We serve a large group of Realtors, and one of the main reasons agents contact us is to teach them how to generate more real estate seller leads, or in many cases, they want us to run listing campaigns for them. So in this post, I will outline an actual case study of how you can use Facebook ads to consistently acquire listing leads.
One of the most common technique Realtors use to get “seller” leads is through direct mail – a full or half page 2-sided glossy page distributed to homes in an area. Many realtors, especially independent realtors, or new realtors often have a difficult time spending the $2,500 cost (on average) of sending postcards. (see our related posts, Facebook Ads For Realtors: 3 Killer Ad Strategies, and Targeting The Real Estate Sales Funnel With Facebook Ads).
So the oft-asked question we get is:
How can I get more seller leads and for less investment than what I’m investing in traditional marketing?
Facebook Ads, specifically Lead Ads. Which is one of the best ways to generate real estate leads – which you will see why shortly.
Lead Generation on Facebook allows you to collect the contact information from people who are interested in potentially selling their home.
Why Facebook Ads Work Better
Unmatched Segmentation, Precise Interest and Behavior Targeting, Combined With Demographics
Facebook’s ad platform provides unmatched psycho-demographic segmentation and targeting that no other advertising platform offers anywhere in the world.
Unlike the carpet bombing that occurs with direct mail (carpet bombing because you’re merely hitting a neighborhood with almost no segmentation other than by zip code or postal carrier route), Facebook allows realtors and real estate investors to be very targeted and discrete with their ad spend – the benefit of this is more leads, less waste, and a better return on ad spend.
What’s unique about Facebook’as ad platform – and what makes it stand out among all the advertising channels you have available – is that Facebook’s ad platform provides both online Native Data which it collects from its users but also it merges offline Third-Party Data with its online data. These data include not only basic demographics like age and gender, but also factors like home ownership, household income, home market value, married or single, kids in the house by age, and even whether there’s an immediate interest in Realtor.com or Zillow. Facebook even goes as far as purchase behaviors such as “first time home buyers” (this is an actual targeting behavior on Facebook). And most importantly, when you advertise on Facebook you’re reaching the decision makers right within their newsfeed, not just a mailbox with all the other junk mail.
Consumer Behavior Changes Affect Your Advertising Strategy
The other factor to consider is consumer behavior:
People spend up to 3-4 hours per day on their phone and an hour of that time is spent on Facebook! No other advertising channels – traditional or digital – provide this level of access to your target audience. As a matter of fact, if you summed up the amount of time people spent on the next 10 most popular social apps (i.e. YouTube, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, etc), it would not sum to the amount of time people spend on Facebook.
To grow leads, you need to be where your audience spends their time.
Why Facebook Lead Ads are Best To Capture Seller Leads
Lead Ads are a specific Facebook ad type that allows you to add a form to your ad where you can collect information from people that include name, address, etc right within Facebook – the person never has to leave the platform.
“Oh but I send my traffic to my website, where there’s a form to fill, why not send the traffic there?”
The reason these forms in Lead Ads work better than sending traffic to your website is that when people view ads on their mobile phone, filling out a form on the web can be challenging. Lead Ads on Facebook pre-fill the form right within Facebook with the information that the user has already given to Facebook, so submitting the form can be a one-touch event.
We have run tests that show that Lead Ads convert as much as 12 times better than a form online, YES, 12 times. In one example, we received 505 forms with lead ads versus 42 forms submitted via a form on a website landing page during the same period.
Facebook Lead Ads to Acquire Sellers – A Case Study
The technique we use to acquire active sellers for realtors is with the hook, for example, “Your home is worth more than you think”
For this campaign, we choose an audience of 300,000 people within a 10-mile radius of our desired area. We selected this area by dropping a pin and adjusting the mile-radius.
Within this geographic area, we chose the following psycho-demographics:
- Age: 33 – 65+ years of age
- People who had been browsing sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia (all behaviors you can target inside Facebook)
- Excluded other realtors from seeing this ad
A successful ad has these 4 components:
- A value proposition
- An offer
- Sense of urgency
- Call to action.
This ad’s value proposition is that you will be surprised about how much your home is worth, it creates a sense of urgency by indicating that prices are up (so take advantage now). It offers a FREE evaluation of your home’s value and a call to action – Learn More.
Equally important is the image in the ad.
We tested images of people moving boxes, realtors showing homes, homes with sold signs in front of them, but the best performing ad was one clearly showing a map (of the area we were targeting) with actual values of homes for sale in the area – this is customizing and aligning the ad creative with the target audience – we weren’t using some generic image that didn’t resonate with the target audience.
The form requires people to fill out the property address (what property they wanted an evaluation for, along with their name and email.
In 1 week, we reached 3,481 people (Reach in Facebook is defined as the number of unique individuals that saw the ad), and received 22 forms at a cost of $5.81 per form fill on average.
Now, these results do not mean that all 22 leads resulted in a home listed – converting a lead to an actual customer is referred to as the lead to customer ratio and that part relies on the realtor’s ability to close leads.
But this conversion process from lead to an actual customer is no different than any other form of advertising. For example, when you send out a postcard, you don’t expect all the leads you get from that effort are going to turn into customers. This is what realtors tell me, “yes, but if I send out a postcard, I know I will get 1 or 2 listings”.
So I invite you to do this math – I think you will be surprised.
Stay with me here…
Volume of Leads Higher with Facebook Ads, & Cost per Lead Lower – Actual Results
Realtor Postcard Results
If a postcard costs you $3000, and you got 2 listings, that means that 1 listing costs you $1,500.
Facebook Ads Seller Lead Results
If this same realtor spends $3,000 on ads with Facebook, the realtor would have received between 400-500 leads.
Even if you ONLY close 1% of those leads to actual customers, you’d receive 4 leads.
However, because the target audience generated from the Facebook ads is so much closer to the ideal seller demographics (because of the precise behavioral and demographic targeting that Facebook provides) versus a carpet bombing postcard where there’s no down selection for the target audience, the closing ratio is higher than 1%. In fact, in a recent campaign, a realtor we worked with received 10 leads, from which 3 turned into clients – a 30% conversion rate from lead to customer.
Now, turning a lead into an actual client is where your effectiveness at sales comes into play – Facebook delivers pre-qualified leads very efficiently, but turning a lead into an actual client (your lead to customer conversion ratio) does require a good sales effort on your part.
However, we know from hundreds of campaigns that the quality of the leads that will come from Facebook are, by far, better than the ones coming from a blind, carpet bombing postcard tactic with expensive postcards.
Pause for a moment and think about how much waste is involved with postcards? There’s no segmentation or targeting other than geography generally (zip code or carrier route), and then layer on the fact that most of the direct mail pieces go straight into the garbage – this doesn’t happen with Facebook ads.
There’s no segmentation or targeting other than geography generally (zip code or carrier route), and then layer on the fact that most of the direct mail pieces go straight into the garbage – this doesn’t happen with Facebook ads.
What else can be done?
The greatest power of digital marketing is that once someone sees your ad, you still have access to them and are able to remarket to them ongoing for months – not possible with traditional advertising. With a postcard, once that goes in the trash, the “impression” is gone. In the case of Lead Ads, for example, you can re-target to all people that saw your ad as well. People that opened the lead form on Facebook, but did not submit. In Facebook, you can serve the ad to those people again greatly increasing your conversions and leads further; this is something that you just can’t do with traditional marketing.
Layering Ads Is Another Advantage
Layering ads is a highly effective digital tactic.
For example, you can advertise listings where the goal is to send people to your website to view the listing. Well, perhaps these people may need to sell in order to buy, so now, since they’ve been to the site to view a property, you can now put them in a bucket of people, called a custom audience, and you can select this audience to serve them the “seller” Lead Ad we’ve been talking about. You can do all of this for a tiny fraction of what you spend with postcards.
The biggest objection we find realtors have is the fear of trying a new media, but once they do and they see the results, they don’t turn back. Give it a try!
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