Everyone has one of those friends that won’t stop bragging about their latest endeavors. They are the sort of person that Twitter was made for. Unfortunately for me, my braggart friend and I work in the same industry. We actually started out investing in real estate together just after the housing bubble burst. Jimmy recently told me that he’d just hit 5,000 followers on Facebook. “And how many of those people have you bought a house from?,” I enquired. Jimmy fell silent.
Despite the digital frenzy, what, exactly, is the real value of the most popular real estate investors internet marketing strategies? Does it actually work to find fixer-upper houses for sale?
Are Real Estate Investor Internet Marketing Strategies Worth It?
Unlike Jimmy, I think I actually do have a pretty good grasp of social media and internet marketing as a whole. I see a lot of gurus spouting off about the return-on-investment that internet marketing brings, but I hear very few of my fellow investors acquiring leads as a direct result of digital marketing. I decided to dig a little deeper to see if I really was an internet marketing Luddite or if there was real conversion value to be found. Here’s a rundown on the top three internet marketing solutions that many real estate investors try.
Jimmy’s favorite online platform is social media. It’s quite a broad term these days, so I focused on the most popular network for the target demographic of middle-aged homeowners: Facebook. When most social media gurus offer tips on getting leads from these platforms, the focus is usually on building a following.
But, how many homeowners would genuinely want to follow an account for the long-term when the sole focus is on offer to buy their home from them if they get into financial difficulty or need a quick sale? Sure, you could appeal to their immediate curiosity, but only a very small fraction of people who follow you for this will ever need your help and, then, it would only be in specific circumstances like divorce, financial distress, foreclosure, or maybe a death in the family. That means, building a following is fairly useless.
The whole point of marketing, on social media or otherwise, is to reach new leads. And from what I’ve seen and read, Facebook has increasingly become a pay-to-play platform in this regard. Investors are going to have to fork out a small fortune for Facebook ads and sponsored stories that target people in distress looking to sell their home. In this light, Facebook is not the ‘free’ marketing platform that many investors are hoping it is. Even worse, it can land you in legal trouble if you try to mimic the strategies of the bigger players. All in all, social media probably doesn’t deliver value for most real estate investors.
The idea of using blogging as an internet marketing strategy is two-fold. First, like with Facebook, real estate investors are overly-focused on the idea of building up a following. People who follow your blog will typically subscribe using their email address. This allows you to send out future blogs and marketing messages to a subscriber’s inbox. But it can take a long, long time to build up any sort of decent following—and even then, the leads may not be conversion-oriented. Another problem is that potential customers (not industry contacts) may not be interested enough in what you say to subscribe.
But blogging as a way to attract people who search for certain queries in Google may be a much better strategy. After all, the typical distressed homeowner doesn’t plan to be in the position they are in. They are much more likely to hit up Google in search of a quick solution than waste time on social media. Getting blog posts ranked in Google, however, isn’t easy. According to the latest research, it takes a new page between two to six months to rank in the top 10 of Google. And, that is if you are lucky.
Paid Online Advertising
There is one way to get around the six-month wait for Google to rank your content and that is to pay to be at the top of Google instantly. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising offers you a way to reach targeted leads fairly inexpensively. In this regard, it is important to be aware that you only pay when a user clicks. Sounds promising, right? After all, a couple of dollars for every lead to your website doesn’t sound like that much if you have the opportunity to make thousands from every conversion.
But how many people actually search for relevant phrases? And, is it really as cheap as people make out? I did a little digging and found that just 50 people across the entire country Google “Best way to sell a house fast” each month. If you wanted to bid on this keyword, you’d have to pay over $30 for every click. Slightly more people (320) search for “Buy my house for cash”. But that probably only amounts to one or two people in your geographical area. And, you’d have to bid close to $40 if you wanted to show at the top of the search results for that. PPC marketing might be perfect for some industries, but it doesn’t make sense for investors without a lot of branded backing.
Online Marketing That Has Real Value
Over the last decade, I’ve been able to make the most out of my online marketing dollars because I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Beyond leveraging some of the best marketing tools for investors, like HomeVestors’ “We Buy Ugly Houses®” brand that is nationally known because of all the radio, billboards, and television advertising, Homevestors® is also taking internet marketing strategies to the next level.
When distressed homeowners turn to Google to figure out how to sell their homes fast, they will generally come across HomeVestors® as the first and best solution to their troubles. That’s because HomeVestors® is at the marketing forefront, reaching out online where it counts most for franchisees who can buy for cash and usually close quickly. And it works. Together, almost 1,100 HomeVestors® franchisees like me have bought and sold over 140,000 houses since 1996. But even more opportunities are just on the horizon—HomeVestors® has doubled their online reach in just the last six months through targeted, branded, and SEO-driven strategy— and that spells real leads for franchisees!
Jimmy can laud his social media prowess all he wants, I’ll take cold, hard leads from HomeVestors®’ marketing power any day. If you want to see real results, too, speak to HomeVestors® today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.