Real Estate Advertising Copy That Gets Leads
By Sandra Manzanares
As a real estate agent, getting the best leads is typically your number one priority. That starts with getting lots of targeted traffic to your website with a balance of strong SEO tactics and strategic real estate advertising ideas.
If you’re exploring online real estate advertising, particularly pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search sites, you may not realize how ad copy impacts your ads’ performance. Here, we’ll explore why real estate ad copy is important and show you how to create your own strong copy.
Why Advertising Copy Matters
Competition to appear in prime spots on search engines is fierce. You’re bidding for search terms, and the more desirable the term, the greater the competition. You have other agents and realtors vying for the attention of consumers and there are limited spots: For example, in Google there are three top and eight sidebar text ad opportunities, and in Bing and Yahoo there are four top and nine sidebar ad opportunities.
Search engines create “quality scores” to determine ad placement. These scores take into account a number of factors, including the ad copy, to determine how often your ad appears and the position it gets. Your ad copy is ranked, in part, on the relationship between the copy and targeted keyword. If your ad reads “Buy a home in Toronto,” but you’re targeting the phrase “homes in Denver,” your quality score will be very low.
Your ad’s performance also influences its quality score. Search engines have an incentive to display the ads that get the most clicks, so creating a compelling ad will help put you on top.
So how do you get your ad to the top and get users to click on your ad above the rest? Great ad copy is the key.
Generate Clicks with Your Ad Copy
Few agents think from the customer’s perspective when creating ads. Because there are so many ads on each page, you must appeal to consumers’ needs within seconds using tactics that are proven to get clicks. Your copy should engage both a consumer’s logic and emotions to get them to take action. Use these tips to make your ad copy have both logical and emotional appeal:
- Answer the Inquiry & Provide a Benefit: Remember your ad is a response to a search query, so it should clearly convey a solution to the searcher’s “problem.” This starts with rephrasing the targeted keyword phrase and then offering details that provide a benefit to solve their query (e.g. If someone searches for “non-slip shoes,” the ad should focus on non-slip tested soles, the #1 brand used by waiters, etc.).
- Be specific: Advertising copy isn’t necessarily the place to please all audiences. You should target multiple ads to different audiences and focus copy on what would appeal to each audience most. Hone in on unique features (e.g. “Coastline view”) that would make a consumer curious, rather than a generic listing for “[CITY] Homes for Sale.” This will ensure you’re attracting the most targeted, qualified leads.
- Intrigue Your Readers with Descriptive Copy: Capture attention with descriptive copy. The words and phrases you use should be alluring, aspirational, relatable, and not alienating or used in every other ad. Also, you should use action verbs and bold language to get users’ attention. Note some guidelines for popular real estate advertising words:
Positive: beautiful, move-in ready, spacious, turn-key, remodeled, master bathroom, etc. are top performers. Try playing around with these examples.
Overused: Stunning, designer, updated, gourmet kitchen, and more tend to be overdone.
Negative: Cozy, charming, needs paint, must sell, motivated seller, potential, and others should be avoided.
- Offer Exclusivity: Tell users they’ve come upon the best deal, or that they’ve found the most savvy agent in the area.
- Build Urgency: Give viewers the feeling that if they don’t click on your ad, they’ll miss out on an important deal or a great agent.
Preparing Your Real Estate Ad
When creating real estate ads, you should take time to brainstorm features that will make your ad special. That means the phrases you choose, the buyer you’re speaking to, and the best qualities of the listing or your business that convey a clear benefit to the consumer.
This one should be fairly simple, but without a simple advertising goal, you can find yourself creating weak advertising copy. Are you pushing one property, or trying to generate a host of new leads to your business? Develop a strong goal for each ad you create and write it down. (Below we’ve outlined how to approach your ad copy, whether you’re focused on a single property, area listings, or your brand/business.)
Similar to search engine optimization, keyword research takes center stage when it comes to real estate agent advertising. Strong long-tail keywords help you target searchers who are seeking the services you offer.
It’s advised that you do keyword research in Google Adwords’s Keyword Planner as an early step in creating your real estate advertising copy, because you’ll take your target keywords and find ways to use them in your ad (discussed in more detail below) and on the associated landing page where you’ll send users. Note: If you’re going to advertise with Bing, you can start your PPC campaign in Adwords and upload that campaign into Bing later.
When creating ad copy, you should have a strong sense of your target customer. Is this a millennial first-time buyer or an expanding family looking for a larger home? Ad copy for the millennial buyer might highlight proximity to restaurants, while ad copy for a family might highlight large rooms and a great school district, so it’s important to know who will be on the receiving end of your advertising message. Learn how to develop a target persona for your ad so you can easily create ad copy that makes the greatest impact.
Identify Prominent Features
Having ad copy that stands out is crucial when competing for a great real estate ad position. To attract users and convince them to click, use your advertising copy to showcase the most notable, unique, and important features of your listing or business. These can include:
- Price ranges: This will help you attract buyers who can meet your minimums for your particular listing(s).
- Size/Number of Rooms: Most buyers know what they’re looking for in terms of size and bedrooms, so highlighting that in your ad can attract those who are more apt to buy.
- Amenities: Newly updated appliances, condo extras, smart-home built-ins, and other standout features can captivate property searchers.
- Location: Near a famous downtown area or close to a beach or recreational area? You may choose to play that up in your advertisement.
- Character: This will be different for every property, but every house has its own character. You’ll want to highlight anything unique about your property that would be a great selling feature.
- Lifestyle: Many leads are searching for homes in a particular area for a variety of reasons beyond the physical property. Whether it’s proximity to culture, great schools, or a relaxing environment, describe some great things about actually living in the area.
Creating Your Real Estate Ad Copy
Headline (25-character limit)
Your headline is the main draw of your real estate ad, and should depict the strongest pull for a user’s search terms. For that reason, it’s also ideal to put at least some of the keyword terms you’re targeting in your headline. Here are some examples of ad headline ideas:
- Single Property: Nab Your 3-Bed Ocean View
- Area Properties: Coastal Condos in Gotham
- Brand/Business: Leading Gotham Agent
Website URL (35-character limit)
This is a display URL that gives the viewer context for the site that’s presenting the ad. This may be the same or different from the URL you use to link to in your headline. It’s recommended that your display URL makes use of some of the key terms from your ad.
- Single Property: gothammainoceanview.com (example of single property site)
- Area Properties: gotham-re.com/gothamcoastcondos
- Brand/Business: gotham-re.com/gothambestrealtor
Line 1 (35-character limit)
The first descriptive line of your ad should showcase those standout features and benefits, and employ descriptive language. Also, if you want an extended headline (e.g. Gotham Coastal Condos – Best Realtors in Gotham) to show up should your ad rank in the top three positions, punctuate the end of Line 1 with a period, exclamation point, or question mark.
Line 2 (35-character limit)
The second line is the perfect position for your call to action. Use language that incites your readers to take action, which could be clicking, downloading, calling, et cetera.
Here are some examples of descriptive ad copy, depending on what you’re advertising:
- Single Property: Beautiful renovated beachfront home; Secure a virtual or in-person tour!
- Area Properties: Premium Coastal Listings for Sale; Search 100s of area listings first.
- Brand/Business: Top-ranked agent 3 years running; Call for free valuation report!
Overall, develop a variety of terminology so that you don’t repeat yourself in your ad’s small space.
Google Adwords allows you to enhance the visibility of your ad with features that highlight details about your business, buttons and copy that encourage a call, copy that allows users to download a resource, snippets of reviews, or stars showing your ratings. These are drawn from Google Adwords Ad extensions. Here are some extensions that may be good to pair with your ad types:
- Listing: Calls, Location, Apps, Callout
- Area Listings: Callouts, Sitelinks, Calls, Consumer/Seller Rating, Reviews, Apps
- Business/Brand: Apps, Location, Sitelinks, Calls, Reviews, Consumer/Seller Rating, Social
Develop Continuity with Your Landing Page
Your ad’s quality score is improved by consistency with your landing page. Your ad should send users to a page with similar copy to your ad, and the content there should match what you’ve mentioned in your advertisement (e.g. an ad for Victorian homes should send users to a landing page with similar words and images that prominently showcase Victorian homes).
Monitor and Edit Your Ad Copy
Watch your ad campaigns consistently for engagement. Edit and tweak campaigns every few days as needed based on your goals and your ads’ performance against those goals. You should strive for both a high click-through rate and a low cost per conversion on your landing page. So, if your ad copy gets clicks but you find that not many users take action on your landing page, your ad (and/or landing page) messaging may be misleading and will need editing.
Develop a process for creating strong ad copy every time. Download our Real Estate Ad Copy Worksheet to start creating your real estate ads.
If you’re ready to start your campaign, learn how to create your ad budget.
What difficulties do you face when trying to differentiate your real estate text ads from others? What other real estate advertising ideas do you use to get strong engagement? Leave your questions and advice in the comments below!
Published on February 19, 2015
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.