• Evan Jones

Real Estate Marketing In The Digital World



Effective real estate marketing revolves around two main objectives, (1) to acquire new listings and (2) to sell existing listings. So lets get started!


Real Estate Marketing Strategy #1 – Know Your Audience


To get the most value out of your marketing campaigns, you need a clear idea of who it is you’re trying to reach.


As a real estate agent, your target audience most likely varies by property. For each of your listings, determine the key information on your target buyers, such as:


• Demographics (age, location, etc.)

• Hobbies and interests

• Where they spend their time online

There are a number of ways to gather this type of information. You can:

• Share polls on your Facebook page and other social media networks.

• Email or text a survey to your subscribers and customers.

• Run an ad that offers something in return for basic customer insights. For example, offer a free eBook, webinar, or a chance to win passes to an upcoming real estate event.

• Review the types of questions and comments people leave on your social media accounts.

• Review the types of questions and comments you receive via email or when people call you.


Another way to learn about your customers — and generate leads at the same time — is to use a tool like Spacio to track basic information about visitors to your open house.


The app is customizable, so in addition to asking for name, email address, and phone number, you can also find out what concerns people have with their home search, when they’re hoping to close on a property, and what amenities and features are important to them.


From the information you gather from all of these sources, you can start to curate campaigns that reach interested buyers quickly and powerfully.


For example, you can post an ad on target buyers’ most-used social platforms and mention the amenities of the property that relate to their hobbies:

Knowing your audience for each property you list allows you to target your marketing campaigns effectively and see more engagement — clicks, likes, shares, and comments.


Real Estate Marketing Strategy #2 – Sell Experiences, not Just Properties


Most people don’t care about real estate — they care about what a new house can bring them and their family.


To encourage leads to call you, book a property to view, or put an offer in on a property, you have to sell properties by selling the experience surrounding the listings. Instead of just talking about the property specs — yes, lots of bedrooms and a big backyard are great, but they aren’t the only factors that sell a house — promote how different aspects could be integrated into buyers’ lives.


For example, you might highlight a nearby community park in an ad for a family home listing. For condos in the city, you might highlight the proximity to entertainment and restaurants for first-time millennial buyers.


Why is the experience so important to master?

A study by PwC found that customers are willing to pay up to 16% more if they can enjoy a better experience.

So if one of your listings is on the market for $280,000 — the average list price of a single-family home in the U.S. — you’re potentially looking at multiple offers above asking price if the experience is beyond what customers expect.


On the flip side, the same survey found that bad customer experience can cost you more.

Leads will go elsewhere to have their housing needs met. Suddenly that $280,000 house sits on the market for well over the national average of 68 days.

The PwC study explains customer experience this way,


A good customer experience leaves people feeling heard and appreciated; it minimizes friction, maximizes efficiency and maintains a human element.”


To create a memorable experience, your real estate marketing should offer buyers a full picture of how great their lives will be with your property. This will, in turn, motivate them to reach out and learn more about the listing.


Real Estate Marketing Strategy #3 – Blend Traditional with Digital


With the majority of real estate buyers online, your marketing strategy needs to include digital components to encourage engagement.


At the same time, you don’t want to drop older tactics that previously worked. Listing upcoming open houses in the weekend paper or putting up open house signs in neighborhoods are great, but they only target a small segment of your total audience.


Digital marketing allows you to reach more people with less effort.

For example, reaching people interested in family homes in a particular city is as simple as tailoring your target audience when you create your Facebook ad. These people don’t have to physically be in the same location as the properties you advertise in order to hear about them.


There are many more advantages to incorporating digital into your real estate marketing — you increase ROI, get more exposure, save time, and do more with your available time — but don’t feel you have to completely abandon older methods that still work for you.

Instead, combine the old with the new to create custom marketing.


For example:

• Run an open house with paper flyers for the listing while also hosting a Facebook Live video to promote for people who couldn’t attend.

• Launch listing ads both on social media platforms and in local newspapers.

• Gain leads through cold emailing and social media networking along with cold calling.


What’s also great about combining different kinds of real estate marketing is you cater to most of your audience’s needs.

For families that enjoy driving through neighborhoods on Saturdays looking for open houses, they don’t miss out. Buyers who like to spend time scrolling through listings online and looking at property images and video get the benefit of online advertising.


Real Estate Marketing Strategy #4 – Use Live Video to Connect and Engage


Research shows that live video is one of the most powerful ways to capture buyers’ attention. Facebook reports that users spend more than three times longer watching live videos than non-live videos.


As a real estate agent, you can use Facebook Live to engage audiences in a number of ways, such as giving a live tour of a home you have listed or answering home-buying FAQs.


Using this captivating medium will distinguish you from other agents as an innovative value-provider.

To build a following around your videos, get into the routine of filming regularly.


For example, if you like to share open houses and you host one most weekend, spend 10-15 minutes before they start to walk viewers through the properties. If you work with a lot of first-time buyers, start a regular event where you talk about financing, budgeting, the home-buying process, and more. 


This segment of your audience will keep coming back to hear what new information you have to share and grow to trust your insights.

Video allows for versatility, so don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with the type of content you share.


Real Estate Marketing Strategy #5 – Automate Whenever Possible


Between creating ad campaigns and working on lead generation tactics, real estate marketing can take up a huge chunk of your time.


Since you’re busy juggling client needs, submitting paperwork, and more, this doesn’t bode well for your already busy schedule. While some activities need your monitoring, many of these tasks can be automated to help save you time.


For example:

• To simplify creating y ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google ads, use AdEspresso.

• To collect leads and update your CRM system, use Spacio from HomeSpotter.

• To schedule social media content, use Hootsuite.

• To send email campaigns, use Customer.io and others

• To send appointment reminders via text, use

VoiceSage.

Google and other companies offer great alternatives to these as well. Do some research.

Free up your schedule with these automation tools so that you can spend more time on value-added tasks like message follow-up, creating new client events, and writing engaging and informative blog content.


Automation also gives you more time to iterate and improve your entire marketing strategy for greater engagement.

You can create detailed buyer personas, so your marketing is more targeted, or you can spend more time in the community learning about your audience and helping them to get to know you.

Measure Engagement for Real Estate Marketing Success


Once you start implementing these tactics, you’ll need to measure the results of your marketing efforts to see which are most successful.

The more you test and monitor engagement, the more insights you’ll have on how to improve your real estate marketing strategy.


The goal of any business is always to increase leads, convert, and grow.

These marketing ideas will help you do that, so you eventually stand out compared to other real estate agents also working in your chosen neighborhood...


Marketing requires an investment

Nothing comes without a cost. You need to be prepared to invest time or money (or, most likely, both ) if you expect to see results from your marketing. Keep your schedule and your budget in mind when crafting your 2020 real estate marketing strategy.


Marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all

The success of your marketing campaign largely depends on your local market and your niche. Different marketing strategies work better in different markets and with different demographics. For example, if you’re focusing on new retirees looking to downsize, you’ll probably want to focus on Facebook instead of Instagram. But the exact opposite strategy would work better if you’re marketing to Millennials. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little trial and error to find your sweet spot.


Purchasing leads is not marketing

Purchasing leads is a slippery slope. You may come to rely on those leads and never learn how to generate leads of your own. And then what happens when your sources jack up their prices because so many agents are purchasing leads? Purchasing leads may have a place in your business plan, but don’t mistake it for marketing.


Moving On

Now we’re ready to get into specific marketing ideas that work for 2020 buyers and sellers. We’re going to cover a lot of real estate marketing ideas in this section, so let’s break them up into categories:


Publishing

Publishing is all about sending quality content out into the world for buyers and sellers to find. You’ve probably heard the term content marketing cropping up over the last few years. And that’s exactly what publishing is: creating content and marketing yourself through your content.

There are several ways to market real estate through publishing, so we’ll look at them individually.


Website

Websites are no longer optional. As a real estate agent in 2019, you need an online space where you have 100% control over the content.

Having a website of your own gives you: Instant credibility as a real estate professional Web pages for Google to index so you can be found online Your own visual branding so you can build your brand recognition Ownership over your content so don’t lose everything if you ever leave your current broker

And getting a website of your own has never been easier or more affordable. You can hire a web designer to create a site for you, rent a site from companies like Easy Agent Pro , Intagent , or Agent Image , or even build your own site if you’re on a tight budget.

There’s no excuse not to have your own website in 2019.


Blog

You should know by now that not every web lead you receive is going to be ready to buy a home right away. As a matter of fact, few of them probably are. However, this doesn’t mean you should shrug off these leads or consider them unworkable.


You can appeal to those who aren’t ready now by using your blog to keep your business and name in their minds until they are ready to do so.

Keep in mind that according to the 2012 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,


90 percent of home buyers use the Internet in their search

An effective lead nurturing campaign positions you as someone who cares about each and every prospect, no matter what stage of the buying cycle they might be in.

Here are some effective ways to nurture your real estate leads with your blog:


• Find a niche and talk about it on your blog. By having a blog available for people you meet and work with to view, you can establish yourself as the kind of agent they’re looking for. Perhaps you come across a number of people looking for someone knowledgeable in a certain type of architecture or home building materials used. Write up posts on these topics.


• Mix in some posts that aren’t just about buying or selling a home. You could write about new home security systems, interior design trends and even DIY projects for new homeowners. Your blog can advocate your business and agents, but shouldn’t be pushy. You’re nurturing, not selling.


• Think outside the box with unconventional topics. Try posts about public services in the areas of your listings or opinion pieces on community events and developments that shape your neighborhoods.

When you have your own website, you can start publishing your own blog content. Blogging might just be the single most underrated real estate marketing activity. Most agents either don’t understand the benefits of blogging, or they don’t stick with it long enough to see results.


Blogging isn’t an instant payoff; it takes time to build a following, start ranking on Google for local searches and gain qualified leads. You have to have the discipline to stay the course for 3-12 months before you realize the full benefits of blogging. But when that happens, you get to enjoy: Demonstrating your expertise. Buyers and sellers will know you’re the expert because they’ll see your knowledgeable blog posts. Increased engagement with prospects and clients.


Blogging is a great way to consistently provide value to prospects and clients, and stay top-of-mind. A quickly-growing email list. You can include opt-ins on your blog posts for readers to sign up for your newsletter. Hello, warm leads! Passive leads. No more time-intensive cold calling and door knocking for you!

Invest the time in marketing through blogging. Commit to just one post per week and watch your business evolve.


Email

Email is still the top online activity of Internet users. If you aren’t using email marketing yet, you should be.

Email allows you to connect with home buyers without interfering with their already busy schedules while sharing your blog posts, listings, etc. You can help move home buyers to making a purchase by keeping them up to date via email.

Here are some common, but results-oriented, ways to use email to nurture your real estate leads:


• Segment your audience. Be sure to separate out sales-ready buyers from those still in the early buying stages. You want your lead nurturing emails to go to the right people at the right times. By analyzing their clicks and interactions, you can see when they are approaching the final stages of a buying decision. With each stage, change up your content and your call to action so the email marketing is geared to the right audience at the right time.


• Add value. Make sure your emails add value to each person you’re sending them to. Include helpful information, offer giveaways or free advice and provide some exclusivity to entice your recipients to click.


Every Lead is an Opportunity

As with any form of marketing, make sure your timing is strategic and that you’re tracking the results of your efforts. There’s no way for you to optimize your efforts to get the best results unless you’re properly tracking, analyzing and refining based on your data.


Proper tracking will allow you to start looking at every lead in a different way – each as valuable as the next. With lead nurturing campaigns, you can turn old, cold leads into new opportunities won – even if that means 12 months from initial receipt.

Content builds trust while establishing you and your business as useful, authoritative industry resources. It also gives you something to constantly grow your social sphere which will only become yet another network of possible business for you.


Photography

There are still real estate agents today that choose to take photos of their client’s home on their own phones or cameras. The disservice they are doing to their clients is almost tantamount to what would be considered in other professions, like medicine, a gross malpractice. Its a reflection of your business standards and most home buyers would agree that they would want a realtor who provides the best services to help get the home sold.


Every day I search the MLS (Multiple Listing Service- the place where real estate listings are made public) and I am amazed at some of the low-quality poor photographs agents put up online to represent their client’s most valuable asset- their home.

What makes this even worse is the old adage- first impressions make a lasting impression. Over 90% of buyers use the internet to search for homes- and that first impression, coming from the pictures of your home, is what drives someone to decide to visit your home and potentially buy it or go somewhere else and buy another home.

When it comes to real estate pictures, the realtor will typically decide whether or not they want to invest in professional photography. More often than not, agents decide against hiring a professional real estate photographer. “Most agents don’t appreciate photography, and if they do, they don’t think it’s worth the expense.


When it comes down to it, what truly matters with real estate photography is capturing the attention of potential home buyers and making a great impression. This is where professional photographers can edge out amateurs and DIYers. Right when you get on a site like Zillow, your eye is drawn to houses with professional photography. They’re brighter, and they just draw you in.


Video

Without a doubt, real estate video marketing is one of the best ways to appeal to the emotional, subjective factors that come with just about every transaction. Just like any other form of marketing though, poor video marketing methods can turn off a buyer or seller just as quickly as it reels them in.


How about we take your blog to the next level? Adding video makes Google about 50% more likely to rank your website on the first page of search results. So if you want buyers and sellers to find you online, you need to add video to your website.

And you don’t need a fancy camera or editing software to do it. You can do it from your phone!


Your blog is a great way to work videos into your website. The options are limitless: Home tours Neighborhood tours Recordings of yourself talking about buyer and seller tips Home maintenance fixes Interviews with local homeowners Interviews with local business owners

Get creative. You can post a full 15-30 minute video on your blog and YouTube, and edit the video into 2-minute snippets that you can post to your social media accounts. Speaking of social media...


Social Media

Social media marketing continues to grow more impactful each year. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest allow you to connect with clients and prospects. And, just as importantly, it allows your contacts to share your content with others. Perfect for getting referrals!

Agents often wonder what to post to social media. Links to your blog posts and your videos are perfect social media material. You’re providing value to your audience instead of just advertising to them. You can also post pictures you take around town, local news updates, and market trends.

Social media marketing is a large topic all its own. If you’re a little overwhelmed by social media marketing, We got you covered!


According to a recent study,

73 percent of homeowners prefer realtors who promote their offerings through video

The same study found that

more than 84 percent of all real estate professionals use social media, with Facebook being their preferred website


In order for you to connect with buyers, you need to be present on social media and on the platforms where buyers are searching.

Here are some ways to use social media to pull your real estate leads through the buying cycle:


• Use social media to answer questions. These can be customer service questions, home buying questions and connect with those located near where your listings are.

• Share other content you have. Video tours of places available, blog posts and the latest in home buying in your area are all types of content you can use to nurture leads. A great real estate video could be the final push someone needs to make an appointment while blog posts are an easy way to get social shares and new eyes on your website.


Big 3

There are three main strategies to make an online marketing campaign successful: (1) traffic generation, (2) lead generation and (3) lead nurturing.


Traffic generation is all about getting people to your website whether that is from paid advertising, search engine optimization, social media, word of mouth or referrals.


Lead generation is focused on conversion optimization of your website and using and testing calls to action to produce more leads.


Lead Nurturing... What is it? is a system for continuing a conversation with a prospect from initial contact until the person is ready to become a client. By providing useful information and keeping your name / brand in your prospects’ minds you stand a much better chance of converting that lead at a future date.


One strategy that can, and should, be used throughout all of these three of these to make them as effective as possible is content marketing. Given the amount of topics and relevant information that real estate professionals can use to provide valuable content, content marketing remains as a staple for producing traffic, leads and sales.


Below are some primary ways to use content marketing to nurture, and convert, your real estate leads.

Using Content Marketing to Nurture Leads


Lead nurturing campaigns focus on creating mutually-beneficial working relationships so that when it comes time to buy, that lead turns to you, or your business, instead of a competitor.


While the first step in lead nurturing is making sure you have the right contact information, it’s important to realize that consumers are using more than a phone and mailbox to stay connected.


Facebook

Facebook is one of the most widely used social networks in the world. Recently reported to have over 300 million active users, Facebook is quickly becoming THE social destination for online users. With so many existing active users, and new users signing on each day, the amount of opportunity for acquiring new clients, friends and business contacts continues to make Facebook an essential component of an effective online marketing strategy.

With just about every real estate transaction starting with some type of online search, real estate professionals, home buyers, sellers and investors all rely very heavily on the Internet when it comes to completing a real estate transaction. Now, with the advent of social networking, it is more important than ever that real estate professionals get involved with the most beneficial social communities. Facebook is one of those communities and we are going to let you in on some effective tips to use Facebook to market your real estate business.