Should Real Estate Agents Spend Money on Branding [Results Inside]?


Hope your coffee is hot, this should take you about 4 minutes and 11 seconds to read (According to Forbes, the average adult reads 300 words per minute)

Apples and oranges? It’ll make much more sense at the end.

Be careful out there.

A lot of companies out there sell vanity metrics.

Billboards used to be sold like this. Actually, they probably are still sold like this, and business owners are fooled spend money on them!

Absolutely amazing.

And sad.

These are the type of business owners that might be interested in my waterfront property here in Vegas…


I would imagine it went something like this, and it probably still does…

Billboard salesman: I can get you message in front of 12,000 people PER DAY!

Business owner: Who do I make the check out to…and can I name my first born after you? 

More is not always better — just ask my golf instructor :)

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Most people driving down the freeway are not looking at the billboards.

Truth be told — most drivers are not even looking at the damn road!

They’re looking at their phones!

Don’t believe me?

Next time you’re driving down the freeway, look at 10 drivers and see how many are on their phones.

You’ll be surprised.

And probably scared.

You Must Measure the Right Numbers

One of my clients emailed me yesterday asking for some advice on something. He is trying out a new service and wanted to share the initial numbers with me. This is something I enjoy doing for clients. Just one of the little extra perks working with me — besides the knee slapping, laugh out loud, belly aching laughs I provide with the jokes I tell on the on the phone.

I am not knocking this service, although not a fan of how they are positioning it.

This is branding and branding has a place, and I use it myself. This post isn’t meant to be a one or the other argument. I just want you to be careful of the numbers.

Typically, branding is difficult to measure. It’s also geared more towards big brands — Super Bowl ads are branding. Although, with the World Wide Web, it is now much more affordable for smaller businesses.

I prefer direct response marketing because everything can be measured, right down to the penny. Much more effective and cheaper, too. It’s basically a system that is predictable & sustainable. You can start small and increase your budget (scale) once something starts generating a positive return on your investment.

RelatedWhy You Must Get ULTRA Specific When Marketing on Facebook

The service he is using, will remain nameless, is like an online billboard. They advertise on all types of sites, in specific zipcodes. It really is not that targeted, with the exception the ad running in a specific zipcode. Your ad will be seen by a lot of people, from young to old. Home owners to renters, people with money and people without money. People who may be looking to move and people who are not ready to move.

Here is a screenshot of the email my client sent me;





So, it appears, he is doing better than the industry average.

1,018 divided by 4 = 0.0039.

That is less than 1%, it’s actually a THIRD OF A PERCENT.

Eek…I would hate to see the industry average.

This service costs my client $300/mo. He has two zipcodes for that price and something he is testing.

Lets do some simple math here…

He generated 4 clicks for this day and their are 30 days (on average) in a month

4 clicks x 30 days = 120 clicks

$300 per month divided by 120 clicks = $2.50 per click – estimated

$2.50 per click is a bit high.

So how many leads did this generate him?

Who knows?

The ad does have his phone number on it, so some people might call and not click.

So how many incoming calls did this generate for him?

Unfortunately, this company didn’t educate my client on using a trackable phone number (you can get one for less than $5/mo) to measure how many calls this is generating him, if any at all.

He is was using his normal number and has no idea if anyone has called. A trackable number can be forwarded to any phone number you’d like, so you do not need a new number or anything like that.

I set up a trackable phone number for him this afternoon, so we’ll know how this service performs. I told my client I found it strange this company wouldn’t offer a tracking phone number, as it’s beneficial to both sides. If the company can drive incoming calls and prove it, that would be a great selling feature. In fact, we are launching something similar for him on Facebook, with a tracking number, to see how it does.

Speaking of Facebook, here is a screenshot of my client’s Facebook ad account that I manage for him. This is from the last 7 days;


Here are the numbers, if you’re having trouble seeing it…

$108.26 for 149 total clicks = $0.73 per click

Much better than the other service, although somewhat difficult to compare, as you’ll see below.

The Facebook ads are targeted to his city and his specific target market — people who are over 55.

We also generated 28 incoming leads (‘conversions’ in the above image) in the last week. The majority of those leads came in the last couple of days as we’re still getting this campaign dialed in.

Again, there is a place for branding and a place for direct response marketing. I am a fan of both, but prefer something that can give me concrete numbers each and every time.

Which leads me to….

What Are Your Goals?

Comparing these two is somewhat like comparing apples & oranges (hence that picture at the top). You have to know what you’re looking to accomplish.

What are your goals?

Looking for top of mind awareness?

Branding would be a great for this. The above service would be perfect if you’re looking to be everywhere. You could use Facebook advertising for this as well. Especially Facebook re-targeting. Here is a blog post (with video) on how you can sell more homes with Facebook re-targeting.

Looking for a consistent flow of leads?

You’ll have better luck with direct response marketing. With all the online tools available, direct response marketing is very easy to track/measure. And if you read this blog, you know the phrase I blab about use all the time…

You cannot improve what you do not measure

Tracking is not sexy, I get that.

However, tracking allows you to market yourself much more efficiently, which means more cashola in your pockets or you could invest it in other areas of your business. If you want to be successful with online marketing, tracking is a must.

Related: 3 Extremely Effective Ways Realtors Can Use Facebook

Below is a video where I slashed the cost per lead by 72.3% for an agent in the Washington DC area.

This is because I tested multiple ads, stopped the lower performing ones and invested more money in the ads that were performing well. This is how testing can save you a TON of money.

The best part?

It’s free to do.

Yes, it does take some time, but it’s well worth it.


As you can probably see, I am a pretty big believer in direct response marketing. A few years ago I was big on branding, however, it was very difficult to measure.

Then I tried my hand at paid advertising (Facebook ads), and failed for 6 months straight, before turning a profit. I then turned a profit in month two and again in month three and again in month four and…you get the point.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

I prefer something that is predictable and sustainable.

So should real estate agents spend money on branding?

Well, you need to know what you’re looking to accomplish. You also must look at the right numbers and not the big numbers that might look sexy.

Two numbers I like to look at are…

Cost per lead and conversion rate percentage (leads-to-conversations). Of course, a lead into a client is important, but this is a marketing blog, not a sales blog.

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