The Inman Handbook On Digital Advertising With Adwerx
Many may not know that Adwerx, a digital advertising platform for real estate and financial services, is a spinoff of a music industry technology platform for independent artists called ReverbNation.
Bouncing the technology out of innovations made for its source platform, co-founder and CEO Jed Carlson recognized early that people were turning to the web to search for homes and his technology could help agents get in front of them.
Using the now ubiquitous tactic of retargeting — among other in-house innovations — the company helps agents provide social proof of their online footprint, promote listings and remain top-of-mind among their sphere.
Advertising on news sites and other content destinations can help new agents build databases and growing teams recruit new members. The options are many, and the technology continues to evolve.
This handbook is designed to help you gain a fundamental understanding of digital advertising, what Adwerx offers and how its features overlap with different business objectives.
Table of Contents:
An abbreviated history of online advertising
Advertising online wasn’t always as easy as it is today.
It was an agency’s game, a marketplace for those connected directly to the advertising industry. Plus, the sheer size and technological vagaries that accompanied digital campaigns bested many industries, not just real estate. We knew them only as banner ads.
It shifted, however, when website visitor metrics became clearer and more rapidly available, when content publishers could share with curious clients who was reading what for how long. If we know who, then we can determine why. And there’s nothing advertising executives love more than knowing their customer.
It quickly advanced from there, stumbling through the era of clumsy pop-up ads and thankfully, into where we are today, with ads elegantly placed and smartly worded to attract only the intended audience. Online ads (the good ones, anyway) ceased being intrusive distractions and evolved into a powerful two-way driver of business, helping advertiser and audience provider.
Today, online advertising has become an omnichannel marketing behemoth. In 2020, spending totals are well over $150 billion in the United States for display, classified and search, the three primary categories of ad type. It pushes prospects to websites for lead capture, creates brand longevity, and can be tied into television, video, and even outdoor campaigns.
Most importantly, it’s now accessible to real estate agents at every level and can help in multiple facets of the business. Let’s get into it.
Adwerx for listings
Best for: new listing and just-sold campaigns
Top of most agents’ minds is how to get clients’ homes into the marketplace. Your local multiple listing service is the baseline, the first thing you do. Beyond that, it’s all on you. Sellers want to see more.
Adwerx for listings lets agents build digital display ads for every milestone in a home’s lifecycle, from announcing new listings to price adjustments to just-sold campaigns.
This tool will put your listing in front of those who visit some of the most-visited URLs on the web, including Facebook, CNN, Fox News, ESPN and others.
Consider a rotation tactic when using Adwerx for listings. Spread your budget between a couple or three listings to demonstrate your reach and presence to other prospective listing clients. It also keeps each listing fresh in the mind of your audience because it’s not the only one they see associated with your brand.
Because Adwerx allows you to customize the URL linked to your ad, make sure you send interested parties to a page specific to each property and that the page has lead capture forms tied to your customer relationship management solution.
Take full advantage of Adwerx’s automated seller reports. This valuable tool allows you to enter your clients’ contact information for them to receive regular performance updates on campaigns linked to their home.
Adwerx by ZIP code
Best for: new agents, long-term branding campaigns
Geographic farming is a long-proven way of establishing yourself as local expert. Traditionally a tactic carried out by more traditional tactics such as local print advertising, direct mail and in-person seminars, digital advertising’s ability to target by location offers agents and brokerages a powerful new ally in reaching out to regional audiences.
Adwerx ZIP code advertising will drive your brand onto the laptops and mobile browsers of the same people most apt to drive by your office, see your yard signs or accidentally tap your bumper at the local Starbucks drive-thru.
New agents would be smart to use this tool as a way to enter the radar of prospective clients. Note that the ZIP code feature is best for service-oriented campaigns, not specific listings. Thus, consider it a branding effort — not for lead generation.
This is also the type of the campaign that can be left to run as an ongoing budget item, something that’s “always on,” like a newsletter or blog content.
Have some testimonials? Link your profile ad to a testimonial landing page or consumer services review site, such as Yelp! or Homelight, to further demonstrate how you’ve helped other local buyers and sellers.
Lastly, know that Adwerx uses automation to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination mandates regarding HEC (housing, employment, credit) ads that came in 2019 as a result of lawsuits filed against Facebook.
Ads for your sphere
Best for: established agents, agents who emphasize networking and luxury agents
Arguably your greatest professional asset, the colleagues and contacts you know in other lines of business can eventually become your only source of business. While working on “referral only” is the goal of most agents, it doesn’t come without tremendous effort and the ability to prove yourself each time you’re referred.
Consistent marketing to your sphere is the best place to start. Not only can you avoid the dreaded, “I didn’t know you were still in the business,” you can become the go-to real estate resource for those who are asked who they know in the business.
Remember, like shopping on Amazon and paying at the register with our phones, it’s all about convenience. The more often you’re in front of those who matter, the easier you make it for them to recommend you.
Adwerx’s Sphere feature uses your existing database as targets for ad campaigns. The company’s Quick Adder technology uses a custom email address for adding people to a specific campaign database. All you need to do is add a few email addresses into the body of an email and hit send.
Given how challenging it used to be to add a new record to a CRM or transfer an entire list from one database to another, this is a very sharp evolution. Quick Adder also empowers the user to quickly send one or two new contacts at a time, even moments after you meet them.
It can be typed out while sitting in your car or during downtime at your next Zoom meeting. The goal here is to be in front of those who already know you, so ad copy and calls to action creative should be edited accordingly.
Be smart about your use of this feature by not trying to include your entire contact list. No contact list is 100 percent active. Pare your list down to those you believe are the most connected in local business circles.
Also, consider targeting colleagues you know are often the busiest because, again, you want to make it easy for them to recommend you. The closer you are, the easier it is for them to offer your name. Don’t make them work for it.
Adwerx for recruiting
Best for: brokers and teams
A chief mandate for brokers and team leaders is searching for new talent. It’s a constant concern — finding new agents and keeping current ones.
Just as you would for your own brand, recruiting efforts can (should) be on auto-pilot and easy to monitor. Outside of seeking out specific top producers, your brand should do a lot on your behalf.
Adwerx recruiting ads, similar to the sphere product, enables brokerages and teams to quickly add agent-specific contact lists or single names for targeting by digital ad campaigns.
In a two-year study conducted with RealTrends, it was determined that brokers using Adwerx’s automation solutions experienced 42 percent lesser churn than non-account holders.
One key is to use headlines and copy that can succinctly communicate why your office or team is the place to be. Consider pushing your included technology benefits and in-office support, and linking to a recruiting landing page on your website that highlights testimonials from current agents, notes about company culture and outstanding performance statistics.
Adwerx for streaming TV
Best for: agents and teams comfortable with video
The newest iteration of Adwerx technology is a sure sign its goal is keep agents on the forefront of broadcast technology.
The digital advertising platform has built a platform to help agents and brokerages run commercials on ad-supported streaming content services such as Hulu, NBC, Fox, ABC, A&E, Discovery and the Food Network, among others.
Using ZIP code-based placement, Adwerx can help build and place video ads on an array of streaming networks and devices, including Chromecast, AppleTV and Roku.
Ads can be seen on multiple popular channels, and you can own your ZIP code. And retargeting can be leveraged in the same way it is through web-based display advertising.
Videos created for ads can be repurposed for multiple uses, such as social feeds and YouTube channels.
Adwerx for enterprise
Best for: large teams, large independent brokerages and multioffice franchises
Adwerx is building on its success to offer its deeply integrated Enterprise Automation Platform to larger independents and tech-forward national teams who want to empower agents at all levels.
While it has always provided franchise-branded ad templates, Adwerx Enterprise is a much bigger, much more technically sophisticated endeavor that aims to make its platform a part of your everyday marketing and tech stack.
The company helps more than 200 brokerages around the country build out branding campaigns with high-touch service, rapid automation and carefully targeted audiences.
Agents under enterprise accounts have their profile campaign dashboard set up when the first listing they earn after the contract is established. From there, it’s largely hands off.
Week-long property campaigns are created and run on their behalf by dedicated Adwerx team members, and they are initiated within 48 hours of a listing being made active within their local MLS. In summary, enterprise-level accounts provide:
- Ads that automatically run whenever new listings are detected
- Ads displayed to local prospects
- Automated performance reporting
- Greatly increased visibility of ads for each listing
- Marketing tech for retention and recruitment
- Opportunities to buy additionally campaign services
- Where applicable, integrations with partner transaction management platforms
Automated ad campaigns also help ensure agents and team members are taking advantage of the software provided to them. Software adoption isn’t easy, especially in large real estate companies. Letting the tech do the work for them can increase participation and ultimately, deal flow.
When asked in an email about the importance of enterprise offerings and the company’s ongoing evolutions from single-listing ad campaigns, Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson said the goal of the company is to become indispensable.
“Innovation is at the heart of indispensability when you build marketing automation platforms,” he said. “While a lot of other companies are focused on creating an advertising ‘tool’ that brokers can make available to their agents, we’ve built an actual competitive advantage for brokers — true marketing automation that makes their platform ‘stickier’ with agents.”
Optimizing Your Adwerx Account
A study conducted in unison with T3 Sixty over a year compared listing growth between two groups of agents, one using Adwerx’s enterprise automation systems. The two groups came from the same brokerages and regions.
The Adwerx agents showed a 35 percent increase from the year prior in new listings. The control group of non-Adwerx agents consisted of 2,000 agents. Top producers in the study collected 10 more listings than before being subject to Adwerx services.
But the success in that study didn’t come from simply “running ads.” Marketing efforts take strategy, follow-up and performance measuring. Sometimes, marketing is about finding out what doesn’t work.
Calls to action
Make your reaction language — the tight, pithy terms meant to invoke action — appropriate to your audience. What problems do buyers and sellers have that you can solve and summarize quickly? It’s not easy. Spend time on it, test it, and evaluate.
Adwerx accounts come with campaign management tools for measuring performance. Use them.
Don’t send interested audience members into a black hole of listings on your website. Fulfill the promise you make on your ad: use one-page listing sites for listing ads, and branded broker and agents pages for branding campaigns, and so on. If you promise free content, give it to them.
You always want to make sure to help prospects make it out of the Wild West of the web and the place you want them to come for business.
Don’t neglect mobile
Adwerx ads can be presented on mobile browsers, which is especially valuable given the rate at which home shopping and deal making is moving into the mobile environment. Be where people are looking for homes and new agents.
If your office has a dedicated marketing team, put them to use. Or, find a pro outside the office. Adwerx ads are quick to create and produce, but don’t let that efficiency take away from creating a strategic, compelling message.
Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.