Hungry to get more out of digital marketing for your real estate business?
Whether you just haven’t really gotten started yet, or you’ve grown increasingly frustrated by not getting or maintaining the results you want, it’s worth taking a moment to get real.
You’ve got to be real about real estate digital marketing and what it really takes to make it work. Or you can fail hard and very expensively.
Real Estate & Digital Marketing
We’re all digital now.
Virtually 100% of home searches start online today. The vast majority of those are via mobile devices. Many of those in our youngest generations may never even know what it’s like to pick up a phone book, read a real newspaper, and perhaps even never to have to use a keyboard or send an email. It only makes sense that the bulk of real estate marketing is done in digital form today.
If you want to reach or be there for customers when they are looking for your help in selling, buying, renting or investing in homes, you need to be online.
Most industry professionals and businesses have been mostly moving in the right direction. According to RealTrends, 70% of agents have a website, and their most popular advertising channel is social media, followed by newspaper advertising, and then search engine marketing.
According to ATTOM Data, just 2% to 6% of advertising spend by real estate marketers, brokerages and Realtors is going to PPC and drip campaigns. Just around as much as being spent on websites. Social media is one of the biggest investments, though is often dwarfed by what it being spent on just purchasing internet leads from others. Yet, old school mail and flyers still seem to draw more budget allocation than more modern digital marketing practices.
With purchased leads clearly an expensive and not very reliable or sustainable way to maintain business, more and more real estate investors, brokers and agents do appear to be trying to create their own campaigns and digital marketing funnels. Because that’s where the business is, that’s where the highest percentage of leads are coming from. Though it is also becoming one of the biggest sources of waste and frustration in the industry.
Digital Marketing: The Fantasies & Fails
As easy as it often sounds and looks to generate real estate leads online, most attempts totally flop.
There are a lot of great success stories and hype out there. Done right, digital can deliver predictable, consistent deal flow and dollars. It can easily deliver the best marketing ROI on anything you do.
However, it’s rarely as easy and predictable as it sounds to get going. Many go broke in the process. At best, those who seem to be doing well can be getting very poor and uncompetitive results.
Throwing up an occasional random Facebook post, taking the DIY approach to Google Ads for a week, or starting a podcast are often not the big winners you think. It’s vital to understand the fantasies versus the almost for sure fails before you begin putting money into digital.
The Dangers of Fairytale Marketing
If you’re not real about what it takes to succeed, the costs can be steep.
Most real estate agents don’t make it through their first year. They go broke, and don’t even make enough to renew their licenses the first time. We all know that most small businesses don’t make it either. Most often due to cash flow issues.
Even if your marketing is producing leads and deals, if you aren’t leading in returns and profitability, then your competition will quickly eat you up. At best you’ll be frustrated, stressed out, be blowing opportunities to work with the best talent, will miss out on a lot of deals and long term customers, and will grow very slow.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You’ve just got to have realistic expectations.
Key Elements of Real Estate Digital Marketing Today
Common elements real estate marketers should expected to include in a full strategy today may include the following.
● Facebook chatbots
● Online classified ads
● A real estate website
● Landing pages
● Google Ads
● Click to call
● Text and SMS
● Integrated CRMs
● Ringless voicemails and voice broadcast
Why Most Fail
The number one reason that real estate companies and independent professionals fail is due to unrealistic expectations.
They’ve purchased a program from some guru who doesn’t specialise in real estate marketing or just market themselves not to real customers. Or they tried to copy someone else without knowing if that marketing was working or how. They are not getting the funnel right. Or, even if everything else is fantastic, they are not following up with leads!
The Keys to Success
Of the top keys to success in this space today pay attention to:
1. Fully integrated lead funnels
2. Attractive design
3. Instant follow up
4. Ongoing follow up
5. Having a real and sustainable budget
6. Putting in real research
7. Constantly updated research and SEO
8. Always putting yourself in customers shoes
You can’t just expect to throw up a Facebook post or Google ad and expect to close a deal. It’s a numbers game. Some will click. A good percentage of those clicks will be fakes, bots and scammers. A few will opt-in or contact you. Of those it can take seven follow ups to convert them into real clients and cash.
Be wary of being too cheap. Every piece of content is a branding play too. You’ve only got one chance to make a good first impression or lose them forever. Maybe you don’t have millions to spend to dominate the most obvious local keywords. Maybe you can’t afford $100k per article like the New York Times. Though know that according to RealTrends, the top 11% in your industry are spending at least $20,000 to over $80,000 on their advertising. Always learn toward quality over quantity. Be cost effective, but go too cheap and you’re just wasting money.
Seek the best help you can. SEO alone is a full time job for a whole team to stay on top of. Recognize where your own time is best spent. That’s probably closing deals and on growth strategy. Not deciphering two decades worth of SEO and landing page tips.
Online campaigns can be up, running and producing quickly. Though it really takes time to get into a good rhythm and optimize your returns. It takes time, it takes money.
Viral overnight successes usually cost $1M in ad spend, or they are the result of dripping great content and branding for years. Don’t get lost in the wrong metrics, you’ll go mad.
Hire well, research, test, tweak, create a good model, scale and keep building on that.