Facebook has so much information on its users it's creepy. Not only do people willingly leave their information and update the world on their every action, the global platform partners with numerous data companies to mine data from behind the scenes that users may not be so inclined to share (income, net worth, home worth, all that good stuff).
Have no shame in your creep game and leverage that info to build an audience of people likely to buy a home for the first time. Facebook loves having successful ads and makes it as easy as possible to deliver your message effectively. Except for a little bit of creative input and charm on your end, they're pretty much doing all of the work for you.
Best part is, we'll be reaching this audience for as little as $5 a day.
As easy as they make it, there are still some ground rules and best practices. I'm here to help you uncover the winning formula for putting together a Facebook Targeted Ad for First Time Homebuyers.
How I Know it Works
Over the years I've seen countless agents turn to Facebook as their primary means of marketing. With how easy it is to build a dream audience and the results you can get on the cheap (when done right) it makes it really easy to get hooked. I remember first getting started and checking numbers the second my eyes would snap open in the morning. Anytime I had a free second, the phone was out and I was tracking numbers.
Right now my average cost per result (number of people who took action on an ad) sits at $0.66. Considering I've reached a total of over 28,000 people so far, that's pretty darn sweet to me.
For the cost of a stamp and a half, I'm getting trackable engagement.
What other methods of marketing can do that for you? I'll wait.
The best part is, Facebook gives me awesome reports with a detailed overview of the exact type of person responding to my marketing efforts. This way, I can track my results along the way and make changes as necessary.
I'm telling you, once you get a little bit of traction, you're going to be completely addicted.
Providing Irresistible Content
First of all, you'll need something irresistible to entice these soon to be buyers. Telling them you're a realtor and can sell them a house isn't going to cut it. What information or offer can you share that will have stopping power?
Here are 3 ideas in case the creative juices aren't flowing quite yet:
Custom property search
Buyers love some good house porn. With a sexy website, this is one of the easiest ways to get them clicking.
- Use the Traffic objective to have Facebook drive as many people to your site as possible.
- Pro tip: If you know what the retargeting pixel is and how it works, do it.
- For this to work, your site has to be beautiful, easy to navigate, and rich in lead capturing capabilities.
- Create a custom search with parameters a first-time buyer would actually use (ex: $150k-$225k).
- Sales price means nothing to buyers. Break it down by what they would potentially pay monthly (See homes in your area for as little as $1400/mo!)
- Pick images from 4 or 5 listings within the criteria that are attractive and click-worthy. We'll use those photos as scrolling images in the carousel ad.
Downloadable Item of Value
Being the real estate pro you are, I know you already have an extensive library of buyer pro tips they would love to get their hands on. Get your thoughts organized and on paper and have buyers willingly trade their info for your downloadable cheat sheet.
- Use the Lead Generation objective to capture their info before they can access your document. It even auto fills their info to minimize resistance. Thanks to Facebook, we no longer need to use a landing page.
- Use an image that will let them know there's an item to download. There are tons of ebook ad templates out there that work great. See the Ad section below for best practices with your hero image.
- A blog works best but a pdf hosted on dropbox will work just fine.
- What are your buyer’s most common questions? Do you relay the same information every transaction? Tell them what every buyer needs to know.
- If you’re not sure, you can always ask on social media.
- “What were your biggest questions when buying your first home?”
- “Thinking about buying a home? What questions do you have before getting started?”
Sometimes you’ll need to take the reins and show them the light. Did you know almost half of potential homebuyers STILL think they need 20% down? Drop some knowledge on them. There are even several programs in Houston that assist with or entirely cover down payments. Tell them all about it.
Here are some ideas to point you in the right direction:
- 6 Things Every First Time Home Buyer Needs to Know
- 3 First Time Home Buyer Programs that Require NO DOWN PAYMENT
- The 5 Steps to Pre-Approval for a Home Loan
- The Complete Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home
You get the idea.
Show them you have the information they need and make it irresistible.
Take your time creating your item of value. Not only is it your first impression, but you’ll be able to recycle it in all your future buyer transactions.
If you're looking for a pre-assembled template, Keeping Current Matters is a great resource you can try for free for 2 weeks. Not only do they pump out great social and blog-friendly content, they offer done-for-you real estate eGuides that you can give directly to your buyers and sellers, personalized with your photo, bio and contact information.
Buyer Contribution / Home Warranty
Money talks. If you can promise them cash towards closing costs or a home warranty it’s a guaranteed way to get their attention. Heck, sometime people will leave their info just because they heard you’re giving something away.
- Once again, use the Lead Generation objective since we'll need to capture their info.
- Don’t be cheap. Do you want 100% of nothing or a full commission minus $1,000 bucks or so?
- Work it out to have the lender split it with you (they will).
- Make sure there’s urgency to get them to make moves.
- The first 10 people to get pre-qualified/close before (enter date).
Do this as a video. Trust me on this one. You need to get this message out properly and text doesn’t always get the point across well. This really kick starts the “know, like, trust” relationship they’ll need to do business with you. Plus, giveaways can feel spammy.
If they see you’re genuine they’ll be more likely to engage.
Building Your Audience (in a few clicks)
Thanks to Facebook's data, you can build an audience of likely first time buyers in just a few clicks. With as much info the platform has on its users, they have a magic algorithm to determine exactly who this may be. It's a recipe that takes life events into consideration and goes beyond people still renting (income, new job/promotion, people getting married, recently divorced, new additions to the family, etc.).
As simple as it is, let me walk you through it and give you some pro tips along the way.
- Select First Time Homebuyer in the Detailed Targeting section
- You'll want to keep your audience between 20,000 and 40,000 people. Too little and you won't reach enough people; too large and your marketing budget won't be able to saturate the audience thoroughly.
- Use zip codes and/or a dropped pin with an adjustable radius to select where you want to drum up business. Be sure to select “People that live in this area”.
- If you need to shave things down a bit, adjust the target age. Do you really know 18-year-olds that are buying houses? You can also adjust the max age from 65+ to something more like 45 or 50 if needed.
- Once you have it where you want it, be sure to save the audience so you can pull it up with one click in your future ads.
Here's some data courtesy realtor.com to give you a little ammo.
Setting the Budget
Like I said earlier, we're going to be reaching this audience for as little as $5 a day. That's truly what got me the most excited when I first started using Facebook for targeted ads.
The idea is to drop a few lines in the water, see what's getting the most engagement, and double down on what's been proven to work.
Careful, by default Facebook sets the ad to run continuously with no end date. Run it for one week so you have data to see what's getting people clicking.
Marketing is about making informed decisions while remaining experimental.
You have two opportunities to pique your audience's interest: Your image and your text. Spend time crafting your message and making sure it's clear and irresistible
Setting Correct Expectations with the Ad Text
Anytime someone leaves their information with whatever marketing content they decide to bite on, there's always resistance. Before clicking, every marketing call and spammy piece of email they've received flashes before their eyes and they wonder how often they'll be getting harassed if they sign up.
Minimize resistance by having a clear call to action and telling them exactly what will happen once they engage. Most importantly, deliver on that promise.
- Click below to start your home search.
- Click to download your copy of The Complete Guide to Finding the Perfect Home.
- Click below and leave your info to have me reach out and start your home buying process today.
When writing your text, act as if you were speaking to someone directly and don't be afraid to get casual. What pain points can you touch on?
The biggest a-ha moment for me was when we launched our office's site for home searches.
Out of the five ads we ran simultaneously, the one that out-performed them all by far simply said, “Don't search for homes on a site that sucks.”
It performed so well because it didn't actually feel like marketing content. As soon as people start feeling like they're being sold to, their guard goes up.
Let people know you're aware of their pain points and have a solution for them. At the same time, keep your cool and genuinely come from contribution.
Images That Have Stopping Power
This is arguably the most important aspect of your ad. Create a beautiful, colorful image or video that draws the eye to your message.
Canva.com is my go-to resource for creating images. It's free and makes it super easy to create gorgeous content.
They even have a template specifically for Facebook Ads (don't use the Facebook Post template, I said Facebook Ad). The recommended dimensions for the image are 1200 x 628 pixels. Use the canva.com template to make sure your image fully fills the frame and is cropped correctly.
Here are some handy tips and best practices to help you out.
- The less text on the image, the better. If you need text to get the point across, keep it at less than 20% of the image space. Facebook's algorithm will actually show the ad to fewer people if you don't follow this rule. Keep in mind you'll have a headline, text box, and a link description to properly tell people what you have to offer.
- Use happy people. Happiness is contagious. Let people assume your offer is what made them so smiley.
- Use colors that pop and accent the image. A border or colorful background is a great way to do this.
- Everyone loves a good dose of cuteness. Children and animals are two of the top five most shared images on social media. I've even seen people make ads aimed at pets (picture of a dog saying “Wanting a backyard?”).
- Create something odd or funny. It shows you're clever and gives you the reputation of a fun, casual brand to work with.
There have been many times I swear I've struck gold with an ad only to find it flop after I run it. Take your opinion of the mix and let your audience's engagement do the talking.
Split testing lets you test multiple versions of the same ad against each other to gain valuable insight and help you determine what will get the best results. To get the most accurate results, test one variable at a time.
Here are some things you can mix up a bit to see what performs best:
- Image (colors, subject, amount of text)
- Call to action
AdEspresso is one of the most powerful split testing tools I've seen. It's incredibly simple plus they have an entire library of real estate Facebook ads for you to use as inspiration.
With it you can quickly insert multiple titles, words, and pictures into your ad, automatically creating every possible combination. Without this, it may take hours to figure out which words sound the best, or which titles would get the most attention. Unlike Facebook Ads Manager, AdEspresso allows you to create hundreds of possible advertisements in just a few minutes.
Cooking up Facebook ads is fun and all but this is where it really gets addicting. See in real time how far your marketing dollars are going and how effectively the ad is performing.
Click the down-facing arrow on the top right corner of your Facebook homepage then select Manage Ads.
Here's what you should look out for:
- Results (number of people who took action)
- Reach (number of people who saw the ad at least once)
- Impressions (number of times your ad appeared)
- Cost per result (based on your campaign objective)
Check out this blog post for more information on Facebook Business Manager.
Whew. I know that was a lot but if you take it one step at a time you'll have an ad on blast in no time. The best advice I can give is to have fun and don't put all your eggs in one basket.
If you don't enjoy it, you'll never do it well enough to make money from it.
Get creative, be yourself, and don't get discouraged if your million dollar idea doesn't perform as well as you thought it would.
Show me what you come up with. We can go over your results together and talk about some ways to make your ideas more effective. I mean it. Take me up on the offer.
Talk to you soon and happy marketing!