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Farming for the Future

The world moves fast, and yesterday’s geographic farming just won’t cut it in today’s real estate market. The competition is too steep — and too technologically advanced — to limit yourself to door-knocking and leaving flyers in a neighborhood. The current connected world demands an online approach to complement and work alongside your offline strategies.

Studies show that, more and more, the place many sellers will connect with you is on Facebook. Facebook ads have the potential to assist you with garnering more home seller leads (and faster, and for less money) than almost any other digital marketing resource…but you have to do them right. The key is knowing how to create ads that capture attention, establish credibility, and motivate clicks.

We all know how to post, like, share, and comment. But to use Facebook as your farming tool, you’ll need to have a couple of things in place: a lead capture website with your Facebook pixel implemented on the site, and a Business Manager account set up within Facebook. Once you’re set up to do business on Facebook, you’ll want to put some thought into targeting, placement, and testing.

The better you know your desired audience, the better you’ll be able to target your ads. You can target your desired audience by selecting a specific geographic area, as well as criteria such as age, gender, relationship status, language, interests, and behaviors. Don’t underestimate the power of aiming before you fire!

Your Facebook ads can live in a variety of locations: in the mobile news feed, the desktop news feed, associated with Instagram, in the desktop right-hand column, and on the audience network. You’ll want to test your ads in different places to see which ones perform best for your needs. But don’t spread your budget too thin — the best practice is to start out with just the Mobile News Feed and Desktop News Feed. These placements have the best conversion (90% of active users check Facebook on their phone).

That leads us to testing. You can’t expect to knock it out of the park your first time at bat with Facebook ads, or by simply running a few ads here and there. To optimize your ROI, you should regularly test different combinations of copy, images and placements, and closely monitor how effective each combination is. Look at how the ads are getting traffic to your site, and how that traffic is converting into actual leads. Finding the ideal combination for your best-converting ads is an ongoing process.

Sounds like a lot of effort. Isn’t there an easier way?
Yes. Have someone else do it. Preferably, an expert. The best way to achieve a good ROI is by using a service that does multi-variate Facebook campaign testing on your behalf. GeographicFarm, a leading real estate media and marketing firm, has launched GeoFarm Digital, a turnkey Facebook ad optimization service designed specifically for real estate agents. GeoFarm Digital creates 16 hand-crafted ad permutations — switching out alternate headlines, images, calls-to-action, and body copy keywords — while Chime automates the creation, testing, and optimization of these customized, geo-targeted Facebook ads and time bids. Working hand in hand, this automated customization combines the benefits of authentic, hyper-local messaging, with the efficiency of an optimized national campaign.

“The key to farming success is multichannel marketing,” said Jeff Campbell, CEO of GeographicFarm. “You want your name, your face, your business, to be in front of a potential client precisely when they’re ready to connect. So, if you’re doing direct mail, you’ll want to also do Facebook ads in the same area.”

It’s important to find an optimal balance between online farming and offline farming. To learn more, download our FREE eBook, Geographic Farming in the Digital Age.