Part three of this series dives head first into one of the main focal points of real estate: marketing property in the digital era. We investigate which channels you should be using and how to construct a smart campaign that considers market conditions and uses data to drive results.
If you’re a podcast listener, no doubt you are subscribed to the feeds of accomplished real estate legends, as well as any number of ‘gurus’ who offer various formulas for success.
Regardless of which formula they prescribe to, or what catchy tagline they use as a sign off, most of these real estate ‘masters’ have one message in common: real estate marketing has changed and you need to change too!
This change they speak of, is a shift in how we think about marketing, in how we plan our approach and how we test if it is truly working. It’s the opportunity to refine and evolve our tactics as we go along, so every property is marketed using a unique, purpose-built campaign designed to achieve maximum engagement.
Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all
Gone are the days when a real estate agent can achieve the best results by using the same stock-standard campaign for every property… and if those days aren’t completely gone, they soon will be!
So, how do we create the best campaigns to reach the right buyers?
Run integrated campaigns with the RIGHT channels
In marketing, an integrated campaign is one that uses multiple channels (for example, Facebook, email, direct mail) to ‘hit’ the potential buyer with the same message and call-to-action several times. This act of repetition reinforces the message, strengthens the call-to-action, and over time, prompts a response.
Research shows us property promotions that use both digital and traditional channels are most effective, but success still really depends on getting the mix of channels right.
Different buyer groups have different motivations and access different media (channels), and your campaign should reflect this — you shouldn’t just use the same marketing messages and channel mix for every property.
As an example, newspapers, email and Facebook might be most effective for an older audience, while Instagram and in-app ads might be best for a younger audience.
No message, call-to-action or channel mix is one-size-fits-all, so consider your target buyer carefully as a first step when planning a campaign.
Campaign length should depend on market conditions
For many agents, the length of an active property promotion campaign has been influenced by the standard posting lengths of ads on major display portals. Most campaigns are designed to run actively for around four-to-six weeks. But what happens after that?
Market conditions can have a big influence on the average time on market before sale, this should be a consideration in planning property promotion campaigns.
While much of the time, you will generate the most interest in the property when it is first listed, you need to be able to keep promoting it if it doesn’t sell in those initial few weeks. Plan a campaign length that ensures promotion doesn’t dry up after a month on market.
Make the most of your chosen marketing channels
Once you’ve chosen the marketing channels that will contribute to your campaign for a property, there are ways you can make them much more effective than perhaps they may have been in the past. Below are some simple tips for optimising your channels.
- Property display portals: the vast majority of agents will promote every property they list on the major display portals. Some will get the most they can out of these portals, others have a ‘set and forget’ approach, whereby they place the ad and expect the portal to do the work for them.
Increase your odds of success by doing more than ‘set and forget’. When your data comes in from the portals each week, don’t just pass it onto vendors, take five minutes to read through it and use what it is telling you to refine your campaign and improve engagement and enquiries.
Data about visit numbers, repeat visits, visit duration and demographics can help you adapt messaging, property images and calls-to-action for better results.
Research also shows listings with video and 3D tours achieve higher engagement than those that don’t include such media. Enhance every listing with multimedia so you are appealing to and capturing the attention of as many potential buyers as possible.
- Website listings: Your listing on your own website can be one of your best and most informed marketing tools, especially if you are pushing visitors to it and you are achieving good numbers. The reason it is so useful is you have access to so much more data, through Google Analytics, than you do for the same listing on a property portal.
Pin point the main age group, gender, location and other key demographics of visitors to create a more refined buyer profile and adjust all your ads accordingly.
- Facebook: We’ve mentioned it before, Facebook has updated its newsfeed algorithm.
Since this update, it seems the social platform is no longer a fan of profiles that post purely sales content. Also worthy of note, it only shows your posts to around 1% of your followers for free.
Use Facebook and Instagram to build more enquiry by paying to advertise the property. Boosted posts will mainly encourage activity inside of Facebook, but other ads (in Ad Manager) can be designed to send people out of Facebook to your listing page.
Once you’ve run a campaign for a few weeks, capture the people who have engaged with it as a custom audience and then re-target them with a new ad noting their interest, and including a stronger, more urgent call-to-action.
- Email campaigns: For many agents, a property email campaign consists of one email, and while this does build awareness, it may not prompt action. Hit interested email contacts more than once, by segmenting your list into those who opened and clicked into the first email, and ‘re-targeting’ them with a second email inviting them specifically to the open house or to take another action.
Need to know: You can continue to market property the way you always have. For some of you that may mean using the same combination of channels for every single property. You may get results, but those results will often come at a cost — more time on market and lower ROI.
To reduce time on market and increase property promotion success, start taking advantage of everything modern marketing has to offer. Know more about potential buyers than ever before, target them more closely, and learn from their responses to refine your campaign for faster results.
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.