Alright, we all know that being profitable with paid real estate leads is obviously possible. So I could imagine you’re only here for 1 of 3 reasons:
1) You want to see what lead source, ads, & targeting I used;
2) You want to see how expensive it was, or;
3) You just want to see the results & how long it took.
So I’m going to cut pretty much everything else out and give you what you want. Starting off with the lead source. I used Facebook & Instagram ads and I was generating the leads myself. In this situation I was the marketer and appointment setter, not the realtor actually converting the leads. More on that later.
Watch the video here or continue reading below:
I created a new campaign in the Ads Manager, selected “Lead Generation,” and was off to the races. The first thing I had to do was set the campaign to the Housing Special Ads Category so I didn’t get my ads rejected, set the budget to $20/day (we’re in Toronto so that’s in Canadian dollars), and then it was time for the ad set where the targeting happens. Now, I knew I was targeting buyers in this situation, so I opted to go for people living in or recently in this location. Later I end up switching to sellers, and you’ll see why.
I kept all demographics wide open because of privacy laws, and for audience targeting I used the “Real Estate” and “Zillow” interests to keep it intentionally broad as I was going for volume. I also selected “English (All)” for the language because I can only speak English and Toronto is very multicultural. I then dropped a 15-mile radius pin in our desired location. Now it was time to set up the ads, and they looked like this. This was back at the very end of August in 2019. These were the first real estate ads I ever ran on Facebook or Instagram, although I’d had some experience with eCommerce and e-learning ads at this point. That said, I published them and they got approved.
So I was working for a team of two partnered agents. They had another agent that worked under them, a weekend appointment setter, and me who was bringing in leads and setting appointments full-time during the week. Fast forward a few weeks, and things were going… Alright. I was calling leads using a script that looked like this to book appointments for the one realtor I was working with. There were a few problems though.
My leads were expensive ($10-12 CAD per buyer lead). My leads were super low quality (“I’m just browsing,” “Oh I’m buying in 18 months,” “Sorry wrong number,” “I didn’t sign up to anything,” “My kid took my iPad,” I was even told “I got hacked”). My appointment booking rate was about 7%, and the show up rate on all leads was around 4-5%. Meaning 4-5 out of every 100 leads actually showed up in-person for a buyer consultation.
I tried and tried to reduce the lead cost and improve lead quality, and I did, but hardly. It was an uphill battle. Fast forward to mid-November of 2019, about 2.5 months later. We’d spent around $1,500 and only closed 2 transactions together I think (this was a while ago). The weekend appointment setter had 1 deal come through at $300k and the guy wanted to buy another at that price, and I think the weekend setter had another one too but I wasn’t keeping track for some reason. Rookie mistake. Now I track everything because that was stupid. More on these buyer leads later though.
Because this is where everything changed. I was honestly sick and tired of calling a bunch of garbage leads, and I had an idea. I’d written scripted video ads in the past for e-learning, so why not put an agent in the ads with a script? After proposing this idea, the main agent who was converting my appointments had a great complimentary idea. He wanted to target condo owners who were looking to sell. I wrote some scripts, brought my camera into the office, we recorded a scripted 35-second video ad and off I went back into the Ads Manager.
And when I said this is where everything changed, I meant it. If you remember before, we were getting $10-12 buyer leads. Now we were getting $7-8 seller leads who were way more serious. I can’t share the exact ad unfortunately but this is kind of what the script looked like. Imagine getting seller leads for cheaper than buyers. Felt pretty good. Now things were kind of sticky here too. The two partners and I started a marketing company together, and that’s where most of my time was going. So I hired an appointment setter for them to replace me on the phones.
One month later, mid-December 2019. Not only were our lead costs lower now at that same $20/day budget, but the leads were way more interested after seeing the agent on video. If you remember, my appointment booking rate before was around 7%. The new booking rate jumped up to 23.7%. That means almost 1 in 4 of these leads wanted to speak with an agent. To be fair, this number is skewed because a chunk of those were phone appointments and all of mine from the 7% were in-person appointments. But no, I wasn’t even bad on the phone. This appointment setter was also brand new. Point is, these leads were hot. Hot to the point where the agent couldn't handle them all, and they started falling through the cracks. Not a bad problem to have if you ask me.
Back to that buyer campaign from before for a second. A few more transactions went through. The $300k buyer bought a second property at $300k, another buyer who bought a condo at $500k, and two more transactions that the weekend appointment setter booked in that I don’t know the value of. Now we were nice and profitable from the buyer campaign at this point, although not insanely profitable. This condo listing campaign is where a lot of the money came from.
Let’s fast forward to January when the pipeline for the condo campaign came to fruition. We had 3 listings close at an average of $600k per unit. So $1.8 million in sales volume was sold and $45,000 in GCI was collected in January alone. So with only a few thousand spent on ads, you really can’t complain about $65-100k in GCI in 5 months.
- Evan Vance, Founder of RocketSense