Digital Marketing is quite the buzzword these days. But what exactly is it, and how can you use it for your real estate investment business?
Types of Digital Marketing
These are the most common forms of digital marketing that I’ll discuss here:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- PPC (Pay Per Click advertising)
- Facebook and Instagram ads
- YouTube videos
SEO for Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization is basically the process of getting yourself listed high on Google’s search results. This is without buying ads, which are usually the first two to five listings you see when conducting a Google search.
The leads you get from SEO are usually very high quality leads, and are usually ready to take action soon. Why is that? Because SEO results are from people looking for the specific thing you’re offering. They’re typing in search words to Google trying to find something they want to do/use. Now they may not be ready to go right away, but fairly soon.
SEO has a downside, though – it takes nine to 12 months for optimization to work. This means you have to be consistently producing content. It’s also why most people never get around to it. This is part of the reason we do so much content on www.realestatedisruptors.com, such as this blog.
The algorithms Google employs change, but one thing is very important: Google wants your website to be relevant to what the user is seeking. The more unique content you have on your site, the higher you rank. The content has to be added consistently and over time. If you dump a bunch of articles and videos onto your site in one week, and let it sit, Google will see that and won’t rank you highly.
PPC in Digital Marketing
Pay Per Click is advertising on Google. These are the ads you see at the top of any search rankings. They look just like other search result listings, but slyly have the word “Ad” in the front of the line of the ad. These are always at the front of any search results.
You can build a PPC ad campaign based on almost any budget. PPC ads can be scaled to almost any level, and include as many keywords or phrases as you can invent. If you want to completely saturate a geographic area or specific search strings, you can do that with enough money put into the campaign.
Why would you do this? Because PPC leads are the hottest leads you can get from digital marketing. These are people who want to sell their house NOW. Many wholesalers treat these leads as emergency contacts: They call, text, email, direct message (DM), and even drive unannounced to the house to make the appointment. These are leads that if you snooze, you lose.
Facebook and Instagram ads
Here we’re talking about buying ads on Facebook and Instagram, not posting content. For example, check out the content we post on Facebook and Instagram.) The distinction is important, because ads in these spaces are targeted to groups you identify and appear in the timelines of people who otherwise may never find your social media page.
You can deliver your ad in a similar manner as PPC ads or SEO searches. The difference is Facebook’s algorithms do the work of identifying who might have an interest in your service. While people do search on Facebook and Instagram, it’s not the primary method of engagement. Instead, Facebook creates a profile of every user, using all kinds of interaction, web searches, or other usage to figure out what the person is interested in.
Facebook and Instagram ads are sprinkled into a person’s feed and look almost identical to regular posts. They have a small “sponsored” notice below the account’s profile name to indicate that it is an ad.
Leads from Facebook and Instagram are very solid leads, but may not be quite ready to pull the trigger just yet. Not as hot as PPC leads, but definitely interested and should be contacted quickly. However, you may find that these leads are looking to act in a month or two or six. They are solid leads, but may need some nurturing.
These ads also allow you for great personalization, but photos of people should be those acquisition agents who will likely visit the seller. You can also use more generic photography, like a house or logo. These ads allow you to use visual hooks to attract sellers.
Video is becoming the most popular content for consumers. This is because it is easy to get information about virtually anything via video these days. It’s a huge reason we produce so much video content (see our Real Estate Disruptors YouTube page for our podcast and tons of free content).
Need to repair your car? YouTube it.
Want to bake a cake? YouTube it.
Want to sell your house for cash? YouTube it.
YouTube allows ads, so you also can advertise your services. Since YouTube is owned by Google, much of the same algorithms employed at Google apply here. There are more and different ones, but the way ads are delivered to people are similar. You can also target consumers much the way you would for PPC ads.
Content is King, and video is the King of Content. You want to have video reviews of your services on Google, which are posted on your website, and which you can use on YouTube and even Facebook/Instagram.
Video provides a powerful, personalized experience.The key is to be real – testimonials can’t appear to be scripted, reviews must seem honest, and your videos have to look authentic. Any “fakiness” will be sniffed out and the consumer will click somewhere else.
Whom to Hire?
There are many, many companies who say they do digital marketing. However, some are much better than others. Ask a lot of questions to any company you’re thinking about hiring – do they have experience in your industry; what specifics can they offer for your company’s strategy; is this customized or a standard campaign? Don’t be afraid to demand information and specific answers. If you don’t feel comfortable, move on to the next company.
Using a company like Bateman Collective (www.batemancollective.com) can vastly improve your results. We use Bateman Collective for our digital marketing because they have significant experience in the real estate wholesaling community. While a company with such expertise may cost more, you also won’t be the guinea pig. Then again, if your budget only allows for you to hire a college kid who is getting his feet wet, that’s how Brandon Bateman got his start. You might find a diamond in the rough.
Just know that if you’re not getting results, and tweaking your campaign doesn’t increase your leads, then don’t be afraid to fire them and try someone else. Digital marketing isn’t simple, and it is constantly changing. Your marketer has to be on top of the changes and be monitoring your account frequently to maximize your lead generation. It’s your job to stay on top of them and get your marketing company the information it needs to make your campaign successful.
Digital marketing is not only here to stay, it is where most consumers get their information these days. Its influence is only increasing, and that will render other forms of advertising obsolete. Many traditional marketing channels remain viable: Direct mail, cold calling, TV and radio ads, even billboards (digital billboards provide great flexibility here). But consumers are searching for information and becoming educated online. If you aren’t using digital marketing, your competition is, and so are your customers.