May 21, 2018 by - Pat Hiban

Break Your Addiction to and Zillow Leads with Facebook Ads

Are you still buying leads from sites like and Zillow despite their abysmal conversion rates? You know that throwing money at these leads isn’t good for your business, but you do it anyway. 

Sure, you can say that you’ll improve your ability to convert these leads with a few tweaks to your process, but deep down, you know that’s never going to be enough to make these leads viable as a steady source of business. So, why are you still wasting money on them? 

You have an addiction. 

Maybe you’ve had some success with these leads in the past and are chasing the rush that comes from converting a brand-new online lead. I’ve been there myself – I get it. 

Losing the familiar comfort of fast, easy access to online leads can be scary. What you have to understand, however, is that there’s a better, cheaper alternative to purchasing real estate leads online. It’s a solid strategy, and I’m confident that any agent can make it work. 

After all, it’s based on a platform that 99 percent of agents are already quite comfortable with – Facebook.  

Meet James Rembert, “The Zillow Killer”

Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with a man who calls himself “The Zillow Killer.” James Rembert, a licensed Realtor who decided to step out of sales and into advertising, claims that agents have been buying online leads for so long that many aren’t aware of the fact that there’s a better option. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada,, Real Estate, Pat Hiban

So far, he’s already helped over 80 big brokerages cut their lead spend to $0 by teaching them how to advertise on Facebook for affordable, reliable in-house lead generation. By taking a small percentage of what these brokerages spend on online leads and putting it into Facebook ads instead, James creates sustainable sources of hot online leads for their agents. 

Once James’ clients realize how well their Facebook ad campaigns perform, they have no reason to go back to buying online leads. To hear why advertising on Facebook is so effective when it comes to creating leads that are easy to engage and convert, listen to the following clip from my podcast interview with James. 

The Best Thing About Facebook Ad Campaigns

There are other ways to generate online leads, but other methods all lack the thing that makes Facebook advertising so powerful – the ability to build custom audiences. 

With custom audiences, you can leverage familiarity and frequency to warm up traffic, and you can do it in a way that’s easy to track and adjust for maximum efficiency. Not only can you specify how many times to display your ad to members of a custom audience, you can control how often it’s displayed, when it’s displayed, and more. 

If it isn’t immediately clear why this works for warming up traffic, think about it this way: Facebook ads are a lot like songs on the radio. The first few times you hear a song, it might not stand out. After a week or two of hearing it consistently, however, it’ll be immediately recognizable. 

By creating this type of familiarity with your ads, you’ll build brand awareness and boost click-through rates simultaneously. Also, you’ll do it for a fraction of the cost that it would take to achieve the exact same thing with other marketing methods. 

A Proven Three-Step Process for Facebook Ad Campaigns

First things first, you’re going to need a business page to advertise on Facebook. Don’t worry – it’s easy to do and won’t cost you a dime. For a breakdown on how to create a business page, check out Facebook’s official guide. 

Once your business page is up and running, you’re all set to start you own Facebook ad campaign. To ensure that it’s as effective and affordable as possible, follow the proven three-step process outlined below. 

1. Create a Video Ad 

While video ads aren’t the only type of ads you can display on Facebook, they are excellent for building the familiarity and comfort that it takes to win over clients. If you aren’t using videos to market your real estate business, I highly recommend that you start. Besides, Facebook is the perfect platform for video marketing. 

The video you use should be something that’s made for the express purpose of connecting with your intended audience. Specificity is key here, so think about who you’re targeting and create content that’s likely to engage them. 

2. Build an Audience

Once your video ad is ready, it’s time to create your campaign’s initial audience. Again, think about who you’re trying to engage, and keep their characteristics in mind when choosing your audience in Facebook’s Ads Manager. 

If you’re trying to target first-time homebuyers, for instance, age is one demographic that you can use to build the right audience. Specifying other audience traits, like education level and location, will help to ensure that your ad is only shown to those who fit your campaign’s specific objectives.

3. Retarget the Right People 

After you’ve built an initial audience and have pushed out your video, it’s time to leverage Facebook’s custom-audience capabilities. The easiest way to do this with a video ad is to retarget prospects based on watch time. To keep things simple, create a custom audience using the people who watched at least half of your video. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada,, Real Estate, Pat Hiban

These are people who likely have some interest in you and your services. They’re the people you need to focus further advertising efforts on in order to create hot leads without breaking your advertising budget. 

As your ad campaign continues, you can adjust your custom audience as needed and can change the ads used. Ultimately, you want to hit this audience with ads that inspire action so you’re able to collect leads. The time it takes to make it to that point varies, but if you pay attention to ad engagement and display ads that deliver the right message, you’ll get there.  

Take it from James, someone who has run countless ad campaigns on Facebook and seen the results they get for real estate agents – you don’t need the leads sold on sites like and Zillow. The sooner you’re able to wean your business off of them, the healthier and more profitable it will be. 


Weekly articles that cover every aspect of the real estate industry, growing your business, personal development & so much more.

Discover more stories