264 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Ricardo Bueno
We Discuss The Mastering of Facebook Lead Ads If You Are A Real Estate Agent
Ricardo Bueno is the Marketing & Technology Director for West in California. He’s a house-hold name in the real estate industry with over 10+ years of experience speaking from the stage at Inman’s Real Estate Connect San Francisco and C.A.R. Expo… to working with some of the leading software companies in our industry, like Diverse Solutions and W+R Studios – the makers of Cloud CMA.
Ricardo has coached thousands of real estate agents and brokers on how to successfully implement marketing strategies and technology into their business to boost their productivity.
He understands the power of content strategy and online marketing, but more importantly, how it is effectively and practically implemented in everyday business.
When he’s not working, he’s out enjoying a good hike or trail run, discovering new food with friends, or enjoying a refreshingly old fashioned.
Topic #1 — How to generate high-intent buyer (and seller) leads using targeted Facebook lead ads including lead follow up scripts that engage & convert. I’ve managed close to $100,000 in ad spend for my agents in the last year.
Topic #2 — Building An Effective Lead Follow Up Process
You need to establish an annual contact strategy for your SOI so that you can increase your repeat and referral business
The Pareto Principle: How To Use To Dramatically Grow Your Real Estate Business
Building a steady pipeline of future business
Building an effective contact & conversion process (sharing our best scripts and recommended contact cadence
Johnathan: Welcome back folks to the Mail- Right Show, this is episode 264. I’ve got a special guest, he’s up for it, even my terrible pronunciation of his surname. I’m just going to say Ricardo Good because I’ve destroyed his surname, I’m going to let him quickly introduce himself. I’ve also got my great co-host Robert Newman with us. So, Ricardo, can you quickly in like 20 seconds quickly introduce yourself to the listeners?
Ricardo: Yeah, no worries. So, Ricardo Bueno, I’m a 10-year veteran of the real estate industry and boy time does fly. I’ve been at this for a while and I just, honestly, I geek out on everything, real estate, technology, marketing and sales. I was previously the national trainer at cloud CMA. Worked for a company called diverse solutions were acquired by Zillow in 2011, left shortly thereafter to create a startup called Agent Press with the fine folks over at Studio Press and Copyblogger and I guess….
Johnathan: Know well quality people.
Ricardo: Yeah. So, as I said, time flies, but it’s awesome when you’re having fun and happy to be here and geek out with you guys on some marketing stuff.
Johnathan: That’s great. And Robert would like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: If I must. My name is Robert.
Johnathan: Don’t be like that, for God’s sake.
Robert: My name is Robert. I’m a real estate SEO guy, one of the few. And I’ve been doing it a long time for 13 years. And I like to share that information on my website how to do inbound marketing, what it is all the various things that affect inbound marketing, like video and content blogging and all that stuff. Any way you can find all that inboundrem.com If you’re interested.
Johnathan: That’s great. And I just want to say to the new listeners and viewers we had our biggest month last month. A lot of you have joined the tribe. I’d like to thank you so much; we must be doing something right. It’s not me and my bad pronunciation, it must be the quality of the guests and Robert. So, Ricardo, you gave us some great topics to start the discussion so let’s go into Facebook leads ads and what are they, maybe a quick outline. And then what kind of results you’ve been having and why you got a love affair with them.
Ricardo: Yeah. I think gone are the days of getting an image together, slapping some copy and running an ad and expecting the leads, good quality leads, to kind of fly in and whatnot. But on the other end of it, we see agents always spending big money on the portals. Spending big money running other sort of really expensive… I have an agent that’s spending a hundred thousand a year running her print campaigns when you’re doing stuff like that, it’s really hard or becomes really expensive when you look at your average customer acquisition cost. And when you’re doing print at that level, I mean, what’s the ROI on print less than 1% and then really, how do you effectively track it? So, for us, Facebook kind of presents an opportunity, it’s an opportunity, but also a challenge.
An opportunity in the sense that you can kind of run ads at a very cost effective rate to both build your brand and generate a higher quality or high quality lead if you kind of have certain systems in place and whatnot, because I see agents spend money on Facebook all day long, and then they’ll say well, I’ve tried running ads before and the leads suck. I think that marketing always works, it’s just a matter of when and if you have the right systems in place. So, I think before you run ads or go down the rabbit hole of running ads, you need to have an effective sort of follow-up strategy in place and a game plan for how you’re going to attack those leads, nurture them…
Johnathan: I just want to slightly interrupt. Listeners and viewers, I haven’t paid, honestly for Ricardo to come this show preach what I’ve been for about two and a half years. I just haven’t done it, I’m all honest on that listeners and viewers.
Ricardo: Check’s in the mail.
Johnathan: So, I thought I’d just point that out. Sorry about that.
Ricardo: No, but it’s true, it’s exactly what you guys are doing. We were talking about it a little offline, but when it comes to Facebook, the reason we’re big on Facebook, I think in the last year, we’ve managed maybe about 120 to 150,000 in ad spend for all of our agents. We’re running Facebook ads because A we can control our brand at a very cost-effective rate, and then B by having our systems in place we’re effectively doing is we’re just building up a marketing flywheel. We have leads coming in by running lead ads and then once the leads come in…
Johnathan: Can you tell the tell the audience what is a lead ad?
Ricardo: Yeah. So, when you log into Facebook, there’s a bunch of different sorts of types of campaigns that you can run. So, traditionally, or what I know a lot of agents to do is like, I’ve tried running ads before I’m going to boost this listing. If all you’re doing is boosting posts and creating, boosted ads, I think that you’re not, I guess you’re not doing it right. We don’t do traffic ads, so we’re not sending people to your website, your landing page in hopes that they’ll kind of stick around and convert on a landing page. Instead we’re using one of Facebook’s campaign objectives called a lead ad. And the reason we like lead ads and the reason we run lead ads is because you’re removing what we would consider call to action friction.
So, you’re using Facebook’s own lead capture forms to automatically capture certain profile information. So, when you’re creating your lead ad, you get to the page where you choose your campaign objective, you click lead ad, and then let’s say we’re advertising 123 Main Street. So, I might title that ad or that campaign 123 Main Street- Lead Ad. And then you go through the steps of creating your ad, you do your audience targeting you add your budget, you do all of these things. When you get to your call to action for the ad, typically on an ad, you’re going to have your copy, your image your sort of like headline or call to action and then a button that says, learn more, sign up, download whatever. The learn more button, what it does is it triggers this popup, so instead of sending somebody straight to your website, it has this popup that effectively, automatically Facebook is pre-filling that user’s contact information.
So, if you’ve ever seen this ad on your phone and you’ve converted, it might say something like you authorized to share your information with Ricardo, so you’re capturing first, last name, email address, and phone number. What we do with the lead forms is we customize the lead forms a little bit for a couple of reasons. The reason we like the lead forms is because again, you’re automatically capturing that user’s profile info, but then everything we do in real estate is pre-framing. We’re framing the conversation how we want it to go. So, if you have a listing appointment on Friday, you might email somebody or mail somebody your pre-listing packet on Thursday that shares your testimonials, your 21 point checklist for all the marketing things that you’re going to do to advertise that property or to market their property, et cetera so that when you show up on Friday, you’re kind of assuming the sale.
Well, with the lead form we’re kind of doing the same thing, every little piece of copy is just kind of framing or moving that customer along. So, in our lead forms, we say, congratulations, you’re almost home and then we say hey, there are most homes start receiving offers within hours of being posted for sale, especially desirable homes in desirable neighborhoods. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what you’re looking for, and we’ll also check off market listings in this and other areas. We’re automatically getting first name, last name, email address, and phone number and then we asked two qualifying questions. We ask them when would you like to move? Is it 30 to 45 days, three to six months, six to 12, or no hurry, just looking, and then we also ask them, do you have a preapproval letter?
And the responses are yes, I’m already pre-approved or no, I’d like to speak to a lender. And then we use Zapier to get the leads out of Facebook and dump them into your CRM. If you guys have questions about a CRM and good follow up, I happen to know a company. But yeah, once we capture that information, we then dump them into our CRM or zap them into our CRM and we basically get aggressive with them. I think that when you’re running lead ads… so. Off of our ad spend for the last year, we’re generating buyer leads between three and $5 per lead. We’re tracking at about 120 to 150 about one transaction. Each listing, we recommend advertising each listing at a hundred dollars per property.
We have agents that’ll spend four or 500 a month and generate close to a hundred leads for about that amount. With Facebook ads the thing I do like to say, or to kind of set a tone and expectation is, Facebook is a little bit of interruption marketing. I don’t think that somebody who is further along in the buying journey is logging into Facebook to necessarily search homes for sale. So, those people… these are consumer direct leads, but they’re anywhere from three to 18 months from making a purchasing decision. And so, the thing to keep in mind is that our follow-up cadence is we get aggressive within the first seven days to try to engage them in some way, shape or form to identify which are the opportunities that are hot and ready to go right now. A lack of response, so no response or a lack of engagement to me doesn’t mean that it’s a bad lead because the thing I like to point out is the leads are going to convert when they’re ready to convert, not when we want them to convert. So…
Johnathan: I think you made a really very important point, but I think it’s a point that is… I must try and frame it in the right word, have a go Jonathan. It is difficult to explain that to agent that’s on commission that fact. So, I’ll kind of slightly interrupt, but I wanted to get Robert into the discussion before too soon. So, Robert, if you’ve got a question?
Robert: Well, we all know that I am not as involved in Facebook as you guys are. So, I’m going to say Jonathan, that you should probably continue down this thread with Ricardo. What I would like to touch on at some point, if we have time to show is that Ricardo has an unbelievably unique history. I don’t think a lot of our people would understand who for instance, Agent Press or Diverse Solutions are. I however, do know who they are and…
Johnathan: I do as well. And I know Ricardo has got an enormous… so when you, when you do some outreach to me and I want to emphasize, listeners and viewers, he approached us, which is very nice of him. And when he did, I thought we must have him on the show, I’ve been following his work for quite a while so I thought you’d be a fabulous guest. I was very happy…
Ricardo: That’s awesome, appreciate that guys.
Johnathan: Did the outreach.
Ricardo: Time flies.
Johnathan: I’ve not paid him at all listeners and viewers, he’s totally independent.
Robert: Well, I would like to ask some questions based on that history, if we have time. I know that that that Facebook marketing is enormously important.
Johnathan: I think the best thing to do is I’ve got a quick follow through question and that will probably take us to the break and then you can jump on and we can have a discussion about Ricardo’s great experience in the industry. I’ve just got a quick follow through question about the ads. We’ve done some tests with them and what we found is you do get a lot more people respond and we do have a follow, we have a text and email system that follows through, so you do get more response, but we found the quality of the people to be slightly lower, then taking to a traditional landing page set up. I think one of the real strengths of leads in that, and if I’m incorrect, please correct me, but I think lead ads strength was that it was purposely designed for the mobile age and mobile phones and to make it much more easier, but that easiness means that you get a higher volume, but maybe the quality… by the sound of things, through your customization and some of the questions you asked you came across that anyway and you’ve being actively dealing with that anyway, would I be correct about my assumptions?
Ricardo: Yeah, that’s about right. The thing that we try to do… so, Facebook has gotten rid of a lot of audience targeting, we can’t do… gone are the days of being able to do household income and things like that. What we try to do when we do our audience targeting is, you can still narrow down your audience the three sort of key characteristics that we’re looking to identify and that we are able to identify is we use a bunch of keyword phrases to see A is this person searching homes for sale in some way, shape or form online? So, we might use phrases like, or words like apartment, apartment lists, relocation, home, gated, community, et cetera, et cetera. So, A is this person searching homes for sale in some way, shape or form? B are they serious? The way we identify seriousness is are they searching on the portals. Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, Multiple Listing Service, et cetera. And then B to narrow that audience targeting even further, is this a high intent lead? In other words, is it a motivated buyer and identify that are they going to bankrate.com, lending tree clicking on mortgage calculators, running their credit report through Experian, et cetera, et cetera.
So, for us, we have this whole laundry list of keyword phrases, and it’s basically targeting magic. If they match all three of those criteria, are they searching? Are they serious? Are they a high intent buyer? then great we serve our ads to those people, and that’s kind of the targeting that we would use.
Johnathan: Well, you’ve opened a whole area that we need to discuss, we probably do that in the bonus content, which you’ll be able to watch with the whole interview on the Mail- Right YouTube channel, but we’re getting close to our break, and then I’m going to unleash Robert on you. We’ll how it goes. We’ll be back in a few moments’ folks.
All right, we’re coming back. My guest is up for it, he gets my attitude. I made Robert laugh every episode, up right to this week it’s been that way. So, Robert off you go. I know You got a number of questions to ask our guest.
Robert: Well, I will wind up. So, for those of you that are listening, it’s kind of exciting because for me, I’m not saying anybody else, but for me, Ricardo has worked for Diverse Solutions, which is an IDX provider. Now, about two months ago, we had the CEO of a company called IDX Broker on the show, and it was a great show, but Diverse Solutions would be a competitor to IDX Broker. It is an IDX system, not quite as popular as IDX Broker, but very, very prevalent. And then the next thing is Copyblogger, which actually those, I definitely know that most people will not know the name Agent Press, but this is a company that really made one of the predominant real estate templates. So, if you’re going to build a website on WordPress, you might very well choose to look at something like Agent Press and I think since your tenure at the company, that WP Engine actually bought that company, is that correct?
Ricardo: Yep, that’s right.
Robert: Okay, alright. So, I have a big question so it might take a little while to answer. The only one of the three of the services that are part of your history that I don’t know is West. So, I guess my question would be this. How do you go from working for an IDX into a theme builder, all focused on real estate to becoming a part of West? And it’s specifically, what is West? Who are they? Do you know the partners? Are you a partner? Is the company that you founded? Give us a little bit of the history because I’m personally fascinated. You are pretty rare, you have all this history of real estate marketing technology companies, and we don’t usually find anybody that has more than one stock at a company like that, let alone three. So, there you go. Huge..
Johnathan: I must be having an effect on you, but yours is almost as long as mine there.
Robert: I know I just gave you a run for your money, John…
Johnathan: that’s like one of my questions. There you go, you’ve got about 10 minutes to answer that.
Ricardo: That’s funny. I literally do think back and I look, and time really does fly, but it’s been awesome to work… I feel pretty honored to have worked at what I would consider to be the top industry or the top company in its niche. Like Diverse Solutions, at the time we were the leading IDX company. Cloud CMA, nobody does CMA reports better than we do. West is a marketing and technology company. What’s unique about us is that we don’t sell any technology and we’re basically trainers and consultants. So, for me, being at Cloud CMA or being at any one of these product companies, it was being on the road a lot. So, at cloud CMA was, I was on the road two to three weeks out of the month.
Ricardo: Launching new MLS is rolling out our products, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s funny, I used to love being on the road, I used to love being in airports, I used to love staying at different hotels. I would tell my boss hey, take advantage of this because the second I get married and have a baby came over. I I’m not going to want to travel, I’m not going to want to do any of those things for the company so yeah, send me right now, everywhere and anywhere and game on let’s do it. At West, we are a national company where we have trainers, so like 15 versions of me in Portland, Washington, Texas, Arizona, et cetera. But my territory, I’m going from national territory to Orange County. Orange County is my territory.
Ricardo: I don’t travel anymore but I consult with top producing teams. My biggest client right now has already sold a hundred homes this year and so, I am a unicorn. I tell my clients this, I’m a unicorn in the sense that like look at all the companies I’ve worked at, I don’t think there’s anybody that understands the marketing or technology landscape, I probably understand it better than the vendors understand it themselves. So, a lot of what I do is I do tech stack analysis where I go in, I look at a broker’s technology and I try to find ways to either make better use of their existing systems, create some automation in those systems because I’m a big proponent of highest and best use of time. So, how can we automate everything so that the agents are doing thousand dollars an hour work, not $5 an hour work or I recommend other systems so that we can cut costs and divert that money towards ad spend. Basically, just a consultant for hire for top producing teams and agents here in Orange County.
Johnathan: So, you really you’re kind of doing something maybe be without the website element, which you might be… you probably do custom but you said it very light, you’re kind of going down the curator road where they don’t provide any house technology, they provide training and set up of a number of software products. Would that be?
Ricardo: Yeah. Basically, everything I do is strategy. Every day strategy.
Johnathan: So, just a quick…
Ricardo: But we don’t have our own technology. We don’t want to build or work as an agency…
Johnathan: You’re very wise too. Very, very wise too. But was it… probably not a name that our listeners would know, but I’ve got to take the opportunity because I think I have interviewed him twice on my other podcast, and that was Alan Clarke, Brian Clarke, sorry, Brian Clarke, one of the most sharpest entrepreneur that I’ve interviewed. What was it like? Did you learn a lot? Or would you agree that it’s one hell of a business going?
Ricardo: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. All of those guys are top class, they give you autonomy to do, they’re all world-class they give you autonomy to do and execute on the things that you want to build and it’s a playbook. By now they’ve launched so many different products and verticals, I don’t know. I just think they run a good ship.
Robert: Who is this? I don’t know who this is John.
Johnathan: He was the founder, one of the founders of Studio Press.
Robert: Got you. Okay, alright. Thank you.
Johnathan: So, I think we’ll leave the other bit for the bonus. So, at the present moment, you still feel that Facebook is still a fantastic medium, but I think a lot of people have been put off a bit by the new restrictions that Facebook had been forced to apply.
Ricardo: It’s like a headache after headache…
Johnathan: Real estate advertising. What has… obviously you probably have been having to do a lot of education to your own client base about this. So, could you what give these new restrictions, well they’re not quite so new now, are they? But could you outline what Facebook has to do and why you still feel that it’s still a very effective platform for real estate?
Ricardo: Yeah. So, the way we kind of tackle this is, for us, it was about building a marketing flywheel. How do we get more leads in? How do we build a sort of steady pipeline of future business? And, you know, I go into a lot… I do maybe what, 40 to 61 on one appointments with agents every month. Agents that are doing 8 million in production, trying to break 10 million in production or agents that are doing 50 and a hundred million in production, everyone’s at a different stage in their career. And it’s funny, I asked them, what CRM are you using? Or where’s your database? And the answer is always this, and it’s a miracle you’ve gotten so far in your business when you’re running off of your phone. So, for us, the strategy was okay, well, let’s focus on two things.
Let’s focus on A getting a handle of that database and putting your past clients on some type of annual contact strategy, because it’s going to be easier for you to close a referral than it is to do an online lead. If you get a referral from someone that’s like a layup. If you working on online lead like a Facebook ad, it’s going to be a very well-guarded three point contested shot, so it’s a lot harder. So, for us, it was okay, let’s focus on your past client database, let’s articulate an annual contact strategy for that database and for every 35 past clients you have, if you’re executing this strategy, you should have at least two referrals off of those 35. And then the math just works out. After that, after you’ve worked that segment of the market, your past clients, then we can focus on building that marketing flywheel and for us, that was always the ads.
Whether it’s Facebook ads or whether it’s PaperClick. The reason we do Facebook ads is because it is a lot cheaper for me to generate a lead off of Facebook, Yeah, I got to do more volume, but it’s a lot cheaper. I’m at three to $6 per lead, and I’m saying 150 leads and one transaction, that’s not that much money. If I’m doing PaperClick campaigns, it’s going to cost me 60 to $90 per lead to generate a lead and I’m still going to have to generate about a hundred leads to close one transaction. So, for us the reason we went so big on Facebook is just frankly, because it’s cost effective. Yeah, we got to do more volume, but again, we just go back to it being, so cost-effective. What’s challenging about Facebook ads is that they’ve repeatedly narrowed or gotten away with all of the things you can do.
Now, there’s a new special ad housing category so you can’t target by age, I don’t think that matters. You can’t target by gender, I don’t think that matters either because I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, if you can afford to buy a house, I’m going help you buy a house. They’ve gotten rid of like lookalike audiences, custom audiences, like none of that to me really matters. What matters is, do you have a good website? Do you have a good CRM? You should install the Facebook tracking pixel on your website because then you can retarget visitors. And so, as people are engaging with your IDX, as people are engaging with your content, your landing pages, you can show them a retargeting ad that basically says who you work with matters, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s a video testimonial from Robert and Jonathan who are both first-time home buyers and……
Johnathan: I need to hire you just to You do a better job than I do. Robert will testify about that. I think we’ll wrap up the podcast part of show. Ricardo has agreed to come on and talk some more, which you be able to see the bonus content on the Mail- Right YouTube channel. We’re going to delve a bit more about Facebook and his history. I think he’s one of the most knowledgeable guests on markets into the real estate industry that we probably had to on the show and we’ve had a lot of people on the show, so you want to take that as high praise.
Ricardo: Thank you.
Johnathan: So how can people find out what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Ricardo: Yeah, just head on over to ricardo.bueno.com if you guys are still banging your heads over what kind of ads you should be running. I put together a free Facebook ad swipe file. These are the ads that we’re using for agents right now. So, I give you the templates that you can rip off and duplicate with the actual ROI so that you can see the kind of results we’re getting off of them. For that you can just go to ricardobueno.com/mailright and get your free downloads.
Johnathan: That sounds great. That will be in the show notes on the Mail-Right website. So, Robert, how can people find out more about you and what you are up to.
Robert: As usual, I’m going to break the template of the show here and throw in a couple of additional things, but not about myself, about Ricardo. So, guys, while we’ve been doing this show, I’ve done a little bit of research. Here’s what I recommend that you do if you want to find out more about Ricardo. Go to YouTube, you do Ricardo Bueno real estate. You’ll find about four other podcasts that he’s done, including one with Red Decks and a couple of other really big marketing companies. There’s one on there where you seem to go deeper into the details of what you did on Facebook so there’s that.
There’s his website, ricardobueno.com. I also have a recommendation for who might reach out to Ricardo because definitely I know I seem to have a good understanding; our history is very similar. I just was on the website side; you are on IDX and more like bigger technology side. So, if you’re already an agent or somebody who is looking for somebody to help you solve the myriad of problems you have, you’re making between one and 400 or $400,000 a year, Ricardo would be one of those guys who could probably untangle it for you and trusting what I tell you, there’s not very many of those guys running around. So, for you, this guy is probably a really good guy to call. Can I ask you a question Ricardo? Do you do your initial consultation without charge? Like you’re…
Ricardo: All free 99 baby.
Ricardo: So, if you actually go to bookricardo.com, that’ll give you easy access to my calendar book, a free strategy session, and we’re good to go.
Robert: Awesome. So, for anybody in that upper range, especially somebody that might be leveraging Facebook marketing, or want to leverage Facebook marketing, Ricardo would probably be the guy to talk to. Probably has a lot to say about CRMs and all sorts of other things that you’re trying to figure out.
Johnathan: That’s what we’re going to discuss in the bonus content. before we finish off the podcast of the show, I forgot to mention Ricardo has a fabulous podcast, which you can go to his main site and you can listen to some of his pass interviews. And I suggest that you sign up for that podcast as well as the Mail-Right podcast. A good combination I would say. We’ll be back next week another fabulous, guest or an internal discussion between my great co-host, Robert we’ll see you soon folks Bye.