Real Estate Digital Marketing: Introduction to Sell Real Estate Using Digital Marketing
There is a lot of misinformation on how to do digital marketing for a category like real estate. This article will clear you all the confusion you have on Real Estate Digital Marketing.
And a lot of real estate companies haven’t even got started with selling real estate online. They are not leveraging digital marketing because they do not understand how it works.
Many companies are still stuck with traditional marketing methods such as advertising in newspapers, radio and hoardings on the road.
Very big real estate companies can handle the costs involved in traditional marketing, but smaller companies find that it is unsustainable to do traditional marketing anymore.
The average cost per lead the real estate industry is around 2000 to 3000 rupees (Depending on the ticket size of the property). If one out of every 10 leads visit the property (site visit), it costs around Rs.20,000 to get a site visit!
If one out of 5 site visits convert into a buyer, the cost per customer acquisition is Rs.1,00,000! If only 1 in 10 site visits convert into a paying customer, then it costs Rs.2 Lac to acquire 1 customer. This is not sustainable in most of the cases.
For a luxury flat costing around Rs.1 Crore or above, this is fine. But still Rs.1-2 lacs to acquire a customer is too high.
With Real Estate digital marketing, this can be brought down by a huge margin.
We’re going to dig deep into Real Estate Digital Marketing, but feel free to jump to any section that interests you:
- Understanding Branding and Direct Response Marketing
- Understanding Real Estate Digital Marketing & Sales Funnel
- Tools to Drive Your Real Estate Digital Marketing Funnel
- Understanding Real Estate Digital Marketing Ads
- Understanding Google Ads for Real Estate Digital Marketing
- Understanding Facebook Ads for Real Estate Digital Marketing
- Understanding Real Estate Landing Pages for Real Estate Digital Marketing
Understanding Branding and Direct Response Marketing
There is a huge confusion in the market between online branding, marketing and sales. A lot of people use digital marketing just to spread the name of a brand, and they are not actually doing direct response marketing.
There is a huge difference between traditional marketing, branding and direct response marketing.
When you are getting started as a marketer, one of the first things that you have to learn is direct response marketing.
Many people are not very clear about the concept of direct response marketing. Many of them will end up living their whole lives without learning direct response marketing!
As the word suggests, with direct response marketing you get a direct response from your prospective customer whenever you are running a marketing campaign.
Direct response marketing is very much different from branding. Branding activities work well for FMCG products and mass B2C products.
Many people think that they know marketing because they have seen marketing and advertising for their whole life. Right from our childhood we are bombarded with ads on TV, newspapers and all the other mediums.
But what you see around you is a very small part of the business world. Only mass B2C products are actually advertised in that way.
For example, if a company is selling a soap, they cannot do direct response marketing because it doesn’t make sense to generate leads and sell a soap by calling someone and convincing them to buy it.
Small Business Should Do Marketing Differently
Many people end up wasting and branding activities trying to get the word out but eventually they realize that there are activities have been a waste of money.
Small business people look at big businesses and want to become a big business, so they copy the marketing and branding activities done by the big business, and think that they can become like them.
This is the number one mistake the most of the small business people make in the marketing arena.
The reality is that big businesses are actually very inefficient in their marketing activities. And they can afford to be an inefficient only because they are a big business.
There are certain companies which are big, but at the same time do marketing very efficiently, but the reality is that you do not know about these companies. They are so efficient and their marketing campaigns reach only their target audience, and they do not reach you!
Just because you have never heard of them doesn’t mean that they are not doing good in their business! If you know about a business, and if you are not their potential customer, then you can be sure that they are not efficient in their marketing campaigns. They should have never reached you!
Marketing in Real Estate
When you consider real estate, certain companies can afford to do branding activities. They will advertise on newspapers, radio channels and outdoor hoardings.
There marketing is not efficient, and they are actually losing a lot of money in inefficient advertising.
They will be spending money on areas which do not generate any returns at all. But they can afford to be an inefficient because in many cases they do not spend any money on customer acquisition.
They will generate sales from word of mouth, and such customers are free for them. This compensates for their inefficient marketing activities!
However new real estate companies cannot copy the marketing model of large companies.
A small apartment promoter, who may be selling around 50-100 units in one project cannot afford to do mass branding activities.
They depend on Real Estate digital marketers to sell their properties. They have limited marketing budgets and they cannot afford to throw money on branding activities.
They need people who can track the results properly and run and efficient marketing campaign. Real Estate Digital marketing consultants can take pride that they are the only people who can run an efficient marketing campaigns for real estate client!
Branding Campaigns in Digital Marketing
Many people have not understood the power of digital marketing. And many people think the digital marketing is just about advertising online.
Many people just thought internet was just another communication medium like TV or newspaper, and they copied their marketing activities into the Internet.
Many digital marketing agencies started running advertisements for big brands in the online medium. They do not do direct response marketing.
TV advertisements have become YouTube advertisements. Print ads on newspapers have become banner ads on websites. These are online branding activities without direct response.
You will know that these campaigns are just branding campaigns, because there is no clear sales funnel when you actually click on the ads.
Less than 5% of the brands need to do branding activities.
If you are doing marketing for your own company or for your clients, there is a 95% chance that all you need to do is direct response marketing.
As a digital marketer you have to reach people who are interested in purchasing home. Even your neighbor does not need to know what you do, if he does not want to purchase home.
So let us learn more about direct response marketing and how to create a direct response marketing campaign:
Understanding Direct Response Marketing
Direct response marketing means that I am going to get a direct response from prospective customer when I run a marketing campaign.
Direct response marketing is not limited to the Internet, but the Internet definitely makes it very efficient to do direct response marketing.
One of the easiest ways to understand direct response marketing is the infomercials that you see on TV. I am sure that if you have watched cable TV you would have noticed infomercials for products like exercise equipment that you can buy and keep it at your home – mostly under the bedroom cot, unused!
You would be wondering if this product really sells because you are not buying them. But you can notice that such infomercials are not going away. They keep coming back for one reason – they are working!
They are doing direct response marketing. They give you a phone number to call if you want to order their products.
If they are running a campaign, the calls and orders don’t come in within 1 day they know that their marketing campaign is not working.
That is the speed of feedback that you need when you are doing marketing campaigns. If you are putting a hoarding on a road, you will not be able to measure the results instantly.
Also when you are buying a placement on a hoarding, you cannot run an advertisement for a single day. You may need to commit for entire month before you actually discover that the hoarding is a waste of money.
Even if your target customers are looking at the ad, they are going to forget about it and move on with their busy lives. And there is no way to get a direct response from that.
If you have a hoarding on a road with your phone number listed, how many people do you think will stop their vehicle, note down the phone number and call up?
Unless someone is really hungry to buy a property, that is not going to happen. In this day and age where there is too much supply and low demand, such marketing campaigns are down right inefficient and a waste of money.
So the core idea that you have to understand is that, for small companies and companies that are just starting out, branding activities on getting the word out is a waste of money.
Unless the brand has the capability to become very big, there is no reason why you should be trying to spread the brand name by spending money on advertising activities.
Lean, Direct Response, Digital Marketing
Lean marketing and direct response marketing methodologies were very powerful even before the advent of digital marketing.
Only the marketers who studied about these concepts and experimented with it, learned direct response marketing.
Now that we have understood the power of direct response marketing, we can use digital marketing, which is far more efficient marketing channel for direct response than any other medium ever invented by mankind.
Tracking, analytics and statistics that we get via digital marketing is especially suited to do direct response marketing campaigns.
Those who understand the power of this, silently use these tools to grow their businesses to multi-million-dollar levels. Other people who have not learnt direct response marketing just wonder how did they pull it off.
Direct response marketing combined with the power of digital marketing. helps you be as lean as possible in your marketing approach.
If you spend Rs.2000 on a Real Estate digital marketing campaign, you will be able to evaluate whether your campaign is working or not.
Let us say, in your target city it costs 200 rupees to generate 1 lead in the India real estate category.
If you spend 2000 rupees to generate 10 leads, you can call up all this leads and you can find out if they are interested in the property. If most of the leads hang up, or tell you that they never signed up for getting more information about this project, then you know that there is something wrong with your campaigns. This speed of feedback is possible only with digital marketing.
For example, when I started out serving my real estate client, the image that we used on the ad was not very clear. My real estate client was promoting apartments, but the image looked like we are selling individual houses.
We generated 20 leads in the first campaign, initially I called up this leads myself, nearly 6 leads out of this 20 leads asked me whether we are selling an individual house!
Then I realized that it is because of the misleading picture. I immediately changed the ad image to make it very clear that this is not an individual house, but an apartment complex.
Imagine what would have happened if you ran the same as in a newspaper or magazine, you have spent a lot of money up front and you wouldn’t have had the time to optimize your ad.
Also note that some marketers do not do the work involved in such campaigns. They will not test the leads for relevancy, and they will not test the campaigns with different types of ads.
In such cases the power of digital marketing goes wasted. If your real estate client is trying to save money by doing digital marketing himself, or by hiring a digital marketer in his company – he will not be able to get the performance that you can.
That is why it makes more sense for the client to outsource a to a digital marketing agency or a consultant like you, because you can promise performance.
Understanding Real Estate Digital Marketing & Sales Funnel
Now that you have understood the difference between direct response marketing and branding, let us now look at how the sales process for direct response marketing campaigns looks.
As a marketer you are responsible for designing your marketing and sales funnel. Every business deserves a unique marketing and sales funnel.
Now you will learn in general about what is a “marketing and sales” funnel and how a marketing and sales funnel for real estate business looks like.
The Purpose of the Ad
Here, the funnel starts with an ad. But the purpose of running the ad is not to spread the brand awareness. Online ads are not like newspaper, TV or radio ads. We are not going to shoot in the dark here.
We are running the ads so that we can expect a direct response from the people looking at the ad. This means that we expect people to click on the ad, go to a landing page, and give their contact information to us.
We will use this contact information to contact them, and then we will go through a sales process to convert them into buying customers.
Understanding the Funnel
When you are just getting started with marketing it is natural to expect that every person who looks at the ad is going to click on it, every person who clicks on the ad is going to become a lead, and every lead is going to become a customer.
But it never works that way in the real world. It is called a funnel because there are more people at the top than at the bottom.
There is some mathematics involved in a sales funnel which you should understand. If 100 people see the ad, you can expect 1 person to click on it.
If 20 people visit your landing page you can expect 1 person to fill out their contact details. And so on.
In “Real Estate digital marketing and sales” funnels, the following steps are involved in most of the cases:
- A view on the ad
- A click on the ad – and visit to a landing page
- Lead generation at the landing page
- Follow up with the leads
- Leads convert into customers
The funnel will be a little different for each business depending on the sources of leads and how you setup your sales process.
The Real Estate Digital Marketing and Sales Funnel
Real estate sales funnel looks like this:
- Ads and Listings to Generate Interest
- Lead Generation
- Giving Information via Calls, Emails and SMS
- Follow Up Calls & Driving Site Visits
- Converting Site Visitors into Buyers
The first few items makes up for the marketing funnel and the next few steps makes up for the sales funnel.
The Real Estate Digital Marketing Funnel
1. Ads and Listings to Generate Interest
The first step is to generate the interest of potential customers by running the ads. Run ads on Facebook, Google and also list your project on real estate portals like 99acres.com, commonfloor.com or magicbricks.com.
2. Lead Generation
Now you have three sources of lead generation. Create a landing page where you can give information about the project and make easy for the people to leave their contact information on the landing page.
The traffic to the landing page will come from PPC ads from Google Ads, and Facebook ads.
Also ran Facebook Lead ads – that’s where you can be able to generate leads on Facebook directly without using a landing page.
Facebook lead ads work especially well when you are running mobile ads, because people do not usually find it easy to fill up forms on mobile. So redirecting them to a landing page is not a good idea.
With Facebook Lead ads people just need to click on the ad and then there will be another form which is displayed within Facebook on their mobile.
Facebook pre-fills their contact information such as name, phone number, and email ID. There is no need for them to enter their contact information on the form.
They just need to click on the submit button, and the information is passed on to you.
The 3rd source of leads will come from real estate portals. The quality and quantity of these will not be that great.
The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel begins after the lead is generated.
3. Giving Information via Calls, Emails and SMS
People give their contact information to you only because they expect you to get back to them with more information. So after you generate a lead it is very important to follow-up with the lead. That’s called lead nurturing.
A cold lead is someone who is interested in your product but not ready to purchase yet because they lack the information needed to make a buying decision.
A hot lead is an informed, educated lead who is ready to buy your product. The process of educating and informing your leads through sales and/or marketing is lead nurturing.
To help you understand lead generation and nurturing in a simple, easy and fun way, let me give you this example:
Team John and Andrew have started a new company. They have invented a new kind of washing machine. This washing machine washes, dries and automatically irons the clothes within 25 seconds. This is a brand new invention and they are showcasing it in an exhibition.
People walk up to their stall and check out their new product. But they do not buy it immediately. Since this is a new kind of product and something that they have not seen or known about before – they have a lot of questions, hesitation and objections.
- Will it consume a lot of power?
- Will it break down soon, do you have warranty?
- Is it easy and simple to operate?
- Does it come with any payment plans?
- How can I trust this new brand or company? And so on…
So the salesman says “Please fill this form with your name, phone number and address, we will bring this machine to your home for a demo, explain all the features, answer all the questions you have until you are convinced and then you can decide if you want to buy it.” (This is the lead generation part).
When the salesman goes to their home, does a demonstrations, answers all her questions and removes all her objections, they buy the product and become a customer. (This is lead nurturing and conversion into a sale).
You see, lead generation and nurturing is not something that is limited to the internet and digital marketing world.
Any uninformed customer needs to be nurtured before they are ready to buy. Lead nurturing is also termed as education marketing by some experts. They are all the same.
Sales Process Automation
Here you can apply sales process automation techniques to reduce human work. You can send an automated email to your prospects with details such as the cost sheet of the project the specifications, brochure and location details.
Sometimes leads will get disqualified immediately because: they are not able to afford it, or they are looking for a real estate property in a different location and they signed up by mistake, or it could be some other reason. There will be a certain percentage of leads which will get disqualified immediately.
There will be certain leads that are very hot, there will be some leads that are just warm, and there will be certain limit switch are very cold.
Hot leads are the leads who are ready to buy a property immediately or within 3 months. Warm leads are people who are just interested in buying a property within the next 1 or 2 years, Cold leads are people who do not respond properly, and you have no idea why they sign up!
Call up all the leads and give information to them personally.
4. Follow Up Calls & Driving Site Visits
Once you have started generating the leads online, you cannot expect these people to come and buy your property automatically.
Buying is an emotional decision and people do not always make a logical decision when it comes to buying high-priced items.
We like to think we are logical people but studies show that we are emotional people! Those who have shown interest in your property need to convince themselves about buy your property. To convince themselves that this particular property is worth investing, they need to actually visit the site and get the look and feel of the property.
Only after this happens you can expect someone to buy your property. It doesn’t matter how many leads you generate, you cannot expect any lead to become a buyer directly without site visit (visiting the property physically).
If possible send a brochure to your customer’s home, this will act as a re-marketing marketing tool.
Brochure will be there on their desk, and it will keep them reminder about this property. this increases the likelihood that they will get in touch with us again to schedule a site visit.
When people actually become a lead they are in the middle of something else.
Clients might be travelling for business work and when they had some free time they were searching for properties and they have become a lead.
In such cases if you don’t follow-up with a lead they may just forget about you and never actually come and visit the site. If you do not follow-up with the lead in a timely manner then you would have wasted money in marketing and advertising.
When you are generating a lot of leads, it becomes very difficult to keep track of the phone calls to be made. Some people just use Google sheets to track all the calls to be made. I would recommend using a CRM.
To get a good understanding of the marketing and sales funnel all you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. Try to imagine how you feel and what will you do if you were the buyer, and you will get an understanding about how the funnel should be designed.
5. Converting Site Visitors into Buyers
Now that you have started generating leads and converting them into site visits, the next obvious step is to make them buy your properties.
Here, you have to understand that it is beyond your control to make them buy. As a digital marketer, your responsibility ends with generating quality leads that visit the physical site of the property.
The sale of the property depends on the property itself. The quality of the construction, the location of the property and the price play a major role in the sales. As a digital marketer all these are outside your control.
If you are a Real Estate digital marketing consultant serving a real estate client, then keep in mind that you should never agree on performance metrics such as: number of sales generated.
Real estate has long sales cycles. Someone who wants to buy a property will visit a property and after that it could take up to 1 year before the sale happens.
Any digital marketer who drives real site visits is a successful digital marketer.
You need to have a clear understanding with the real estate company on this metric. This also applies if you are working as a Real Estate digital marketer in a real estate company.
Your performance metric should be your cost per site visit. The cost per site visit will be obviously high for cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. It will be low for cities like Coimbatore, Trichy etc,.
You can calculate the cost per visit by looking at the total clicks and the CPC. Then calculate the cost per site visit.
Here’s an example math:
- Cost per click: ₹ 60
- Total visitors to landing page: 750
- Total Cost: ₹ 45,000
- Total Leads: 90
- Cost per Lead: ₹ 500
- Total site visits: 20
- Cost per site visit ₹2,250
The only metric that the real estate company would be interested in is: Cost per site visit. Your initial experimental campaign will not be efficient. Your cost per site visit will be high. But as you start optimizing your funnel, your cost per site visit will come down.
Tools to Drive Your Real Estate Digital Marketing Funnel
I believe by now you have a clear idea about direct response marketing, why you should not focus on branding activities, the sales funnel and the concept of inbound vs. interruptive ads.
Now, i will be describing all the tools of the trade. But also know that you need not use the exact same tools that I show.
You can use different tools. Use cheaper or costlier alternatives based on your needs.
The 4-Step Simplified Funnel for Selling Real Estate
1.Interest Generation - Attention & Clicks
Generating interest is the first step of any marketing funnel. Here we are talking about generating attention, clicks on the ad and visitors to our landing page.
This is usually done by advertising on various channels. As I have described before this could be inbound channel or an interruptive channel.
In most of the cases advertising will be on Google Ads and Facebook. Other places of advertising online would be: advertising on niche websites, podcasts, games, and media sites.
However I cannot guarantee how is the conversions will be, and that is something you have to discover by yourself through experimentation.
You can use the same marketing funnel and generate interest to any source, even if it involves offline advertising. If you can discover some untapped opportunities where you can get clicks for very cheap price, then definitely go ahead and try it out.
Inside this (Interest Generation) stage of the funnel, you can further divide it into steps and try to improve conversion from one step to another step.
Here are some of the steps involved in the funnel in the interest generation stage:
- Reach (Impressions) of the ad to the total targeted audience.
- View/Impression on the ad
- A click on the ad
To get more views on the ad, you can optimize your targeting. To get more clicks on the ad, you can do A/B testing with different ad variants.
2. Visitors to Landing Page & Lead Generation
Once you get the attention of potential customers, the next obvious step is the lead generation. You need to get the contact details of the person interested in your offer and then you need to send them more information.
A visitor becomes a lead when he / she does one of the following:
- Fill a form with name, email ID and/or phone number giving you permission to contact them with more information.
- Call your business phone number or send an email to get more information about your offer.
Without lead generation, you cannot expect any sales to happen because here we are selling a complex product with a high ticket price.
Not all businesses will need to generate leads and nurture them to convert them into customers.
For example, you need not do lead generation to sell a soap, gold coin, or a flight ticket. Lead generation is not needed when the product is a commoditized product and the customer clearly understands the product, its features and pricing.
However a SaaS company selling an innovative product online needs to generate leads and nurture them. A real estate company that asks for a customer’s life time savings needs to generate leads and nurture them.
You are selling a relatively unique product to an uninformed customer. The customer does not purchase right away because he/she has a lot of questions, hesitation and objection in buying your product.
The job of a marketer and a salesman is to answer the questions and remove any objections that a person may have before they buy your product.
Some people may feel that “Lead generation and nurturing” is about pushing customers to buy your product that they do not need. It’s not like that. The customers want to buy your product but they need more information to make a buying decision.
Your job is to give them the information they need and help them make an informed buying decision. Lead generation and lead nurturing helps you get the right kind of customers and also push away the customers for whom your product might not be the right match.
The best way to generate leads is from a landing page.
Landing pages have a very specific goal: to convert visitors into leads. So here, instead of distracting users with a lot of information, we will just focus on getting their contact information.
“Brochure” like websites do not convert visitors into leads. Many corporate websites are like boring brochures with tabs such as Home, Gallery, News, In the Media, Contact Us and so on.
You need to have such a website to communicate trustworthiness of your brand but you need to have separate landing pages that generate leads.
You can have your landing pages on a sub-domain on your website.
You can build your own HTML landing page with a form if that is what you prefer, or you can use alternative tools such as Instapage.com, Thrive Content Builder, Kick Off Labs and so on.
All your traffic from different sources should be directed towards your landing page. You can target a conversion ratio of 5-10% on your landing pages.
Once exception here is that if you are running lead ads on Facebook or Twitter, you will get the lead information directly from the without having to get people to a landing page.
Lead ads on Facebook works extremely well on mobile because when people use their mobile phone, they do not fill out lead forms on the landing pages easily.
Obviously it is difficult to type on a mobile screen with a small keyboard.
What information to collect?
For real estate leads, I recommend collecting 3 basic information like Name, Email and Phone number. Following up with the leads on phone is very important if you want them to visit the property site.
3. Tools to Follow Up With Prospects
After you generate leads on your website, you have to follow-up with the leads and nurture them with more information they need.
You need to convert cold leads into hot leads. If you are generating only a few leads, then there is no problem in following up with them manually. Many people just use Google sheets and keep track of follow-up calls.
But if you are generating anything more than 10 leads a day, then you need tools.
So far we have reviewed the tools for generating interest and getting people’s attention. Here’s where your major cost lies. You are paying advertising cost to other companies who have access to the audience that you want.
Your landing page tools will cost a bit lower, but that will be the 2nd major cost that you are spending for your campaign.
Once you generate the leads, you can use the following tools in combination to follow-up with the leads manually and semi-automatically.
Follow Up Tools
Here are the tools you can use to manage your leads and follow-up with your prospects.
A place to capture all the leads and have a backup of it. The leads from your Landing Page, Leads Ads, Direct enquiries from Real estate portals – all will be captured in Google Sheets.
2. Email Marketing Tools:
You need an email marketing tool to follow-up with the leads and send them emails once in a while. You can use Aweber, MadMimi, MailChimp, Yesware.com or just Gmail to send emails.
Landing page tools like Unbounce.com have direct integrations with tools like Aweber. When an integration is not available, you can use an automation tool like Zapier. You can add leads from Landing pages to sheets and from sheets to Email marketing tools of your choice.
4. SMS Communication:
There are plenty of SMS providers in India. You can integrate SMS to your marketing funnel using Zapier and make sure that you follow-up with your leads via SMS also.
5. Phone Calls:
If the lead volumes are low, you just need to have one phone number to make and receive calls.
If you have 2 or more sales people, then you can make use of a cloud telephony tool like Exotel to make and receive calls. You can setup IVR, call recording, integrations and more.
With a lot of leads, it can get pretty mad using Google sheets. You need a CRM to manage all the leads.
Pipedrive is a great CRM and you can use Pipedrive along with Zapier to add the deals.
Check this blogs for more detailed information:
Understanding Real Estate Digital Marketing Ads
When it comes to marketing real estate online we will be running two types of ads, apart from free listing on real estate portals.
One is the search engine ad which we will be running on Google search engine via Google Ads. And the other one is display advertising via Facebook.
Types of Ads that you can run for promoting real estate:
- Google Ads on Search Engines (Inbound Ads)
- Listings on Real Estate portals (Inbound)
- Facebook Ads (Interruptive Ads)
You can also run display ads on other websites but I wouldn’t recommend it because most of the websites do not have targeting options like Facebook. Your campaigns may not be efficient in that case.
Check this blog on 14 Questions To Find And Reach Your Target Market and Target Audience.
Inbound Ads with Keywords on Google
When it comes to PPC (Pay per click) ads in search engines, The click-through ratio on the ads will be very high, because you are going to advertise to specific people searching for specific things.
With PPC ads you can expect a click-through ratio of 10% to 20%.
If someone is searching for “2 BHK house in Koramangala”, and if you run an ad which reads “2 BHK flats in Koramangala”, then you know that there is a very good match between the person searching for it and the ad.
When people are searching for specific keywords on Google, their intention is very clear.
That is why the click-through ratio with PPC ads are very high. But the downside is that there are a lot of people competing for the same keywords, which makes the ad costs very high. Also there is a limit to how many people search a specific keyword per day.
In certain markets I have seen Google ads work very well, and in other markets I have seen only Facebook work well.
Depending on the competition, the type of product that you are selling, and the location you are targeting, different types of ads will give different results for you. You have to experiment and find out the metrics involved.
If you are a Real Estate digital marketing consultant who is going to help a real estate client with Real Estate digital marketing, communicate to your client in advance that they should have a experimentation budget of at least Rs.25,000 to Rs.50,000 rupees to get some clear metrics and expectations for your digital marketing campaign.
Do not promise any results upfront without experimentation.
Interruptive Ads with Facebook
Google Ads work well when people are specifically searching for properties in a location. But the problem with Google Ads is that the amount of search volume on a given day will be limited.
With Google Ads, you are reaching out to people who are actively interested in purchasing a property, and this population is limited.
There will be a lot of potential clients who are not looking to buy properties right now, but given an option they would like to invest in a good property.
Actually such people are more qualified buyers! They are usually busy professionals and extremely successful and they have the money to invest. But in this case people are not buying properties to live, but to make a good investment.
If you want to reach out to people who may be qualified buyers for your property, the only way is to interrupt them with ads.
Interruption marketing is definitely different from Google Ads because – people are not actively searching for what you are of ering. Radio ads, TV ads, and magazine ads a typical examples of interruptive advertising.
Facebook Targeting Options
But if you are running an interruptive ad campaign, Facebook is the best channel online – because the amount of targeting options that Facebook provides is more than any other publisher can provide!
Facebook collects a lot of personal information from us and they know who we are.
So if you are running an advertisement on Facebook, your targeting options are plenty. Even if you are interrupting people with ads, you will be interrupting the right people – so that they are highly likely to be interested in your ad.
Example: To give you an example of targeting options available in Facebook, I want you to think about regular newspaper ad that you see everyday.
If you see there is a full page ad for jewelry store, and if you are not a potential buyer of jewels, then you can say that the ad is untargeted – because you are not a potential buyer.
Jewellery stores are profitable businesses, and they keep advertising even if they cannot target the right people. Even if only 2% of the newspaper readers are potential buyers of this jewellery – they still end up getting enough traction.
What if the newspaper can show the Ad to the people who will be interested in Jewelry? What if they did not reach the 98% who are not potential buyers of Jewelry. Say for example, 25-35 year old women, who are affluent, and recently married!
That is what Facebook is doing. When we are scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed my wife sees a different ad, you see a different ad and I see a different ad.
Here, ads are not generic, and they are targeted towards the person who is browsing through the news feed.
I am sure that people who advertise in newspapers have imagined if it would be possible to just show the ads to the right people
Compared to newspaper advertising, magazine advertising costs a little bit more because targeting in a magazine is better.
A full page ad in a car magazine will definitely cost more than a newspaper ad with similar circulation volume. Because someone buying a car magazine is potential buyer of a car related product, than a person who is reading the newspaper.
Better Targeting = Higher Ad Cost but More Efficiency
As a general rule when you are advertising in a medium which has narrow targeting, the cost of the ads will be higher.
If you are putting up a hoarding in a highway, the cost is definitely low if you calculate the cost of every impression and potential read. But when you are going with ads that are cheap, you are also hitting a lot of people who are not your potential buyers. Hence the efficiency of your ad will be very low.
When you calculate the number of leads that you have generated from an ad campaign, and if you derive the cost per lead, you will observe that the cost per lead is high when you are running cheap ads.
When you run ads that are better targeted, your ad cost will be very high but your cost per lead will be very low.
The same principle applies even when you are advertising inside Facebook. If you are running an ad which is targeted to a broad audience the ad cost will be cheap. but your response rate will be low.
And if you are running ad, that is targeted towards a narrow demographic, the cost of reaching these people will be high but your response rate will also be high.
Publishers can charge more when they can get the audience better, because with better targeting advertises spend less money reaching the wrong people, are the whole ad campaign becomes very efficient.
Facebook is as good as it can get in this day and age in terms of targeting.
When you are advertising online, do not look for cheap or low-cost ads.
Irrespective of the price of advertising, look for good targeting options. If you have a good targeting, good ad copy, good landing page, then you cost per lead will be low.
You will also be generating high quality leads that actually turn into buyers. And that’s what every business wants.
Imagine your ad’s targeting options are very accurate.
Let’s assume you pay Rs.100 per click. You generate 100 clicks and 10 leads. This means that the total cost of the campaign is Rs.10,000 and the cost per lead is Rs.1,000.
But if one in 10 leads convert into a buyer, then your total cost of customer acquisition is only Rs.10,000!
So in this case, you need not be concerned that the cost per click is so high. What matters are the lead costs, cost per site visit and cost per customer acquisition. (CPL & CPA).
Understanding Google Ads for Real Estate Digital Marketing
We have learned enough about the theoretical concept of inbound ads and search ads. Now it is time to get into action.
Here let’s talk about Google Search Ads.
The first thing to do is that we need to setup a Google Ads account. If you already have a Gmail or a Google Account, visit Google Ads and sign up for an account. The process of getting a Google Ads account is fairly simple.
(If you are in India, you have the option to pay via netbanking or credit card. Google Ads will also ask you for the GST number. If you have a registered company, and a GST number, you will get input credit for all the spends that you do on Google Ads.)
Once your Google Ads account is setup, you will notice that there are two major types of campaigns in Google Ads.
- Display Ad Campaigns
- Search Ad Campaigns
For our projects, we will focus only on search ad campaigns when it comes to Google s. For Display Ads, we will primarily focus on Facebook. Display ads need good audience targeting and Facebook is the best when it comes to that.
When you are bidding for the keywords, you shouldn’t bid too high or bid too low.
If you are bidding too high to come on the top 1st or 2nd result, that means that you will have the maximum possible traffic, but at the same time the cost will be very high for every lead that you generate.
When the average cost per click goes up, your lead costs will also go up.
To understand this with an example, look at the sample below:
Yelahanka is a region in Bangalore and the keyword is 2BHK house in Yelahanka.
Here you can see 4 ads and then you have organic results.
Real Estate clients needs quick results and agencies or consultants can bring in quick results only if we venture into paid ads!
Let’s see the first 4 ads. Here are the companies in the top 4 positions:
- Sobha Palm Court
- Embassy Springs
- Godrej Properties
- SMR Holdings
The Ad from Sobha Palm Court is showing up on the top because he is bidding the highest. We don’t know the exact cost per click, but let’s assume that it is Rs.100. However, Rs.100 is the max CPC and not the actual CPC.
If Embassy Springs is bidding Rs.90, then Sobha Palm Court will be paying Rs.91 per click. Because Google charges you only 1 cent or 1 rupee more than the previous bidder.
However the actual bid of Magic bricks will not be Rs.90, it might be only Rs.81, if the bid of Godrej Properties’s ad is Rs.80.
The lowest bidder, let’s say MR Holdings is bidding Rs.70 per click. Makaan will be charged Rs.71 per click.
Here, the number of clicks that the ad in the 4th position gets will be much lower than the ad in the first position.
WordStream has done some research on this. You can see that: higher the average position, higher is the CTR.
So if you are an aggressive advertiser and want a lot of traffic in a short time, you need to have a high bid but you will also be paying a high CPC and hence your lead cost will become high.
If you are bidding too low, let’s say Rs.10 CPC, then your ads will never show up. Because there are only 4 ad slots for this specific keyword and you are not going to show up unless Google shows your ad on the second page and a few people actually visit the second page
Let’s say you are the 5th bidder and the 2nd position bidder (In this case Embassy Springs) stops the ad campaign for a while, then you will start showing up in the 4th position.
With low bids, your ads will be on and off, but you are going to get the lowest possible cost in terms of CPC.
It is actually a good strategy to not be in the first or second positions because you are going to get lower CTR, lower CPCs, and higher quality over a long period of time.
But this can be done only in 6 months to 1 year projects because if you want leads and sales in an accelerated fashions, then we have no option but to advertise aggressively.
Even if the lead cost is high, we need to make sure that we have enough content in the funnel and enough persuasion through inside sales to get good conversions
And in the end, the product has to be good, else the sales will not happen and we will not be able to pay for the ad costs.
A Word of Warning
If you are trying Google Ads for the first time be very careful when you are setting up the campaigns.
If you don’t set up a proper max. CPC, you might end up getting over charged for the ads. Make sure you watch our for the daily cost limits and CPCs. And monitor the campaign closely when you have started the spending.
I recommend monitoring it at least 6 times in a day for the first few days to make sure everything is OK.
Sometimes, your landing pages might not work. Sometimes, your integrations might not work. In such cases, you might be wasting your ad budget on ads. If leads are not contacted immediately, then you are not going to have good conversions from the leads.
Understanding Facebook Ads for Real Estate Digital Marketing
Facebook ads are interruptive ads and perform differently than Google Ads.
When you are advertising on Google Search, you are fulfilling the demand. People are searching for keywords like “2bhk house for sale in Koramangala” and you are presenting an ad that is relevant to them.
You are presenting the ad to people who are looking for you. They are coming to you and you are going to them. You are meeting them halfway. Such ads perform very well. It’s like Yellow Pages. In fact, search engines are nothing but a highly evolved form of Yellow Pages.
However, there is a challenge with Search Ads. There is a limitation on how many people are looking for you. If only 1,000 people are searching for that keyword per day, you can only serve the ad to them.
If you want to go beyond this, then you need to start generating interest from people who are eligible, but are not proactively looking for you. If they come to know about a good property, they might show interest in it, and might even end up buying it – but they are not searching for it.
Generating interest and demand can be done only with display & branding campaigns. That’s why it is important to go beyond what people are searching for.
Many products are services in this world wouldn’t exist if the demand was not generated through ads. If you think about history and evolution; if companies only made products and services that other people need, then we wouldn’t have gone beyond food, clothing, and shelter.
Identifying a need and fulfilling the need is the easy part. Generating interest and demand is the hard part.
Why Facebook Ads for Display Campaigns?
When you are advertising on Search networks, it doesn’t matter who the user is. If someone is searching for a keyword like “2bhk house for sale in X location” then they are a target customer for our products/services that we are promoting.
The keywords make them eligible by default.
We can forget about the customer’s demographic and psychographic information because we have the KEYWORD.
However, when we are doing demand generation, we need to be very careful on who we are showing the ad to.
Just blasting the ad all over the place is not going to help. If my Real Estate ad for a property that is $100,000 (65 Lakhs INR) or more is being shown to teenagers, then I am going to waste my ad dollars!
In search, I don’t need to worry about the demographic because a teenager is not going to search for such a keyword anyway. Only eligible customers would be searching for it.
So when we are doing display campaigns, we need to get the targeting right and show the ads only to the people who are eligible.
Real Estate sells well with men who are 30 – 45 years old and who have kids. Usually, the purchase is made when the kid is 4 – 14 years old.
If I can target only this demographic when I am advertising, then I am going to get good interest. The ROI (return on investment) from the ad will be good enough for me to keep running the ad.
This level of targeting is ONLY available on Facebook right now.
Google started Google+ to get users to share more personal information but that never worked as expected. Hardly anyone uses Google+.
That’s why when it comes to display campaigns and interest generation, I prefer advertising on Facebook.
There are three important things when it comes to running ads. Targeting, Targeting, Targeting.
From a user’s perspective it is very creepy to know that Facebook probably knows more about you than your closest friends and family. However, it is exciting from a marketer’s perspective because you can have the right target audience for your ads.
When you show thee right ad to the right person at the right time, the conversions from the ad will be extremely high.
Now that we are convinced that we need to advertise on Facebook, let’s get to the next step.
Creating a Facebook Ad Account
There are two ways to run Facebook Ad Campaigns for your client. You can run it from your own account and charge your client based on the number of leads. Or you can go ahead and use your client’s ad account and run campaigns from there.
In the second case, you can charge another 10-20% on top of the ad spend as campaign management fee. This way, when they spend more, you can earn more.
If they spend 10 Lakhs a month and if you charge 2 lakhs on top of it, it can be a pretty good deal. I am not pulling these numbers from this air, these are real numbers that I have seen in proposals.
In the first case, if you can make your targeting and ad copy as good as possible, you can incur very less ad spends, but charge a high price to your clients. Usually the costing is based on CPL (Cost per lead).
Creating Your Target Audience
Facebook Ads can work wonders if you are creating the right set of target audience. If you haven’t started using Facebook Pixel yet, you should start using it immediately.
Depending on who you think would be the potential customers, you can also create a saved audience. To understand different types of Audiences and Website Custom Audiences on Facebook, read this blog post: The Power of Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences (WCA).
Create Your Ads
The next step is to create ads that would drive traffic to the landing pages. You can create Text Ads, Carousel Ads or Video ads, but all the ads should drive traffic to the landing pages.
You can check out Real Estate Facebook ads for Realtors – Complete Marketing Guide for complete information on how to create aand optimize facebook campaign and generate Real estate Leads
Check these blogs on Real Estate Facebook Marketing:
Understanding Real Estate Landing Pages for Real Estate Digital Marketing
Around 5-10 years back no one focused on “Landing Pages”. The term was not common.
Most of the people had traditional websites and such a website would have many sections inside it.
For example, a website for a Real Estate Project would be more like a online brochure with so much information on it. The website might have several tabs such as Main / Gallery / About Us / Contact Us and so on.
Usually, if someone wants to get in touch with the sales representative, they have to fill up the form at the ‘Contact Us’ page.
Not all people visit the ‘Contact Us’ page and even if they do, a very small percentage of people actually fill the form. Usually, the form is long asking so many details that most of the visitors wouldn’t go through the trouble of filling the form.
Websites are made for information delivery.
But Landing Pages are different.
Landing pages are made for collecting contact information. They have a specific goal. It’s all about triggering action from the visitor.
When we drive traffic to landing pages, the sole purpose of the landing page is to try to convert the visitor into leads. Get them to leave their contact information. In such cases, we will be able to convert a significantly higher % of visitors into leads.
When we drive traffic to websites, we are not converting the highest possible % of visitors into leads – because websites are not made for lead generation.
When a visitor leaves the website without leaving their contact information, they might never come back again and there would be no way for us to get in touch with them again. The cost of the ad spends to bring these people into our websites is wasted – if the visitor is not converted into a lead.
There are two major types of Landing Pages
- Landing Pages for Generating Sales
- Landing Pages for Generating Leads
A sales landing page’s goal is to make the user click on the order button. A lead capture landing page is designed to make the user leave their name and contact information on the page.
Here’s how the layout of a landing page focused on capturing leads would look like:
The ad or the text that comes before the landing pages usually matches the text on the landing page so that the users have a consistent experience
Landing pages usually do not have any navigation bar or any links that could distract the visitor from taking the specific action on the landing page.
Check this blogs for more detailed information:
Top 5 Tools for Building Landing Pages
Usually landing pages were built directly using HTML before people started building tools for creating beautiful landing pages. Earlier, landing pages used to be very simple with just text and some images on the page. I have built landing pages using HTML editors like Adobe DreamWeaver long back.
Nowadays landing pages have become more beautiful and a lot of tools have come up in the market which will help you building landing pages without design or coding skills.
These tools also provide you with analytics and A/B split testing features for conversion optimization.
Here are some of my favorite tools:
Unbounce.com is a market leader when it comes to high performance beautiful landing pages. They have a ton of templates inbuilt.
But the downside is that it is not a one-time cost. Unbounce.com is a SaaS product and you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use their landing page builder. The plan starts at $99 a month and that’s not cheap.
They have a 30 day free trial and you can try them out in the trial period. If you think it makes sense for you, go ahead. I have seen many people use Unbounce.com consistently for all their landing pages.
Unbounce has a lot of integration options available which will help you export the leads generated on the landing pages directly to email marketing tools such as Aweber, MailChimp or MadMimi.
If you use tools like Zapier.com, you can also import the data into CRM tools such as PipeDrive.com
Instapage.com competes directly with Unbounce.com. Instapage has 80+ templates and their landing page builder is almost similar to Unbounce.
Instapage comes at a cheaper price point where the basic plan starts at $29 a month for 5,000 visitors a month. The also have a free account with a limit of 100 visitors a month. That’s very low of practically using the tool but you can use it to play around and learn how Instapage works.
Instapage also has integrations available with more than 20 tools which provide Email Marketing, CRM, Marketing Automation, Webinar and Analytics.
If you are looking for a landing page builder which just costs once and allows unlimited number of visitors, then OptimizePress should be your choice. The basic package costs $97 and you can install the theme on your own WordPress blog.
The only problem is that you cannot have another blog on this installation. OptimizePress is not a plugin, it is a theme.
So it is better to install a separate instance of WordPress on a sub-domain or a sub-folder and then install OptimizePress on it.
LeadPages, just like Unbounce and Instapage is a monthly subscription tool. However, LeadPages doesn’t have any limitations on the number of visitors you can drive to your landing pages.
Their basic plan starts at $37 a month and it has most of the features that a digital marketer would need. They also have some interesting tools such as LeadBoxes which helps you capture more leads.
LeadBoxes are 2-step optin boxes which appear as soon as someone clicks on a link. Such optin boxes are known to increase your visitor to lead conversion ratios. To learn more about LeadBoxes, click here to watch a demo at LeadPages.net.
At Thrive Themes they sell WordPress themes, Thrive Leads a lead capture tool and Thrive Landing Pages, the landing page builder. Their software works as a WordPress plugin and it is a one time fee that you have to pay.
Thrive’s solution is the cheapest of the bunch at just $59 one time fee. They also give you lifetime free updates for their software. I am yet to test Thrive landing pages and as soon as I experiment with it, I will publish a review of it.
I hope this chapter helped you learn about Landing Pages. Landing pages are very important for promoting specific real estate projects and generating leads of potential buyers – because we don’t want the user to get lost inside a big website which lists all the projects by a builder.
Go ahead and build your first landing page and try driving traffic to it!
Check what is the % conversion that you are getting from visitors to leads. You might also want to try A/B Testing on the Landing Pages to improve the conversions.
What do you think of this Real Estate Digital Marketing: Complete Guide to Generate Leads? Do you use Facebook Ads & Google Ads for your Real Estate business for Generating Leads? What questions do you have about the platform? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!