Here's how I used digital ads to sell a cottage in an area I didn't know, to people who didn't want to buy, at a slow time of year.
Shawn and Maria wanted to sell their family cottage located about an hour from Sault Ste. Marie.
The struggle, they felt, would be to get buyers in Southern Ontario to even consider purchasing a cottage in Thessalon, Ontario. People looking for a cottage in the Kawarthas are watching Realtor.ca like a hawk every day focusing on the Kawarthas. Thessalon, Ontario is not on their radar.
I needed to show buyers that if they're willing to drive a bit further they can have a four season cottage on the cleanest lake in Ontario for a fraction of the price.
Here's a brief version of how I did it.
Define The Audience
I figured you need to be in the top 10% in terms of net worth to be looking at purchasing a cottage these days. For this reason, I targeted high net-worth people over 35 years old, who have expressed interest in buying cottages from Sault Ste. Marie to Windsor.
We all know that dude whose Facebook profile says he has a PhD. from the School Of Hard Knocks. Google knows that's nonsense and doesn't treat him like an actual doctor for advertising purposes; Facebook is a different story.
Google's algorithm is far better than Facebook so I always start with Google ads and retarget that audience on Facebook and Instagram.
You Gotta Get Them Intrigued
Write an intriguing enough ad to get your target audience to take the action you want. For me, I wanted them to visit the listing and inquire about the property for 2 reasons:
- Retargeting- The average person will be exposed to a product 6 times online before making a purchase. When someone visits my listing Google tracks that and I can then retarget them on other platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. That's huge!!
- Lead Generation- the person who ultimately purchased this cottage contacted me after seeing the video ad below.
All my ads were geared to identifying people looking to purchase a cottage in the $500K range. By clicking on these well-defined ads, they are essentially putting their hands up saying "I am a potential buyer!" As more people clicked on my ads, my audience grew and it allowed me to serve them more ads on different platforms, send them email updates on the property so I stayed top of mind.
The algorithm learns who the target audience is quite quickly and after a few days the cost per click goes way down and the number of leads escalates quickly. It was a thing of beauty.
Some Of The Ads I Used
This was the most tedious part. Every ad had 5 different headlines, with 5 different descriptions that were tracked to see which performs best. Over time, you learn which headline, pictures, and description perform the best and optimize all your ads that way.
If you look at the Facebook ad stats at the bottom, one of the ads performed poorly so I turned I stopped serving that one altogether.
Okay, so what about results??
My Ads Got More Exposure Than Being On MLS
Any "Johnnie-Come-Lately" with a real estate license can put your property on MLS and wait for the phone to ring. That's lazy.
If you want to get extraordinary results, your agent better be doing something "extra" to get those results.
Here's the happy ending to this story.
We had a LOT of interest in the property and ended up selling to a lovely couple from Southern Ontario who, until they saw these ads, had never considered buying a cottage in Northern Ontario. Shawn and Maria were thrilled that the cottage was going to a great family (and for a great price too)!
In the last year, I have saved my clients over $100,000 in commission by using digital ads to sell property. Every agent should be doing this for their clients but sadly, almost nobody does.
Congrats to everyone involved with this one! All went according to plan.