Brand Awareness

Building awareness of your real estate business is an important function of marketing.  But, what’s the best marketing tactic to build brand awareness for your company?

I’m going to argue that the best (and most affordable) type of marketing for brand awareness is digital marketing.

Digital marketing makes building awareness quite easy!  However, digital marketing encompasses quite a few tactics so we’ll have to dive in a bit deeper to uncover the best method.


When utilizing digital marketing to gain awareness of your brand it’s best that you first understand a few basic principles:

  1. Brand awareness campaigns typically reach people at the TOP of the sales funnel – meaning, they aren’t ready to buy
  2. Most of the people you reach are not immediately going to call you to schedule an appointment, or fill out a contact form
  3. The goal is to make people AWARE that your business exists. This becomes more important when they move down the sales funnel because your business will now be one they consider using
  4. With the top three principles in mind, you need to come up with a budget that makes sense for a long term marketing strategy not yielding immediate results.  One way to determine a budget is by analyzing your competitors brand awareness campaigns and gauging how much you’ll need to spend to COMPETE

Now that you understand the basic principles of a real estate brand awareness campaign, let’s take a look at the main type of digital marketing used to accomplish this goal, as well as the platforms which allow you to reach people.


Display Advertising – #1 Real Estate Marketing for Brand Awareness


Digital marketing gives you the ability to reach people in every step of the sales funnel.  At the awareness stage, there is one form of digital marketing that is most effective: display advertising. We’re going to take a look at what display advertising is, the platforms used, where ads show, and ad types.

What it is

Display advertising, when done online, is similar to the advertising you’ll find on billboards and magazine ads, only in a different format.  The idea is the same: create ads that GRAB a hold of peoples attention, and make a lasting impression.

Display ads are usually image based, with some text, and a generally have a call-to-action.  Instead of being found on busy streets, newspapers, and magazines, image ads appear on websites.


Platforms Used

There are several ways you can pay to show your display ads to people online, but the most common is by utilizing an advertising platform.  Google AdWords, for instance, allows you to set up a display campaign that can show on many of it’s over 2 Million display network sites across the world, including mega sites like YouTube.

Of course, as a local business you most likely don’t want to pay for a global reach.  I just wanted to point out how VAST the opportunities are to put your brand in front of people with a Google AdWords display (or video) campaign.  But, Google AdWords isn’t the only platform available to get your ads in front of people, there are many more.  Here are a few:

  1. BuySellAds – With the BuySellAds advertiser solution you can show your banner ads “across thousands of publishers at once.”
  2. 7search – “Connecting great advertisers with high-traffic, vertical-specific online publishers.”
  3. Bing Ads – The proverbial David in the war for your advertising dollars, Bing Ads allows you to reach a pretty respectable amount of people at a generally lower cost-per-click than adwords.

In addition to using platforms to show ads to people through an “ad network”, you can also advertise on sites that aren’t part of an ad network.  Some websites (typically larger ones) utilize their own ad servers so that they can have more control over what ads are being shown on their site. Of course, this means that it’s not quite as easy to get your ads up and running, and many times this option is much more expensive.


Where Ads Show

Unlike Search Ads which show on Search Results Pages (SERPS), Display Ads show on websites and apps.

Owners of sites that host ads are referred to as publishers.  Some platforms have pretty stringent guidelines for what sites they allow to become publishers. This helps relieve some of the concerns advertisers (like you) have about where your ads are showing.

Contextual Targeting also helps decide where your ads will show.  Contextual targeting is a method used by ad servers in which publisher websites are scanned and keywords are identified that match your target audience, and your ads are only shown on those websites.  This further relieves advertiser concerns about reaching a specific audience rather than a more general one.

Furthermore, platforms such as Facebook Ads allow you to target people based off of their interests, as well as certain demographics.

Here’s a list of possible places your ads will show up (depends on platform being used):

Ad Networks:

  • Websites: News sites, blogs, other online communities
  • Video Sharing Sites: YouTube, Dailymotion, Vine, etc.
  • Mobile Apps: Way to many to name

Social Media Sites:

  • Facebook
    • News Feed, or Mobile News Feed
    • Right Column
    • In-Stream Video
    • Instant Articles
    • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
    • Homepage Feed
    • Right Rail of Homepage
    • Sponsored In-Mail


Types of Ads

Unlike printed media, digital media allows you massive creative flexibility.  Not only can you use static ads, but you can use ads with motion that captivate your audience.

Image Ads: Not your grandma’s image ads…

Static Ads – Images with some text and a hyperlink pointing to a relevant landing page.

Animated Ads – HTML5, Flash, or GIF formatting, bring movement to otherwise static images.

Interactive Ads – Flash ads that allow you to perform a function, like blowing up a ship, or some other game.

Video Ads: Usually, video ads are short videos (30 or so seconds long), that quickly convey your brand message.


If you are looking to build awareness (not lead generation) of your brand, digital marketing, especially display advertising, is the way to go.

Thanks to contextual and interest based targeting, it is pretty simple to get your message in front of people who are the most likely to be interested.

With display advertising your not only able to utilize static images, but you can also use animated ads, interactive ads, and video to give users a richer experience that leaves a more lasting impression.

Michael Johnson on Linkedin
Michael Johnson
William "Michael" Johnson is a digital marketer and founder of Crown Listings. He's also a contributor to Inman News, where he teaches real estate agents digital marketing tips.

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