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Carol was on a challenging search on the web.

Being a real estate agent and investor, she wanted to find a method to market to sellers and buyers without paying a cent in marketing. But she also wanted to make the right marketing decision.

So, she stumbled upon a bunch of different websites and videos where different teachers mentioned inbound marketing or attraction marketing.

You just have to put out content, which costs nothing, and wait until large search engines do the rest and bring you “free” traffic.

Sounded good to her, but did she really think this through?

Could it be that by just jumping into this kind of marketing, she could be facing hidden costs wasting valuable time?

In today’s article, I will show you how you can avoid hidden costs and potential wastes of time with so-called “free” marketing so you can make an informed decision and avoid losing out on other marketing opportunities, as well as help you find out if this is the right approach for you.

The disappointing thing is, there is no such a thing as a “free” lunch or “free” marketing, and depending on your individual situation, if you prioritize content or inbound marketing early on, you might miss out on other maybe more efficient marketing channels.

Let’s talk for a second about the hidden costs of content or inbound real estate marketing.

The Hidden Costs Of Content Or Inbound Real Estate Marketing

Yes, it is partially correct that this type of marketing doesn’t cost you too much money, but it costs you your time, if you don’t delegate the content creation to a service provider or freelancer.

Let’s assume you have an hourly rate of $100.

In order to bring in enough traffic with the organic search to see results, you will need to create content in the form of articles, videos or podcasts on a regular basis and for a decent amount of time until you get some traction.

If you are lucky, it takes a few months of producing at least 1-2 pieces of quality content per week, and if you are average, it can take 1-2 years until you see some traction.

Let’s be optimistic and it takes only six months until you get some results.

This means you need to create about 48 pieces of content (6 months x 4 weeks x 2 pieces =48).

If you have the skills and have already produced content before (video, podcast or articles), you might produce one piece including ideation, research, production, editing, design, etc. within three hours.

Applying the assumed hourly rate of $100, we are talking about (48 pieces x 3 hours x $100=$6,912) costs of $6,912.

Unfortunately, that’s not all.

In order to be found, you will need to promote the content on different channels.

For that, there are some free methods, but it will still take your time. Let’s assume you will need one hour of promotion per piece of content.

This adds another $4,800 to your costs from above (48 pieces x 1 hour x $100=$4,800) and makes for a total cost of $11,712 per six months.

Per month, it would mean costs of $1,952.

That doesn’t sound that free to me anymore.

Okay, you might think: “Well, if I do it myself, it’s my time, but I don’t have this much money to pay to anybody.”

That’s correct, the time you invest in this type of marketing can’t be used for other methods, that might cost real money, but get you faster results.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against content or inbound marketing because, otherwise, I wouldn’t operate this website in the first place.

But the point is that it’s not free and it might not be the method you want to start with.

It’s more difficult to test your offers.

If you want to test your website to generate leads for different offers (e.g. different type of properties, deals, etc.), it will take a lot of time until you know what works and what does not.

Sure, you can promote your content via Facebook Ads and see what sticks and works, but for that, you don’t need to have a whole content production going on a regular basis just yet.

You could test different landing pages for different kinds of offer funnels with paid traffic in the first place and once you know what your target group wants and what works, you can go from there and use this market knowledge as your basis for building your content marketing strategy.

And you wouldn’t need a total budget of $11,712 to get your results.

What budget would you need for Facebook Ads and/or Google Ads?

In the real estate industry, the cost per click is more expensive on Google Ads than for Facebook Ads, as you can see in this analysis.

It averages around $2.37 per click in the United States.

Facebook Ads are, in general, still cheaper than Google Ads.

For the real estate industry, the cost per click averages at 0.99$ per click in the United States, as you can read here.

But please bear in mind that these are averages.

If you have really good ad creatives, with a therefore high click through rate (CTR), you can bring the cost per click way down.

The same is true if you have a crappy CTR. Then it can go up even further. That’s why good copy writing with good ad creatives is so important overall.

Now, let’s look at some more numbers here.

It’s Calculation Time for Your Google AdWords Budget

In this article, I already explained that in order to get enough market data, you need at least 30 clicks so you can draw good enough conclusions for your marketing tests.

If you would like to get this data within one day, you would need a daily budget of $71.1 (30 clicks x $2.37=$71.1) and a monthly budget of $2,133 ($71 x 30 days=$2133) for Google Ads in the United States.

But of course, if you are on a tight budget, you could spread it out further so you get to 30 clicks within two days or even a week. This all depends.

The higher your daily budget, the sooner you can see the results and thus keep improving the campaign until you see conversions.

Assuming you would like to get to this data within a day, it would still be more than the theoretical monthly budget for content marketing of $1,952, but actually you have to compare it to the total budget of $11,712 because if you only do one month of content marketing, it is better not to even start with it in the first place.

After one month of a Google AdWords campaign, you will already have more market data than with content marketing, and maybe already have some conversions, if you know what you are doing.

This is also true if you spread the 30 clicks over several days and reduce your monthly costs accordingly.

It’s Calculation Time for Your Facebook Ads Budget

In the same article, I mention that you need between 200-300 clicks on your Facebook Ads campaign to collect enough market data until you can make a pivot with your campaign.

Applying the average CPC for the United States of $0.99, this means that after spending between $198 and $297, you can improve the campaign using better copy, ad creatives, targets, geo targets, etc. (Facebook Ads has many options for that).

How soon you get the market data depends on your daily budget.

So, with a daily budget of $10 and $300 per month, you can get helpful marketing data within four weeks, then you can further improve the campaign to get conversions.

Conclusion

“Free” real estate marketing using content marketing doesn’t actually exist.

It’s only “free-ish” if you do it yourself and ignore the fact that you will spend your own time, which should also have a certain price tag.

You need to invest the minimum of at least six months of constant content production and promotion until you get sufficient market data to test whether what you offer converts.

A shortcut is using paid traffic methods such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads to test your offers, which need a monthly marketing budget, but get you faster results for your tests within a few months.

Once you know what’s working, you can use this market data and apply it to inbound or content marketing strategies.

I hope that helped a bit.

Please let me know if I have missed anything, and feel free to share this article.

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