Capital Investment: Marketing for Realtors

Well hello, and welcome to Episode 22 of Aftershock Weekly. This week we’re going to dive into the real estate vertical and talk about online marketing for real estate. Here at Aftershock we do work with a lot of realtors, a lot of real estate teams, and we’ve got some Best Practices, some platforms we want to talk about, so that hopefully you can take that and run with it as a realtor, or decide how to hire a company that can help you out with it. So, let’s get started with this.

Now, I know that if you’re a real estate agent or an attorney, or anyone that’s spending money online, you’re looking for an ROI. You’re looking to find quality people that are coming to your site, turning into a lead, nurturing that and turning it into a sale—a sale of a home, whatever the case may be. In real estate, it’s the sale of a home. It’s very important that that’s turning into a profitable venture for you. It can be scary. But I will tell you no matter what you do, it doesn’t matter if you do Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, you’re doing Yelp, you’re doing blogging, SEO—it takes time to get an ROI. You can’t start a campaign in one week and say, “Where are my leads at?” and freak out. Because if you do, you’re not going to be able to let it run enough time to let yourself optimize, or let the company you’re working with optimize—it takes time. So, make sure that you’re committing to a certain time duration so that you can let it work for you. So, let’s get into it.

Platforms. There’s a lot of website platforms when it comes to real estate. It seems like every day there’s a new one being thrown at us. I’m going to give you three that we really like, and then I’m going to tell you why. So, the first one—Boomtown. Boomtown is great if you have multiple agents working for you, and you want to have a site to provide them, because they also handle the pay-per-click marketing. They’ll handle the marketing piece of driving traffic to the site. But, it’s quite expensive. It’s certainly not for a single agent, the expense is far too high. So consider that if you’re a broker and you’re trying to provide your agents with value in their own website to where they can have a subdomain. Next, Kunversion—Kunversion with a K. Kunversion works really well, it’s for single users, it’s for big teams. They do a really good job of putting together a platform that tells a lot about a community, allows you to customize it, and it loads very fast. The lead capture comes up quickly to where it’ll help convert people into leads. I will say that one thing about them is if you grow to a bigger team, the cost continues to increase there. And the one I’m about to talk about is my favorite, because it does convert just as well as the other two, but the costs are far less: and that’s Real Geeks. Real Geeks is a platform that you can start as a single agent or as a big team. And as long as you’re using the same URL, you can have as many users as you want. But from a conversion standpoint, they do a very, very good job of always optimizing their lead capture and different things to make sure that you’re converting at the very highest level.

So with that, let’s talk about how we’re going to drive traffic. First off, Search/PPC vs. Facebook and Display Advertising. These are completely different. Search advertising means that you or I want to go to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and we type in “homes for sale in (an area)”. Maybe Sacramento, maybe New Jersey—whatever that area is, maybe it’s Chandler, Arizona. And you type that in, and guess what? Ads pop up at the top. Well, that’s one way that we utilize Google AdWords to show an ad that’s very specific to a search, and then take them to a page that’s about that specific city. Well, people are actively engaging with you because they’re looking and seeking out information. So, search is great, and better than display and Facebook advertising in that they’re looking for it, but with display and Facebook advertising, one thing that you can do is you can zone in on who you’re trying to target, even though it’s interruption marketing, you know that that particular demographic is going to be an audience that is likely going to resonate with your ad. So, one is search—and they’re looking for it—the other one is interruption. They serve two completely different purposes.

Next let’s talk about conversion rates, because this can go all over the board. I will tell you the same thing that we tell new agents or teams that we work with. When it comes to search advertising, you should see a conversion—meaning somebody clicked on an ad, came to your page, and that turning into a lead—within about 8-12% conversion rate. So, out of every ten, you should get around 1 on average that signs up to your site, and eventually that should increase. Especially if it’s specific more for a community rather than a city, because there’s more relevancy in that search. But if it’s far below that, if it’s 3 or 4% with search, that means you probably have to make some adjustments to your landing page, or your platform that you’re sending them to is not the right fit for you. Now, on Facebook advertising, it’s a little different. Let’s say that you’re listing a property, and you’re advertising that property. You can get a much lower conversion rate, but your cost per lead will probably be smaller because your cost per click is less when it comes to display advertising. But if you’re advertising a listing it’s cool, because on the seller’s side you can promote to them, “Hey, this is how we’re advertising your listing. We’re getting exposure out there.” And on the other side, you’re sending them to a landing page of that property, and whether they’re interested in that property or not they can still register with your website and turn into a lead of another buyer for you. So that’s a good way that Facebook and display advertising can work for you there. And conversion rates are going to range on those specific things, and it can be as low as 2%, and I’ve seen as high as 25%, depending upon specificity and what the actual ads are.

Improving your SEO. Here’s a couple of very quick tips for you on SEO when it comes to your real estate website. Number one, see if the platform you’re using will index every page and every property. Because what that does is it sends out to Google that you have more pages relevant to cities and listings in that area, and instead of having a site that’s got fifty pages, you can have, you know, ten thousand pages that are registered and indexed on Google. Now, obviously when a house sells, it gets taken off and it won’t be indexed, but they’re constantly refreshing, so that’s one thing. Two, write a blog article every week on something going on in the community that you want to have an influence in. So, let’s say that there’s a festival going on in Atlanta, and you want to write about that festival coming up. Or there’s something else going on in a community that’s smaller, you can write about that. And when you’re writing your blog make sure you have what’s called a “keyword density”—talking about the Atlanta area, talking about homes for sale somewhere on there, and then referencing back to what they call static pages. So, a static page that has homes for sale in Atlanta that you can link back to on your blog. By doing this consistently, it’s letting Google know that you’re an active website, you’re not static, and you’re also providing them information and links back to static information on your site that will eventually improve your SEO and help you rank higher. And Facebook advertising and display are great for a listing—we’ll get to that in just a minute.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, Facebook advertising for a listing is awesome. Because you’re double-dipping, in a sense. You’re telling your seller that—hey, we’re going to get this exposure out for you on your listing, and we’re going to help promote it. B, you’re also finding potential buyers that are coming to that page, that can register on a form, that whether they’re interested in that home or not, because they wanted more information, you now know that they’re a potential buyer, and that’s a lead for you. So, it works in two areas there. Now, there’s a specific way to do it that I would recommend. One, have multiple pictures of the homes. Give as much information as you can on the ad itself. Why is this important? Because, if you want to improve quality leads, give them as much information as you can, and then if they click through you know that they’re someone who is actually looking for more information on that home or that area. It increases the chances that it’s going to be a better potential lead. I have seen it with Facebook the bait-and-switch type of ads, to where you just show a property, you don’t give any information, people click, give information—the bad information is abundant when you don’t give a lot of front end information. You’ll get less clicks, but you’ll get better quality that way, which in the end is going to cost you less money and give you a better ROI.

Best Practices. Here’s some best practices on follow-up. When an online lead comes in, it’s important that you contact them as quickly as possible. The rule of thumb is that if you can get to them in the first five minutes, that’s optimal. Now, the cool thing is if you can call somebody while they’re still on the site, and just registered, you can change the conversation a little bit. You can ask them, “Hey, how was your experience on the site? Can I make any adjustments to the searches that you had set up for you? Do you have any questions?” And it’s a customer service call rather than going right into it, “When are you looking to buy or sell?” And it changes the conversation. It takes down that tension of you just called them, they just signed up, right? If you can’t call them in 5 minutes, make sure a text message is automatically going out. You can set up automatic text messages through your website, or there’s some great programs out there that you can utilize, like Get Riley Now. Make sure an email is sent out to them, because email is probably going to be the primary communication with them on an ongoing basis, using drip campaigns, letting them know about properties that were just listed in the area that they set up. But text message, people look at a text message almost instantly. The stat is, that 95% of text messages are opened in the first minute. That’s crazy, right? So, make sure that you call them quickly. If you don’t get hold of them, make sure that you’re following up in the first fifteen days at least seven times, because if you get a hold of them, more than likely that’s going to turn into a customer for you, as long as you’ve got that engagement and you’ve got a nurture sequence. Because remember, these people could be signing up on your website but not really looking until a year out. They’re just kind of getting their feet wet trying to figure it out. If you can be the person that leads them in that all-important process of buying—whether it’s their first home, second home, or selling their current home—it’s amazing. So make sure that you’re getting in touch with them as soon as possible. Thanks for tuning in to Aftershock Weekly. We wish you success in your real estate career. If you’re going to run the campaigns yourself, utilize all the great technologies that are out there. But if you want to focus on the real estate side of your business, helping people buy and sell homes, making the phone calls to your leads, and those practices, let a company like us take a look at what you’re doing and show you how we can manage it so we can generate the leads and you can make more sales.

So, with that, thanks for tuning in, and we’ll leave you with a quote.