The internet is flooded with video content and it’s safe to say that people prefer watching videos to reading blog posts. Websites with videos make visitors stay longer on a site, and video ads drive more engagement from social network users. This is especially true for the real estate sector: if you have a choice, would you choose a text-based listing with a handful of photos, or a video tour of a property? For most, it’s the latter, not the former.
So, no wonder you are considering video marketing for your real estate investing company. It’s a natural step to getting more leads online. The trick is – this whole real estate video ad thing seems too complex, time consuming, and expensive, especially if you’ve never produced or marketed a video before.
Join us as we explore how video marketing for motivated sellers can work for every real estate investor.
It all starts with the budget and there are two types of costs you need to look at:
1) The money spent to make a video, or production costs; and
2) The money spent to push it, or advertising costs – think Facebook, Instagram or YouTube ads.
When you make a real estate video ad you should aim for the best possible quality because the video quality directly affects people’s perception of your business. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should hire a professional crew including actors, props, and a video editing team. Every single one of these elements will increase production costs. You can easily make a video with resources that are at your disposal.
Don’t copy expensive real estate commercials – they are usually selling luxury lifestyle and exclusive properties, anyway. You don’t need any of that if you are a real estate investor, since you are reaching out to motivated sellers.
You can make a decent-quality video by using your phone and a couple of editing apps. If you go for this option though, remember that you’ll have to invest in proper lighting, microphones and a tripod.
The budget for pushing the ad in front of internet users depends on the spending limits you’re comfortable with. When you make your analysis about the return on investment, keep in mind that video ads are only one aspect of your overall marketing strategy – so, take into account your SEO plan, your pay-per-click campaign, your direct mail campaign, and other types of marketing you use.
Before we delve into the process itself, note that video production takes a lot of planning, even if you do it with modest resources. For example, an overhead drone shot of a property (important for wholesalers and house flippers) depends on good weather, as does any outdoor video shooting. Also, if you do your testimonial interviews on the fly, you have to carry the equipment in your car or in your suitcase/backpack at all times.
Plus, there is a learning curve. Take scripting for instance. We’ve all done a lot of talking in front of a camera, but have you ever done a scripted shoot? It takes some effort to write a script and to stick to it during a shooting.
But don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, it comes natural: every other YouTuber and TikToker out there does it – and a lot of these are kids – so you can do it, too.
Crafting ads works slightly differently than your regular content (be it video or not), particularly since you are after a small fraction of the general real estate audience that is active online: you’re after motivated sellers. You’ll need to use a specific type of content that is suitable for video ads. So let’s take a look at some ideas:
You can interview satisfied homeowners who sold their previous house through you. This is a very effective video ad format – it’s word of mouth marketing enhanced by modern technology.
The most simple way to do this type of video ad is to ask people you’ve worked with to record a video statement and send it to you. If you go for this option, you don’t have control over the equipment they’ll be using, and the video might turn out to be of poor quality (for example, great video – poor light, or great video – poor sound).
If you want to excel, arrange an in-person interview. This will not only allow you to have more control over the production quality, but it will also enable you to include a shot of yourself with the interviewees in the ad, which projects a better image about your real estate investing business. A pro tip is to go for a longer video interview (let’s say 20 minutes) – so you can choose a highlights reel to be used in the video ad (for example, yourself and a couple laughing on camera in slow motion over an easy going soundtrack).
Anything that inspires trust in motivated sellers to reach out to you is helpful.
This type of video ad serves to help people learn more about you so they can relate to your story – how you started the business and how you conduct work today. Some call it a campaign to increase brand awareness, but be careful, because you don’t want to show the typical business environment (everyone in suits) in your ad if your goal is to appeal to motivated sellers.
Do your best to separate yourself from realtors and big real estate companies – just a regular guy/gal helping sellers get rid of a property. Adding a throwback photo or two usually helps drive this point home.
It’s the video version of the “about” section of your website: this is who I am, this is what I do, and if you have a house to sell – this is how to reach me.
Showing people what your work day looks like can help them visualize what will happen if they call you. Now, don’t mistake this for the typical “A day in the life” social media post about drinking coffee at the office which is published to make your business relatable. This is completely different – is to address a concern before the concern is vocalized.
For example, many motivated sellers worry about the actual market value of their home. So, you can put together an ad that shows how you do property appraisal. Nothing complicated, just “Today I did a house inspection and this is how it’s done.” You can relay a few points about the process in a clear manner (like, it’s fast, accurate, and free of charge). And the hook? “Redeem a free house inspection by calling XXX-XXXXX-XXX.”
Of course, only offer this option if you have the capacity to satisfy a large number of house inspection requests.
There is more than one way to structure your video ad – it’s where your creativity comes into play. At the same time, the digital platforms where you upload these videos (Facebook, YouTube) offer a stream of ads to the users, so you might want to follow some unwritten rules that will help you to produce a relevant video ad.
Here is one template you can use:
Only motivated sellers can tell you what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to follow the template above to the letter, but it can serve as a starting point. Also, you can mix up different types of video ads into one. The ad can start with your business story, follow up with you explaining the property appraisal process, and then throw in a testimonial.
Ads on social media are usually posted by retailers and ecommerce sites who have a product to sell, so you can try something different that will appeal to people who are about to make a big decision like selling a house.
Real estate investors produce all sorts of videos in their content strategies including:
Even though these videos are not originally made to attract motivated sellers, you can repurpose some of them for a video ad. For example, you can feature a short clip from a Q n A session in a video ad, if what was said helps to establish your professional credibility..
Speaking of format, it’s recommended to keep the length of the video ad under one minute. Of course, the marketing platform will have its own video format guide (these are Facebook’s for example) and you can simply comply with the rules.
Video ads are deliberately short, not to save money (though this is a plus), but to match the attention span of average ad viewers. There is no point in making a long video ad that no one will watch till the end.
Then, why did you spend 20 minutes filming a testimonial interview? Don’t worry, this effort will eventually pay off, just not as an ad. Let’s see how…
It’s a general rule of content marketing – you can always rehash the content once the campaign is over. Ad campaigns have an expiry date. They may last months, or a year, but one day, the video has to be replaced. After the campaign is over, you can embed the video on your website, you can create a playlist on a video-sharing platform, or you can release the full length video. Sometimes you can repurpose the material right away (for example, use a snippet of a testimonial interview with motivated sellers in a video ad, but publish the whole interview elsewhere).
The goal of real estate video ads is to get motivated seller leads directly, however, you can also use the video material to help you rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) and thus bring leads indirectly through organic searches.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and many of the search results on Google are videos – so uploading videos on the platform will improve your ranking. Remember, the video transcripts are basically text (i.e. keywords) so using specific search phrases in the videos will help you come out on top. Unfortunately, the search volume of real estate investing keywords on YouTube is not high enough to justify spending on YouTube ads in the REI industry. But it does affect search engine results overall, so instead of launching a YouTube ad campaign, you can just share videos on the platform.
Digital marketing campaigns have one thing in common – you get a wealth of information about the performance of your ad. Video ads are no exception, as there are many metrics that track engagement including data like: number of views, how long the video was watched, whether someone started to follow your social media as a result of a video ad, cost per play, and similar. Here are the video ad metrics used by Facebook, to get a better idea of how this works.
Test out different ads and keep up with what your competitors are doing – this is the best course of action for any digital marketing campaign. The reason why homeowners became motivated seller leads changes over time, so you will have to follow the metrics and trends wherever they take you.
Lastly, keep in mind that if you give viewers an incentive, like offering free house inspection, the engagement rates will be higher.
Video content, be it ads or other types of video, drives online traffic, so it is an important part of your multi-channel lead generation efforts. Real estate investors manage to find motivated seller leads through real estate video ads every day. Your task is to hone in on the audience you want to target and to produce a video that will engage them.
You can make a good quality video with a low production budget. The key is to plan your shoots in advance and to think strategically about the message you want to get across. While this can be tricky because motivated house sellers are a very particular niche audience, you can structure your real estate video ad in a way that brings out engagement.
The rest of it is typical digital campaign specifics: setting advertising budget, monitoring performance, and testing new ads. Good luck!
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