March Madness: the time of the year when millions of people become expert odds-pickers and make their bets on who will be the best collegiate basketball team in the land. Well we’re here to bring you Marketing Madness: the time when we put different real estate marketing tactics head to head to find out what is the most effective lead generating technique today. Pick your winning marketing tactics, fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and you could win a brand-new gold MacBook! You’ve got until Wednesday, March 25th at 12 PM CST to make your picks for round one. The championship showdown (and the last day to enter to win the MacBook) will be Friday, April 10th!
#1. Landing pages vs. #16. Phone book ads
Landing pages: These handy little pages are the #1 seed for one major reason – they immediately convert visitors into leads. Placing valuable, targeted information behind landing pages and sharing your link everywhere possible is definitely an effective method for gathering high-quality leads.
Phone book ads: You might have major success with phone book ads….if you sell real estate in some part of the world where the Internet hasn’t been discovered yet. While potential clients in the past may have flipped to the real estate section of the phone book to find an agent, they’re definitely searching Google for you now.
#2. Referrals vs. #15. Real estate rap videos
Referrals: One of the oldest, most valuable forms of real estate lead generation. A personal recommendation is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, because people like working with businesses they can trust. But in a time where most real estate quests begin with a Google search and not a pleasant conversation with the neighbor while picking up the newspaper, are referrals really the most valuable form of real estate marketing? We’ll let you decide.
Real estate rap videos: If you’re wondering how this selection made the cut, you obviously haven’t heard of Rafael A. Perez, the rapping San Diego Realtor who sang sweet rhymes about buying a home in the 619 like “Got beaches fine dining, hiking, and legos. Even killer whales are nice and playful.” Ok, ok…maybe rapping wasn’t exactly Rafael’s calling (even though his initials do happen to be R.A.P.) but how often do you see a real estate video with over 136,000 Youtube views? Perez took a unique approach to marketing himself, and that’s something we can definitely get behind.
#3. SEO vs. #14 Billboards and bus benches
SEO: Online searches have become the very first thing we do when we want…anything. And it’s not just the younger generation that go straight to the search engines. When I showed my dad Google, he would literally sit at his computer and tell the family to come up with questions so he could “Google it” and give us the answer. Showing up first in a Google search is an incredible way to get lots of eyes on your brand, and generate tons of leads. But, it’s definitely a science, and it’s always changing. It’s not a quick marketing tactic to master overnight.
Billboards and bus benches: Back before everyone stared at their smartphone 20 hours a day, humans actually took notice of their surroundings. Creative outdoor advertising has had a little resurgence lately, but it’s not cheap, and it can be hard to track whether it’s actually paying off. Not to mention that digital content can be updated and improved continuously, whereas your billboard is static, and you better pray you don’t have a typo on it.
#4. Branded website vs. #13. Branded swag
Branded website: Today’s consumers, especially millenials, are notorious for performing extensive Google searches on products, co-workers, online dating matches, and yep, even real estate agents. This means your branded website could definitely be a big factor in whether you’re their agent of choice when they’re looking to buy or sell a home. If you’re not investing in a mobile-responsive, interactive real estate website, you could be falling behind your competition.
Branded swag: When is the last time you looked around and said, “Man, this office is windy. I really wish I had a paperweight.” Probably never. Yet many real estate companies choose to spend marketing dollars branding every office supply under the sun. Think before you put your logo (or face, like this “Phillowcase”, seen on Modern Family) on any swag.
#5. In-person networking vs. #12. Direct mail
In-person networking: Bust out that new blazer and your finest smile, we’re going networking! You can almost feel the future leads coming in as you jovially greet passersby, kiss babies, and shake hands with the elderly at the local 4th of July parade. All kidding aside, people want to work with people they like. Getting involved in community charities, events, or organizations can do wonders for your network, and that’s the one thing no real estate professional will succeed without.
Direct mail: How many times have you pulled a stack of mail out the mailbox and jumped for joy at the sight of 25 advertisements from various businesses? If you’re like me, it almost all goes immediately in the round file (trash can). Occasionally, the right thing at the right time will catch my eye and prompt further research, but it’s rare. You can find success in direct mail, but you’ve got to be really good at it, and be ready to pay for it.
#6. Google ads vs. #11. Blogging
Google ads: If you do any research on Google ads, you’ll find statistics pointing a lot of different directions. Some people say organic clicks outweigh paid, while other studies show that the majority of information-seekers click on paid ads. Odds are you’ve clicked on a Google ad before, but only if the ad directly pertained to what you were searching for. Google ads require some research and smart targeting to get the best ROI, but they can definitely yield some impressive results.
Blogging: There are few things more intimidating than a blank page (or, Word document – it is 2015 after all). This, combined with the hectic every day frenzy that is your life, makes a pretty solid case to skip blogging. However, for many real estate agents who have made the time investment to consistently write, blogging works. It can be a solid traffic driver for your website if you’re in tune with what your audience wants to see – and consistent in your content efforts.
#7. Drip e-mail campaigns vs. #10. Portal leads
Drip e-mail campaigns: Automated marketing: Two words that make a busy real estate agent’s eyes light up. Anything that you can set and forget and will keep you in touch with your contacts is a great addition to your marketing strategy. However, as consumers get bombarded with more spam, you may have noticed a dive in open rates. Effective e-mail marketing now works best when it’s delivering highly targeted messages to a tailored group of people.
Portal leads: Good luck reading any real estate news site without being bombarded by headlines on “Zulia” or any other portal. But the truth is, these portals are dominating the real estate market as much as they’re dominating the news. Consumers have shown preference to searching these portals instead of browsing an agent’s personal site. However, portal lead costs can add up quickly, and it’s not always easy to track your ROI. Each company and market is different, which is why some agents shake their fist at the word portal, while others welcome them with open arms.
#8. Social media ads vs. #9. Social media (organic)
Social media ads: The amount of detailed targeting available through social media ads has become increasingly impressive. However, if you don’t have it accurately dialed in, you may be getting a bunch of engagement from spammy accounts based out of places like Sri Lanka (no offense to Sri Lankans, you just aren’t my target client for real estate in Naples, FL). While highly targeted ads can bring in qualified leads, they may require some trial and error to get the best results.
Social media (organic): “Organic” almost always seems to be more desirable than “paid” when it comes to online exposure. But, outlets like Facebook have taken steps that make reaching all your connections organically pretty much impossible. However, other social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, can get you a large organic reach with a little effort. Growing a following organically can be a big time investment, but can pay off in the long run.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the best marketing tactics in your market. Drop a comment below, or Tweet us @PipelineROI with the hashtag #REMarketingMadness to let us know what you think! Don’t forget to fill out the form below for your shot at a gold MacBook!