The real estate industry is one filled with twists and turns.
Coupled with ever-changing trends, the real estate sector can be profitable but only if your marketing is on point.
The never-ending challenges facing the real estate market are now forcing marketers to rethink their approach in order to stay in business.
And with plenty of players in the industry and hundreds more joining year-on-year, real estate players and their respective marketing teams are constantly looking for that breakthrough that will ultimately guarantee their revenue.
So, how do real estate agents make money? They earn commissions based on property price.
However, no matter how great your property is, you won’t earn any commission unless you get someone to buy or rent the property.
Your property could stay on the market more than needed not because clients are not ready, but because they do not know your property exists.
Today, 81 percent of shoppers will search online for a product before they can make a purchase. This goes for ‘big’ purchases, too – like a home.
Therefore, your real estate business needs to be online if you want to succeed in this industry.
It’s very easy to establish an online presence, including having a website, sending prospects emails, and having an active social media presence.
However, effective use of these tools can be tricky, especially in terms of establishing your presence, engaging leads, and ensuring they buy your property.
You must have a solid marketing strategy that helps you set out clear goals for your real estate business. This way, whatever tools you use, you can measure if they are working or not.
An Online Marketing Plan for Your Real Estate Business
1. What Is Your Mission Statement?
Before you can begin online real estate marketing, determine what you plan to accomplish in the long term and short term. A well-thought-out mission statement will enable you to come up with a plan that will, in turn, help you achieve your business goals and vision.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Come up with a target buyer persona – the person who represents your typical buying customer. Knowing who they are will help you come up with great marketing material that speaks to them directly.
Things to note down include:
- Interests and hobbies
- Are they first-time property buyers or regular?
- Do they have a family?
- What are their challenges?
- Where do they source information?
3. Determine Your Target Seller
The target seller represents your ideal home seller. Having their characteristics ready will help you in designing marketing campaigns that lead them to sell to you. Be specific and find out:
- Where are they located?
- Their age
- Their income
- Do they have previous experience selling homes?
- Do they have children and are they still living with them?
- What are their interests?
- What are their challenges?
- Where do they source information from?
4. Develop Goals
Goals are extremely important in any business. In this case, you need to have realistic and achievable goals.
Use your past performance to determine where you are now and where you want to be moving forward. Write them down, internalize them, and then plan how you wish to implement them.
5. What Location Will You Concentrate Your Marketing Efforts on?
Determine the geographical area (in terms of city, town or local area) where you will focus the majority of your real estate marketing efforts. Use demographic data, either from previous sales or from the county stats. This data will help you understand your geographical target market and come up with the right marketing material.
6. Create a Unique Selling Point
To create an exceptional selling point, ask yourself these questions:
- What makes you stand out from your competitors in the real estate market? What are you offering that they don’t?
- How do you create value for potential buyers and sellers?
- What is the current selling and buying trend?
- How do you use these trends to convince your prospects?
7. What Is Your Budget and What Tools Will You Use?
Choose the best marketing tools for your business based on your ideal target audience. For each strategy chosen, allocate a budget. Don’t be stingy, you need to spend money to make money – that’s how business works.
8. What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Analyze your competition’s strengths and weaknesses. Try to be objective and don’t assume that they are worse at everything than you are.
What strategies do they use to market to their geographical target area? The information gathered will help you know where you need to concentrate your marketing efforts.
Find out who has the most listings in that area. Who is sponsoring the most events? Who has the most For Sale signs? What are their specific marketing efforts?
Go to their websites and social media pages and see their marketing and branding efforts. What are they doing differently? Knowing your competitor’s weaknesses and strengths can help you reexamine and reconfigure your marketing efforts.
9. Measure Performance
- How will you measure the success of each strategy?
- What is the time frame for each strategy?
- What is the time frame for each goal?
Armed with this information, you can now kick start your online marketing. The online marketing plan will help you set goals for your marketing campaigns. The information will also help you come up with stellar strategies to help you reach your goals quickly.
Online Marketing Tactics for Successful Real Estate Marketing
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing will increase leads and grow your sales. Email marketing for real estate includes email newsletters, autoresponders, and behavior-triggered emails that encourage the seller or buyer to work with you.
To get prospective clients for your email marketing campaigns, use both organic and paid methods. You can use social media, networking, advertising, and referrals.
Choose a good customer relationship management system (CRM) with stellar email capabilities like Salesforce. Good email marketing platforms include Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
A good email marketing program will help you nurture leads and save your time through automation. The first autoresponder email will introduce the clients to your unique services.
Here’s how it works: when the seller or buyer submits their contact information on your website, they are automatically added to your mailing list. Subsequent emails will include listing information, neighborhood information, marketing analysis, and others depending on their interests and what actions the client took while they are on your website.
Monthly newsletters will include listings, details on upcoming events, educational information on the industry, and brand information. The newsletters ensure that the leads have you on their mind.
Behavior-triggered emails happen once a lead takes a certain action on your website. For example, if they view a certain listing, you can send them an email that offers further information about the property, including viewing days. The information provided moves the prospect closer to becoming a buyer.
Other useful information to share using email marketing include home maintenance tips, local community news, financial home improvement tips, referral incentives if a client refers another buyer or seller to you, marketing trends, etc.
A good email marketing program will help you nurture leads and save your time through automation. The first autoresponder email will introduce the clients to your unique services. Also, it will allow you to include images, links, and videos that interest the client. They help make your business stand out, develop lasting relationships with the sellers and buyers and attract new customers.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of ensuring your website appears on the first few pages of search results. You need to be found in order to get more leads.
According to research, Millennials and Generation X make up the largest number of first-time home buyers. These two generations have grown up with and spend most of their time on the internet. Naturally, they will also mostly do their search online first.
Among these buyers, 99 percent used online websites to find a home. Real estate agents are still important since the next call after finding a home online is to the real estate agent.
An SEO strategy is one of the most effective ways for real estate agencies to get the attention of their target audience.
The number one position in Google search results gets 33 percent of traffic according to studies. The second position gets 18 percent, and traffic degrades from there.
Organic search will also help you drive the highest amount of traffic to your real estate website. Having a solid SEO strategy can drive traffic to your site and lead to more sales.
SEO Tips to Help Rank Your Real Estate Website Higher in Search Results
a) Audit Your SEO Processes
An audit helps you optimize your site for local search. If it’s not ranking locally, driving organic traffic, converting clients or generating any leads, then you are doing something wrong. Areas to look out for include:
- The site structure: robots.txt, redirects, XML sitemap
- Page structure: titles, HI-H6 tags, meta description, URLs, ALT tags
- Content: structure, keywords, visual elements, redirects, link placements, canonical tags
- Links: inbound and outbound links, broken links, interlinking
- Usability: site speed, mobile friendly
Make sure the five are up to speed and your website traffic will increase, leading to an increase in clients.
b) Optimize the Website
After taking note of your website problem areas, fix them. If you have no SEO knowledge, hire a professional. Your contact info should be easily accessible so that people can contact you directly from the website.
c) Optimize for Mobile
According to research, mobile searches are taking over desktop searches.
The younger generation uses mobile search to find their homes. They also use mobile applications to find real estate agents.
Ensure that potential customers can access your site from any device. Make sure that your website is mobile optimized through:
- A responsive design. Do a Google-mobile friendly test. It will help you identify non-responsive pages.
- Fast loading pages. A Google page speed insight will help you access errors on optimization and speed. Delete script and flash elements that slow download time. Improve your blog’s load time by adjusting it to AMP.
- Hosting speed. Ensure your caching and hosting are okay to improve site performance.
- Easy site navigation. Get rid of interstitials and ads that prevent users from accessing your content. Google and users hate to struggle with site navigation.
- An appealing and easy to use homepage with great content. It should contain visually appealing CTAs, easy to click tabs, short menus, site search containing selectable filters, and a logo button that can redirect visitors to the homepage.
- User-friendly contact forms
- Usability. The site should display relevant search results. Filters should work right, and users don’t have to zoom.
Visitors to your site will expect less than two seconds of loading time and will leave if the experience is anything but impeccable. They will look for a friendlier site that loads fast, has easy to use forms, and is easy to navigate.
And if your competition has a mobile-friendly site, you might as kiss potential buyers goodbye.
That’s not all. Google will also drop your rankings when they notice visitors bouncing back to search.
d) Register Your Real Estate Business on Google My Business and Google Maps
Registering will increase the site’s visibility in SERPs. On Google My Business, make sure to include the company’s website, physical address, email, phone number, specify business hours, add photos, and include a direct link to the site. A descriptive, informative, catchy, and useful description of the business is also great to have.
Listing on Google My Business has its benefits. It ensures that your business shows in localized results. You also rank higher on SERPs since physical proximity to potential customers gives you a competitive advantage
e) Look for Backlinks in Directories and Listings
Register your real estate company with real estate listings and directories. Reply if users leave comments under your listings. With directories and listings, your business creates additional sales channels, improves organic SEO ratings, and drives more conversions.
f) Have a Well-Optimized Blog
Your SEO-friendly blog should speak to your customers’ needs so that you can dominate local search results. Tell emotionally compelling stories and include powerful visual elements.
- Have informative articles that talk about the neighborhood, restaurants to look out for, crime rates, prices, social life, hospitals, schools, etc.
- Interview the local business owners. When posted on the blog, they show how great your neighborhood is. The business owners will share these interviews on their sites and social pages, helping you build websites awareness and increase business reach.
- Include visual content like videos (neighborhood video tours, open house videos, Q&A videos, listing videos), images, infographics, live streams, video tours, virtual tours, live-streams, etc.
Before posting your content, ensure optimization for search. Include geo-targeted keywords into the descriptions, headlines, and hashtags when sharing on social media.
g) Social Media
Social media can significantly increase your chances of being found and contacted by home buyers. So, if you want to win more clients, get your agency on social media. Being active on social media platforms helps you:
- Build awareness around your brand
- Become a trusted authority on real estate
- Connect with your audience
- Drive traffic to your site
- Increase exposure
- Convert leads to sales
Use social media to share your videos (people like to see what they are buying), blog content, news, stats, awards, etc. Use these sites to promote your site using visual content and use local hashtags and descriptions with geo-targeted keywords.
Let your existing and potential customers find you on all popular social platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Interact with them and share good press.
Promote your properties and allow home shoppers to share these visuals with their family and friends. Add social sharing buttons on your email too so that your leads and customers can share the properties online with ease.
Take advantage of social media advertising tools as well. Facebook, for example, is an excellent marketing tool for real estate agents where they use ads to increase seller and buyer leads.
Facebook, which is probably the most used platform by real estate agents, is very strategic for your property business. You definitely need to know how to use Facebook to market your real estate gig.
Facebook enables reviews, services, allows you to use and create Facebook groups, use Facebook live to showcase properties, and upload Facebook videos. You can use visuals, including 360-degree photos, to accurately show how your property feels and looks.
Keyword searches on Twitter allow you to know when potential sellers or buyers are looking to sell or buy a house. Share photos and videos on Instagram and Pinterest to pique the interest of potential customers.
According to research, sales reps who curate relevant content on social media, use it to make connections with prospects and collaborate with other team members, reap the benefits of using social media sharing for their marketing strategies. By using social media, salespeople have a 100 percent high lead-to-close rate.
Real estate automation software effectively helps you reach and nurture leads. It handles all your mundane and complex tasks. A good marketing automation software should support email, website, and social media.
Sixty-four percent of marketing and email automation business users say it contributes to more sales. It leads to an increase in engagement, webshop visitors and better insights.
Uses of Marketing Automation for Real Estate
a) Nurture Leads
Maintaining an active blog engages your audience- those ready to buy now and those who plan to buy later. With automation, you can nurture your blog subscribers through email campaigns.
Segment them depending on relevance, needs, and activities and send them local listings, and customized and relevant content. When they need an agent, they will contact you first because you kept your brand in their minds.
You can also engage leads using message bots. They start the leads at the discovery. Use targeted messages and crafted offers to boost your conversions.
b) Identify Potential Leads
Sometimes, with all the people subscribing to your blog, newsletter, social media pages, etc., it’s not easy to tell who’s a potential lead and who’s just someone looking for extra information. Automation helps you with reliable data on customer actions that show high interest. These include:
- Email opens
- Lead scoring where you assign a lead number based on actions completed
- Visiting your landing page more than once, i.e. the pricing page.
This information will help you reach out to leads with the right message at the right time.
Come up with an excellent lead generation strategy to help you:
- Move leads through the conversion funnel. Have landing pages with informative content on your website. The information should take the potential customer through the awareness, interest, desire and action stage. Delivering this content allows you to hold the lead’s interest before they get cold.
- Build an email list through blog and newsletter subscriptions to your site, sign up links on social media, website, and blog, email addresses, and contacts from clients you interact with and through incentives for email signup, including sweepstakes, and coupons. The email list allows you to get better open rates, click through rates, and conversion rates since you send targeted content.
- Keep your brand identity consistent in ads, webpages, social media, listings, emails, and any other channels of communication you use. The clients should see the same logos, colors, fonts, and messaging. Consistency ensures clients recognize your brand from any source and trust it.
Benefits of Marketing Automation for Real Estate Companies
- Saves time since agents don’t spend time on mundane tasks. Instead, they spend more time closing sales with clients.
- Your advertising efforts become effective since you reach the right leads at the right time. You can use a variety of marketing techniques, including mobile push notifications, SMS messaging, email, etc. With these options, your agents can concentrate on getting the best results from each method.
- Helps you manage and optimize campaigns better. Automation also reduces the chances of human error.
4. Content Marketing
More than 51 percent of buyers rely on content to research before they make a buying decision. They rely heavily on third-party analysis reports, case studies, white papers, and webinars.
Video graphics and interactive presentations also have a significant number of clients. They want stories that resonate with them. Forty-seven percent said they consume 3 to 5 content pieces before they can call a sales agent.
The best tactics for real estate marketing that work like a charm include having a great website, working on a great SEO strategy, and utilizing social media. Putting together, these three will help your real estate business build trust and strengthen presence online, and in turn, lead to more conversions.