Ads for properties that sit on the market for months have two things in common: they aren’t compelling and they don’t make it clear that the buyer’s needs are understood.
When these missing pieces slow down the selling process, they can really set real estate agents back. The demand for houses is growing, and houses are selling at a faster and faster pace. Lawrence Yun, the NAR chief economist, says “faster economic growth in recent quarters, the booming stock market and continuous job gains are fueling substantial demand for buying a home as 2017 comes to an end.” By the end of last year, homes were on the market for an average of 40 days with 44% selling in less than a month.
All of this inventory means lots of real estate ads promoting new listings. But here’s the thing: people see an average of 4,000 ads a day — with real estate ads becoming more popular. There’s really only a few seconds to capture a potential customer’s attention.
Selling properties fast means doing more than writing nice descriptions and posting pretty pictures: your ads have to cut to the heart of buyers’ needs. When you understand buyers, you can clearly communicate what’s most important to them and catch their attention in a meaningful way.
Below, we’ve mined the six best ways to draw out and highlight what’s most relevant to buyers as you create great ads that sell properties fast.
1. Lead with a question
Ads like the “got milk?” campaign originally created for the California Milk Processor Board or CapitalOne’s “What’s in Your Wallet?” stand out as advertising gold because they get people to stop and think. They also work because they’re recognizable and easy to answer.
When you use this tactic, it’s important that your questions reflect obvious pain points your ideal customer experiences. Deep questions don’t work and people will put off thinking about it because they feel it’ll take too much time away. They say they’ll come back to it but that might never happen.
A few tips to keep in mind when writing real estate ads:
To find relevant pain points, you’ll need to do a little research. Here’s how.
- Post a poll for your Facebook followers to vote. Base the questions on preliminary information and use the results to verify if the information is legit.
- Follow real estate subreddits to hear real-time feedback from your target audience. Ask questions and engage with other users to dig deeper to find out more information.
- Send surveys to your contact list of current customers. You’ve already established a relationship with them so use it to get to the heart of their concerns.
Tally the information you collect to find the top four or five concerns your target audience has, and then turn them into questions.
For example, if your target audience is worried about price and affordability, ask questions like:
- Ready to save big on your next home?
- Want the key to your dream home in less than six months?
- Did you know you can save thousands by doing this one thing?
Make sure you follow-through with the information your ad promises. Remember, conversions are more important than clicks.
2. Segment your market and write specific ads for each group
With so many homes on the market, you’re catering to a wide range of customers. Whether they’re condos, single-family homes or large million-dollar properties, everyone is looking for something specific to their needs and budget. These different groups of buyers with different needs are called buyer personas. Chances are, your target audience contains multiple different buyer personas.
That’s why you can’t get away with a blanket ad campaign that treats everyone the same. Instead, use different ads to speak directly to each segments’ pain points and needs.
A few tips to keep in mind:
To cater to a wide range of customers, segment your current customer list based on demographics, needs, buying timing (now, in three months, etc.). If you’re creating ads for Facebook, you can segment your target audience when you create your ad set. That way you can send different ads to different groups. Here are some segment ideas to get you started.
- Age, income and budget. Use this to create ads that speak to the demographics of your audience.
- Preferred neighborhoods. If customers are interested in specific neighborhoods, you can tailor ads for these.
- Stage of the buying process. This will help you create ads based on whether people have just started their search or are a little further along.
Come up with five or six main segments based on shared characteristics, needs and expectations. Give each segment a name to easily track the ads you create for them and the results of the ads.
3. Keep it short and get to the point
Facebook acknowledges that it’s running out of places to put ads, which means your ad is competing for attention amongst a sea of ads often in the same place. For example, users are so frequently exposed to ads in their Facebook News Feed that Facebook has made changes in an effort to reduce “ad load.” This change means that your ads have to include the important information you want buyers to know — but with fewer words.
One way to get your ads noticed is to lead with your most compelling information using a few words. Experiments have shown that the “optimal headline length is five words.” But that’s not always true, so test it for yourself.
Not only is this ad short and sweet but it also calls out the views to Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington. This is valuable information to the right buyers.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Lead with the most interesting points or a reference your audience will understand. For example, if an unpopular neighborhood with affordable houses gets a new, in-demand amenity — like a new retail or community center — add that to the ad to draw attention.
- Add in some humor. This is largely dependent on your audience, so only use this if it’s fitting.
- Use bold to emphasize important points in your ad. Don’t go overboard with this and bold everything. Because you’re not using a lot of text, bold a few words that mean something to the audience.
Fight the urge to include a lot of content. Let the few words you choose speak to the value you offer and encourage people to click and find out more.
4. Add in visuals that pop
Even the best SEO ads need a visual boost – “people’s brains are hardwired to respond to visual stimulus.” While professional images help showcase a house, a lot of them are of the outside of the house. This of course is important, but what many people really want to see is the inside.
To give people a reason to click on your ad, incorporate videos that showoff more than one aspect of a house. Often times, people want to see the inside of a house before they commit to booking a viewing. Use this opportunity to show them why a particular house is the best choice for them.
Here’s an example of how to use stunning images on your webpage. The main image, features and the obvious call-to-action are effective at drawing attention but the images of inside the house at the bottom help sell the ad.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Use Facebook 360 video and images. For ads placed on Facebook, use 360 to give people a virtual tour of your listings. This helps them picture themselves in the home and get excited about visiting it and — hopefully — putting in an offer.
- Include a video tour of the neighborhood. The neighborhood and location are just as important as the house you’re selling. Try something different and post a short video of the neighborhood. For example, if you’re catering to families, include schools or play areas in the video.
- Use Facebook Slideshows. Depending on your advertising budget, video might not be an option. Use high-quality images to create a slideshow with music as a way to show potential customers what they can expect with your listings.
5. Consider campaign send time
Once you’ve combined copy and images to create an enticing ad, you need people to see it. To make sure your properties sell quickly, you have to make sure customers see the ads at the right time.
Whether you’re sending emails to leads or using Facebook ads, you can schedule when people see them to maximize click-throughs. Studies show that 54% of emails are viewed on a mobile device, and people are more likely to open emails after hours. Therefore, craft ads that are mobile responsive and schedule them to send at the end of the day. With Facebook ads you can schedule your ads using Power Editor or in Ads Manager.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Run A/B tests to see what times work best for your target audience. This is especially helpful if you’ve segmented your customers. When you send specific ads at specific times that cater to specific people, you increase the chance of them clicking on the ad and booking time to see properties.
- Be consistent with timing. When you find a time that works for your audience, stick to it. For example, research shows that emails have the highest chance — 23.8% — of being opened in the first hour of receipt. After that, chances drop. When people see your ads at “the right time” they’re more likely to engage and click-through than if it’s sent at a less opportune time.
6. Write with SEO in mind
Often times paid ads are the first thought that come to mind when it comes to getting ads in front of people. However, there’s a lot of opportunity in getting organic traffic from online searches. When used the right way — to understand the needs of your ideal customers — organic traffic helps you optimize the listings on your website. Instead of paying for a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy to drive traffic to your listings, search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful — and free — tool that helps people find you through online searches. The goal is to get people to your site to see and browse through your listings.
Tools like Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner help you:
- Research keywords.
- Find and analyze the keywords that your ideal customers are searching for.
- See how many searches there are for each keyword in a month.
- Find similar keywords to consider.
Based on what you find during research, incorporate these keywords and phrases into the listings on your website to attract customers. The more you know your ideal customers, the better you’ll be at finding and using the right keywords.
For example, if you specialize in condos and want to target people buying their first home, use a phrase like “condos for sale in <<insert neighborhood or city>>.”
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Use tools like Ahref and Google Analytics to research keywords in your niche. Don’t use keywords with thousands or millions of searches because it means you’re competing against a lot of other content with the same keywords. Instead, use keywords with no more than 5,000 or 6,000 searches a month.
- Use keywords in the headers of your listing. Add keywords at least once to your H1 and multiple times in H2 tags if listings on your website have them.
- Sprinkle the keywords throughout the listings page on your website. Don’t go overboard. Google algorithms have gotten smarter with the help of machine learning and can tell when you’re just stuffing your listings with keywords. Remember, “The point of using keywords is not to rank highly for all keywords, but to rank highly for the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site provides.”
Experiment until you find the right fit
Find the nuances within these opportunities to speak to your ideal customers. For example, if asking a question in your ad shows moderate conversions, consider asking different kinds of questions. Instead of addressing a pain point, ask about a desired outcome or “wishlist.” Ask something like, “have you always wanted to live in the city but couldn’t afford it?”
The point is to understand your audience so well that your ads stand out and speak directly to them. The more they can relate to your ads, the higher your chances are of converting them.
Remember, there are a lot of homes out there for buyers to choose from. Find a unique way to differentiate your ads from competitors and you’re on your way to selling more houses faster.