When it comes to digital marketing in real estate, we’ve seen a lot of new ‘things’ this year. From the developments in Facebook Advertising tools for promoting properties to the launch of countless agent comparison sites and property portals. It can be easy to be seduced by shiny new platforms and tools that promise to deliver more leads to agents, more often.
Something that our team have been focusing on heavily this year is educating agents on how to have less of a reliance on other platforms for new business opportunities. It’s something that we’re super passionate about and from the exciting results we’re seeing with our own clients or agents who have attended our training in 2017 and have implemented the key learnings themselves, it’s a mission we’ll push even harder next year.
On this episode of Real Estate Pros, we share three digital marketing must-haves for agents in 2018 that will deliver you more leads, more referrals and less of a reliance on other platforms for new business opportunities.
1. Your own website
The continued rise of our major portals and sites like agent review or comparison platforms has meant that agents are being pressured even further on commissions. Not only that, but as more of these platforms become focused primarily on lead generation and spend millions of advertising dollars targeting homeowners across Australia, agents are essentially being forced to use these platforms for new business opportunities because it’s where the audience is.
Studies have shown consistently that home-sellers believe selecting an agent is one of the most stressful parts of selling their property. So by making it easier for consumers, these platforms will continue to remain front of mind in the real estate transaction.
Having your own agent website, with your own domain name, means that you are a lot more visible online to home-sellers. But by driving traffic to your website from other digital channels, you’re also gaining something from home-sellers that you don’t get on those other platforms – their full and undivided attention. That my friends is the greatest competitive weapon in digital marketing today.
Never forget, when you’re building a presence on someone else’s platform, social media included, you’re playing under someone else’s rules, and they can change the rules whenever they like.
The further into 2018 you get without having your own website, the more reliant you could become on other platforms for new business opportunities.
2. Regular content
If you think about how media companies generate revenue from their websites, they of course make money from advertising. But they’ll never convince someone to advertise on their website without a promise of traffic. Lots of traffic and eyeballs on the advertisers product. But the most crucial element to a media company’s revenue is what drives traffic in the first place – content. Regular content. Content that people actually want to go and consume on that website. Your website should be no different.
What content are you putting out on the web that people actually want to consume – on mass? Either in textual form or video?
Is your website or social channels full of posts just about yourself, your listings or the awards you’ve won? I’m not saying those things aren’t important – they can certainly be helpful for people who are in the market to sell a property right now. But what are you putting out there for people who are 1, 2 or 5 years away from selling? That audience accounts for a much larger proportion of your local area. Unfortunately, we forget that sometimes in real estate and we focus on trying to find only the people who are thinking of selling right now.
Make sure you’re thinking about homeowners when you’re creating content for your website and social media channels in 2018, not just home-sellers.
3. An email list
Despite what some might tell you, email is certainly not dead. Countless studies into email marketing have shown that it outperforms social media by a long shot when it comes to which channel drives the most revenue for businesses worldwide as well as which channel that people prefer to receive marketing messages from brands.
One such study by Exact Target, a Salesforce company, found that 66% of consumers said they made a purchase as the result of a marketing message from an email, versus just 20% on social media.
But most convincingly, when you send someone an email, they’re going to get it. They may not open it, but they are most likely going to receive it in their inbox. This is certainly not the case on social media where it’s pay-to-play on virtually every channel.
Gone are the days where you post something on social media and all of your followers see it. You can boost your posts which will certainly help with that. But still, not all of your followers are likely going to get it. With email, you can communicate with a group of people at a very low cost, if not for free, and you’re guaranteed they’re going to receive what you’re sending them.
Let’s get one thing straight though, we’re not talking about buying email lists or taking our entire database and spamming people with stuff they didn’t ask for in the first place – the people taking this approach are the ones who will tell you that email is dead. What we are talking about, is building an email list from open homes or getting people to subscribe to your content on your own website whereby you can communicate with them consistently over time – educating them on the market, local news, interesting local stories and property trends.
Take one of Australia’s leading agents for example, Ben Collier from The Agency in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Ben’s weekly article that he publishes to his website is read by thousands of homeowners who have subscribed via his website to receive it in their inbox each week.
Not only that, some of Australia’s leading real estate journalists and media also subscribe to Ben’s weekly email and when they need a comment on the Sydney market, guess who they’re calling.
Email is one of the cheapest, yet most effective marketing channels in business today for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned but as long as the content you’re putting in your emails is:
a) Something that people have actually asked to get from you
b) The content is educational, entertaining or hopefully both
c) It’s consistent – same time, same day, same frequency
So there you have it.
Our three digital marketing must-haves for 2018. Is there anything else you’d add into the mix? Let us know. Leave a comment