DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY FOR REAL ESTATE
By Naledi Mahlaba (2021/04/22) Content marketing analyst at The International Institute of Digital Marketing ™
Keywords: Real Estate-Digital marketing-Social Marketing-SEO-Paid Advertising-Web analytics
Whether we like to admit it or not digital marketing has taken over. With over 4 billion internet users and well over 3 billion social media users it is vital that all business invest in a well-planned digital marketing strategy.
The real estate industry is probably one of the most vulnerable industries as its performance is greatly affected by economic performance. With the pandemic that still continues real estate companies have had to make adjustments to their daily business operations.
During a time like this where almost every consumer is making use of the internet to entertain themselves, educate themselves, make purchases and build a business. Real estate companies can benefit from immensely from a digital marketing plan that will help their brand reach their audience that is now spending a lot more time online.
In this blog we will take a look at how a digital marketing strategy can boost the performance of real estate companies.
Identify the client you wish to serve and where to find them
The youth demographic is quite large world over and many young people are keen on purchasing their first property or renting as soon as they can. Your real estate company can specialize in assisting young people to buy their first property or first time buyers. You can even be partial to young couples who are looking to growing a family and acquiring a bigger space for their children.
Couples who are looking to retire are always a great niche market. Your unique selling point needs to set you a part from your competitors. That is not to say that you should only cater to your chosen niche market but having a set of expertise is always beneficial.
Create a marketing budget
Digital marketing is the new and most important way to advertise to your target market. One of its main benefits is that it is cost effective and does away with the use of paper. Even though the cost of advertising is a lot less than it used to be it is still wise to allocate a budget to the traditional marketing needs of your business.
Not all your marketing will be digital based as pamphlets and flyers play an important role in selling to your clients and that form of marketing requires a bit of spending.
Now let’s find out how you can use digital marketing to attract new clients and increase leads.
For most business without the capacity to run a website yet the first thing they ought to do is create a profile on Google my business. It is a great tool that can be used to announce your presence to potential clients and let them know where to find you and how to contact you. Google provides this service for free for small local businesses especially to establish an online presence that allows them to interact with clients without the stress of managing a website.
Mailchimp states that email marketing is marketing effort towards promoting a business product service. Email marketing through a mailing list allows clients to become aware of new products, discounts and other services; it aims to educate your audience about the value of your brand and what it stands for.
Email marketing helps to nurture a relationship with old clients and creates a line of communication with potential clients. Email marketing is an awesome way to nurture leads. You have more control, emails are more intimate, every demographic makes use of emails and you can easily educate your potential clients.
Create a website
In the recent past creating a website meant that you had to hire a web developer and pay exorbitant amounts of money to keep it running. Today there are several online companies where one can access services that allow you to build websites on your own in exchange for a small monthly fee. These online business may also provide you with the option of designing your company logo and brand as part of a package. Compiled is a list of websites that offer website building for free:
Lately it has become difficult to retain and gain clients as they are constantly bombarded by information both online and offline. As a business you need to make sure that the website you create is one that is user-friendly, optimised for web and mobile use, and has useful information. AgentImage features a list of requirements that your website should live up to in order for you to achieve your business’s objectives:
- The website needs to have a well-planned structure for user navigation
- Information on your website needs to answer your users frequently asked questions
- The website needs to be responsive which means it needs to perform well on both desktop and mobile devices
- Neighborhood guides are an important feature to add to your website as they give insight into potential areas that visitors are interested in.
- Provide the latest news and trends about real estate through videos and blogs.
- Promote what your brand offers.
- Include client testimonials, high-quality photos and videos
- 3D home tours are the latest trend in real estate advertising. The innovative trend allows visitors to have a better view of properties that a photo cannot provide
- Include a list of latest listings on the market as well as the old, properties on auction are also a good listing
- Provide a mortgage calculating tool
There are many social media platforms available to engage with your audience. Yet the three most important ones for real estate are Facebook, LinkedIn and Whatsapp chatbot and here is why:
According to Oberlo Facebook is the king of social media with 2.8 billion users of the year 2021; 59% of social media users have Facebook accounts. Facebook in the fourth quarter of the year 2020 brought in $27.2 billion dollars in ad revenue. 200 million small businesses make use of Facebook and 65% of people under the age of 35 prefer to use Facebook over any other social media platform. This is the perfect platform to reach a wide audience.
Making use of Facebook ads can help you reach more people and perhaps find a new niche market outside of your targeted region that you can capitalise on.
LinkedIn is said to be the best social media platform for real estate companies according to Leadsbridge. Although Facebook has the most users LinkedIn is the most professional platform to promote your business with a conversion rate that is 277 times higher than Facebook.
The content posted on LinkedIn is mostly business orientated and the chances of seeing pictures or videos of cats, dogs or any other personal forms of entertainment content are slim. Your business’s posts are more likely to be seen by your network.
LinkedIn users are mainly professionals who are seeking new business opportunities, new job opportunities or are looking to build their professional network. Finding potential clients to provide your real estate services to is easier and more reliable as most LinkedIn users are salary earners and home owners.
Whatsapp is the most widely used messaging app in the world with over 1 billion users in the world. Chatbotsmagazine describes Whatsapp chatbot as software which runs on encrypted Whatsapp platform. Whatsapp users can communicate with the chatbot through the chat interface as they would talk to a real person. Its many benefits to a real estate company according to Marutitech include:
- Lead generation
- Lead qualification
- Site visitation confirmation
- Automation scheduling
- Virtual property tours
- Document submission
- Build lasting customer relationship
- Track conversations
- Property submission
- Payment reminder
- Seamless after-sale support
For both Facebook and LinkedIn it is important to optimise your pages to ensure lead conversion. Make sure your profile is clear and is a real representation of your business. Your bio needs to be complete with contact details, a business address and a description of what you do, how you do it and why you do it.
Create content that is engaging, simple and straight to the point. Avoid ambiguity about the product or service you are providing and always include a CTA (call to action) that prompts visitors to visit your website.
Make use of a social media scheduling platform such as Heropost or Hootsuite to schedule your posts in a timely fashion. It is a good idea to do research about the best times and days to post on your respective chosen platforms to ensure that your target audience sees your post and takes action.
Create open dialogues where followers can join discussions about real estate. This is one of the best ways to understand potential client needs and grievances that you could possibly mitigate. Remember remain active in the comment sections.
Due to the limitations that the global pandemic has caused, businesses have had to move all operations online. Video marketing has become an important aspect to digital marketing now more than ever; especially in real estate marketing.
Digitalsuccess states that using videos is an alternative to property viewings, virtual tours are also a great substitute too. This provides a potential buyer the opportunity to still view available properties from the comfort of their own home.
The main video marketing techniques that should be considered include:
This is where you make consistent use of your brand logo and aesthetic to advertise your business. Use thumbnails, keywords, hashtags and voiceovers to promote the latest offers on your website and always add a call to action
Live streaming videos are slowly gaining popularity. Real estate companies can take the opportunity to demonstrate behind-the-scenes process of staging property, property renovation or the buying process. Live streaming feels more personal and allows clients to feel a part of your business in more ways.
There are several social media platforms that provide the service and can be used to broadcast exciting events that your real estate agents are participating in or organizing.
Create videos of the properties that are listed on your website. The video must flow effectively from one room to another as if the visitor is walking through the property.
Ask past clients to speak about their experience with your company and to especially highlight what they enjoyed about your service.
Post videos of your estate agents where they talk about whom they are, where they were educated, their achievements in the industry and their skills. Agents can also talk about why they love working for your company.
Engage with your audience by answering questions about the real estate industry. Help potential students who wish to become real estate agents with information about how to become an agent. Teach first time buyers about mortgage loans, renting versus buying and how to renovate a house to receive the highest price for their property.
Simply put, paid advertising is advertising that you pay for opposed to owned or earned (organic marketing). Paid adverting is when marketers pay for ad space on different websites where potential clients can be found. The price for ad space is negotiated through a bidding process between marketers and ad space owner. The most popular form of paid advertising is PPC (Pay-per-click).
PPC is a cost effective form of lead generation for real estate states Colorwhistle. The service provided by Google, Bing, and Yahoo allows for ads, usually to appear at the top of the page search results, bottom of the search results page or in the banner ads of third party websites.
Once you have won a bid to place your ad at the top of search engine results you only pay a small fee every time your ad is clicked on. Your ad appears at the top of the search engine results page when the keyword that you have bided for, example ‘apartments”, is being searched.
PPC is beneficial to real estate marketing as it directs an increased amount of traffic to your website and guarantees return on investment. Your ads can be directed to your exact target market and your money is not wasted when it is seen by the wrong audience. When your PPC campaigns perform well then the fee you pay is much less than the return on investment you will enjoy.
Search engine optimization as defined by Moz is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Bots on search engines are used to “crawl” webpages to collect information that will be indexed. Algorithms analyze indexed webpages to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query according to ranking factors.
How to optimize your website for search engines
Keywords will determine how much traffic your website will attract. Investing in the right keywords will allow your website to appear at the very top of search engine results.
- Choose the right keyword that is specific
- Choose keywords that do not have too much competition
- Choose keywords that have enough traffic
- Choose keywords that are relevant
- Try to rank for more than one word at a time
There are several free keyword search tools available to your convenience that help you understand what your potential clients are thinking and talking about.
Remember to make a localised list of keywords and phrases to target your audience and check out the keywords that your competitors are using too.
It is always good practice to take a look at what your competitor is doing to win over potential clients. This helps you to measure your performance and determine where you need to improve. It also provides you with the opportunity to capitalize on your competitors strengths and weaknesses, pick up threats and opportunities Yes performing a SWOT analysis on both your businesses digital marketing as well as your competitor’s is always a good idea.
On-page SEO the process of making alterations to your website for the purpose of search engine ranking. Here is how you can achieve this:
- Create unique and relevant website content
- Make use of correct heading tags (h1, h2, h3)
- Do not exceed 65 characters in your title tags
- Keep your URL short, descriptive and include keywords
- Ensure that your meta data description is relevant to your webpages
- Formulate a good internal linking strategy
The main objective is to complete a time consuming task of increasing the domain authority of your website by procuring links from other websites. It involves acquiring backlinks to your webpage from high ranking websites.
It is an important practice for one of the factors that affects search engine ranking is how much authority your website has; how trusted your website is as a source of information. Keep in mind that buying links to manipulate SEO rankings results in a penalisation. This act of manipulation is known as black-hat SEO.
Here are off-page tactics
- Be consistent in posting on social media
- Promote your website on reputable websites such as Reddit, Scoopit, Digg
- Be a guest blogger on other websites to earn quality backlinks
- Use blog directories, forum signatures, comment link, article directories, shared content directories, and link exchange schemes to acquire backlinks
Measuring website traffic
After all the work you have done to improve your website and social media presence it is important to measure website performance. This can be done by making use of analytics tools like Google analytics and Leadfeeder. It is important first to identify your KPI’s (Key performance indicators); they are measurable values that help you identify how effectively your digital marketing efforts are performing.
Klipfolio explains that when it comes to developing a strategy for formulating KPIs it is important to define your businesses objectives. You need to know how to achieve your objectives and when you wish to achieve them. This process will help you gain a better understanding on where you need to measure performance with a KPI dashboard and with whom the information should be shared. These are the questions to ask when defining a KPI:
- What is your desired outcome?
- Why does this outcome matter?
- How are you going to measure progress?
- How can you influence the outcome?
- Who is responsible for the business outcome?
- How will you know you’ve achieved your outcome?
- How often will you review progress towards the outcome?
Web analytics collects, reports and analyses website data. The focus is to measure your organisations goals and objectives by using collected data to determine the success or failure of set goals. Web analytics helps to identify areas where improvements need to be made for user experience.
The benefits of a having a web analytics tool are:
- Measures online traffic
- Tracks bounce rate
- Optimizes and tracks marketing campaigns
- Finds the right target audience and its capitalization
- Improves and optimizes website and web services
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Tracking business goals online
Digital marketing may be the leading method of advertising but traditional marketing is still efficient in several industries. Pamphlets, flyers and business cards are important asset to have during property viewings and open houses. Real estate agents can benefit from this form of marketing as it assists in making a name for themselves in the local area and it contributes towards building their personal brand.
Keep up with the latest real estate news and trends
Having an acute awareness to the changes in the real estate industry is vital for it allows you to provide your clients with the best information and helps them to make informed decision. Your knowledge can easily be compiled in email newsletters that are sent to your mail listings weekly or can be compiled in a blog. It is always advisable to become a student of your craft so that your clients can trust you and invite others to trust you as well.
Creating a digital marketing presence is no longer a choice especially given how the unprecedented pandemic has since affected our lives and how businesses operate. Whether you are new to the real estate industry or you have a long standing reputation you can enjoy many benefits from going digital.
Key points to take away:
- Study your target market and find where they are
- Make use of the free advertising tools available online
- Content is king
- Optimize your website to attract increased traffic
- Measure your digital marketing efforts