Marketing Lessons From The Trenches: Selling Real Estate With Facebook & Google

Selling your products and services can be hard. I get it. To help you beautiful people who read these posts, each week I’ll be posting a marketing case study from my own marketing clients, focusing on what’s working today in digital advertising. And this week’s case study will take you step-by-step through the process I went through to sell a $3 million house in the real-estate space using Facebook ads.

Buckle up though, because it was not a “pretty” process. I made some mistakes.

The Setup To Our Facebook Real-Estate Campaign

Let me start by outlining the situation for you.

A client of mine came to me with an extremely good looking house located slope-side at Telluride, Colorado.

I mean look at this thing. It’s gorgeous.

This is the real estate we were tasks to sell using Facebook ads
The Property

The only problem was – it had been listed for over a year already. Every day that it sat on the market, my client’s client got a little more PO’d.

So, my client came to me to see if I could help him sell the dang thing with online ads. Loving a challenge, I heartily accepted.

I had run ads for real-estate before, so luckily I knew how selling homes online looked.

The difference here was it was located in a relatively remote area (Telluride is basically a ski town) so would only appeal to vacation home buyers.

Knowing that – I got to work.

The Asset Creation Phase

I started off with a “funnel’s always win!” mindset and created a simple email-capture landing page with minimal information regarding the property. From there, the user was dropped off to a higher-end property-details page that delivered the goods.

My thought process was people would be SO interested in the property that they’d be willing to give up their email just to see the property details.

Surprisingly I wasn’t COMPLETELY wrong. Just a little wrong. We’ll get to my wrongness in a second.

Once the landing page and property details page were up, I moved onto a 10 step drip campaign, complete with emails and text reminders.

The first email was a “welcome” email, thanking them for signing up and outlining the benefits of the property. The next three emails talked about the home itself, the town it was located in, and the main attraction in the area (Telluride Ski Resort). From there, I sent periodic reminders of the pending closing date, all the way up to the actual close date.

In total, I sent 7 emails and 3 text messages over the course of 50 days.

The email campaign
The Attraction Email

The Paid Ad Phase

Once the funnel and email follow-up sequence was in place, I turned my attention to the ad campaign. The results actually surprised me.

Online Paid Ads Campaign Structure

Without knowing exactly which type of ad worked with luxury real-estate, I decided to test multiple ad forms.

  1. A “conversion” campaign that sent traffic to the lead-page I had created.
  2. A “Facebook lead ad” campaign that used Facebook’s built-in lead ads to get the leads directly from the Facebook ad, then add the contact details to my email sequence using Zapier
  3. A “message” campaign that had interested buyers message my client directly
  4. A “traffic” campaign that just sent raw traffic to the property details page
The Facebook Campaign Structure We Used For Our Real Estate Ads
The Campaign Structure

Within each ad campaign I created multiple ad sets based on a few different criteria:

  1. Interests – I created different ad sets for interests based on what I would imagine a potential buyer to be interested in, such as luxury real estate, skiing, snowboarding, vacation homes, etc.
  2. Location – I created different ad sets for varying location bases, such as a radius of 50+ mi from Telluride, specific high-net worth states, and all of the US
  3. Custom Audience – Finally, I created an ad set based off of a custom data set that they already had of potential buyers

I then created single-image ads (testing multiple images) with both a short and long copy version.

Once the campaigns were up and running, I prepped for the testing phase by sitting back and watching as the results poured in.

Testing & Pivoting The Paid Ads

As the results started coming in, one thing became apparent – messaging ads were completely useless. And it’s not that they are useless as an ad form – it’s that my client did not respond to people when they messaged him!

So needless to say, I shut those off almost immediately.

I also noticed that the lead cost from the Facebook lead ads was much less than those from my landing page.

Off went the landing page conversion campaign.

After some time, even though we were getting fantastic results with the built in Facebook lead form (one ad set was $2.43 per lead!), my client mentioned to me that he wasn’t able to follow up with everyone. Without follow up on a lead form, it’s basically a dead lead.

With that in mind, I decided to shut off the lead form ads as well and go all-in on the traffic ads.

The Results

The Results

After about a month of running traffic ads, we ended up selling the property for $3.4 million. Well above the original asking price.

Here are the results of the ad campaign in numbers:

  • $769 in ad spend (total)
  • 1,700 property views in 30 days (more than double Zillow’s results in an entire year)
  • 86 leads generated
  • 82 property followers & 23 prospects
  • 15 scheduled showings
  • Sold in 41 days (total)

So, with $769 we were able to sell a $3.4 million property in 41 days, after that same property had been sitting on the market (and Zillow) for over a year.

Needless to say, Facebook rocks as an ad platform.

Lessons Learned

After all was said and done, it turned out to be a pretty good campaign.

Even so, there were some major mistakes made and a few big lessons learned that popped out to me throughout this process.

First, you need to use an ad form that fits the tendencies of those involved. For instance, the messaging ads didn’t work simply because my client did not use Facebook Messenger.

Second, even though “industry standard” says to do something (like run Facebook lead ads), it may not be the best option in your particular case.

For example – without follow up, the lead ads were essentially garbage (and many of them WERE garbage!). So choosing to go with traffic only was a good decision.

Last, when you run paid ads, for some reason shorter copy wins in the real estate game.

Generally, I veer towards longer ad copy. It allows you to really connect with your client and increases the quality of the leads. With real-estate, that wasn’t the case. The short copy above beat out the long copy TEN TO ONE!

I’ve replicated short copy vs long copy since then as well with the same results. To this day I have no idea why short copy works so well.

Next Steps

So that’s it! That’s how I sold a $3.4 million house in 41 days with under $800 in ad spend. Pretty fantastic if I do say so myself.

Remember – online marketing works for EVERY business. If you want to generate gobs of customers and clients for your business, try out Facebook ads.

If you want to learn how to do this whole online marketing thing yourself, click here to sign up for our 7 day online marketing course for local businesses called “The Local Business Breakthrough“. You can also head over to our Resources Page to see an updated list of the best marketing tools available today.

And as always, if you would like for me and my crew here to market your busines for you, reach out to us at

To your success, happiness, fulfillment and growth.

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