BUILD A BETTER DIGITAL MARKETING MOUSETRAP TO SELL MORE HOMES
Question: Why is the game “Mousetrap” like generating real estate leads through digital marketing? (OK, we’re assuming that everyone, at some time, has played the ultra-popular Rube Goldberg-style kids game. If not, Google it, then keep reading.)
- Mousetrap has a lot of moving parts. A digital marketing strategy is comprised of many different tasks and tactics.
- Mousetrap looks quite complicated, but when you break it down, the individual components are more manageable. A digital marketing campaign’s components can be overwhelming, but when properly orchestrated, they simply work.
- Mousetrap has a single goal: to capture the mouse. For this discussion, your digital real estate marketing should focus on using various tactics to capture and nurture sales leads. Ultimately, that means increasing qualified website traffic, encouraging social media engagement and pumping up the number of visits to your new home community or sales models.
As a homebuilder or master-planned community builder, you’re involved with a very high stakes game of attracting and capturing the best prospects for your properties. We’d like to guide you through the myriad components that you can employ to help sell more homes. Is it a better mousetrap? Based on our track record…probably.
WHY PLAY THE DIGITAL MARKETING GAME? THE STATS DON’T LIE.
Based on the following statistics from the National Association of Realtors, here’s why generating real estate leads through digital marketing is critical to your company’s growth:
- The vast majority of home buyers (except those 67-87) are almost 3X more likely to go online first
- 52% of first-time buyers begin their search online
- 90% of all home buyers use online resources to find a home
- 75% of all senior home buyers search online for a home
- 47% of first-time buyers use the Internet to search for a home
- 77% of first-time buyers drove by a home they saw online
KNOW YOUR MARKET AND TARGET AUDIENCE
Before we get too gaga over going digital to generate real estate leads, let’s do a little refresher on the basics of market and audience. After all, it all about who’s buying what, where and for how much. With that said, building a better sales and marketing mousetrap begins with market research that helps you:
- Develop a buyer profile
- Conduct customer and prospect surveys
- Create a marketing strategy that will attract the target buyer
This is your marketing blueprint and the foundation of your real estate marketing strategy. Do it right from the start, or your prospects may never find their way to the cheese.
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IMPROVE YOUR SEARCH RANKINGS
There are many tactics to employ to get found online. What’s the “cheese” that will help you attract more leads? Certainly blogging is near the top of the list. According to HubSpot, the marketing automation platform, consistent, well-written business blogs pull in 6-9X more organic search versus no blogging. By the way, your reading this Simply180 blog is testimony to our commitment to blogging for our clients and ourselves. For those who can’t keep up the required pace, guest blogging and using third-party blogs can be an effective tactic. Of course there’s nothing better than home grown!
Another tool available to marketers is PPC (Pay Per Click), which works in harmony with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to measure the effectiveness of your organic (or natural) keywords. This, in turn, provides a rich source of campaign data on who’s buying (or at least interested in buying) what.
LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION (BASED ADVERTISING).
People buy homes where they want to live. Hence, people tend to hover around where they want to live. While these don’t seem like earth-shaking statements, they do reinforce the need for generating leads and sales through location-based marketing and advertising.
At it’s most basic, location-based advertising and marketing is, to continue our analogy, placing the cheese in close proximity to the mouse. Generally (and physically) linked to smart phones and mobile devices, location-based marketing provides relevant and timely offers to potential buyers physically near your properties. This tactic is already being used in retail, alerting customers and prospects about special opportunities right where they are.
In real estate, homebuilders can now gain visibility for their properties and developments through placement on various geo-location applications like Waze, Facebook and Apple Maps Connect. Basically, when prospective homebuyers are out “casing the neighborhood,” they may see advertisements online or perhaps get notifications within a mobile app. They may see developments on mapping apps or get notifications of open houses or special builder’s offers. The fact is this is the ultimate in timely, targeted marketing!
HOME IN ON LEAD NURTURING
Homes are seldom impulse buys. The sales cycle is longer and it takes a combination of brand building, education and salesmanship to close a deal. Providing positive stories about your company’s brand and educating home buyers about their purchase is critical to
your real estate marketing plan. Among the tactics best suited to educating buyers and staying top of mind is highly targeted email campaigns (including, eNewsletter offers) and social media marketing (especially blogs and posts). Encouraging feedback and engaging in dialogs with prospective home buyers is a great way to nurture leads, build relationships and, ultimately, make sales.
SOCIAL MEDIA: PERSON-TO-PERSON POTENTIAL
Real estate developers have been among the earliest adapters of social and digital media to sell homes and build their brands. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter each bring unique tactics to the real estate marketing plan.
For instance, Facebook offers the most robust set of targeting and measurement features available, in large part, through Facebook Advertising. (Note: see Simply180’s eBook on the topic.) Instagram, which is a great platform for photo collages and video, is also a great social platform to build sales. – locally, nationally and internationally. But like the game of Mousetrap, they have many moving parts which must be monitored, measured and acted upon to snag potential buyers. Great for its intimacy and urgency (Posts don’t live here very long), Snapchat is thought to be gaining gaining on the other platforms. And Twitter has its own powerful, newsmaking affect and ability to create dialogs that can lead to property sales.
PAID ADVERTISING: HOLD THE CHEESE, BROKERS. YOU MAY NEED TO PAY FOR IT.
If you think you can do it all with free lunches, think again. As we’ve shown, there are many ways to leverage “free media,” but don’t rule out paid adverting.
One of the most effective – and measurable – tools is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, because these campaign are easy to launch (generally requiring a minimum of art and copy) and manage, offer great tracking and measurement. (After all, as the name describes you are paying for results. Not necessarily sales, but certainly leads!) PPC advertising may come through a variety of digital media, including banner ads and accompanying lead gen offers. Of course, creating an effective PPC campaign may be a task for a digital agency like Simply180.
THE UNIQUELY POWERFUL ADVANTAGE OF RETARGETING
Many potential homebuyers are both irritated and intrigued by the digital ability to remind (err, retarget) them of their recent trip to a sales office or developer’s website. Yes, retargeting is all about persistence – and persistence is part of selling homes and communities.
Selling or buying a home can take a minimum of three months on average – fairly long sales cycle when compared to other industries. Retargeting is particularly effective because it’s all about a basic yet important real estate marketing tactic: persistent targeting of prospects. Retargeting is based on trackable behavioral data and provides a consistent reminder of why homebuyers visited your website or your community in the first place.
The Lure of Video Production and Distribution
Right out of the gate, we’ve got to say that we are big-time proponents of using video in real estate sales and development. We’ve done it successfully with our clients, and written about it in some detail in own our blog. (Check out 5 Reasons Why Video Should Come Standard with Your Content Marketing Strategy.)
Those five reasons include:
- Video content will boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Video provides better engagement.
- There are more and more channels to distribute company videos.
- Videos are meant to – and most likely to – be shared.
- Video has a very high lead conversion rate
As you determine your own involvement in video, keep in mind that, according to Outbrain, 87% of online marketers use video content.
THE POWER OF REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS
Because a home is usually the largest investment people make, the builder’s or developer’s reputation is critical to home sales. Nothing better builds a reputation – and a brand – than the testimonial of a legitimate, satisfied customer.
Testimonials and reviews – both good and bad are easily shared through digital resources. Some are provided by developers and builders themselves; others find themselves on third party sites like Houzz.com, which, many feel, have even more credibility. Good or bad, part of any real estate marketing plan is to both generate valid testimonial and respond to poorer ones. Speaking of less than glowing reviews, the ability to acknowledge and respond to poor reviews has a huge upside: if your response is rapid, sincere and action-based, you may turn a harsh critic into a brand advocate!
DON’T GET TRAPPED IN COMPLEXITY
No question, digital marketing done right can be a cost-effective and highly measurable component of your real estate marketing strategy, compared to traditional advertising. Tracking home sales and lead conversions by channel helps brokers, home builders and developers allocate budgets and efforts to the best-performing platforms and channels.
Selling more homes requires a cohesive, integrated and simplified approach. One marketing channel will not help you get the reach or impact you want. Too many components can create the chaos of a Mousetrap Game. Managing the process and maintaining order to target prospects and convert leads to sales requires the experience of an organization like Simply180.
Feel free to engage us in a preliminary discussion about your new home community or property marketing.