In the 1970s, when the real estate investing industry was at its best, people were exposed to 500 ads a day. I bet it was easy to close deals back then. But a study on ad exposure that was conducted decades later (in 2007 to be exact) showed that people in the 2000s were exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads in a day. You can only imagine what this number is today, with all the social media traffic happening through phones.
Where does all this leave a real estate investor who is drafting topics for their marketing strategy in the 2020s? Well, it’s pretty tough, because you need to fight harder for the attention of motivated sellers. After all, the number of ads they encounter has increased ten times. But, don’t give up on your ideas for high converting real estate ad yet, because there is a silver lining to this dramatic change in the marketing landscape. If the average consumer sees thousands of ads each day – so do you.
In a way, you are an expert because you have been doing your “research” for years. You do it when you browse on the sofa, during your daily commute or at work, and when you watch a video to wind down after work.
Of course, it’s easier to see an ad than to make one. That’s where we step in to share ideas on real estate ads. They are meant for those who are stuck in a creative rut, but also to those who are starting out in their real estate investing business.
These days there are many media channels where you can push a real estate ad, especially on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube), but also on traditional media like radio or TV. The topic ideas that follow are general and can work in a number of media, although there are rare exceptions which will work only for one medium.
Let’s dive in.
You are allowed to boast with statistics that create a good image about your real estate business. The stats aren’t the only part of the ad. You can throw a hook in the introduction segment, something like “sell your house without a realtor or listings.” Then, drop the stats “we’ve sold x (net worth of all deals) in houses last year” and finish up with simple CTA (call us).
The statistics can be highlighted from different angles. If your focus is to show that you have a great long-term track record, you can point out your all-time sales numbers. If you are killing it this year, you can use something like “We’ve closed x amount worth of houses this year, and it’s only March!”
Let viewers know about a distinctive offer that sets you apart from other real estate entrepreneurs in the area. Obviously, this proposal should be unique, or at least rare in your market. And it will be different for each of you.
Real estate investors usually offer a quick service. If you want to show the overall service and results, you can go for something like “We will sell your house within a week,” but less demanding and no obligation offers like “We will make you an offer within 10 hours” yield better results. The unique selling proposition can vary: maybe you specialize in specific types of deals, maybe you have vast experience, maybe your process is optimized… you get the point.
You can also tweak this I-offer-something-you-can’t-otherwise-find ad to work as a teaser. For example, you can claim that you offer unlisted homes (or off-market houses), but not specify how – they need to call you to find out. Or you can tease that you are great at negotiating bargains on wholesale deals, but, again, not give specifics.
You know about this option without us telling you, but it’s a classic way to place an ad about a property, and it’s a classic that’s here to stay. Also, it’s a simple format that hasn’t changed much despite the evolution of the various types of media (newspaper – radio – TV – online listings – social media). The main constituents still are:
Additional recommended, but optional info includes:
Depending on the medium, you may wish to add a gallery of photos, a video property tour, overhead drone footage, 360 photo (or video), carousel ad (Facebook), etc.
This one is similar to the listings ad, but here you are actually selling the whole real estate market, not only a specific house. The neighborhood ad works great for real estate businesses who focus on houses within one ZIP code, or within one city. Let’s check out some examples.
You list a home or you promote your business, but you use an iconic skyline as a background, like skyscrapers in the city. Those of you who invest in land can do the same against a backdrop of untouched nature, like a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere or something along those lines.
Another approach is to sell the lifestyle of the neighborhood. This includes highlights like recreation spots, school district perks, nice restaurants, coffee shops, landmark architecture, local culture, etc. Here is one dated, but great example of the lifestyle real estate ad.
If you operate in a local real estate market, you can present yourself as a valuable resource to would-be buyers and sellers. So instead of introducing your business, introduce yourself.
For example – “I was born and raised in this neighborhood” (or “I lived more than a decade here”), “and I know everything about this place: how are the properties priced, what’s good about living here, what to avoid…” And you can close with something like: “come and I’ll help you find real estate here.” It’s a good ad that works for both buying and selling property.
Despite what you might initially think, this type of ad is not available only to those who received an accolade for their work. No, we are not advising you to invent an award and lie that you got it, either. Let’s explain.
If you received an award as a real estate business, be that from the county, be that from professional association, be it from house sellers – it’s a good idea to start the ad with this fact because it helps establish credibility immediately. But, if you are just starting out, or if you haven’t got an award, you can always single out something that makes you proud to be part of the company.
For example, “we pour our hearts in the work we do,” “we have the greatest team in this real estate market,” or “we don’t just buy houses, we make new friends.” No one can measure these things, and it’s hard to prove you wrong; plus, it’s uplifting to everyone that will see the ad.
Referrals and testimonials are big in real estate – that’s nothing new. If you go for a testimonial ad, though, make sure you don’t present one interview on its own.
What you can do is gather several testimonials and frame them within your marketing goals. This works on all media, and especially as a video ad. If these testimonials are collected from social media, you can post them as screenshots. The presentation can vary, but testimonial ads are the best social proof for real estate investors – and you can be confident that they will perform well.
This format is basically about sharing tips to promote your business. Now, since this is an ad, make sure you make the ad short. Some topics like buying a home, home maintenance, or property appraisal can justify a lengthy treatment – but not in your ad. If your educational ad is a video ad, 30 seconds are optimal and 2 minutes are the maximum length; and when it comes to the copy – this is an elevator pitch, so only use sentences that are short and to-the-point.
Whatever the specific content you choose, this ad carries the message “I am competent to solve your problem.”
You are buying and selling houses, so what can you really offer for free to people that warrants its own campaign and advertising budget? Well, two things come to mind. First, if you have vacant rental properties, you can entice renters by offering something free, or at a discount, for example, “first rent is 70% off – click here to claim your offer.”
Then, you can offer a free night in your Airbnb joint to get reviews – this is not only an incentive for renters, but it’s also a social proof for property buyers.
Also, you can offer something that you would give for free anyway – for example, using a lead magnet. An ad with a lead magnet (like “free property evaluation – claim your offer now”) will help in converting new leads, especially if what you give out is of value to your audience.
The concept for this type of ad is simple: it’s the down-to-earth summary of steps required to sell a house. Something like “We do x, z, y, and you’ve sold your house in 7 days or less.“
Explaining your process to a layman, or someone who’s never sold (or bought) a house before, in a way that’s easy to understand, will help people accept that your offer is legitimate. In terms of closing a deal, the goal of the “this is my process” ad is to answer the questions and the concerns which might not even have been voiced, but that come up when people hear about your real estate business.
This type of real estate ad uses instances where you were featured in media as a form of social proof – to show your value to the community. So, if there is an article about you in local newspapers, you can quote what was written about you; if you gave an interview to local media outlets, you can share short audio or video clips, etc. The idea is to use media coverage as an advantage – and to do that, you don’t need to focus exclusively on media material, you can mix these snippets with your typical ad, as well.
For example, some real estate entrepreneurs are prominent show runners involved in popular productions (especially house flipping shows), and if you pay attention, you’ll see that all of them use the success of the show in the marketing campaigns for their business. But, you don’t need to worry if the camera doesn’t love you because there are other ways to present yourself as a winner. Few good ideas are: materials from a professional event if you were a conference speaker, or media coverage about charity in which you are actively involved in.
Speaking of involvement, try not to use political or controversial topics in your marketing. Or, if you do it, be ready to lose business because of it.
Home is more than a house. You can glorify the dream of having a perfect home, because everyone has their idea of it. For some the home is related to the location, for others it’s the amenities, for yet another group it’s the street view etc.
People are vulnerable to this even if they have a comfortable house in which they get by. Also, you are casting a wide net, since you are selling them something that can’t be bought and sold – you’re selling a feeling. These ads are great for finding buyers.
People let their guard down when they are having a good time, so if you find something heartwarming and you connect that with property ownership, you have a great ad.
For example, show someone cooking in the kitchen, or sharing a family meal at the dinner table, or throwing a party. The idea is to make people believe that it’s not only brick and mortar they are buying. Rather, it leads them to think of it as the scene for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduation parties – that sort of stuff.
You don’t need a lot of extras and a huge budget to do this. You can throw a party for a real estate group you are part of (including other real estate investors in the area, realtors, investors, or whatever) in a property that’s for sale. Or throw a barbeque party in the backyard and simply document people having fun (photos and videos should only be taken with permission from attendees).
Use statistics to entice people to cement the decision to buy or sell their property. We had one type of real estate ad in which statistics played a big role earlier, but that was boasting with your performance stats. This one has more to do with the latest data about real estate markets in general.
In essence, you present stats on the real estate market with the goal to show an opportunity for both buyers and sellers. Again, this is not a content piece but a super short presentation of relevant stats, so use short bullet points to drive your point home.
For example: “The local county X has plans to increase the number of high school students in our school district next year, and there is no more land that can be used for development in our neighborhood. The value of houses will go up and this is the best time to buy a house here.” Or, the other way around: “The value of houses in X (neighborhood or ZIP code) has been declining for some years now, and with an Y amount of jobs created on the other side of town, now is the best time to sell your house if you don’t want to sell it for cents on the dollar years from now.”
The market-opportunity ad works great for those homeowners who are on the fence about buying/selling real estate, and if you craft your ad well, it might be the final push for them to make the big decision.
This is a brief catalog of houses you managed to close within a specific time frame (it can be last year, or it can be in the span of your whole career). In a way, this is the complete opposite to the unique selling proposition real estate ad we wrote about earlier. You introduce your real estate business and you cast a wide net.
You don’t need to do much, just feature a fast sequence of different properties – it can be video, slide show, gif, or animation – and you just let the houses talk for themselves. Of course, to do this, you need to actually be in several real estate markets. Plus, this ad is great for those who close deals on all sorts of properties: commercial, residential, or industrial real estate; holiday vacation properties, land, or special-use property.
If you were a retailer, this would be your ad to increase brand awareness.
In this format, you take personalization to the next level. When you do email marketing, you can insert code that will take the recipients name from your form and address them personally (the “Hi Jack” type of email greeting). Well, some real estate investors create first contact videos where they address prospective motivated sellers directly.
Something along the lines of: “I understand your predicament because I’ve done this with other properties and their owners before. Here is how to solve it and the first step is to call me.” Don’t mistake this for a regular email. This is a personal video addressed to house sellers.
The trick with this ad is very simple: How many real estate investors would make a video specifically for you? It stands out and if you can set aside the time that’s required to do the research and to put together this package for a property owner, you’ll probably increase the number of closed deals.
Is it even possible to instill urgency in prospects to buy or sell when you are dealing with real estate? Exclusive locations or houses don’t need an ad campaign, they are sold really fast. However, you can push motivated house sellers to act faster.
A motivated seller is already looking for a way out of a tricky situation, so if you do the urgency ad properly, you might close the deal. You introduce a limit, either real or perceived, and the deal suddenly becomes hot. For example, “We are able to buy only two more houses in X neighborhood this month.”
This type of ad is to be used in a buyers market (high inventory, low demand). If a motivated seller has potential buyers lined up (low inventory, high demand) their negotiation power is strong, and you can’t urge them to do anything, really.
The greatest pitfall when it comes to marketing for real estate entrepreneurs is to spend too much money on the ad itself. This applies especially to video ads (paid actors, superb editing, professional photography etc.) where you sort of compete with realtors and agencies who can afford to pay for big production. The truth is – you don’t need any of that.
Your ads shouldn’t be sloppy, but you don’t need to overdo it either. Commercial-grade cameras (your phone?) can capture great footage which can be used in ads.
As for the copy itself, it doesn’t have to be anything complicated – usually, it’s only a couple of lines long anyway. What’s important is for it to speak directly to your audience. If you have a copy that says “I understand you better than anyone else on this topic – better than your family and friends” people will click or call or whatever you ask them to do.
Be authentic and people will recognize that.
Let’s revisit the statistics on overwhelming exposure to ads from the opening. In a nutshell, yes, they are correct and they do paint a grim picture, particularly if you’ve never done any real estate ad campaigns. At the same time, you already know a good ad when you see one because you’ve been exposed to so many ads in the past. Just put yourself in the shoes of motivated sellers.
And if you need a bit of inspiration, now you have all these different ad ideas we shared with you, so you can start adapting them today to reflect the values and end goals of your real estate business. You can accomplish most of them on a really tight budget, and, chances are, any one of these topics can help you improve your performance. If that’s not the case, at least you’ll learn what doesn’t work for your target market and test a new approach.
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