When Adam Nelson started his new marketing position at Gilbert, Ariz.-based Stone Path Real Estate last summer, he quickly learned that agents at the brokerage relied on the likes of Google AdWords, Craigslist ads, Trulia and Redfin to dredge up leads online.
But, to his surprise, none of the firm’s 75 agents at the time used what he considers to be one of the most potent digital marketing resources around: Facebook advertising.
Seeking to change that, Nelson has crafted a model of Facebook marketing that has started to gain some traction at the company. Nelson says the model — winner of Inman News’ latest #madREskillz contest — produces unusually qualified leads by marrying the social network’s highly targeted advertising with the lead capture capabilities of Stone Path Real Estate’s website and a customer relationship management (CRM) system both developed by Kunversion.
About a dozen agents at the company — which recently joined the Phoenix, Ariz.-based brokerage West USA’s “Internal Broker Alliance” — now use the model, he said. One agent at the firm even closed two deals in January with buyers he scooped up through it, according to Nelson.
“Even the agents that have had very successful campaigns … they’ve never tried Facebook because they thought it was a waste, but now they’re shifting more towards Facebook than Google,” said Nelson.
Here’s how Nelson’s strategy works:
First, an agent at Stone Path Real Estate signs into the company’s website, powered by Kunversion, and uses its Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listing search tool to find a listing results page that he or she wants to pitch to buyers.
An agent might settle on a listing results page for a search of single-family homes in Scottsdale, Ariz., that are “horse properties” and have a minimum price of $200,000, for example.
The agent then copies the link of that page. Crucially, the URL of that link will include a subdomain that ties the page to the agent’s Kunversion-powered CRM. (For example, the URL could be “adamnelson.stonepath.com/” followed by text specifying the chosen listing search results page.)
After that, the agent must create a Facebook business page (which doesn’t really require anything more than entering a name and company, Nelson said), and then use the page to create a “Clicks to Website” ad (other Facebook ad options include “Page Likes” and “Page Post Engagement”).
The agent then pastes the saved link for the search results page into the ad’s URL box, thereby connecting the ad to the search results page.
After that, it’s time to target the ad to potential buyers who would be most likely to be attracted to the chosen listings results page. In addition to location, you can target your desired audience based on criteria including interests, languages, gender, age and a variety of demographic groups.
For the “horse properties” results page, an agent might target people who live within 25 miles of Phoenix, Ariz., are 25 and older, and like the topics “horse breeding,” “horseback riding” and “proud horse owners.”
After defining a desired audience, an agent must then choose one of three ad display types. Nelson recommends using news feed ads (either “Desktop News Feed” or “Mobile New Feed”), rather than “Right Column” ads.
“I don’t click on those personally, but I see a lot of clicks with those News Feed ads,” he said, suggesting that their proximity and resemblance to posts from friends might earn them more attention. “They seem to be working a lot.”
Facebook will automatically grab an image on the chosen listing results page to use as the ad’s image on Facebook. But agents need to add headlines and text to it.