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Online advertising conceptIt happens to Jeff Lobb all the time. He’ll be speaking at a real estate event, or presenting a webinar to agents or filming one of his Office Hours with Jeff videos, and the comments start to come in: “Digital ads don’t work for me.”

Jeff doesn’t hesitate to answer this with a question: “Well, what do you want your ad to do?” And this often stops agents in their tracks.

Because many real estate agents think of digital ads as nothing more than digital business cards: just put your headshot, your name, your phone number and years in business. That’s enough, isn’t it? Nope.

You are not your resume.

“Most people write ads like it’s 30 years ago in the Yellow Pages,” he says.  “At the end of the day, who cares? Why would the customer click on that?”

The purpose and strategy of the ad is a question to ask before even creating it. Do you want buyers? Do you want sellers? Do you want referrals? Speak to the people you want to meet. Speak to the conversations you want to have, and speak in your own voice.

“From a branding standpoint, your ad should have something memorable about you. ‘Twenty years in business’ isn’t a brand. Try a slogan. A catch phrase. A silly photo. You have to be memorable.”

Tell them what you want them to do!

So let’s go back to Jeff’s original response. What do you want the ad to do? And more specifically, what should your potential customer do? Too many people approach online advertising — be it via Facebook, Instagram, or even retargeting — with the expectation of lead generation. But at the same time, they don’t create ads with a strong call to action. They expect certain things to happen when the ad wasn’t built for it. So use a specific call to action (CTA) to get the response you want. CTAs can include:

  • Watch a video
  • Download a market report
  • Top 10 tips to sell your house

Today’s CTAs need to be more creative than ‘what’s your home worth?” Make it specific. Make it creative.

Now arriving at our destination: the landing page.

Once you’ve created a digital ad that is compelling and has a strong call to action, where will they go next?

Many agents drop the ball at this critical step. Once someone clicks on your ad, they need to go to page that delivers on the promise you made. That delivery is on a landing page, which is a web page that speaks to a specific purpose. It’s not a Home page. It’s not an About page. It’s streamlined and use-specific.

Jeff knows that creating the right kind of landing page is a challenge for most agents — they aren’t web designers. They’re trying to help people buy and sell homes! That is what inspired his endeavor Visual Farming.

“Visual Farming is a landing page product that can simple, inexpensive lead capture and that can be used by all platforms,” he says. “You fill in the blanks and it changes the page. It was meant to be nine steps and launch.” The platform can be used for home valuations or capturing leads with free reports. “It’s all about capturing and then converting leads to an appointment.”

So let’s go back to the beginning, with the ad that ‘didn’t work.’ Once you set expectations, create a strong call to action and deliver with a powerful landing page, digital advertising can truly be the powerful tool it’s meant to be.

And to learn more about creating digital ads for your real estate brand, visit