s ‘direct to consumer’ sales environment, your ability to market and generate leads through unique marketing campaigns is even more critical if you want to excel in an increasingly competitive real estate industry. The bottom line is that in order to sell a house, first you must have a pool of potential buyers willing to purchase it.
If you are old enough to remember the days when you would advertise your “Open House” or your House for Sale in the classifieds section of your local newspaper, you also know that those days are over now, and so are newspapers for that matter.
The secret is no different than it is for any other industry. You still need to place your ads and promotions where your customers attention is these days. And that is where Facebook and Instagram come to place. Nobody likes to admit it but the numbers are out there. According to Mediakix, people spend an average of 35 minutes a day on Facebook and 15 minutes a day on Instagram, and those numbers continue to grow. That’s a lot of possibilities to put your real estate ads in front of a very captive and targeted audience.
Facebook and Instagram are primarily visual social platforms. Real estate marketing is also primarily visual. People like to see pictures and videos of homes rather than reading about them. Add to that, the fact that you can very much narrow down your target audience down to the core of your prospective buyer profile and you end up with a winning combination.
So the question is, how can you set up your campaign and optimize your budget to make sure that it provides you with the best possible ROI, or better yet, your properties being sold within a reasonable time frame?
Let’s take a look at some Facebook advertising advanced techniques specific to real estate.
Targeting The Right Audience
You want to make sure that each ad click counts so it’s important to target the right people at their right place. You can accomplish this by defining these parameters for each campaign:
Location Targeting: Target by Zip Code
Although you don’t want to get too precise and target just a certain zip code, setting certain location boundaries helps display your ads only within those areas or neighborhoods that are more likely to provide you with prospective buyers.
Age Targeting: Target the Age Ranges Most Likely to Buy
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Most people only start thinking about buying a house in their mid to late 20s. More importantly, if you’re selling a large house with several bedrooms, bathrooms, yard, etc. you’ll be targeting older couples with kids rather than younger individuals or couples that won’t be looking for such a big house at this stage of their lives.
Demographic Targeting: Target by Household Income Bracket
Just like the above parameter, Facebook also allows you to target people with household income in several percentage brackets. Obviously, if you’re selling a high price mansion, you will want to target people in the top 5% bracket. For other average family homes, you can target people in the 50% household income bracket and so forth.
Custom Audiences: Lookalike Audiences
This is a bonus – but very effective feature – from Facebook. With Custom Audiences you can upload to Facebook a list of previous customers that match a certain buyer profile and then have Facebook do some magic to find similar people (lookalike audience) from their own database who are likely ready to invest in your beautiful properties.
Schedule Your Ads For Peak Performance
Timing is everything, and when it comes to real estate, it could be the difference between closing a sale or missing it altogether. Everybody can sell a house during peak season or during market bubbles, but when the going gets tough, your marketing savviness will have to make up for a sluggish real estate market.
People will still buy houses. The question is whether you’ll be able to put your ads in front of them before one of your competitors does. You know your market better than anyone else. You know what months of the year are better for real estate. Is it when the weather starts warming up? Is it when school is over? What about the best days of the week or the best times of the day? As much as you can narrow down your schedule you will be saving campaign money on wasted impressions.
If you can shorten your sales cycle but just a few weeks, not only will you save on advertising money, but you will also save on house upkeep costs, time and a number of other potential expenses.
Use Video to Showcase Your Property
Video marketing used to be an expensive proposition that only large companies could afford. Not anymore. If you have a smartphone, you can create a pretty decent video showcasing your property. Of course, for larger homes, you may want to hire a professional videographer, but even in that case, your return on investment will be very high.
According to an Australian Real Estate Group, listings with a video received 403% more inquiries than those without!
If you feel comfortable on camera, you can even do a walk-through of the home explaining all of each unique features as you move from room to room. Remember, people on Facebook or Instagram are looking for authenticity and not so much for a Hollywood production. By being on camera, you’re automatically building trust, and when the customer makes an appointment to see the house in person, they will feel like they already know you.
Use Carousel Ads to Show Multiple Properties
For those cases when creating a video is not possible, or if you simply prefer to create an ad showing multiple homes within a certain area, Facebook’s Carousel ad is the way to go. This format is basically a photo gallery that allows you to create a slide show with individual descriptions for each slide. Whether you use it to describe each room in a house, or to describe each house on your portfolio, the format is traditionally a winner in terms of performance among Facebook’s various ad options.
Needless to say, you need to ensure your imagery is absolutely stunning! Professional photographers will also bring that extra glow to each room. However, if you feel you’re capable of taking good pictures, you can do that too. Either way, ads with the highest quality images will always cause a great first impression and appeal to potential buyers more than those with pictures taken in poor lighting conditions, bad angles or cluttered settings.
Use Compelling Ad Copy
Just because an image is worth a thousand words, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be creative with your copy. However, when it comes to Facebook and Instagram, less is better. In this case, let the words complement your images and not the other way around. Better yet, if you have customer reviews or testimonials from previous buyers, see if you can use them to build your own trust among new buyers. Remember, the goal is to have them contact you to see the house in person. And that’s just one moment of trust away.
Facebook advertising is particularly effective for real estate, whether it be brokerage firms, small builders or real estate agents. When planned properly, it can easily be the difference between seeing your listings with a “SOLD” sign at a relatively quick pace or keeping them on the market week after week waiting for something to happen. If you feel more comfortable having an experienced marketing agency handling the social media advertising for you, simply contact MGR and we will handle driving traffic to your listings so you can focus on closing the sale.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real.