It’s 2017 and now’s the time to ramp up the marketing strategy for your real estate business.
As you probably know, in today’s saturated market it’s not good enough to have a traditional strategy only. You have to have both a traditional, and a digital strategy in place to compete for the attention of buyers, sellers, and renters.
Here’s a helpful guide detailing both digital and traditional lead sources, as well as some tools to help you capture them.
Search and Display Ad Platforms
- Google AdWords – Google Adwords allows you to get your business in front of potential buyers and sellers in multiple ways. Search ad campaigns allow you to target users in a specific area, who type in keywords that match your services, and show your ad on the search engine results page (SERP). Display campaigns allow you to target websites that potential buyers and sellers visit, and show them your image ads, video ads, etc. Remarketing campaigns allow you to target people who have been to your website, and shows them ads while they are browsing other sites. Video campaigns allow you to show your video on YouTube and Google Partner Sites.
- Bing Ads – Often overlooked, there are still millions of people who use Bing as their search engine. And, because it is often overlooked, the cost-per-click of Bing Ads tend to be much lower. Your ads can also show up on Yahoo search results pages.
- Yahoo Gemini – Yahoo claims to have over 1 billion monthly users! Yahoo’s native ad platform allows you to use contextual targeting to reach mobile users in it’s search results pages, as well as in editorial content. When creating a campaign you can choose a native campaign (will show ads to people within editorial content), search only, or search and native.
Social Media Ad Platforms
- Facebook Ads – With Facebook ads you can build highly targeted audiences and reach that audience through a variety of creatives. You can use carousel ads, canvas ads, video ads, standard image ads, and more. Plus, you can show ads on Instagram.
- Linkedin Ads – Serve targeted ads by location, job title, job function, industry, company name, and more. Learn more here.
- Twitter Ads – In Twitters own words, “Only pay when users follow your account or retweet, like, reply, or click on your Promoted Tweet. You’re in complete control. There’s no minimum spend, and you can start and stop at any time.” – Twitter Ads
- YouTube Video Ads – Through Google AdWords you can set up display or video campaigns to advertise on YouTube (you have to have a YouTube channel). With a display campaign you can target specific videos or channels with banner ads. Video campaigns allow you to show videos before a video plays, YouTube search results, or next to videos. You can also drive traffic to your website through your YouTube channel and videos. When you connect your website to YouTube you can use “annotations”, or “cards” with a call-to-action urges people to visit your site to learn more.
- Dailymotion – While YouTube is by far the largest video sharing network, there are alternatives. Dailymotion gets over 360 million video views per month in the US alone. As with most platforms, there are a variety of ways to target users. You can visit http://advertising.dailymotion.com/ to learn more.
- Vimeo – Create a Brand Channel and add your videos. Then, once your content is ready, vimeo will distribute your videos on a combination of media placements, PR, and social media accounts to help you reach there “massive audience.” Typically, this would be better suited for larger companies, such as National Builders, then for smaller agencies.
- DoubleClick by Google – Get access to “brand-safe” programmatic inventory. DoubleClick offers a variety of solutions which you can learn more about here.
- BrightRoll from Yahoo – Allows you to turn on your preferred partners, giving you more control over where your ads are showing.
- Campaign Monitor – Simple drag and drop design helps you create amazing looking emails. Can integrate with your website to capture new emails as well. Campaign Monitor starts at $9 per month.
- Mailigen – Email marketing automation based on user behavior, with tons of features. Mailigen starts at $10 per month.
- Mail Chimp – Another easy to use platform, Mail Chimp is probably the most widely used email marketing system. In addition to your email marketing campaigns, you can create Facebook ads. Mail Chimp has a free option, then goes up to $10 per month and higher, depending how many features you need.
- BombBomb – Send video emails to connect with people on a more personal level.
- Google AdWords – In the not too distant past Google rolled out a new way for advertisers to reach people through there email inbox. If you use Gmail, you may have seen some of these ads going to your “Promotions” tab.
Real Estate Market Places
- Zillow – Reach a large volume of home buyers or renters on not only Zillow, but Zillow’s partner sites: trulia, Street Easy, and hotpads. It’s where most people begin their search.
- Realtor.com – Reach people searching for homes on Realtor.com, or it’s app.
- Google AdWords – You can reach real estate market places that have partnered with Google, and serve your display ads through the Google AdWords platform.
- Yelp – Advertise to people who are looking for reviews of companies who offer real estate services. Yelp has options for local and national business.
- Google My Business – While not technically a “review site”, having a lot of reviews on your Google My Business page is an effective way of marketing your business while people are searching for real estate related terms on Google, or Maps.
Other Digital Marketing Lead Sources
- Company Website – Through onsite and offsite optimization of your website, you can gain better position in search rankings for highly trafficked keywords. Onsite optimization has to do with data on your website such as your: content, title tags, alt-tags, meta-descriptions, headers etc., as well as more technical SEO tactics such as schema markup and helping your site speed. Offsite optimization has to do primary with link building, and social media. There are several SEO tactics that can be implemented depending on the type of business you have. For most real estate professionals a Local SEO campaign will be the most effective. In addition to onsite and offsite optimization there are a variety of forms you can use to help you capture the leads you are driving to your site. If you’re using a WordPress site you have a ton of options! – See the WordPress Form Plugins Section, where we list a couple.
Digital Marketing Tools
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
- Top Producer – One of the top CRM’s for real estate professionals for many years. Top producer allows you to setup automated marketing to stay in touch with clients past, present, and future. Top producer is an affordable choice, and integrates with your MLS.
- Follow Up Boss – Follow Up Boss connects to your email, Zillow, website, and other sources making data entry effortless. You can even text clients from your desktop, and it keeps a log under the persons profile.
- Salesforce – This CRM claims that the average company using its software sees, “27% growth in sales revenues, 32% increase in lead conversion, 34% increase in customer satisfaction, and 56% faster deployment.”
- Contactually – While there’s no MLS integration with Contactually, it still offers some great features, is super easy to use, and works well for relationship building.
- Insightly – Allows you to manage leads and clients, has a social CRM, and integrates with your email. Insightly’s monthly price ranges from free to $99.
- Propertybase – Powered by Salesforce, this CRM caters specifically to real estate professionals. Propertybase allows you to capture and manage leads, implement an email marketing campaign, manage your listings, automate workflows, and keep track of your transactions.
- Realvolve – Another CRM built specically with Real Estate Pros. in mind. With Realvolve you can import all your existing clients, send SMS messages, get reminders, manage tasks, and much more.
- REthink Real Estate CRM – Has commercial and residential options. ReThink is built with real estate teams or whole offices in mind. Every user of the platform is given a different experience based on their role.
WordPress Lead Capture Plugins
- Sumo – Build clean lead capture forms that can connect with most major email services, including: Hubspot, Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, Get Response, etc. Sumo also gives you a clean looking social share option to help get people to share your content on social media.
- Gravity Forms – Easy to use form editor, and forms integrate with many different web applications such as, email marketing platforms, and merchant accounts (like paypal, or freshbooks).
- Unbounce – You can create great looking landing pages for your PPC campaigns at about $49 per month. Unbounce is simple to use, and offers conversion tools, A/B testing, and 100+ unlocked templates.
- Instapage – Boasts of having an average conversion rate of 20%. Instapage offers and easy to use page builder, mobile responsive landing pages, A/B testing analysis, and more.
- Lander – Another easy to use landing page builder. Lander offers dynamic text replacement, which can be very powerful for PPC campaigns. It can also integrate with Facebook.
- Google Analytics – My favorite data measuring tool. Google Analytics is both powerful, and free to use. With GA you can gain helpful insights into what user are doing when they land on your website, or app.
- Crazy Egg – Allows you to “visualize where your customers click.” Crazy Egg will also show you how many people scroll down on your pages, and where they stop.
- Piwik – Open analytics software with real time data updates, goal conversion tracking, and most of the bells and whistles you would expect from a good analytics software. One of the perks of Piwik is that you own 100% of the data. Piwik offers both free and paid versions.
- Kissmetrics – Behavioral analytics platform designed to help you increase conversions, and retention rates. Kissmetric tools include: Analyze, and Engage.
- Open Home Pro – Get more people to sign-in to your open houses, record notes about your visitors, and follow up with leads with this helpful app.
- DocuSign – Store, share, and electronically sign documents from your mobile device.
- myFirstam – View all your title orders, and pull up property profiles on-the-go.
- DSLR – Take higher quality photos then you can take with your cell phone. Please…no more cell phone picks in 2017!
- Wide Angle Lens – A must have in real estate photography. Standard lenses make everything look small and uninviting.
- Matterport – 3D virtual tours. Turn all your listings into 3D tours and allow potential buyers to tour your property at any time, from anywhere.
- Drone – Get stunning aerial photos and video and give people a better idea of how your listing sits in relation to it’s surroundings.
- Stedicam – Allows you to take a steady video tour of a home, without all the camera bouncing you get from a hand-held video.
Traditional Lead Sources
- Open Houses – This is still one of the most effective ways to meet people interested in buying a home. Several of the people you meet will already be working with someone, and that’s fine, but don’t let that deter you. If you hold a few open houses per week you’re sure to fill your database with lots of prospects sooner than you think.
- Direct Mail – Compile a list of renters, and send them bright, easy to read postcards with a great call-to-action. It’s usually a good idea to make sure there isn’t an agent that already dominates that area, as this will increase the time, and cost to try to tap into the farm.
- First Time Home Buyer Workshops – Why not partner with a mortgage loan officer and teach people what it takes to become a home owner?
- Door Hangers – If you don’t have the money for a direct mail campaign, you can manually place your advertisement on peoples doors. You may even bump into a few people and start a conversation about how the markets doing.
- Database – Still one of the most effective ways to generate seller leads. If you’re not mining your database your missing out on a lot of opportunity.
- For-Sale-By-Owner Listing (FSBO) – Most FSBO’s are trying to save money. What they don’t always understand is that you can typically get them more money for their property then they can, and they can still make what they want. It’s a win-win!
- Expired Listings – You might not want to call on the day the listing expires, or the day after for that matter.
- Direct Mail – The key to a solid direct mail campaign is consistency. Some example of material you might include: sold listings, and market updates.
- Door to Door – Put on some comfy shoes and a bright smile. Door to Door knocking can be an effective way of meeting home owners, however, you need to have some pretty thick skin since many people aren’t kind to solicitors.
There are way more sources, tools, and methods than I can possibly cover here.
However, I would love to hear about some of your favorite tools, and tips. Feel free to post a comment below.