The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
For decades, real estate advertising has been one of the key ways agents and teams connect with new buyers and sellers. But it’s no longer about black-and-white newspaper ads, handwritten CMAs, or a dictionary-length MLS book.
As a growing number of marketers take advantage of the virtually infinite potential of digital advertising, ad prices are rising — making it even harder to stand out and attract more leads to your real estate business.
But just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With the right approach and the right creative, real estate agents can still find cost-effective ways to tap into a variety of ad formats and maximize the ROI on every lead.
Ready to launch real estate ads that deliver the conversions you need? Let’s explore some of the best ways to make your next campaign as inspired (and effective) as possible.
To put it simply:
Ads that convert are ads that connect.
This is the case for any industry, but real estate in particular is grounded in deeply personal stories of home, family, and even belonging. You need to move your audience and capture their hearts right away. When you do that, they will know on a deep level that they can trust you with the largest purchase they may ever make
Keep these best practices in mind as you start crafting your campaigns to maximize your conversions and connection:
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in advertising is only creating ad content you would want to read yourself. If your target audience looks, thinks and acts exactly like you, that may be a helpful guiding principle.
But if, for instance, your ideal homebuyers are in a different age demographic than you, they likely have different priorities, values, and even a different budget.
In 2021, 81% of first-time US homebuyers were in the 23-31 age group but the median age of US realtors is 57. So if you want to understand your audience, don’t skimp on customer research.
Find out who they are, what they're looking for and most importantly, how they want to feel after working with you.
Creating real estate ads without first establishing your goals is like going to the grocery store without a list: you’ll find yourself with a cart full of things you probably didn’t need.
When setting the right ad goals, think about what’s most important for your business:
Before spending a single penny on advertising, take time to understand what success looks like for your business and which metrics matter most.
Even the most expensive Super Bowl ads had a number in mind when they set out to show us what life was like before Alexa. (Like the time Google Assistant tugged at our heartstrings with the simple command, “Hey Google, show me photos of me and Loretta.” *cue the waterworks 😭* )
Before you start flexing your creative muscles, make sure you know your numbers—the last thing you want is to break the budget and cannibalize your ROI.
According to Curaytor CEO Jimmy Mackin, “Ad copy and images should communicate a crystal clear message so that consumers get the point with just a glance.”
Plus, you know the deal with real estate pics: homes listed with high-quality and professionally shot photos sell quicker and for thousands of dollars more than homes listed with amateur photos. So make sure your photos are professional (no shaky or blurry smartphone images please).
Take this image for example.
How does the lighting and layout of the space make you feel? Relaxed? Luxurious? Serene?
Can’t you just picture yourself feeling right at home here?
Done right, both digital and traditional ads can work wonders in your real estate advertising mix simply by offering your customer the chance to picture themselves in their new home.
To give you a clearer picture, here are 24 brilliant ads from top-producing agents, brokers and teams, broken down by ad type.
To kick off, let’s take a look at one of the most classic real estate advertising channels in the digital realm: Facebook.
Facebook is community-oriented and (depending on who you ask) easy to manage — in other words, perfect for real estate. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of some stellar Facebook real estate ads.
This ad offers a vivid and specific success story. It puts faces (and a home!) to names, and provides specific and tangible results that let the audience picture themselves in the same position. If someone else’s home sold above listing price? Maybe mine could too. (Remember, your prospect is the hero of their own story!)
By using a descriptive image, paired with pictures of the people behind the sale, this ad succeeds in creating an authentic connection with its audience.
According to Marketing Charts (via Forbes), online video consumption continues to climb. The 2020 arrival of Reels makes video content even more accessible across platforms. And whatever the platform, video is a format users are eager to engage with.
Through simple tweaks like adding subtitles and positioning your video as an expert masterclass or Q&A, video ads help position you as an authority in your market. By putting the value before the ask, video ads subconsciously tell viewers, 'We're here to help, not sell.'
Simple and to the point — promoting an instant home valuation is a classic way to generate leads.
Bonus tip: If you own a well-trafficked website, don't forget to install the Facebook remarketing pixel so that you can reach a warm audience who is already familiar with your brand!
Everyone loves Instagram. ❤️
It’s basically the social media version of the popular kid in class who everyone wants as a friend. And whether your goal is to build awareness or grow your organic lead count, Instagram’s definitely the pal you need.
Free workshops and seminars are a great way to offer value to people who are new to you and might be looking for tips, tricks and guidance to make it all more manageable. Whether you’re launching a masterclass geared toward investors, or hosting a live Q&A for first-time homebuyers, this approach lets you demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and puts you top of mind when they’re ready to take the next step in their real estate journey.
You already know video is a favorite on social media and Reels have changed the game for organic video reach on both Facebook and Instagram. They’re readily accessible to users, and can massively increase your impressions over traditional video posts.
Whether you boost your Reels or post them organically, one thing is certain: video is the way to go. Capture attention and demonstrate your expertise so that new audience members who encounter your content immediately connect.
No matter the size of your real estate business, you can utilize the power of visuals on Instagram to win more ad conversions.
Can’t afford professional drone video sequences or interactive home tours? With little editing, a simple set of images comes to life in an engaging carousel. Why try to nail just one money shot when you can combine the best 10 of them in one post? Wins all around!
With well over a quarter of a billion users, LinkedIn provides a powerful platform to get your message out there. But with a lesser emphasis on visuals, cracking the LinkedIn real estate ad market can be a tough one.
Let's dive in.
First of all, this post is shared by a respected source (and we all know professional cred gets you everywhere on LinkedIn). Second, the content offers a breadth and depth of knowledge that teaches the reader something new and demonstrates authority on selling your home.
Accompanied by a pleasant and professional image, an ad like this is sure to connect with your audience.
The whole idea of LinkedIn ads is to post content that’s relevant to your connections, right? In this example, the realtor uses Linkedin’s platform to meet audiences with relevant listings right where they are. If you regularly use LinkedIn to share insider tips and expert market intel, sharing your recent listings also shows that you’re ready to cut to the chase and help get followers into their new homes.
While email marketing has certainly evolved in recent years, it certainly isn’t dead. And when it comes to getting an impressive marketing ROI, recent stats show emails are still the go-to tool. Seriously.
But that’s only if they're done correctly — starting with relevant content that offers the audience value. After all, a value-first approach is the bedrock of any successful email campaign. If you get this right, you can expect to see well-nurtured leads and quality long-term clients.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Providing resources and adding value is always a win. By serving up smart, digestible data on a hot topic (no pun intended 😉☀️), you give your recipient tangible takeaways and bring their mind back to their home search and to your brand. This also helps you cement your expert reputation in real estate. Arm your prospects with ads that help make your prospect the smartest person at the party — they'll never forget you for it.
Around 74% of sites send a welcome email right after a user creates an account. Not every website does it right, though.
This email hits the ground running with clear and concise copy and listings that are highly relevant to the recipient. More importantly, given how competitive the real estate websites landscape is, they have created a profile based on the user’s recent activity for deep personalization.
There’s a reason exchanging email addresses for insights and resources is a tried and true approach. And this method may be just as important for a global listing service as it is for a boutique real estate agency.
However, the goal here is to provide real value. This ad example provides the inside scoop through in exchange for an email opt-in. Valuable. Specific. Effective. Take my email.
Rarely you’ll find something more effective in marketing than a personal video addressed directly to a customer.
This agent has sent thousands upon thousands of video follow-ups, securing his spot in the top 2% of agents on his team worldwide. It truly is possible to make video a massively scalable-yet-personalized communication tool, and one that sets you apart from the pack with the kind of warmth and emotion that builds deep trust.
Is seeing believing?
According to Brian Curtis of Curtis Realty Group, “People work with agents they know, like and trust.” And nothing builds your know-like-trust factor better than video.
The best part is that videos are more affordable than ever before.
This video directly addresses sellers’ concerns, showing the viewer that they understand the challenges they face. It's a great way to highlight your competitive differentiators and build trust with your audience.
It’s also brief and the right pace for an ad that piques the audience’s interest and makes them want to learn more.
Because local tours, area highlights and personalized tips is all you'll ever need for an impeccable ad. That, and a good cheeseburger in paradise.
Drone videos have taken the real estate industry by storm, and nowadays it’s hard to imagine any high-end sale without at least 360 videos involved. In fact, high volume agents use aerials 3.5x more often than low volume agents. This example takes it one step further. They create a visual narrative by combining high-quality landscape and indoors shootings, producing engaging and, well, beautiful advertisements.
Who said real estate tours have to be boring? This video proves quite the opposite. Shooting fun, and sometimes even bizarre video sketches about zombies or rap battles, they manage to sell houses and keep things fresh all the time. No wonder they are consistently a top team. 🤩
If video is where real estate advertising’s going, YouTube is the train.
In fact, some 81% of US internet users use YouTube, making it the most popular online platform in the US. But with 500 hours of video uploaded to the platform every minute, real estate agents have to give it their best if they want to win their audience’s attention. And some of them do.
More and more real estate companies turn their attention to YouTube not as a single-shot
channel, but an ongoing blog (or vlog, if you will) where they can demonstrate active listings along with useful advice for both buyers and sellers.
This team actively uses video tours around luxury listings to generate initial interest, and then adds in-person tours into the mix to bump up their exposure. Judging by the fact that their channel has well over 100k subscribers at time of writing, it’s an advertising approach that seems to work like a charm.
The thing about this video is that halfway along you forget that you're watching a real estate commercial and start to feel a connection with the house and the people promoting it. By presenting people enacting “a day in the life” through the home tour, the viewer is enabled to truly picture themselves in the home. Now that’s emotion-driven advertising.
We know outdoor boards may feel a little old school, but they can still have a major impact on local audiences.
Whatever you do, just make sure you’re placing them in the best locations possible. Here are a few other rules to live by when it comes to outdoor advertising.
We love a good play on words and this clever billboard keeps it short, sweet and memorable. The unique shape and simple message boasts their expertise and implies that they’ve got a great sense of humor — so potential clients will love working with them.
This innovative ad uses creative copy paired with a sleek design that generates intrigue for drivers passing by. It’s simple yet modern and the bolded ‘your’ highlights a personalize experience.
For image building and brand awareness, print ads still rule the roost.
Since the beginning of advertising time, high-quality print ads have always been a fantastic and often elegant way to elevate your brand identity. And it's always a good idea to elevate. 😉
Through strategic color choices and a sharp image, this ad transports you to the location of the home featured in the print advertisement. If you were flipping through this publication, you’d be stopped in your tracks by this captivating photo. With copy that reiterates the custom feel of the graphic, this ad is a sure winner.
First of all, the quality of the photos is very professional. The tagline 'A higher standard of living' tells us this ad is all about luxury and decadence. Lastly, the brand narrative 'Discover The Difference' makes the reader want to be a member of their very exclusive tribe.
Alright. Now that you've got all the ammo you need to awaken your inner Don Draper, let's talk tools.
There are a ton of different tools that can help you launch awesome real estate ads, whatever medium you choose.
Here are some of our top picks to get started with:
The original user-friendly email marketing tool. And with a ton of built-in templates, you can craft gorgeous emails and newsletters without a design degree. Plus, they have an entire section dedicated to newsletter templates, no matter what tactics you’re using.
Price: The basic start-up package is free with flexible plans to scale up from there.
According to Animoto, real estate listings with video receive 403% more inquiries. Not bad, right? Animoto makes it easy to drag-and-drop videos into your emails and marketing platform, making your listings rock and hopefully score you more clicks on your ads.
Price: Paid plans start at $16/month.
Trello is a team-based task management tool that allows real estate teams and admins to: add and update listings, check who’s working on what and at what time, create checklists, add labels and due dates, upload attachments and start discussions. It's a great place to group brainstorm, manage the creative workflow and never lose track of an idea for your next great ad campaign.
Price: Basic package is free. Premium package (for teams of up to 100) is $10 per month.
This social media management tool allows users to organize multiple social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and schedule content automatically. It also comes with some user-friendly analytics features to help you and your realtors track which kind of content is trending on social media right now.
Price: Pro plan starts at $49 per month for unlimited posting for one user.
Canva is a super simple and accessible way to add text to images and mock up visuals without having to hire a full-time designer. Just log in, choose your template, upload your photos and you're good to go.
Price: Basic package is free. Pro plans offer more options and more flexible design, starting at $13/month.
We don't want to leave you with the impression that real estate advertising is a one-and-done endeavor. It's not.
Like any job worth doing, it's all about staying consistent, focused and intentional in your approach.
Don't be afraid to test and keep testing until you find what works for your specific audience. Use good old-fashioned trial and error to determine what resonates with your prospects and what brings the best ROI. Then keep adjusting to do more of what connects — including putting more ad budget behind those efforts — and less of what doesn’t.
And remember not to just stick with the tried-and-true approach. Innovation is the key to standing out and connecting with your prospects, whether they encounter your ads on their social feeds, in their inbox, or during their daily commute.
Marketing never sleeps…so make sure your creativity doesn’t either. When you put your best foot forward and let your personality shine through, you’re sure to find the real estate ad strategy that works for you.