This article is a pillar content piece about real estate marketing. There is also smaller form content featuring:
- Real estate marketing ideas & tips
- Real estate marketing tools
- Real estate video marketing
- Real estate keywords
- & real estate marketing agency (duh)
Competition in real estate is one of the highest today. Every year there are more and more real estate developments, the number of new developers is also growing, and they are trying to sell everything they have built as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the old ways of promotion are not enough. Therefore, if the website of your agency is not even in the top 10 organic search results, you can not count on having success.
- How real estate marketing is different
- A new approach to offers and business processes
- Website is the most critical asset
- Advertising channels for real estate
- Real estate marketing best practices
- What can one expect from the online promotion?
- To sum it up on real estate marketing
How real estate marketing is different
There’s a significant lack of property buying experience. Many of us have already bought a cell phone, i.e., we have a certain experience: we understand exactly what we need, what applications and functions we will use. Understanding of the model and its price is not steep at all for most of us. Such purchases bring more joy than stress.
Real estate is different. When a person buys an apartment (or a house), it’s likely to be the first ever in their life. And at the same time, people most likely never had such amount of money in their hands. That’s a considerable sum, regardless of whether it’s cash or on your bank account. It’s the money you’re about to spend. Choice and decision bring stress. As a result, 80% of people do not know what they want.
Many websites with a huge list of real estate, filters by bedrooms, price and other characteristics do not work. On such websites, users come, look but can not make a choice. The overabundance is too overwhelming for them, due to inexperience.
A new approach to offers and business processes
On one project this led us to the idea to make a brief website with a clear offer. We need an individual selection of options, which fit the needs of our client. How?
A person passes the test (buzz word for which is LEAD QUIZ). Answers a series of questions: about area, number of bedrooms, floor, etc. In the end, we ask for email and telephone number to send a requested selection of apartments by email or via a messenger of choice.
After we redirect the user to a lengthy thank-you page, that’s it for the advertising and the website. The rest is the job of the sales department.
Some users research, while others intend to buy and leave bids on several sites. Whoever calls them back faster has the advantage. The task of the sales department is to separate the “researchers” from buyers.
So we have introduced the position of coordinator. A coordinator calls the leads and qualifies them. The “hottest” clients (with both money and intent) are transferred to make an appointment with a realtor and make a deal.
As a result, the realtor does not spend time communicating with those who are not ready to buy. This scheme brings about 10% of conversion.
Website is the most critical asset
Quite a bold statement, huh?
But read through ad channels listed below and you’ll see that a website indeed is a focus point for pretty much every promotional activity one can do to get more sales. Also, if you manage quite a lot of property website’s CMS can be a huge help in managing listings across multiple platforms.
In nutshell process looks like this:
A. website creation
We agreed, filled out a brief. We made a single page website, tailored to collect visitor contacts by offering a personalized catalog in exchange.
The landing page contains a small catalog with many options but no prices. It has a button “Get the price list.” At the bottom, there’s a quiz to specify the preferred apartment.
Our specialist put together the primary keyword phrases for AdWords. Usually, 2-3 words work well: “Buy Apartment Bushwick,” or “New Buildings Jersey.”
We did not set up advertising on the search since developers are pouring millions of budgets there. For example, a click on the request “Buy an apartment in Anapa” in Yandex comes up to 1,500 rubles. A small agency cannot compete with them.
Targeted ads are cheaper than search ads, and it will make you competitive on the market, where titans pour vast sums of money into advertising.
C. reduction of the customer acquisition cost by 3
Although $5 is not even money in real estate business, we tried to reduce the cost of each client application further.
We decided to position the agency not as a real estate agency, but as an independent participant in the real estate market. So we made a new website for these purposes, very similar to the previous one (catalog, quiz, etc.).
After the launch of advertising for this version of the website, the agency began to receive applications for $2. Two months later they sold six apartments in one month to users who came from the website. The agency revenue amounted to about $20000.
Thanks to the updated website.
D. introducing the coordinator position
A massive amount of leads is excellent. But some of them are “cold.” Realtors spend a lot of time talking to people who would not buy. So we offered the agency to take an individual specialist who will process the applications, to qualify them accordingly:
- “Hot” – there is a need, there is money, there is time to buy;
- “Warm” – there is a need, there is/soon-will-be money, purchase time unknown;
- “Cold” – there is a need, no money.
All applications were processed пimmediately once they received them.
The “cold” clients get a standard catalog of apartments. The “hot” and the “warm” ones get a selection of apartments, consultation from coordinator on many other issues and then get transferred to the realtor. And realtor meets a client (at the airport, or the station), helps with hotel accommodation, if needed and shows the property.
As a result, this led to an increase in ads payoff by 40 times!
Advertising channels for real estate
I’d say for most small businesses there are pretty much the same paid advertising channels plus Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Here is a quick recap:
- Google Ads (AdWords in the past): no introduction needed, that’s the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind and one of the most efficient channels to fill the top of the sales funnel.
- Social Media Ads such as Facebook & Instagram. For most cases, I wouldn’t consider it for purposes other than retargeting (i.e., re-engaging users)
- Real estate listing platforms
Maybe now its time to check out real estate keywords for SEO & PPC?
Or get them straight away:
Here is a couple of expert opinions:
I’ve worked with a few small budget real estate companies and it hasn’t worked out for a few reasons.
Their website wasn’t very good, so not only did we have very little conversion tracking but they didn’t get much business through the website period
Their budget wasn’t adequate for all the areas they wanted to compete in — even though the SQR was perfect and we were getting volume, the majority of clicks were from higher up in the sales funnel. People who are looking for real estate companies are generally simultaneously browsing for property, so you get a lot of exploratory clicks.
Figure out how to maximise lead generation from the website. To go with above, the majority of people are going to use the property map and look at their desired area for property. Figure out how to convert them from that page and make sure it’s being attributed properly.
I have managed a few campaigns in higher end markets. You’ll probably find pretty high CPC. Be sure to stay on top of negative search terms, they can kill you when you’re paying that much per click.
I organised mine with a campaign per community and ad groups for homes for sale + community, community + real estate, etc. Don’t forget to build out your ad extensions and write ads specific to the community.
Content marketing \ SEO
SEO is used by agencies that have long entered the market and annually put new houses into operation. Getting into TOP-5 search results, they earn a name for themselves and become highly visible. SEO also helps to move through brand traffic.
A landing page with a single residential complex doesn’t require an increase in position. The effect of SEO is only visible after 4-6 months. It is unreasonably long for apartment sales.
How can you promote a real estate agency website?
- Analysis of search demand. It is necessary to study the market to understand what interests the target audience. Use Google Analytics for detailed reports.
- SEO audit ANY website. Most websites have serious technical problems, and if they are not fixed at the very beginning, the effectiveness of further work can decrease two-fold.
- Collect semantic core. A comprehensive collection of semantic core (keywords) is the key to success in SEO promotion. It makes it possible to understand precisely how users look for your services and what interests them most.
- Work with structure. Ideally, a real estate website should have a separate page for each street where real estate is rented or sold, for each subway station, district, residential complex, etc. Now imagine how many targeted visitors you can get if you put just all the streets on the website?
- Competent work with textual content. It is not enough to write a text now. The old method has been replaced by specialized text analyzers that give clear recommendations on the number of words in the content piece, keyword entries, and a lot of other useful information.
- Post analysis. To understand whether a website promotion is going successfully or not use web analytics services (like Google Analytics). If your visibility in search engines is growing, all previous work has been done right. We will help you track the improvement of website positions in real time, as well as the growth of organic traffic.
Display advertising refers to advertising aimed at a visual perception by users. Display ads may include text materials, the logo of the organization, photos, and other images.
It is important to place ads where it’s most effective. To clearly understand what you are doing and why to conduct a preliminary test.
First, you should form a pool of resources that correspond to the topic. Large-scale real estate websites that have high conversion and high coverage (including database sites, like property ads/buy-sell/private ads websites).
Then launch a test campaign for just one month. Results are going to show, which websites will bring calls and call requests, and which ones will not. Use call-tracking services for the analysis (like CallTouch, CoMagic, etc.).
One should not compare sites solely by the number of leads. The quality of these leads (calls). Call tracking services allow you to listen to calls made to your client and determine which part of the audience is hot/warm, and who has doubts.
It may also be that the website you placed the ad on, uses fake people to call your agency to make their numbers look good. Like they provide you with leads. Nope.
Few more tips
Naked self-promotion Do not forget to set up retargeting and consider implementing a cascade strategy to address different purchase decision stages.
Retargeting is especially useful in promoting real estate objects, rather than agencies themselves. The dynamic option works best when the user reminded that there’s unfinished business and sees new offers.
For example, a person was looking for a one-room apartment in a new building on the website. Advertising on affiliate websites will offer options in different residential complexes and will show the studio that the user had previously watched.
Rely on low-frequency queries, instead of high-frequency. An essential feature of real estate contextual advertising is a high conversion for phrases with low demand, as they offer people a relevant response to a query. An ad appears on the request “buy a one bedroom apartment Jackson Heights” is more likely to get a call than “buy apartment New York.” High-frequency queries bring a lot of non-target visitors.
Use geolocation. Contextual advertising with an indication of the area where the property located has a higher CTR, so agencies do not have to overpay for non targeted users. To generate traffic keywords should be formed following the formula: keyword(s) + location.
For example: “one bedroom apartment North Bergen Bergenline Ave,” not just “one bedroom apartment.”
p.s. we just published our Art Director’s pick of Real Estate Business Cards. Worth checking out.
Social Networks are the essence of our everyday lives, and it includes everyone — from kids to grownup entrepreneurs. That’’ the place where people are for the most part, so do not neglect this medium to reach your audience.
Here’s a list of great tips for real estate agencies on how to use social networks to benefit.
Most companies use different channels to get closer to the audience.
- The most popular network is Facebook. 8 out of 10 companies are active on Facebook. Five out of ten agencies have the primary source of traffic coming from social networks.
- Three out of ten companies rank YouTube as the primary source, bringing in more than 43.98% of the traffic. That is due to the effectiveness of visual content. People watch on-site apartments and buildings videos and eventually reach out to agencies to do the job.
- Three out of ten agencies attract users through messenger apps. Convenient chats and free app calls make messengers like WhatsApp an excellent tool for working with the audience.
- Facebook is most effective for the luxury real estate segment. YouTube channels are relevant for large companies. They help to increase the loyalty of the audience and promote the brand, but it is an expensive channel of promotion.
The quality of the leads (which is a lead qualification process) depends on the quality of the marketing funnel (here is our guide on it). A quality funnel keeps the user engaged at its every stage. Sending email newsletters once a month is bad. Strive to make the user see your brand/logo/name everywhere they go. In their email inbox, through targeted ads on social networks, mobile ads, etc. Use retargeting, email drip campaigns and track click behavior to predict user intent.
There are tons of different methods… in my opinion, the best funnels involve retargeting via Facebook, “smart” email drip campaigns that adjust depending on what ads the person clicks and which emails of yours they open, and a bit of traditional mail, plus the obvious call/text follow-ups.
The general idea is to keep them engaged, and for them to keep you in the front of their mind. The conversion times (especially for sellers) can be 3 to 6 months, sometimes more because the internet has created this environment where people want to do a lot of research before making decisions.
So if someone is thinking of selling their home “eventually” or “maybe next year” and they see a Facebook ad that says, “Find out what your home’s true value is, click here” then it piques their curiosity. They click, they give you their info, you give them a CMA or home value report that is useful to them, and then you put them on a drip campaign that is specifically designed to try to predict what their goals are. Maybe the first email in the campaign has a subject line that says, “Want to sell your home soon?” or something that is more immediate. If they open it, chances are, they are wanting to or hoping to sell pretty soon. The next email has a subject line that says something more long-term, so if they open that one instead, then your next move is based on that.
The retargeting works the same way – you would ideally ensure that your funnel is delivering relevant content to them based on the ads that they click on, and the pages they are visiting on your site.
It’s easier to explain with a “real world” example hahaha! Source
When I talk about the “quality of the funnel”, in general I’m referring to the level of follow up and how many different ways you use to get in front of them, and stay in front of them. So if you’re just sending them an email newsletter once or twice a month, that is a poor quality funnel, because it has no goal or objective, and doesn’t direct them to take any action. A “high-quality funnel” is one where they see your name/face/brand in their email, in their voicemail, in letters/brochures mailed to their house, and in internet ads via social media, mobile ads, and on other website’s ads as well.
As far as “best sources of leads”, that’s always the million dollar question, right? And it’s different from market to market, and the quality of the lead is really dependent upon the quality of the funnel behind it! I 100% believe that. And not every lead is going to want to buy or sell today, you have to take the time and effort to nurture them and connect with them. That’s where the funnel comes in.
To answer your question more directly though, some of my favorite lead sources are Facebook ads which lead to a landing page. I like to do that for free e-books, downloadable market reports, local property cap rate guidelines, free home valuation reports, first-time home buying guide, etc… the sky is the limit. These items are “free to download” but to download them, the user must give their name, email address, phone number, and in the case of a home valuation report, obviously they’d also need to give their home address. Build as many lists as you can, on as many niches as you’re willing to cover, and nurture them. Most will complete a transaction with you within 3 to 6 months, but they’ll all buy or sell real estate eventually, and you’ll be top of mind. Source
Advertise on aggregator sites
Here are 50 platforms for real estate listings. Other than that I recommend to google local listings as they vary from country to country.
Real estate marketing best practices
Implementation of two-step sales
This technique is very effective, especially in real estate. Surprisingly, two-step sales are often not used even by those who already know about the excellent results they allow to achieve.
The technique is simple. You do not try to sell the services to those who do not know about you. They trust little and usually do not want to work with you. Therefore, you provide them something valuable, free of charge, in exchange for contact information. Then you sell what you plan to sell.
Since you already have the contact details of the client, you can:
- offer something when you see fit, instead of waiting for a call;
- make an offer several times, which significantly increases your chances for closing the deal.
The free of charge bonus can cost you almost nothing. It may be may reports, books, seminar notes, step-by-step instructions, etc.
Once you start using two-step sales, you no longer try to sell to those who are not interested. You immediately proceed to work with an engaged audience who want more information.
You put a lot less effort, and most importantly – less money. As a result, it all works to increase sales.
Here is a brief scheme on how to implement two-step sales in a real estate agency:
- First, an analysis is carried out to determine the concern of your clients. Emphasis should be placed precisely on the issue that is of interest to potential buyers, and not on the one that you can solve.
- Then goes a special report (mini-book, brochure) describing the solution to this problem.
Sometimes people may run into illegally built housing and eventually be left without shelter and money. Considering all this, a brief informational guide “How to check whether the housing you are planning to buy is legal?” can be extremely relevant and useful for many people.
- Then you actively advertise brochures to people who already know about your real estate agency or the proposed objects.
- The fourth step is to send a report to those who requested it and collect customer contact information.
- The final stage is targeted work with the audience and promotion of your services.
Creating a “Corporate Sales Book”
The presence of a so-called “corporate sales book” also contributes to an increase in sales of a real estate agency. That is a practical, systematic and documented experience of your company’s interaction with customers. The Corporate Sales Book is used within the company and includes:
- templates for answering incoming calls;
- instructions for realtors;
- methods for handling customers’ objections;
- successful advertising templates;
- self-presentation standards, etc.
Having a “corporate sales book” in your company gives you a lot of advantages:
- ALL employees work more productively. That is due to the systematization of the experience of your best salesmen.
- With this tool, the agency is much less dependent on highly efficient managers with high performance.
- If your agency has a “corporate sales book,” you will significantly save time on training new specialists.
- Another advantage is you can open branches with smaller financial investments.
The range of services
Most of the citizens have no idea about what additional services a real estate agent can provide, and how they can be useful to them. If you do not inform customers about the other services, no one will buy them.
How effectively sell additional services? Make a catalog. Instruct managers and realtors on when and how they should offer other services to their customers.
You can also create service packages to increase sales. Packages should differ in the set of services, speed of delivery, costs and other parameters.
It would be tough to cram all the questions and answers in this article, so we found a convenient and useful section on Reddit, where you can ask questions and find answers on Real Estate Marketing.
What can one expect from the online promotion?
Sorry, this section is still under research. At this point, we want to get a client and do kick-ass market research. Can it be you?
To sum it up on real estate marketing
Create a cool website, spice it with marketing and get leads.
Also, you might be interested in more specific posts on real estate marketing:
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- What awaits Uber after IPO
- Dental Marketing
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- Small business marketing
- Ecommerce checklist
- Email retargeting (and other flavours of it) done right
- Dream about bringing together best minds of our generation
- Marketing Funnels – Build Effective Pipeline & Increase Sales
- Phone Service Tools for Business Expansion
- Total addressable market (TAM)
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