In the first part of our Marketing 101 series, we provided some practical insights for putting together the foundations of your business marketing plan.
In part two of this series, we take your plan a step further by looking at six channels you can use to market your business, and we offer some useful hints for increasing your engagement and return on investment.
These days, with the introduction of more digital marketing channels than most of us can get our minds around, it might surprise you to know marketing really hasn’t changed very much at all.
A decade ago, we produced flyers and print ads in order to encourage people to phone us or drop into the office so we could start the sales process, and convert them into a listing.
Modern real estate, is not much different. We are still using marketing to motivate a phone call or office visit in order to complete that conversion process.
The difference is, people now have the ability to do a lot more research about your service before they begin phone or in-person engagement — and data shows the vast majority of people do that research online.
What this means is now, we don’t send out marketing material and expect that phone call or meeting straight up. Instead, more-often-than-not, we are directing people to online channels to begin their research and engagement with us, in the hope we can then convert their interest into a listing.
We continue to invest in a professional and appealing office and a great phone sales process, but we also now need to invest in websites, socials and other online platforms to create that initial engagement. Once we have those set up, we start directing people to our online channels via older methods like our flyers and ads, as well as a range of newer, digital methods.
To help you with this next step — planning ways to get people to your website, socials, phone or office — below is a list of six channels, and hints for how you might get the best from them.
- Optimise your email campaigns for better results
We touched on this in our first article and in our database article. Your database of ex-clients, current clients, buyers and other contacts is really one of your most valuable assets.
You have already taken the time to establish a relationship and show these people you are trustworthy.
Four simple ways to improve email marketing include:
- Always segment your lists, the more relevant the content to the recipient, the more likely they are to open, click and begin researching you.
- Personalise the ‘to’ field and the ‘subject line’. Research shows personalised subject lines can increase open rate by 26% (campaign monitor).
- Design your emails for all devices. Hubspot tells us almost half of emails are opened on mobile.
- Know what to expect. Mailchimp data shows the average open rate for emails in real estate is just under 20% and click rate is 1.8%.
- Make print more measurable
Most agencies still do mailbox drops and newspaper print ads — the challenge with these is it can be difficult to measure return on investment. You can make these more measurable by setting up a specific landing page on your website for the campaign, that is only advertised on the mailbox drop or ad.
While you might miss some recipients who just Google your brand and head to your home page, you know everyone who visits the promoted landing page came from your specific mailbox drop.
You can take measurement a step further by setting up goals in Google Analytics to monitor how many of the people who visit that landing page make an enquiry or convert to a sale.
- Pay for online advertising for your brand
Most agency brands have been promoted via traditional paid advertising for years through newspaper ads, radio ads and other media. You should be doing this online as well.
You have a number of options for promoting your brand online. You can use paid search advertising through search engines like Google, display advertising, sponsored content, social media ads or paid influencer marketing among many more.
Advertising on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be a great place to start as they are a little easier to understand. You can begin by simply boosting some good content posts to increase the reach of your profile and build awareness, or create ads with specific goals, like sending traffic to your website, to kick off campaigns designed to generate leads.
As noted in our first Marketing 101 article, social platforms don’t offer the free reach they used to — in fact, only a tiny portion of your followers are shown your posts — so investing in advertising is very important.
- Online and traditional public relations
Believe it or not, people do still read the papers, magazines, and other print media — they also read the same publications online. Building your profile as an expert in your field through public relations is an invaluable and cost-effective way to market your brand.
To really make the most of PR, you need to be offering unique stories that news outlets are willing to publish. As an example, introducing new technology or an innovative new client service that your area may not be familiar with, or providing regular market updates, may win you some coverage. Making sure you are always available for comment is very important.
You can also capitalise on online PR opportunities — which are almost endless! As an example, you might find a local business that has a similar audience to yours and great traffic on their site or engagement on their socials, and offer to write a guest blog for them. When they post it, all their followers or visitors become more aware of your brand and expertise.
- Local events can help build brand persona
One of the most challenging things in any business, but especially real estate, is convincing people you are real and genuine, and that your intentions are based in investing in your client.
A great way to do this and also to help others (which is rewarding in itself) is to put your personal passions on display by taking part in local community or charity work.
The disclaimer here is that this work and this passion really does need to be from the heart. Don’t do it to win business — do it first and foremost to give back and to explore your passions, and if people get to know the real you better as a result, that’s a great bonus!
- Invest in content and multimedia
All of the major channels we have available to us — websites, socials, email and more — have one thing in common, they all rely on content to engage people and keep them on the hook.
But with so much content now bombarding consumers every day, how do you break through?
To start with, your content should be unique — it should draw on your individual and business experience and also really cater to something that interests or drives your audience (not just something that interests you or you like talking about).
Secondly, enhance your content with multimedia. Invest in regular video, images or infographics, audio and other ‘extras’ to not only boost your engagement, but also to increase your chances of the content being found.
As an example, if you publish an article on your website with a video embedded and a chart included, you can be found in search engines via the article, video or image, on YouTube (if hosted there) and on socials!
Overall, just remember while selling properties is important, winning the listings to begin with is what drives your business, and this stems from having a brand that is well-known and well-respected.
One of your major priorities when running a business should be developing a well-researched marketing plan and investing in the strategic use of channels to improve your engagement with past, present and future clients or contacts, so you can continue to grow your business.
Amanda McDonald is a marketing consultant with se engage, Sale Ezy’s marketing services team. She is passionate about all things marketing, and loves an opportunity to help businesses develop strategies that lead to improved return on investment.