Many real estate agents recognize that Facebook and search engines are potent marketing tools, but a recent Inman survey suggests they are still underinvesting in advertising on these platforms.

Search engine and Facebook ads provide the best return on investment among online lead sources included in the survey, with leads generated by the two sources ranking as the only types to earn more ratings of “great,” “good” and “mediocre” collectively than ratings of “poor,” the survey found.

Yet agent respondents were twice as likely to say that they get paid leads from listing portals as they were to say that they get paid leads from Facebook or search engines.

paid online leads roi

Just over half of agent respondents said they buy online leads from listing portals, while only about a quarter said they purchase them using Facebook or search engine ads.

Part of the appeal of Google and Facebook ads is that they let real estate agents target specific demographics.

For example, agents can use Facebook to put ads in front of people in their 20s who like golf. They also might be able to reel in eager-to-sell prospects from Google by paying for clicks from netizens who search “sell my home fast.”

Facebook and search engine ads work by driving prospects who click on ads to an agent or broker’s website or landing page where they must register their contact information to use certain features, like listing search and home valuation tools or contact forms.

One respondent described combining the advertising channels to deliver a one-two punch.

Use Google ads to send visitors to your website for the first time, the respondent advised, and then bring them back using Facebook’s “remarketing” option, which lets an advertiser target ads to people who have already visited their website.

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Real estate agents thinking about diving into Facebook or search engine advertising should keep in mind that they typically require more know-how to use successfully than some other sources of paid online leads.

Facebook ads, for example, require agents to craft come-ons, target an audience rich with potential prospects, pay the right amount per click, and have a landing page or broker website in place with features that capture the contact information of visitors who arrive from the social network.

Paid leads from Facebook and Google also are no exception to the cardinal rule of online leads: You must engage quickly and follow up persistently if you want to see a return on investment.

“The two keys to converting online leads is to respond within five minutes and have a good CRM [customer relationship management system] that will incubate the leads that are not ready to engage,” commented real estate agent David Mueller on Inman’s report on online leads.

“I get a HUGE ROI on online leads … but many of these leads take six to 12 months to incubate,” added Mueller who leads a team of agents and is a mentor and trainer at Keller Williams, according to his Facebook profile.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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