In the real estate business, success depends on plenty of factors, but effective marketing strategies are (or should be) top of the list. In our day and time, if you want to jumpstart your real estate business you need more than a good list of contacts and potential clients. You need to master online marketing and use the internet to its maximum potential to get ahead and stay ahead of everyone else, as the competition is fierce and others have decades of experience before you.
1. Use the Latest Instagram Features for Campaigns
Hire a professional photographer specialized in home interiors, architecture and landscaping. It may cost you, but snapping a picture with your phone and having a photographer capture light, atmosphere and beauty to sell are two completely different things. Real estate is visual, and people will listen to your pitch if they like what they see. Instagram Layout, Stories, and Hyperlapse are a good starting point for some memorable Instagram campaigns.
2. Make a Viral Video
There is endless talk about viral content and how exactly to create it, but the point is to test and tweak some videos until you hit the jackpot. In real estate, this gets translated into promoting a video that showcases a property, a company or a realtor using engaging and emotionally powerful content to generate social interactions. In short, this is what you need to think about:
- Humor – if you remember the Money Pit movie you have a good starting point.
- Creativity – showcase a property or the company in a creative way. See what your competitors do and improve on that.
- Length – your real estate video should be short. Most viral videos are under 5 minutes and easy to re-watch.
- Provocation – try to spark an emotion or a reaction by adding a drop of controversy or mixing two ideas that apparently don’t match. This is a trick used in psychology: people tend to view and share content that baffles them.
- Promotion – use all your social media platforms to promote your video.
3. Send Well Crafted Newsletters
In real estate, 75% of business comes from referrals and approaching clients (past, present and future) directly. However, people don’t read (and actually mark as SPAM) emails that try to sell them something. Heavy-rotating topics like “new home listings” and “low-interest rates” actually makes people run away.
- A newsletter email should be entertaining, fun to read, filled with useful and actionable information.
- It should be visually attractive and impeccably executed.
- It should feature a catchy subject line – we are not talking about clickbait, but headlines and titles that match your customers’ interests.
- It should contain contact and social information that is easy to see and share.
- It should contain plenty of calls to action – not in the sales department but in the referrals, contacting and sharing department.
Try some A/B testing with your newsletters and see which ones perform better in terms of lead generation.
4. Use Polls and Surveys to Get to Your Customers
People tend to engage with a business if they feel they are valued. In real estate, this means getting real feedback from your customers on your services, the company, and the traded properties. Moreover, polling and surveying clients gives you good insights on what they are really looking for in a property or realtor.
- Create short polls (no more than 20 questions) to learn who your leads are and what they want.
- Create catchy titles for your polls and surveys making people want to answer your questions and share the polls with their social network.
- Always publish the results of your polls – this is a two-way marketing strategy translating into two shareable pieces of content.
- Use the information you received to improve on your services – this means valuing your customers’ feedback.
5. Get Reviews and Real Testimonies from Real People
Do you believe those “testimonies” many companies feature on their landing pages with quotes from John and Jim? Not many people do, as they can be fabricated in minutes. Get real reviews and keep clients talking about properties, services and even low-interest rates with the help of reliable and highly reputed platforms.
Yelp, Zillow, and Google+ are just the tip of the iceberg. Qualified referrals and verified assessments tend to convert into sales – just take Amazon or TripAdvisor as examples. As an extra tip, always answer to these reviews – 53% of people report that a direct message, an answer or a publicly debated issue from a company increases their trust in that company and convinced them to engage in future business with it.
6. Learn SEO for Real Estate
This is also an endless topic that generates debates at any given time, but what you should know is that SEO is not only about your great real estate related blog posts containing well researched key words and impeccable visuals. SEO is also about featured listings and metadata, including tags and descriptions, URL structure, the use of headings and subheadings, pictures’ optimization, use of synonyms, title tags, and outbound links, interlinking and so on.
SEO is not the easiest sport to engage in, but there are plenty of tutorials and content building strategies tailored for startups and beginner entrepreneurs that can be easily replicated and enhanced.
7. Give People what they want via Social Media
People may be looking to buy a home, but beyond your pitch and their money, there is a wide area involving emotions, needs, secret wishes, and unrelated interests. So if you want to use social media to attract customers and sign the papers, try some of these ideas:
- The 80-20 rule says that what you share on social media shouldn’t be about your business, but about things that are relevant to your audience.
- Share upcoming events in an area of your business interest with your social network.
- Announce the opening of a new venue in a certain neighborhood and even give it an honest review.
- Share local news in areas of interest and get people engaged in conversation.
- Speak about other businesses in the area that might be compelling to customers in search for a specific product or service.
- Share tips and tricks related to local traffic in an area, best hours to walk the dog in the park, most popular coffee-to-go shops for commuters and so on.
The idea is to get popular, liked and friendly, not to boost Facebook posts with every single apartment you want to rent.
8. Automate Your Social Media Activity
As a real estate business owner, you probably don’t have time to spend on social networks hunting for relevant news, funny videos and local tips to share with your audience. This is one problem all beginner entrepreneurs have: they know they should spend days and hours on marketing, but they need to actually run their businesses.
Automation comes as an answer in this case. Take an hour a week and find the hottest and trendiest articles on your niche: Google Trends for news and editorials, Buzzsumo for social media successful posts and Buffer to schedule such buzz-generating content pieces on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or G+.
9. Work with Influencers
As a small business owner, it is probably hard to get endorsed by a celebrity, but you can still find a local popular person, like a well-respected businessman or a friendly journalist to back-up your agency. Again, they shouldn’t sell anything to anybody, but offer you public support and build on your reputation as a professional and a person. If the local community trusts the influencer, they will tend to trust you even more.
10. Show Some Things behind the Scenes
This is a very popular approach in content marketing and in real estate it may be your golden ticket to success. People trust what they see and trust even more people who show them things instead of telling things. Use YouTube or Vimeo videos to show how a house is built for instance. Show a team of interior designers vamp up a place.
Use Facebook Live streams to let audiences take a sneak peek at a property’s backyard and landscape. Offer them live video tours instead of virtual ones and show them tips, tricks, building methods, infrastructure and so on. You can set up a Facebook Live stream campaign or boost your viral videos strategy with “how it’s made”-type of video content.
As we said, marketing isn’t an exact science, but in real estate it can be a powerful tool to use to stand out of the pack and really make a difference.
Author: Martin Laird is a financial analyst and a business consultant, whose main objective is to help people on their path towards professional acclaim. He is also a regular advisor for Snell & Snell, one of the top real-estate agencies in Fulham area.