For Newbies

Is TV Marketing a Viable Channel for Real Estate Investors?

Is TV Marketing a Viable Channel for Real Estate Investors?

Traditionally, TV marketing was reserved for real estate entrepreneurs with deep pockets, and in many ways it still is. However, this doesn’t mean that getting your real estate investing business promoted on TV is impossible with little to no budget. 

To help you decide whether this is something worth pursuing, in this article, we review TV as a marketing channel for real estate investors. As with digital marketing, there are two types of TV marketing: paid TV ads and free coverage. We will address both of them, along with practical advice on getting TV airtime for acquiring motivated seller leads.

TV Ads For Motivated Seller Leads

Truth be told, real estate investors who invest in TV ads are few and far in between. It’s not because TV won’t bring motivated seller leads in your funnel – viewers will call your office, but the costs usually exceed the marketing budget of investors, especially the budget of beginners.

When real estate investing was established as an industry, it was really hard to reach a large number of people, and investors were bound to the contracts they had on the mailing list for their direct mail campaign. Ads on TV or radio were the only alternative and the costs were prohibitive. The media landscape has changed since, and with social media, free online traffic, and paid online traffic you can easily reach a wide audience at a fraction of the cost.

Nevertheless, some real estate investors and coaches advocate the use of TV marketing for brand building. And it can work, particularly if you operate in a small real estate market, the competition is not tough (TV audience of fewer than a million viewers and), the ad is not shown in the prime time slot, and you target a specific demographic of TV viewers – mostly older generations. Otherwise, the chances are stacked against you.

Let’s check the pros and cons of paid TV campaigns.

Pros of TV Ads for Motivated Seller Leads

  • Nothing builds credibility as a TV appearance does – real estate investors need to work hard to earn the trust of motivated sellers. We are all likely to consider brands to be legitimate if we see them on TV (it’s how we are wired).
  • The competition is not strong – if you launch a TV ad campaign, you are likely to be the only real estate investor in your market with TV presence. Although, this can work against you too, because people will trust you more if there are multiple businesses like yours (remember, house sellers don’t know what investors do until they need one).
  • You can use TV ads to boost marketing campaigns on other channels – this applies to direct mail, SEO, ad campaigns on social media, etc. For instance, you can clip parts of the ad and use them in a Facebook campaign as well.

Cons of TV Ads for Motivated Seller Leads

  • Putting a successful TV ad together can be overwhelming – there are a lot of decisions to be made in the process. You need to decide which station to approach, what show, the time slot, what’s reasonable money for that slot, etc.
  • Leads from TV ads are outbound – meaning they call you on the phone number you share in the ad. If they call, they are motivated, but it’s much easier to find inbound leads if you get their attention when they look for a solution online, by ranking your website high on the SERPs or with PPC ads.
  • Costs of TV ads are high – we mentioned this already. Aside from the money you need to pay to the TV station for showing your ad, there are all sorts of costs. Take the video creation process: scripting, producing, editing, hiring actors or animation, hiring professional camera and crew, etc. Real estate video ads for Facebook and YouTube can be made with a smartphone, but video production for TV has to meet higher standards.

Now, let’s turn to cheaper ways to get TV exposure.

Free TV Coverage for Real Estate Investors

What if you can get your business featured on TV without spending a fortune doing it? It’s very rare, but it can happen. This happened to Christian Fautz, who got an invitation for an interview with a local TV station in Southwest Florida where he is active as a real estate investor. He got this opportunity because he was one of the authors of an Amazon bestseller. Other investors are featured in news reports, some are part of house flipping shows, etc.

Of course, this is a fluke and you can’t base your marketing plan on the possibility of appearing on TV. However there are ways to increase your public profile and we will discuss them in this section. And after that we will cover making the most of such exposure, if you do manage to get it.

Let’s dive in.

How to Get Your Business Featured on TV

When we talk about TV ads for real estate investors, we don’t refer to ads in a prime time slot (before or after a Coca Cola commercial), so the same applies to free airtime – the idea is to get yourself a couple of minutes on a local show, as Christian Fautz did. There isn’t really a roadmap for securing this type of airtime, so here are some general suggestions on how to get reporters and producers to notice you.

Consistently Put Out Good Content

This works similar to SEO; if you put out a specific type of content on a regular basis, reporters might view you as a knowledgeable and authoritative source on a topic. One example of this would be to publish real estate market reports each quarter about your local area for years on end, so reporters can ask you to comment on the latest changes in the market. Another example would be to document your house flips on social media (and potentially get scouted for a house flipping segment).

Build Rapport With Journalists 

You can approach journalists the same way you approach networking with lenders, investors, realtors, and contractors. In fact, it’s much easier to establish a connection with journalists because they constantly need input on newsworthy topics (especially on local stations). You can be the one that provides the info they so desperately need when they cover real estate matters.

There are two legitimate link building techniques that can help you build this type of rapport: Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and #journorequest. HARO is a platform for connecting professional journalists with relevant sources – you can share your view on real estate topics in a standardized format. The other technique is less formal as #journorequest is practically a Twitter thread where journalists ask for sources and interviewees to be used in a news piece they are working on.

Capitalize on Any Previous Exposure to Media 

Real estate investing attracts people from all walks of life, and some of them have been featured on TV in a different context. Athletes turned investors are a typical example of this, and they can bank on previous TV appearances (as NBA, NFL NHL, or MLB player) to get featured.

Write a Book on Real Estate or Entrepreneurship

Penning a book on real estate sounds intimidating to those who aren’t familiar with the publishing industry, but you don’t need to be Stephen King to do this. Christian Fautz got his exposure by writing a book at the advice of a publisher he met at his local REI club. You can even hire a ghostwriter to write the book for you, and it’s a great way to increase your public profile, especially if you are into coaching other investors.

Sponsor Local Organizations and Clubs 

Support for local organizations is another method to get backlinks, that also might lend you an appearance on local TV. You can support the elderly, sports club for kids, center for battling addictions, and even get exposure by taking part in activities of the religious community in your area.

There are probably other ways to get on TV, but none of them are foolproof. Sometimes you get airtime just because you know someone who knows someone else (networking). If you try to hack TV promotion by not going for prime time slots and by engaging local stations, you might end up on the screen. 

Let’s look into ways to make the most of it.

How To Use Free TV Coverage Once You Got It

Suppose you do get a two-minute slot like Christian Fautz. It’s a stretch for most real estate investors out there, but for a moment let’s assume that this is a done deal. How do you use the TV appearance to boost the effect of campaigns on your other marketing channels? Well, Dan had Christian as a guest on our REI Marketing Nerds podcast and gave him some suggestions. The short answer: use it everywhere to build trust. The long list goes along the following lines:

  • Get the video from the TV station – most stations will allow you to use the footage for promotional purposes, even if it’s featured in a long-form copyrighted work (a documentary).
  • Transcribe the video – it’s cheap and easy to do it, and you can use it in so many ways.
  • Add the transcript in the video description (on YouTube) – videos are automatically transcribed, but those transcripts are full of errors. By adding a proofread version of the transcript, you make the video more searchable (YouTube is a search engine as well).
  • Create a blog post about the TV appearance – this is kind of obvious, but you need to some SEO tweaks to maximize the effect. One would be to embed the video in the blog post, other is to include the transcript below the post.
  • Edit the video – add your phone number to the bottom of the original recording. Maybe you’ll need to hire an editor to do this for you, but it makes it easier for viewers to call you as soon as they see the video.
  • Create a post on social media – of course, you were going to do this anyway, but here we talk about making sure this post is seen by as many users of the platform as possible. So, boost the post through an ad campaign (you can do this on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.).
  • Add an “as seen on” icon to the bottom of your website – let people know that you operate a legitimate business that was featured on TV. You can use the video years down the line to build trust. 

Closing Thoughts

For real estate investors, the bottom line is always: Will this marketing channel bring motivated seller leads at a reasonable cost? You can’t really base your lead generation on TV as a marketing channel. TV ads are usually expensive (ROI is low), and you can’t rely on free TV coverage because journalists and producers decide whether you fit into their program – it’s not up to you.

However, if you do end up enjoying TV exposure, make sure to use it to boost the effectiveness of campaigns across marketing channels. TV is still relevant for a large section of the population, so don’t discard it off the bat. In terms of getting free organic traffic through SEO, TV appearance is invaluable on every level: for securing backlinks, boosting credibility, and for getting house seller leads. 

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