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Using Facebook Advertising to Super-Charge Your Real Estate Investing

by Brandon Turner on May 20, 2012 · 17 comments

  
facebook advertising for real estate investors

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years, you know Facebook. You probably can’t go two hours without checking your wall, “liking” your friend’s comment, and laughing at a video of a golden retriever playing the piano (seriously, check that one out. I’ve put a link on my own Facebook page!)

Additionally, you can’t escape the news of Facebook going public. On Friday morning, Facebook became a publicly traded company worth over $100 billion dollars, with 80% of their value found in their revenue from their online advertising.

Clearly, Facebook has proven that it’s advertising model is the future of advertising and marketing.

Today, I am going to show you how to take advantage of Facebook pay-per-click advertising to sell a home quicker, capture more leads, and super-charge your real estate investments.

A Modern Bandit Sign, With A Twist:

Facebook ads are similar to “bandit signs” that you might place around your neighborhood but with one major benefit – you only pay when the ad works.

What would your local newspaper say if you demanded only be charged you when someone calls about your ad, or if you ask your printing company to only bill you once your bandit sign has given you a lead? They would laugh in your face! However, this is exactly what Facebook allows you to do. This is known as “pay-per-click” advertising, which simply means you only pay when someone clicks. With pay-per-click advertising (such as Facebook, Google, or Bing), you only pay when your advertisement does what it is intended to do – bring in leads.

Why Facebook Marketing Rocks:

There are multiple ways to use pay-per-click advertising on the internet, and each have their benefits. However, Facebook ads have three unique characteristics that make it an ideal tool in your marketing arsenal.

  • First, Facebook’s pay-per-click advertisements allow you to be location specific – meaning you can choose to have your ad only seen by people within ten, twenty, or within any number of miles of your target location. If you are trying to sell a home, you are able to specify exactly where you want your ad to show.
  • Additionally, Facebook ads are interest specific. Do you think Facebook’s “like” feature is only for fun? Facebook actually uses “likes” and friendship relationships to help their marketers target certain individuals. This means, as a Facebook marketer, you can choose to show your ad only to people who are interested in a certain topic. For example, if you are trying to wholesale a fixer-upper, you have the ability to advertise only to people who “like” certain topics like “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” “The Family Handyman Magazine,” or “BiggerPockets.com”.
  • Finally, pay-per-click advertising is demographically specific so you can target only certain ages or genders. For example, you can create an ad written to attract first-time homebuyers that is specifically targeted toward people between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-three that live within twenty miles of a home you are trying to sell.

How Facebook Ad Pricing Works:

The most common question people have when discussing Facebook ads is, “how much does it cost?”

The answer is more complicated than a simple dollar amount, but simple to use. Pay-per-click ad prices are based on an “silent auction” style, meaning that all advertisers will “bid” on a price they are willing to pay, based on the criteria you are targeting your advertising to.  You will simply tell Facebook what price per click you are willing to pay, and Facebook will never charge you more than that. Bid too low, and your ad will not be shown. To help you determine your range, Facebook will offer you a “bid range” to set your price within.

In other words, if there are ten advertisers out there who are marketing to people who like BiggerPockets.com” on Facebook, the highest price bid will be displayed first. You have the ability to set both your price-per-click as well as your daily and monthly budget. This concept can be a little tricky to wrap your head around, but will become much more clear as your set your ad up. In my experience, a typical “click” usually costs between 20 and 60 cents each.

Remember though, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Facebook will monitor your spending and keep you within the daily or monthly budget you have chosen. If you want to spend $100 per day advertising or just $5 per day, Facebook gives you that option.

Creating Your Marketing Funnel:

Before you jump in and start advertising on Facebook, you need to have your “marketing funnel” in place. A marketing funnel is simply your step-by-step process to accomplish your goal- from beginning to end.  You don’t want to start paying for advertising without a clear way to turn those “clicks” into cash. To create your marketing funnel it is important to work backwards, beginning with a simple question: What is your ultimate goal?

Once you have determined your goal, simply decide the best way to accomplish this, working backwards. For example, I am currently using Facebook to advertise a flip I have on the market to sell. My ultimate goal is to sell this home. To do this, I need to have people make an offer – but before they make an offer they will need to get inside the house and tour it. In order to get prospective buyers in the front door, I will need to attract their interest, so the goal of my marketing is to peak a prospective buyer’s interest. I decided the best way to make a prospective buyer interested in my property is to create a website filled with photographs of the property that also includes a form that buyers can fill out to get more information or set up a tour of the home.

A website is not necessary in order to capture leads, but can be beneficial. If you don’t have the technical ability to create a website, use a pre-made template or simply hire an inexpensive freelancer at a site such as Odesk.com or eLance.com. Otherwise, simply create a Facebook business page that accomplishes your goal.

Once your marketing funnel is fully created, its time to begin advertising.

Tips When Creating Your Facebook Ad:

You do not need to have a separate business Facebook page to create ads, but you can if you would like. To set up your ad campaign for the first time, click “advertising” on the very bottom of your main Facebook homepage if on a personal Facebook page or click “Build Audience” at the top of your Admin Panel if you are using a business Facebook account. When you create your ad, follow these six steps to ensure a high “click-through-rate” (the percentage of people who click on your ad compared to the number of people who see it”

  1. Choose where you want your ad to send people. This destination could be your webpage, business Facebook page, or any site that you choose. Just make sure this location is part of your marketing “funnel” (see above).
  2. Create a killer title. You are allowed only 25 characters for your title – so make them count. If you are advertising to local people, use something local in the title to make them stand out. For example, my recent ad title read “Why Rent In Grays Harbor?” (Grays Harbor is the county I live in). Facebook users are not accustomed to seeing local ads, so it stands out.
  3. Intrigue them with your body. You are allowed 90 characters to convince your ad viewer to click on your ad. Appeal to both fact and emotion when you write, triggering interest in both sides of the brain. Don’t simply state the price and features, but intrigue them to want to know more.
  4. Use an eye-catching photo. The photograph is the most important part of your ad, because it is often the only thing viewers pay attention to. Generally, using a photo that looks “non-professional” results in more clicks because people on Facebook are accustomed to seeing this style. Also, like it or not, photos with young, smiling women generally receive significantly higher click-through-rates.
  5. Set your price. When you create a Facebook ad, you have the ability to set your budget.  Decide on your monthly or daily budget and choose how much you want to bid to get your ad shown. Facebook helps you out with this and shows you the range of prices that they recommend you bid within. I recommend setting your bid 20 cents lower than Facebook’s lowest bid suggestion price and move your price upward if you find your ad is not being shown that often.
  6. Split-test like crazy. Split testing is the process by which you create multiple ads, each with small changes, to determine how people react to different parts of your ad. For example, you could create two identical ads, but with different photos, or change the wording in your title. Monitor your click-through-rates and continually seek to improve your ad.

Wrapping Up:

Facebook advertising is here to stay, and the best real estate investors are using Facebook everyday to grow their business and build substantial wealth. I am not suggesting to abandon your other marketing techniques, but simply begin exploring the vast new world of marketing online.  Facebook is a powerful tool that allows you to create advertisements that are specifically designed, geographically targeted, and only cost money when they work. However, while pay-per-click advertising is a remarkable way to market yourself, your product, or your business- blindly throwing money at Facebook hoping for leads will get you nothing but debt. It is imperative that you continue to grow, tweak, and monitor your ads so they will provide you with another powerful source of leads, sales, and wealth.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom May 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Brandon,
Great topic – this is an area a lot of businesses miss out on. Though the stock hit a rough start, everyone uses Facebook in one way or another. I’ve used it for my blog and learning some basic ways to start a blog. I’ll start my real estate blog one of these days. Keep it up.

Tom

Reply

Brandon Turner May 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Tom,
Social media marketing does seem to be severely under-used. It seems that most people are still using only the old methods to market. While I believe those old methods work great, investors are missing out on a lot when they don’t continually learn new ways to market.

And yes, you should totally start that real estate blog. It is a lot of fun, and you will learn so much by teaching. Good luck!

Reply

Jason Grote May 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Great article Brandon! My wife and I tried FB advertising last summer when she was desperate for some listings (she’s a RE Agent); Not even knowing what we were doing she got several buyer clients. The problem I saw was getting qualified clicks. It didn’t seem to give you as much control as Google’s PPC, but you have got my wheels turning now that we have a good website for our investment biz, which we didn’t have last year. Thanks for provoking us to get outside of our box!

Reply

Brandon Turner May 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Hey Jason, thanks! I also find that its tougher to get qualified leads because people are not using Facebook to solve a problem like they use Google. So I use Google for some stuff, Facebook for others. For example, I like using Facebook to draw attention to the fact that you own a house far cheaper than renting one in my county, which directs them to a sales page for my recent flip. I would love to use it to try to get some private investors – but that has to be done really carefully because of the laws governing soliciting investors. We shall see how that works out!

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Jeff Brown May 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Dang good start, Brandon — Welcome.

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Brandon Turner May 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thanks Jeff! As corny as it might sound, it is a dream come true. I’ve been reading this blog forever and set a goal to write for it someday. I guess I can check one more thing off my bucket list!

Reply

Eric May 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

Thanks for the tips! I was always a little hesitant to add FB ads to my Google Adwords but will certainly give it a go now. Thanks again.
Eric

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Brandon Turner May 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

Good luck Eric! One thing I love about PPC marketing is how relatively cheap it is to test. You don’t need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. Let me know how your ads work out!

Oh remember, a Facebook ad that talks about “local” stuff is key!

Reply

Justin Pierce May 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

Brandon,

Good article. I’ve tried facebook advertising. I thought it was a little costly. I got a lot of clicks. I got more fans to my page but nothing turned into actual deals. I did not think about putting up specific properties for sale. You have given me some good ideas for next time. Thanks. Good post.

Reply

Brandon Turner May 21, 2012 at 11:36 am

Hey Justin,

Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of using Facebook ads to attract fans. The numbers just don’t line up. I love using them though for renting units or selling homes.

Thanks for reading!

Reply

Chris Clothier May 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Brandon –

Nice article and very timely topic. I’m not convinced that I will ever try to use the site to sell houses because the data still says Facebook users are on the site for social reasons only. 85% of the time spent on Facebook is spent on the timeline reading statuses and much of the data suggests that the only thing people spend on Facebook is time! Actually selling houses using ads is excellent and puts you in very rare company on that site. That being said, I love the advice and I think the marketing tips are very practical – appreciate your sharing.

Chris

Reply

Dee June 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Thanks so much Brandon for the beginner-friendly tutorial on FaceBook marketing!

Reply

Brandon Turner June 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

You’re welcome! I hope you can use it to build your business!

Reply

Ulises August 31, 2013 at 11:20 pm

loved this! thank you

Reply

Brandon Turner September 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

Thanks Ulises!

Reply

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