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One thing that keeps on keeping on, when it comes to Real Estate and Technology is that things are always changing. They are changing so rapidly these days, in fact that it truly feels like if you don’t read any industry tech blogs for a week or two that you actually are falling behind the curve and need to catch up. It’s okay to feel that way, and it’s okay for that to happen.
Real Estate, up until this point has traditionally been behind the curve when it comes to emerging technologies. The reason for this? I think it could be a few things. First of all, the original “tech gap” we saw 15-20 years ago was primarily older Realtors® that weren’t comfortable with any technology, let alone new technology and just refused to embrace it.
Next there was a lack of viable options for the Realtors® that actually did want to embrace technology. Many software developers realized at that time that their potential pool of customers was very small,, so they either did not create any technology for the Real Estate Industry at all, or what they did create was unrealistically expensive, or lacking the core functionalities Realtors® would need to embrace the platform.
With the advent of Cloud Computing and a growing number of Millennials getting into the Real Estate Industry (along with the seemingly steady flow of former engineers and tech executives as well), we’ve hit this great sweet spot where there are TONS of tech platforms available for Realtors® and a great many of the tools are super, super useful and critical to their day to day business.
As these things are happening, we’re getting more and more questions about applying some tried and true “old school” Real Estate Marketing tactics to the new technologies that are emerging on the scene. It’s not always possible of course, but there are quite a few great cases as to how you can apply these tactics, or even simultaneously use both the old and new platforms together, creating a marketing mash-up.
One of the most popular of these use cases has to do with using traditional Real Estate farming strategies in Facebook. This is my favorite one, and also the fastest growing segment of our client services, so today I thought I would share with you some ways you can use your traditional farming tactics on this digital platform, to get more business and succeed.
RULE #1: Remember, It’s Never “This” vs. “That”
Before we begin, it’s important to address one thing that we get asked all the time. While there are some marketing platforms out there that are terrible and do not work for Real Estate, there are plenty out there that are solid and work great. When comparing one of the solid ones to another, it is important that you NEVER think of it as, “Which is better?”
Take postcard farming vs. Facebook marketing, for instance. You can’t think of things in terms of which is better. It’s apples and oranges. Not only that, since there is no one single type of person in the world, you cannot put all your eggs in one marketing basket and turn your back on the other.
Some people like the tangible, and reading their mail and clipping coupons and handwriting letters are the way they conduct their lives. Others hate the mail, and don’t read the advertisements. BUT, they will spend hours on Facebook, interacting with ads, posts and friends.
The only tried and true advice when it comes to what marketing vehicles you should use is the idea that you want to use a little bit of everything in moderation. Pick your platforms, and for sure stick with them, BUT make sure the sum total of those platforms represents a well rounded approach that is going to get you the most exposure possible.
Get Comfortable With The Ad Manager
The first thing you have to do is get comfortable with Facebook’s Ad Manager. More specifically, with their audience building tool that is inside the ad manager.
As most of you know, my firm is located in the Silicon Valley. In California, when we do traditional postcard marketing campaigns for agents, we don’t have to sell them databases that we purchased from data warehouses because the Title Companies here have customer service departments and they will provide the databases free of charge. Our clients in other states may not have access to this sort of service, per their state’s rules and regulations and as a result, we have to go the data warehouse route, to get them their farm data.
Which ever method you use to get your farm mailing lists though, think of the audience building tool in Facebook’s ad manager as exactly that, BUT on steroids.
Facebook has many fantastic options when building your audience. The first of which is geography. In the audience manager you can specifically target people that live in a particular geographic area. You can do so by entire city, or even narrowed down by zip code or other factors.
You cannot get quite as specific as a title company or data warehouse would get. For instance, you cannot draw a polygon of your exact area you want to target. Instead you can target a geographic area by things such as:
-ZIP or post codes
-A radius around a pin dropped on the map
Even though it isn’t quite as exact as a traditional mailing list at this point, have no fear. I’m positive new features such as polygon shapes will be available soon for creating your audience.
Next, you can further narrow your audience options by demographic features. This is a powerful tool that works on this platform and is superior to options available for traditional postcard farming. For instance, what if you only want to target sellers? You can target people that specifically own homes.
What if you are advertising a new listing in your farm area and it’s a luxury listing? If that is the case, you can specify Annual Income as a demographic feature to thin your marketplace and make sure your ads are falling into the correct people’s hands.
These are two examples, but there are literally hundreds of different ones to choose from. Everything from ethnicity to political party to social interests and much, much more.
Okay. I Have My Audience. Now How Do I Create My Plan And What Do I Use For Content?
The traditional rules of planning your marketing campaign apply to this digital farming strategy, just as it would your postcard farming campaign. Take my firm, for instance. The first thing we do when singing a new client on board for a Geographic Farming campaign, is demographic research. After that is done, we craft a full blown marketing campaign that will outline what each piece is going to be for each month, and what content we will be gathering, dates and deadlines, etc. We do this exact same thing with the digital farming campaigns we roll out for our clients as well. The planning is basically the same.
The only differences of course are the nuances that are lost on a digital platform that are part of the traditional, print platform. With a little tweaking and adjustment though, your campaign can be firing on all cylinders and generating leads to fill your pipeline, in no time.
In my next article, I will specifically address some marketing ideas you can use to digitally farm your marketplace and get the listings you so richly deserve 🙂