Spend your online marketing dollars wisely

If you’re budgeting for online marketing this year, make sure you spend your money in the right places – and in the right way. Don’t waste a lot of time, money and effort by blindly throwing money at an ad for little return.

Let’s be clear. You should be spending money advertising online if you can. It’s getting harder and harder to reach people organically (without any advertising). And unlike other types of advertising, you can really drill down with your online ads to focus on a tight group of your key target audience. This is a great for two reasons: it helps you reduce costs and it lets you know pretty quickly if your ad is connecting with the intended audience the way you hope, or if it’s a flop and you need to try another tactic. So test out a few Facebook or Google AdWords campaigns and see how they perform. If you don’t start getting more traffic to your site, or start getting phone calls, change your messaging and see if results change. When you do find a campaign that works, you can scale it up to a larger audience and see how it goes.

Keep in mind that people go to social media largely for entertainment. No one likes advertisements. So you want your ads to be more lighthearted than just all business. If you want to share information that’s pretty dry or boring, couch it in a “did you know” question and include why it’s relevant to them in the answer. Or use a funny picture to emphasize the point even if the message is dry. Mix in some fun video messages, silly pics of your dog looking forlornly at you as you leave for more showings, behind the scenes videos at your office before an event you are hosting (getting ready for that 5K!), or even highlight a volunteer day. It’s not so much about paying for an “ad” per se, it’s more about promoting a story you want people to see. You’ll get more engagement and thus more followers.

You could even boost the occasional corny real estate joke or meme. The second you see a new meme making the rounds, think about how you could tweak it for yourself. Online meme generators can help you create the text on the image you want. Keep it workplace appropriate!

Another way to get more engagement is to create an online local market quiz or guide and boost that. Give your audience a short quiz about your farm area or the region and test how “local” they are. Or see how much they know about some locally-linked pop culture. Got a hometown kid who has made it to the big time on a TV show or movie? Create a quiz about that movie or show. Create an optional lead capture form at the end for users to enter a drawing to win a gift card to a local diner or coffee shop.

The key is to connect with your sphere where they are, in a way they appreciate. You want them to feel like an insider, but not feel like you’re all business, all the time.