Reality Blog: How One Small Business Has Successfully Disrupted Their Industry

Facebook thumbs up sign printed on paper and placed on wooden ba

Last week, I told you how a house painter gave me a refresher course in marketing. You might also recall we’re selling our house and downsizing.

It turns out, this process of buying and selling is more enlightening than I could have ever imagined.

How so? Well, we met a disrupter… a small business that’s smashing their competition, with clever use of online marketing techniques.

Three Different Approaches

Peta analyzed the sales results of real estate agents in our local area. We then interviewed the top three agents.

Now, our friend Kelly is a real estate agent in another city. She gave us priceless advice on what to look for and the right questions to ask. It helps to have a friend like Kelly!

Agent 1 was old school, solid, and reliable. He was personable and had been an agent in our area for over 30 years. He had the stock standard marketing package… a sales board out front plus a listing online. Not a premium online listing, but a Tier Two listing.

So our house would be at the top of the page for a short time, then drop down the rankings.

“What about social media?” I asked. Agent 1 openly admitted he knew nothing about social media. However, he did say they have someone in the office who posts each listing to their Facebook page.

Hmmm…

Agent 2? The less said the better. Contact me if you ever need to cast the stereotypical real estate agent in a movie. I’ll pass Agent 2’s details onto you!

Loud, obnoxious, overbearing, and aggressive. That about sums him up.

Then the disrupter arrived. Agent 3 was a revelation.

Turning the Market Upside Down

Agent 3 and a partner have their own real estate business. Let’s call them M&M. By the way, they’re now selling our house! When I explain what they do differently, you’ll understand why we chose them.

They are both late 30s and understand social media. They’ve taken the local market by storm, and it’s easy to see why.

These guys are disrupters. They’ve grabbed one end of the local real estate rug and ripped it out from under their competitors. All the other agents are running scared… they should be, too.

What have M&M done differently? M&M have embraced social media and targeted marketing (or remarketing).

And that’s not all. They have several innovations which are causing ripples in the industry. We’ll get to those soon.

Incredibly, no other agency in our city uses targeted marketing. And no one uses Facebook like they do. It’s like we’re trapped in a pre-internet time warp.

These guys have a massive head start on their competition. How? By embracing the latest online advertising techniques.

Not only this, by default they have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that is completely different to any of their competitors.

What exactly do they do differently to every other agent? Let’s have a look.

A Targeted Approach

M&M know their audience… as does every other agent. The difference is, M&M use remarketing to reach that audience.

Every agent uses the same online listing services. M&M, though, grab browsers’ contact details. They then remarket to these browsers using targeted Facebook Ads.

We live in a commuter corridor south of Sydney, Australia’s largest city. Sydney has an archaic public transport network and roads choked with traffic. Our area is an ideal alternative to Sydney… close enough to commute there each day, yet far enough not to be overcrowded.

And our house prices are lower.

M&M use this knowledge to target the Sydney buyer market. If, for example, a property listing is near the ocean, they’ll run a targeted Facebook Ad campaign in a beachside area of Sydney. Not just any random beachside area, rather an area with a demographic suited to the style of home.

They are the only agent doing this.

All other agents rely on local buyers or Sydney buyers contacting them. M&M capture a much bigger market simply by remarketing on Facebook. It’s such a simple strategy, and highly effective.

Why Not Use Google Ads Too?

I asked Agent 3 if they use Google Ads for targeted marketing. They don’t, simply because the online market is crowded with real estate listing services. And these guys dominate the paid ads market.

While one listing service has most of the market, dozens of other listing services compete for the scraps. All of these services compete for advertising, which drives the cost-per-click ever higher.

It makes paying to rank number one for each property listing cost-prohibitive. Not only this, the Facebook Ads strategy is so successful that they don’t need to use Google Ads.

I have no doubt though, that M&M would change their strategy overnight if necessary. Although given the rivers of gold Facebook Ads provide to their bottom line, I can’t see Facebook messing with their ad service.

Model Facebook Marketers

M&M build curiosity and scarcity around each new property listing. And they do this primarily via Facebook. Let’s briefly go through their marketing campaign.

Step 1. Creating Curiosity

The first step is a teaser image on Facebook with tantalizing copy. This appears a few days before the house is listed. M&M include a call-to-action, urging prospects to contact them for more details.

One other subtle touch. They also email this teaser image to their email list. No detail, just a short email with the money shot included and contact information at the end of the email.

Step 2. Facebook Advertising

Once the house is officially listed, M&M launch their targeted Facebook Ad. This attracts a whole new audience. And when people tag friends in the comments, both the “tagger” and “taggee” (is that a word?) are added to their prospect list.

By the way, they select the Tier One option on the online property listing service. This keeps the listing at the top for several weeks. Remember how Agent 1 offered the Tier Two listing? It turns out the price difference is negligible.

Step 3. Using Video

M&M offer two photography packages. The first offers standard still photos, while the second includes drone and GoPro footage. This is unusual in our area. Normally, video footage is reserved for high-end houses.

Every new listing is posted as a short video on Facebook. One of their agents introduces the property on the video. They list the benefits as the video moves through the house. All low-key and conversational, no aggressive selling.

This subtle approach has another layer. The viewer gets to know the agent’s face and demeanor. So they’re creating empathy.

Step 4. Building the List

Then another post is published a few days later. This includes an image of the property, with a link to the listing on M&M’s website.

Once a prospect clicks on the link, they’re a candidate for remarketing.

Step 5. Holding the Audience’s Interest

M&M add Facebook posts covering tips on buying, selling, how to present your home for sale, and so on. Useful content which keeps followers interested. They’re following the “how to use Facebook correctly as a business” playbook to the letter!

In summary, M&M use Facebook to best advantage. They use it to build anticipation and to capture new prospects every step of the way. And they understand the importance of providing additional useful content from time to time.

Step 6. Capturing the Browsers

An interesting fact. Agent 3 told us most people who buy after contacting them via Facebook are “browsers.” Their family has outgrown the current home and they’re looking to upsize.

These people keep an eye on new listings and jump in only when something suitable appears.

Rather than trawling through online listing services, these people rely on Facebook. They are a completely different audience… another audience M&M have identified and are targeting.

Some of these steps overlap or happen together. However, there’s a clear six-step strategy at work in M&M’s marketing campaign.

Once the house is on the market, M&M activate a second marketing strategy. They have some unique ideas around open houses and/or auctions, but that’s a different topic.

In Summary

M&M are a refreshing change from the mediocre bunch of real estate agents in our region. They use social media, email marketing, and targeted marketing as a natural part of their marketing campaign.

And they are consistent. Every listing follows an identical marketing process, regardless of its value. This way, prospects know what to expect when a new listing first appears.

In contrast, their competition are light years behind. M&M are disrupters and they’re smashing their competitors.

By the way, Agent 3 even knew exactly what a copywriter does. Maybe that’s why we engaged their services!

If you’re a real estate copywriter or have recently bought and sold a house in a country other than Australia, I have a few questions: Is M&M’s marketing strategy normal in other countries? Are Australia’s real estate agents caught in a time warp, or is M&M’s marketing strategy unusual in your country as well? Let me know in the Comments below.

Regards,
Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew has traded the daily grind for a life on the road. He loves the lure of Australia’s wide-open spaces, solitude and isolation. Andrew and his wife Peta are experienced remote travelers, living the simple life on the road. They travel, work and live in their 4x4 truck camper. Andrew plans to build his Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller to the point where it provides a regular income... enough to sustain their lifestyle on the road.

4 Comments

  • I can’t speak to the majority of their strategies, but I’ve searched quite a lot of sites over the last few years dreaming of buying. The one thing that they’re getting right that I’ve personally seen done really badly is offering actual video of moving through the house. (The fact that it’s a drone that can get a bird’s eye view is a plus!) I’m in the U.S. (Texas), and most of the time when a site is trying to tempt a viewer with a “virtual tour” what they’re actually showing is a lame slide show of the exact same still photos that are on the static listing. It’s a huge disappointment every time.

    I do see one or two agents who post listings online and work to engage people in conversation about them. One in particular, now that I think harder, might be doing something similar to M&M… but on their personal FB profile. Hmm.

    • Hi Carey.
      That’s really interesting information, thanks. I wasn’t sure whether we were caught in a time-warp. It seems like M&M really are pushing the boundaries.
      Their strategy certainly worked for us. They just sold our house within one week, with six buyers fighting it out, at a price well over the average… all in a flat market!
      We are also looking to buy, so we’re on dozens of agents’ marketing lists. However, the only targeted Facebook Ads we have received have been from M&M! As for an agent using their personal profile… wow that’s unprofessional!
      And I know what you mean about the virtual tours. Many of them are really poorly done.
      Regards, Andrew

  • Hello, Andrew.

    Vincent, from Barcelona, ​​Catalonia (Spain)

    I am starting out in copywriting just when my wife has to sell her mother’s house.
    The agency selling it only puts photos and a very bad copy.
    Some curious came, but nothing.
    I will comment on these techniques that you mention.
    Let’s see if they want to hire me to do so. 😉

    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Vincent. It sounds like they might need your help! Can’t hurt to ask… you may have found your niche. 😊
      What you’re describing is common here too. They spend little time on the copy and the photos are terrible. Worst of all, it seems some agents have no idea how to effectively market a property. Makes you wonder how they make a living.
      Regards, Andrew

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