Jed Carlson, CEO of AdWerx for Real Estate.
Over the past few months, AdWerx has had the opportunity to partner with two large real estate firms, Long & Foster and CENTURY 21. Helping agents build brand awareness and become tech savvy marketers is one of our main goals, and these partnerships allow us to do that.
AdWerx CEO, Jed Carlson, recently spoke to Jason Engle of CENTURY 21 Scheetz to discuss AdWerx, our product, and our mission. It’s an in depth overview of the things we offer to agents and companies. You can read the original interview here.
Jason Engle: Many consumers may have experienced Targeted Remarketing and not even know it. Can you explain what this is for those who don’t know yet?
Jed Carlson: In the strictest sense, when people say remarketing or retargeting, it means targeting your advertising on the web at people who have recently visited your website. So if you’ve ever been on a website and had ads for that website or product follow you around the web after you leave, you’ve experienced remarketing.
What AdWerx does is similar, but just a little bit different. AdWerx does something called “behavioral targeting.” AdWerx ads target people who have recently visited websites related to real estate. The theory is that if someone is visiting a real estate related site, they are more likely to be ‘in the market’ for real estate than the average person. And putting an Agent’s ads in front of people who are currently ‘in the market’ for real estate is the way AdWerx helps Agents create local awareness.
Jason Engle: How did AdWerx get into this segment?
Jed Carlson: AdWerx is a division of ReverbNation, a company that has been building advertising and promotion tech for bands (musicians) for the past eight years – serving over 3.5 Million bands worldwide. Last year, we decided to “re-imagine” our advertising product for real estate agents who, in a lot of ways, face the same challenges as independent musicians. They are individual marketers responsible for their own brand and outcomes.
Jason Engle: How has AdWerx been able to increase advertising & marketing options for Realtors recently?
Jed Carlson: Agents have lots of options out there, both in lead-gen and awareness marketing. They have self-serve options, and more expensive full-serve options.
At AdWerx, we saw an opportunity to provide a localized awareness-marketing product that was
- On the web
- Hyper-simple to use, yet incredibly powerful
- Affordable for virtually every agent ($50/month)
And while ‘awareness’ marketing like AdWerx isn’t for every Agent, the Agents getting the most out of it understand how awareness marketing supports their lead-gen efforts. When the consumer is looking at a listing on a portal these days, they are most likely seeing multiple Agents alongside the listing – all vying to ‘get the lead’. Who are they going to choose? The Agent they’ve never heard of, or the familiar face? AdWerx makes the Agent’s face, name, and brand familiar to the consumer who is in the market for real estate, increasing the chances that the consumer picks that Agent when presented with a choice.
Is awareness marketing important? That’s a question we get a lot at AdWerx. Consider these facts from NAR:
- 90% of home shoppers start their search online.
- On average, they spend 2 weeks looking for homes online before they contact an agent.
- 66% of sellers (and one would presume buyers as well) hire the very first agent they interview.
Therefore, the point is that if they don’t choose you to be the first one they call, they probably won’t call you at all.
Is it important to do everything you can to influence prospects to call you first? Not just important, but critical. Awareness marketing is the secret weapon that influences people to choose you over others. And in the Real Estate game, where getting the first call is everything, this can make a big difference over time.
Jason Engle: Can a single zip code become oversaturated with too many participants somehow?
Jed Carlson: We’ve prevented the over-saturation of any zip code by limiting them to a maximum of 5 Agents each. We did that for two main reasons. First, there are only so many people in a zip code who are actually in the market for real estate – therefore, there are only so many ads we can show to them each month. Second, studies show that advertising becomes increasingly effective as you increase the ‘share of voice’ that you have. Or, put another way, showing your ads in ‘high concentration’ makes them even more effective. You don’t get an awareness advantage if everyone has a billboard on the same freeway.
Jason Engle: How do either of these campaigns work and how long does it take to see measured results?
Jed Carlson: It’s super-easy to get set up. For the listings ads, you simply type in is the address of your listing. For the Agent ads, you type in your name and pick your zip codes. In each case, AdWerx creates an ad and the Agent can edit it.
In about 1 business day after creating your campaign, it will begin running – showing ads all over the web, but ONLY to people in your zip codes who are ‘in the market’ for real estate.
Like all awareness marketing tactics, measuring the results can be a challenge – even for very sophisticated marketers. The goal of awareness marketing is to influence the choice people make when they finally make the choice. And studies have shown that often people don’t know exactly why they made a choice that they did, even though that choice was influenced by advertising. For example, if we asked consumers why they chose a Gatorade over a Powerade at the vending machine, they probably wouldn’t say it was Gatorade’s awareness and brand advertising that they saw the day before on TV. Yet it may have been.
Marketers often turn to “lift” as the least, worst way to measure the impact of awareness marketing. In the vending machine example given above, Gatorade would look for a lift in the number of units sold per vending machine in the areas where the ad campaign was running. In the case of Real Estate Agents, lift might be an increase in the performance of your lead-generation activities. But the reality of it is that this is difficult to pin down and measure.
In the end, the satisfaction with awareness marketing for most Agents is going to come down to how confident they are that their efforts are putting them in front of the right audience at the right time, not a directly measured result. Over time, they should see lift in their business.
Jason Engle: Have the “Promote Your Listing & Promote Your Brand” services replaced any decades old advertising techniques?
Jed Carlson: Agents have been doing awareness marketing since it became available to them. Billboards, newspaper ads, refrigerator magnets, postcards, and even the For Sale sign in the yard are all examples of awareness marketing tactics.
What AdWerx offers is really just a digital version of something agents have been doing for a very long time. And because it’s digital, its more targeted than some of the old ways. Products like Adwerx take your marketing dollars and concentrate them on the right people.
Jason Engle: How difficult is it for a Realtor to set up either of these advertising campaigns?
Jed Carlson: ANY Agent can use the product and get setup in less than 3 minutes.
Jason Engle: How much wisdom does a Realtor need to have about SEO, key words, or even Meta Tags for an AdWerx campaign to be effective?
Jed Carlson: None. We’ve baked all the marketing smarts right into the product.
Jason Engle: This year, AdWerx partnered with Century 21 to streamline these services to system members, what has the reaction been so far?
Jed Carlson: It’s been phenomenal. CENTURY 21 agents receive the biggest allowable discount (25%) on the product, and have all of their corporate colors and logos automatically in all of the right places in the ad. Adwerx is easy for any agent to use, and even easier for CENTURY 21 agents. We do weekly webinars for CENTURY 21 agents, and we’ve seen as many as 150 people attend at a time. There has been a ton of interest in the product.
Jason Engle: What’s on the horizon as your company continues to grow and the as the world of communications continues to evolve?
Jed Carlson: In terms of the real estate market, we want to continue to make the easiest, most powerful, and best value marketing tools for real estate agents as we can. We want agents to trust us and know that we’re going to deliver the best possible technology we can. So when a new opportunity arises on the awareness advertising side you can rest assured that we’re going to take it and become experts in it so that the agents do not have to do so.