Building a Real Estate Advertising Strategy that Sells Homes
Whether you’re a home builder or a real estate developer, when it comes to selling homes, a tactical real estate advertising strategy is necessary. The Evenbound team is a big proponent of a balanced digital marketing strategy (Inbound + Outbound = Evenbound, after all 😉), and nowhere is it more important than for real estate developers and home builders.
You already know this, but when it comes to real estate, competition is fierce. The more you can do to:
- Get your name out there
- Get found ahead of the competition
- Remind potential customers you’re ready and available to build their next home
The better results you’re going to see.
And inbound marketing is a big part of that — it helps build your reputation and authority in the market, and it’s the best way to draw in qualified leads in a cost-effective way.
But, if you want to expand your reach, and get in front of the leads you want, now, it’s time to build a real estate advertising strategy that can sell homes.
What do we mean when we say “Real Estate Advertising Strategy”?
A real estate advertising strategy is a collection of advertising and marketing tactics that work together to get your brand name and message out to the leads you want, and then nurtures those leads until they’re ready to chat with your sales team.
A real estate advertising strategy is not just a Facebook or Instagram ad campaign. Those will get leads to your website, but they won’t convert leads or sell homes for you. That’s where the rest of the strategy comes in.
It’s good to know that you don’t have to employ every single tactic I’m going to lay out in this real estate advertising strategy.
Start small — take a few of the tactics, put them to work for you, and see what happens. When you get comfortable with those, branch out and add in a few more strategies.
Start with what you have available, and keep building and optimizing based on the data you return. No real estate advertising strategy is going to be perfect at the start. Begin with the tactics you’re comfortable with, and build on your strategy as you go.
With all of that in mind, let’s start building a real estate advertising strategy that puts your home building or real estate company on the map, pulls in the leads you want, and closes them, too.
We’re going to work step-by-step through the full process of a real estate advertising strategy, from start to finish. If you’re just here to learn about ad campaigns (which we’d only slightly judge you for) you can jump down to the step you’re most interested in by using this menu.
- What Are Your Goals?
- Where Are Your Leads Going to Go?
- Setting Up Content That Converts
- Adding in Real Estate Advertising Tactics
- Paid Search Advertising
- Social Media Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Boost Close Rate: Streamline the Marketing to Sales Handoff
- Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
The Evenbound team firmly believes in goal-setting. It’s really hard to measure progress if you don’t know what you’re working towards in the first place. The first step of building your real estate advertising strategy is setting your goals for the strategy.
- Do you want to build brand awareness?
- Are you looking to convert more qualified leads?
- Do you just want more eyeballs on your website?
- Maybe you’re looking for more remodel clients.
- Maybe you want more custom home clients.
- Or maybe you want leads to commit to a lot in your new development.
Whatever your goals are for your outbound marketing strategy, define them.
We use HubSpot’s SMART goal guidelines to set goals for our real estate clients.
That might look like:
- We want to increase our Facebook following by 100 followers in three months. (This would be relevant if you were just getting started on social media and were looking to build brand awareness on social media.)
- We want to convert 3% of leads from paid ads into sales in Q2. (This would be relevant and attainable if you were converting about 2-2.5% of leads from paid ads into sales in Q1.)
Your goals should be specific to your real estate company’s current position and based on the data you have.
If this is your first time running ads on Facebook, for example, your goal should be attainable — say getting a certain amount of visitors to your site from that first campaign. If you’ve been running paid search ads for a while, and have a decent understanding of your market and your budget, then you can set a more challenging goal.
Whatever it is — your goals matter. They outline the aim of your overall advertising strategy and will help you align the rest of your advertising and outbound marketing tactics to what your real estate company is truly looking for, whether that’s a better position in the market, or more qualified leads coming directly to your website.
Before we even get to setting up social media or paid search ad campaigns, you have to know where you’re going to direct those leads.
We’ve talked a lot about landing pages for housing developers and home builders, and they’re never more important than they are for real estate advertising tactics.
For example, if you’re planning an ad campaign that highlights your dedication to green building, you should be planning to send those leads to a webpage that talks more about your green building capabilities.
Maybe it’s a case study of an ENERGY STAR certified home you’ve recently completed, or a before-and-after showcase of a remodel you completed that made a home considerably more efficient.
Whatever you’re advertising — whether it’s your floorplans, your green building capabilities, your amazing development community, or your unique building process — you need to direct leads and visitors coming from those ads to a landing page that is relevant to your offer.
That brings me to the next point:
It’s unlikely that a lead coming from Facebook or Google is going to make it to your site and call your sales team to build their home.
Sure, it happens, but it’s kind of a unicorn situation.
Most leads are going to need another soft conversion before they even consider talking to your sales team.
The best way to make that soft conversion is to offer content that they really, really want.
(Here’s a guide on how home builders can create content that reaches their ideal buyer if you’re looking for a little help here.)
We call these content offers, and you need to have them set up before you launch the rest of your real estate advertising strategy.
They do a couple of things for you:
- Give that visitor a reason to stay on your site
- Provide an opportunity to convert that visitor into a lead
- Nurture that lead for you, warming them up for your sale team
- Help visitors self-qualify — see if they’re a good fit for your development or home building team.
Let’s go back to the example of the green builder. Let’s say you’re running ads about your amazing green homes. A visitor clicks on your ad, and lands on a page that shows them images of some of the beautiful green homes you’ve designed and built.
A great content offer to pair with that landing page might be, “Green Builder’s Guide to Designing an Energy Efficient Custom Home”.
If that visitor is interested in an energy-efficient or reduced-footprint custom home, that’s an offer they’re genuinely going to want. Anyone who downloads that content offer is likely to be a highly qualified lead.
Now, if you’re running more of an awareness campaign on green building, you might need a softer conversion. You’re targeting leads who are considering building a home but haven’t made a decision yet. A softer conversion option might be, “The Green Builder’s 2020 Lookbook”.
The benefit of either of these offers is that you get a lead out of the deal, who you know is in some way interested in green building. By providing gated content offers, you deliver your leads content that helps them through their buyer’s journey, and in return, you get their email address.
This is key to later stages of your strategy, where you can implement email marketing to nurture those leads.
Okay, so that was a lot of prework, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.
Planning and um, strategy, are essential to a real estate advertising strategy that actually delivers results. Yes, you can set up and launch paid ads today, but if you haven’t done the footwork of defining goals, setting up landing pages, and developing the content that will convert your leads, you’re not going to see the lead generation you want.
And let’s not forget — the kicker about real estate advertising is that you’re paying for it.
The more planning and strategy you do ahead of your ad campaign, the better results you’re going to see, for less money.
Let me say it another way: the more planning you put into your outbound marketing strategy, the better your ROI.
If you plan and prep now, you’re going to see a significantly improved return on investment than if you just launch ads that direct visitors to your home page.
With planning and goal setting complete, you can move into the outbound marketing tactics everyone thinks of when you say outbound marketing: paid advertising.
There’s no getting around it, digital ads sell homes.
Paid search advertising is one of the fastest ways to get your home building or real estate development company in front of the leads you want.
And, it’s ideal for you, because you spend only what you want when you want.
Paid search and paid social media ad campaigns can be paused or extended, you can add to your budget, limit it, and more. The options are endless, which makes it such a great option.
When you pair paid search with the rest of a killer real estate advertising strategy (*ahem*, that pre-work you did in steps 1-3) it can deliver serious ROI, exactly when you need it.
Let’s talk about paid search or PPC first.
These are the ads you see on search engines like Google and Bing.
They’re great for real estate companies because you can target just the keywords you know your ideal buyers are searching for.
Kick-off real estate advertising campaigns with keyword research
Developing a paid search advertising campaign starts with a bit of keyword research.
Keyword research for home builders typically looks like identifying the keywords that are relevant to your services, whether that’s green or energy-efficient building, custom home building, sustainable housing developments, or even senior or retirement condo communities.
Look for keywords that have a high search volume (a lot of people are searching for them), and a lower bid price. Long-tail keywords that signal buyer intent like, “custom home builder in Kalamazoo, MI”, might have a lower search volume, but they’re also going to drive really qualified leads.
Remember that you only pay for these ads when someone clicks on them. This makes for great ROI if you’re strategic about your keywords.
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re building out paid search ads for your real estate company is local search results. You can optimize your PPC strategy to draw in local leads to ensure that the leads you get are only qualified leads in your service area.
PPC is a great real estate advertising tactic, and it can deliver a ton of qualified leads when you do it right. But, PPC lacks one thing that social media platforms can deliver in spades: beautiful imagery.
As a real estate developer or home builder, you know that pictures and photography sell homes. Beautiful quartz countertops, subway tile walk-in showers, stunning vistas, patios, and decks are what sell homes.
Social media advertising allows you to combine the power of your company’s beautiful visuals, with the keyword and audience targeting that puts you in front of the leads you want.
Facebook and Instagram are the best places to start. Then, we’ll talk a little bit about Houzz, too.
Facebook and Instagram are ideal real estate advertising platforms because they are highly visual. What’s more, both platforms offer a diverse range of advertising options.
Take a look at all the different types of Facebook Ads to start.
With everything from local awareness ads to website conversion, traffic, event, and offer claim ads, there’s nothing you can’t do on Facebook Advertising.
Since Facebook owns Instagram, it extends its powerful targeting abilities and breadth of real estate advertising capabilities to the photo-sharing platform as well.
This is great for you, the home builder or real estate developer, as these ads allow you to show off your workmanship and communities in their best possible light, directly to the leads you know are qualified for your real estate company.
Implementing Facebook and Instagram Ad Campaigns
How to get started?
We’ve got a guide: How to Get Your Social Media Ad Campaign Off The Ground. That’s a good place to begin.
Figure out who your target audience is and what your goals are for your social media ad campaign. Then start building out your campaign.
This guide: 6 Steps to a Facebook Ad Campaign That Delivers should help you decide what you want to do with your real estate advertising campaign.
Remember that creative — the images and content you choose — are a key component of your ad campaign. That’s what will stop someone from scrolling, and convince them to click over to your website, so be sure to spend time there.
And finally, when you’re implementing your social media ad campaigns, don’t forget inbound marketing best practices. Yes, this is real estate advertising, but as we talked about at the very beginning of this blog, minimizing your user’s disruption is essential to producing results.
Applying inbound marketing tactics to your Facebook ad campaigns can help you convert more of the right leads, boosting your ROI, and ensuring you’re only spending money on ads that help you achieve your goals.
This is a question we get a lot for our home building and real estate development clients.
Houzz is a powerful marketing tool for real estate companies, but its success as a real estate advertising platform is a little murky. Some home builders and remodelers swear by it, and others don’t see much in the way of results.
It’s a relatively new platform, so that could be partially to blame. The general consensus, however, is that if you have a decent following on Houzz already, Houzz Pro+ could be useful to you.
Many mention that if you have a number of testimonials and reviews, these can help to boost the conversion rates and effectiveness of your Houzz advertising campaigns.
If I had to give you an answer? I’d say build your campaigns on trusted, proven platforms first.
Once you have a firm handle on real estate advertising through Facebook, Instagram, and paid search, then there’s nothing wrong with testing Houzz advertising out for a bit if you’ve got the money.
Houzz has a huge pool of highly-qualified leads just sitting there, so if their advertising platform is at all effective, it’s likely to produce great results. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.
One final component of the ad campaign segment of your real estate advertising strategy should be remarketing.
If you had to pick just one type of real estate advertising campaign to set up, we would definitely recommend remarketing ads. These are the ads that follow people who have already come to your website.
For example, let’s say you’ve been looking at a specific pair of shoes. You added them to your cart but didn’t have your credit card, so you figured you’d come back to buy them later.
When you go to check the weather or head to Facebook, an ad pops up for the exact shoes you were planning to buy. That’s remarketing.
It’s a remarkable advertising tool that calls visitors back to your website and to the pages and services they’ve already visited.
Remarketing is well-known for having an exceptional conversion rate that actually increases over time. Since you’re targeting people who already have an interest in your homes or real estate development, you’re working with a pool of people who are very likely to convert.
There are a number of ways to build out a remarketing campaign, so I’ll let Neil Patel give you the play-by-play. His guide to 4 Remarketing Campaigns You Can’t Afford to NOT be Running is a great step-by-step that will run you through some basic remarketing ads, and how to set them up.
Remember steps 2 and 3? Wow that was a long time ago.
Steps 2 and 3 talked about creating landing pages and content offers that would keep visitors coming from your ads on your site, and even convert them further down the buyer’s journey.
Man am I glad we already set those up.
Now that you have real estate advertising campaigns running, those pages will automatically start working for you — gathering the email addresses of qualified leads who have shown a genuine interest in your real estate development or home building company.
What do you do with all of those brand new, qualified leads?
Email marketing of course!
No real estate advertising strategy is complete by just launching an ad campaign.
You have to have a strategy for those ad campaigns, as well as what to do with the leads your ad campaign generates.
And email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with those brand new leads.
Workflows and newsletters help keep those new leads engaged with your real estate company, until they’re ready to make a purchasing decision, or until your marketing team is ready to hand them over to the sales team.
Newsletters are a great place to put that lead who downloaded the “The Green Builder’s 2020 Lookbook”. They’re not ready to make a purchasing decision yet, but they’ll appreciate the information you offer in your newsletter.
You know they’re actively interested in designing and probably building a new, green home. Entering that lead into a workflow offering more information that’s helpful to their buyer’s journey, like how to set a budget, what sort of timeline to expect, and more will help move them closer to making a purchasing decision.
Email marketing for real estate developers is one of the easiest ways to deliver new leads the right message, at the right time, without adding extra work onto your marketing or sales teams.
Let’s recap your real estate advertising strategy:
- You’re pulling in leads with great ads.
- Those leads are sticking on your website because you’ve developed great landing pages that solve their pain points, and you’re offering content they’re interested in.
- Once you’ve got their email addresses, you’re nurturing those leads with great content from your email workflows and newsletters.
What do you do when they’re ready to go to sales?
Nailing the marketing to sales handoff is so important.
The more seamless the transition, the faster your sales team will be able to close those leads. That means you sell more homes.
There are a lot of ways to streamline that handoff. It starts with marketing and sales alignment.
Get your marketing and sales teams on the same page, and talk together about how to gently hand leads from marketing to the sales team, and when to do it.
The more you optimize this process, the better the close rate your sales team will have.
So many leads tend to fall out of the funnel or flywheel during this handoff. If you can make it seamless, and a pleasant experience for your leads, your sales team will have a much easier job of selling that home.
The more ad campaigns you run, the more data you’ll collect. You’ll start to see which platforms deliver the best leads, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, search engines, or even Houzz.
You’ll also start to see which of your landing pages and content offers are the most valuable to your real estate clients.
Take all of that data and put it to work for you.
Adjust ad campaigns to improve performance. Write new content offers and tweak landing pages to better funnel those conversions. Optimize your email marketing workflows to keep those leads excited about their potential new home with you.
In our years of partnering with real estate developers and home builders, we’ve learned that the best real estate advertising strategies are the ones that are monitored and optimized regularly.
Consumer habits change constantly, as does the internet. You should be adjusting your real estate advertising strategy accordingly.
Building a Complete Real Estate Advertising Strategy
WHEW. That took a minute, but it was worth it.
A quality real estate advertising strategy takes goal setting, planning, ad creation, lead nurturing, and a smooth marketing to sales handoff to actually sell homes.
While ads can get leads to your site, it’s everything else that sells the home.
Keep that in mind when you’re developing your next ad campaign, and you’re sure to start seeing the results you’re looking for.
There’s a lot that goes into a full-scale real estate advertising strategy that sells homes. It can be a lot of work, and your team might not have the capacity to handle everything. If you’re looking for a bit of support, the Evenbound team would be happy to help.
We’ve worked with home builders and real estate developers since our company’s founding, and we’re proud to say we’ve delivered some significant results. Let us know if we can answer any questions about your real estate advertising strategy.