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Brand Advertising vs. Lead Generation: Which is Right For Real Estate Agents?

By Justin Kerby Apr 1, 2021

When it comes to real estate marketing, brand advertising and lead generation solutions both have a role to play. Agents should be leveraging all of the tools at their disposal, investing more in what’s working, and continue to monitor both short and long-term trends. For many agents, lead generation efforts are the top and only priority in their marketing plan. It’s hard to blame them, given that the job is based on building new relationships. That being said, brand building shouldn’t be overlooked, it should be used to complement your lead generation efforts. Here’s a look at brand advertising and lead generation solutions, and why real estate agents should consider both an important part of their marketing mix. 


Brand Advertising: An Overview

There are many kinds of brand advertising you can consider as a real estate agent, including both traditional and digital media options. 

Here’s how to think about brand advertising. When Nike puts their brand on a billboard, their intention isn’t that you pull your car over and buy a pair of shoes on their website. This is brand marketing, it’s a long-term strategy that counts on you feeling better about choosing Nike over Adidas when you find yourself in a shoe store. Yes, it can inspire people to make a purchase immediately, but overall it’s a longer-term play than your more standard lead generation strategies. It plants a seed that when nurtured, over time will provide a return on investment.  

Brand advertising draws a link between your brand and your product or service. As a real estate agent, brand advertising is used to make sure that when someone is ready to buy or sell their property, you’re the person that comes to mind. It makes sure that if they have a question about real estate, want to know what a house sold for, or need information on a neighbourhood, they think of you. It helps bring people into the top of your funnel, retain your existing clients, and gives people an introduction to who you are and what you offer. 


Recommended Brand Advertising Strategies

Brand advertising gets a bad name in the real estate industry sometimes. Some agents liken it to outdoor advertising that you might see on bus benches and billboards and disregard the need for it altogether. The truth is, there are other brand advertising opportunities that won’t blow a hole in your budget, are trackable, and complement your other marketing efforts. 

The first kind of brand advertising agents should consider is a simple display advertising campaign. Facebook and Instagram offer a suite of tools that make it very easy to promote your brand to a targeted audience, and you can even use your existing posts for your creative assets. 

Google Display Ads are another option. They give you the ability to advertise your brand in a more passive way, giving you placements on major websites and publications that your potential clients use daily. They’re relatively inexpensive from a cost per thousand impressions perspective, which means that you can put your brand in front of a large audience at a reasonable rate. 

Finally, retargeting ads are a nice mix of lead generation and brand awareness ads. Retargeting displays your ads to people who have visited your website or clicked on your social media posts. REW Retargeting even offers agents the ability to place ads in front of people who’ve searched for homes in your area or expertise. There are nearly no wasted ad dollars when you invest in a retargeting campaign since your ads are being shown to people who have the intent to either work with you, buy, or sell a home. They can be used to reintroduce your brand to potential clients or to drive leads to your listings, so they’re extremely versatile. 


Lead Generation: An Overview

Driving new interest to your website’s contact page, off-site lead capture form, clickable phone number, or anywhere else where you can be reached can be considered a lead generation strategy. Agents are likely very used to these tactics. They have a clear ask, and when successful, an immediate response. 

Lead generation-focused strategies have a very simple metric to watch: Total leads. Of course, you won’t be doing yourself any favours unless you go a bit deeper and look at which leads are qualified and serious and which ones are not. Seemingly minor differences, like how much information you request from an individual before you engage them, or how they choose to contact you, can make a huge difference in your response and close rate. Since the response is so immediate, it’s easier to evaluate the effectiveness and potential pitfalls of your lead generation campaigns. Watch them closely and don’t be afraid to adjust strategy. 


Recommended Lead Generation Strategies

Simply put, your business runs on leads. If you’re not defining and implementing a marketing strategy that focuses on multiple lead generation solutions, monitors them, adjusts, and tries new methods, you’re missing out on business opportunities. 

The key is to stand out where home buyers and sellers spend their time. Facebook and Google can both be used for your lead generation efforts, as can mailers, custom landing pages, and other paid advertising solutions. Home search platforms like REW are also great options, as they’re full of individuals who are further down the funnel than those you’d encounter in a branding campaign. Having your listings show more prominently, or your agent profile display in the areas you represent can have a huge impact on your lead generation efforts. Enhanced Listings on REW receive a 700% increase in leads and a 440% increase in pageviews, so if lead generation is important to you, take a look at REW’s Agent Market Pro


The Verdict

Ultimately your lead generation solutions should complement your brand advertising and vice versa. Establishing yourself as an authority that people trust will only make your lead generation efforts more successful, and leads are much warmer when they’re familiar with your story, specialty, and past successes. At the end of the day, the majority of homeowners only interview one agent, so you should take advantage of both brand advertising and lead generation solutions to have the best chance of representing a new client. It all boils down to building familiarity and trust, generating leads, closing opportunities, and investing in your retention efforts. Branding and lead generation have a role to play in each of these steps. 

Justin Kerby
Justin Kerby is the founder of Something Great, a digital marketing agency that specializes in real estate branding and content creation. They help companies create social media strategies, newsletters, blog content plans, and advertising campaigns.
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