Meet Woodleaf Realty
Janie Howard is the broker/owner of WoodleafRealty.com – a small brokerage located in Colorado Springs, CO – one of the most competitive online markets in the entire USA.
Janie’s overall experience when it comes to online marketing and ad-spend is highly reminiscent to what I’ve heard over the last few months from every other agent we’ve interviewed prior to engaging in marketing services.
So despite her best efforts to generate leads for her team, Janie was not finding success. With her agents clamoring for leads, she need a solution and she needed one fast.
It was just around this time that we were starting to offer consulting on Facebook ads, and we reached out to Janie and a handful of other clients that we identified as good candidates (she was always extremely responsive and polite in communications, and had recently written in to our support team inquiring about marketing services.)
Our Results – A Quick Summary
Janie is currently in our top 10 as far as results that we’ve been able to secure for a client. In this snapshot we’re showing our overall results for Facebook Ads, which span 14 different campaigns (including campaigns where tweaks were made).
As you can see – the results have been impressive to say the least. For $2289 in total spend, we’ve been able to generate 768 quality leads.
This has all been in 3 months, and since we started Janie and her team have been able to close over $270,000 in just commissions – and we will continue to reap dividends from these results over the next months and even years thanks to carefully executed drip email and remarketing campaigns.
This is the power of Facebook marketing when executed properly – and I would even say that with Janie & other clients that we manage, there’s still so much room for improvement (we’ll discuss that in the article as well).
Why Online Marketing is Broken
I’m going to be real frank here – in our first stab at online marketing we tried to basically copy the same model that we saw everywhere else – hire a marketing team, develop ‘template’ type ads and processes’ that work and that can be adapted to specific markets, and then offer varying levels of packages (sound familiar?) – here’s a screenshot of what that originally looked like for anyone curious:
As we learned in the process, there are many issues with this model in 2017 and beyond, which I’m going to briefly outline below.
Conflict of Interest
When you work with a company to generate you leads, they’re less often concerned with actually generating you leads, and moreso concerned with making significant margins, which is how a normal company operates and is an inherent conflict of interest (hate to admit it).
The more time they spend on the phone with you generally = less margin & less profit.
So to be clear, they are concerned with generating you leads, but only insofar as it relates to them being able to make profit. This is why most online marketing companies now require you to sign lengthy contracts.
When Google Adwords first hit the scene, you could get away with plugging [city name] into an excel spreadsheet of various keyword combinations, [city homes for sale], [city real estate] etc, and see some marginal success if you were pointing that traffic to an optimized lead capture page.
Try that approach now without proper research and you’ll get absolutely smoked.
Facebook Marketing In Particular Requires More Collaboration
Facebook Marketing is flat out, an entirely different animal than Google Adwords. Facebook works by creating ads and targeting them to a specific audience, and when it comes to real estate. Those are two extremely variable inputs, entirely predicated on your unique market.
So to rephrase that, if you want to be successful with Facebook marketing, you need to first identify the unique audiences that exist within your specific market and how or whether or not you can use Facebook’s demographic targeting options to legitimately target that audience, and then need to figure out how to leverage visual ads to present a unique offer that will drive both clicks and conversions from that audience.
If you think that a marketing service is going to be able to do that for after you’ve filled out a form and had your introduction call, you’re mistaken.
Most companies opt for a hefty setup fee and then an ongoing maintenance fee (which is where most of the profit is made). You get charged a few hundred or thousand dollars a month, and the company spends about 30 minutes adding negative keywords or making other minor changes that marginally improve the campaign – very rarely is there any sort of incentive structure built into the monthly maintenance aspect of what a marketing company charges.
How We Pivoted
So, while our initial AgentMarketeer program worked from a corporate perspective (people signed up, paid money, we made profit) – the results weren’t where we knew that they could be and so we decided to remove the program and go back to the drawing board.
Listen, I’m a huge advocate of always paying an expert to do things for you where you can be using your time to focus on what’s going to generate the most ROI – so much so that in my personal life, if I drop a peanut on my apartment floor, it’s probably not getting picked up until one of the days my housekeeper comes (hehe).
Every day I come across agents spending time on things that they would be much better served paying someone else to do, but with online marketing, and specifically Facebook marketing, I do think this is one area that does make sense to spend time learning, and you absolutely need to be involved. Real estate agents wear many job titles, and one of the most important ones is ‘marketing company’.
So with that said, we decided that we were going to do the following:
- Offer direct consulting options at a rate of $75/hour so long as we could use information & insights from various campaigns in creating resources for our broader client base, or $150/hour if the client was adamant that we keep everything 100% private.
- Use the information & insights gleaned from working with clients on our $75/hr consulting rate to create an online marketing resource center that would be included at no additional cost to our client base. Through this resource center they are able to learn every aspect of both Google & Facebook marketing as it pertains to real estate and then apply that knowledge to their unique markets to create their own campaigns.
With that model as the basis, we started reaching out to clients that we felt would be a good fit to consult with (basically, clients that were responsive, eager to get the most out of their websites, had indicated an interest in getting better results in online marketing, and of course, were nice people!).
Janie was one of the first clients that we reached out to. I forwarded a long message outlining what I felt were some of the unique opportunities that existed within Facebook marketing, and how I thought we could go about leveraging those within the context of her unique market, and she was 100% on board.
So the first thing that we did was sit down to discuss Janie’s market, Colorado Springs, CO.
Colorado Springs is an interesting market as it’s got a very wide range demographically speaking – first time homebuyers, new construction, people looking to upsize, people looking to downsize and military relocation, just to name a few.
Janie indicated that she and her time had good experience