Recently I have had the pleasure of working with a couple of agents in the booming property market of Newcastle. Since, I have come to realise two things. The traditional selling techniques of agencies are becoming less relevant to customers and competition is heating up. I say this as I open up my recycling bin to find it overflowing with various real estate marketing collateral that has been clogging up my mailbox. Each one looks like the other and none are going to make me pick up the phone. Instead, if I was in the market to sell, I might head over to a website and review the testimonials after receiving marketing material, making digital marketing in real estate more essential than ever.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, buyers and sellers are changing, they are becoming independent, competitive and more desensitized than ever. It is increasingly important for sales agents to be constantly be searching for the best way to connect with their market. Often there is a disconnect between the marketing and sales teams in the real estate industry. When working in harmony, marketing efforts should produce warm, qualified marketing leads for the sales team to convert.
I think the catalyst that is needed to stand out is quite simply a mindset shift. Agents could be investing more heavily in inbound, digital assets and marketing rather than pushing out these messages via a channel that is expensive but not targeted or measurable, and often not a part of a larger campaign. The following points are ways that agencies can further improve their digital presence to complement their current marketing and sales activities.
Sell more intelligently on social
Social media is exactly that – a way to connect on a social level. I have never been to a page with a large following that just pushes out content selling themselves. Agents can’t just sell properties, they need to engage and find a relevant connection with buyers by offering relevant and educational content.
Give your content purpose on social. Take an outside-in approach – what does your client or buyer want from your presence? When we work with clients, we map out the buyer’s journey to improve and add value to the entire experience. This helps us determine where it’s needed most. Other than the selling process, how can you as an agency add value to their experience? Develop a strategy to answer these questions and bring purpose to your presence. Explore content that demonstrates value rather than sell it.
Use social advertising
More and more agents are adopting social advertising, but few are using it to its full potential. Research suggests the average buyer will take 30-60 days to search for a property prior to making an offer. Within this time they will be using specific criteria and view multiple properties that are likely to have some similarities. Agents can use this information to re-target potential buyers with properties they ‘recommend’ and strike while the iron is hot. This tactic is commonly used in digital marketing and in a high involvement purchase like property, re-targeting can play a crucial role.
Using various targeting techniques to grow your social audience and distribution lists is another great way to use social advertising. This will capture the interest of passive and active buyers and proves to be a great awareness exercise.
Personalise the experience
Above I introduced the idea of ‘passive’ and ‘active’ buyers. If you’re an agent you will be well aware of the difference but are you marketing to these buyers differently? They are in a different stage of the buyer’s journey so you should be. A way to target specific markets whether that be active, passive or with particular interests, is through segmentation. This will allow you to personalize the experience depending on the user’s last action. For example, you may send out an email inviting people to a workshop, some click through for more information, some don’t open the email and others open the email but don’t click further. Specific messages can be generated through automation to either provide more information to those who opened the email and didn’t click through or didn’t open the email to entice them further and remind them of the information. This can be referred to as a nurturing campaign and I consider it to be an essential strategy for any agent.
Take the time to better understand your audience
A major set back to achieving what I have mentioned above is a lack of understanding about your buyers and sellers in the first place. Get stuck into the data from social platforms, website, email campaigns and other digital assets and let it tell a story about your customer. Agents can have access to this sort of data and use it to better align their sales messages. The insights gained from this data are invaluable and a key ingredient missing from most agencies marketing efforts. How did the buyers that registered their interest find your listing? Perhaps it was on Domain.com.au but how did they get there? Did they search for it via Google or did they see the listing you shared on social media? Understanding attribution will allow your agency to develop more effective campaigns and ensures you are present where you need to be, maximising the marketing budget.
While digital marketing won’t make the sales process redundant, it should be used to complement it and assist the well informed buyers and sellers of today through the funnel. Utilising these tactics will not only improve and help automate your agent’s processes, it will also leave the agents to do what they do best – support their clients through potentially the most important investment of their life.
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