Real estate digital marketing possesses its own unique challenges to overcome. However, much like the highly tailored approaches other industries have developed, it can be done successfully for real estate too.
If you are a real estate agent, competition is the name of the game. Anything to give you an edge in the market will only increase your earning potential. Reaching your goals through nontraditional means in a time-honored and very established industry may seem daunting. It will require careful strategic planning. But with the entire population on the internet, real estate digital marketing is the only logical next step.
In the real estate industry, salesmanship is everything. No matter what your definition of salesmanship is, marketing should be an extension of your skill set. Adapting to the digital shift in the marketing landscape should be priority when honing your craft.
What you already know & What you don’t in Real Estate Marketing
As a real estate agent, you are already versed with your local competition. You know that you are catering to a specific demographic of people that are or will become prospective home buyers. You also know that your business depends on your knowledge of the community and how invested you are into putting yourself out there.
What you should be made aware of is that a majority of people are flocking online to do their own research. With the abundance of listing services and home scouting sites, there has been a shift in the traditional paradigm. You have to fight harder than ever for a client’s business in the current landscape.
Now while this may not be news to a seasoned real estate agent as yourself, keeping up with real estate digital marketing trends in an ongoing development process. Trends are by definition, organic entities that will constantly progress.
With that said, the shift to the online medium will not completely require a complete tear down of what you hold to be true in marketing. More so, you will just need to understand new tools and philosophies going forward.
This is why we are here to help guide your crafting of a successful real estate digital marketing strategy.
Define Your Goals
Now, your first priority when developing your real estate digital marketing strategy is to assess what your goals are. Only then can you make an effective plan of attack. Your business goals should be focal points when devising your marketing strategy.
A hallmark of a business goal is how achievable it is. Now, there are two main components to an achievable goal:
- Your goals are specific.
- They are also measurable.
Being specific means the difference between ‘driving business growth’ and ‘generating prospective leads in my locale.’ Vague goals don’t do you any favors, so find what it is exactly you are trying to achieve going forward.
Being measurable, both in time and business metric, is another important factor to define your goals by. Unrealistic goals are rarely attained. Everybody wants to be successful in their industry, especially in a highly competitive one such as real estate. To help combat this, take a magnifying glass to your strategy and change ‘generating prospective leads in my locale’ to ‘generating 10 prospective leads in my locale this month.’
Take the granular approach to your business strategy and break it into manageable pieces.
If you are unsure of how, that’s okay. Our marketing playbook might help you realize pain points that can be remedied by an effective real estate digital marketing strategy.
You are probably already aware of the logic behind the sales funnel. It starts at the awareness stage. Then interested clients you engage become leads. Then you nurture them towards becoming prospective clients in the decision stage. Finally, you close the deal by converting them into a sale.
Although we can’t help you close the sale, we can help you build the foundation for gaining traffic. And help you guide prospects through the decision making process. It starts with establishing yourself online.
After you have laid the groundwork for your platforms, you need to make the magic happen. This is where you create value through a content marketing strategy. Think blogs, eBooks, polls, pictures, videos.
When it comes to honing your real estate digital marketing strategy, what matters is that you have persistence. You won’t get a huge following overnight. But keep in mind that you are designing a funnel for the future.
Because people would rather do their own research rather than immediately flock towards a real estate agent, you need to get their attention through other means. This means they need to find you on their playing ground.
Real estate agents know this fact best:
You are the brand.
What better way to establish your brand than through highly public social media profiles. Not only will you be using your social media accounts to interact with your real and digital community, but others will turn to social media to find out more information about their potential real estate agent.
No matter what kind of real estate agent you are, your consumers are active on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Having a social media presence will gain you credibility by individuals being able to connect a real person to your business. It will also help you gain traction through content marketing on multiple platforms.
Here are a handful of social media tips for real estate digital marketing:
- Educating your clients through quality blog articles
- Directly chatting with your followers to listen to their thoughts
- Promote your community, not just yourself.
- Sharing videos. People are much more likely to view videos if presented through social media. Live video is even better.
- Augmented reality and virtual reality are two of the latest technologies that you can take advantage of when you’re in the real estate industry. Augmented reality is like the popular game Pokemon Go wherein it projects digital images and turn it into real-life like environment. Virtual reality, on the other hand, gives the users a 360 degree view. Both of these give potential buyers a quick view and virtual tour thus increasing the chances of them being converted.
Having active social media accounts boosts your online presence which does wonders for your website’s SEO.
Your Website and IDX
Your website is going to be the face of your online business. Social media and third party content platforms are important. But these are all in place to funnel people towards your website.
With nearly ¾ of home buyers using a mobile device to scout homes, you do not want to miss the mark with having a poorly optimized website for mobile. Not to mention how this will bite you in the back when it comes to SEO. Sometimes it’s not enough for your theme to be, ‘mobile optimized.’ Do the due diligence and run through your mobile site to see it from your client’s eyes.
You want your website to reflect yourself. Because real estate is all about captivating the buyer think about including quality photography on your website. A picture is worth a thousand words. So you don’t want to come across as a spammy, crowded site with information overload. In fact, MOST realty websites employ this tactic. While you shouldn’t just go with the flow in a highly competitive market, pick apart some design cues that have become the standard.
Using photography of your community or listed properties is a great way to show off your catalog of work.
Notice something else these websites have in common?
They all employ some form of IDX. IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. It covers a broad range of practices. But typically refers to that software you see being utilized on all the examples above. It gives your website functionality and a reason for clients to keep coming back to reference properties.
IDX is a great way to get people into your sales pipeline by storing their searched information. And you can also gain prospective clients by asking for their information before using the software. The biggest use case for IDX is integrating your MLS listings into a property search feature.
It has become an industry standard and you are only hurting yourself by not incorporating it. In fact, it has become so expected that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have actually laid down guidelines for how it can be implemented. Of course you should contact your MLS for their specific policies before integrating them into your website.
Some guidelines include:
- Only posting listing’s where the seller has indicated they wish to be listed on an IDX.
- You must keep your IDX up to date.
- Supplying non-participatory third parties with listings and info from the IDX
- Providing false information to the IDX that is not in line with the MLS.
- Failing to adhere to MLS policies and listing properties not approved by the MLS or the listing broker.
Another thing to think about when employing data harvesting strategies is springing for an SSL certificate so that your URL is https vs http. It benefits your SEO and also lets users know your website is secure to share information with.
If web design isn’t your forte, think about recruiting a web design company to help you craft a beautiful website that will captivate buyers.
Technical implementation can be challenging, and we know you have a ton on your plate. We, at LYFE Marketing, have industry specialists that can help guide your real estate digital marketing journey. We have worked with a variety of clients in the real estate industry. And we’d be glad to help you realize your goals through stellar web design.
Because most home buyers/sellers will start their respective real estate processes with a Google search, SEO is an area where you will need to pay special attention. The internet is where your competition lies and the search engine results page (SERP) is your playing field.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on a SERP and gains more visibility. SEO is not a one size fits all approach and it is an ongoing process.
The basic philosophy behind SEO is nearly the same as that behind real estate digital marketing in general. The more helpful content relevant to the search the higher your blogs and website will rank on the results page.
It can be likened to a metric of online presence through credible backlinks and quality web pages. It is a blend of your website’s technical performance with the search engine and the trustworthiness of your site.
SEO also hinges on performing keyword research. You need to know what your audience is searching for specifically. Because your audience will be local and more specific, you will have an easier time targeting your intended demographic. You are trying to balance high volume and low competition with relevancy.
Here are just a few more effective ways to boost your SEO:
- Posting quality articles that provide quality content relevant to a specific keyword search. Do not saturate your articles with spam or overuse of keywords.
- Making sure your site has no dead end links or unreachable pages.
- Associating your social media accounts with your website. Make sure contact info stays consistent and you are cross pollinating content.
- Making sure your website is mobile friendly. Google is moving towards a mobile first algorithm because most traffic on the internet is coming from mobile devices.
- Have responsive page loading times. This contributes to a higher bounce rate and will frustrate any visitors into leaving.
SEO is a specialty within itself that is very dynamic. However, if you put the time and dedication into auditing your site and posting quality content, you will reap the fruits of your labor in due time. Constantly evaluate what you can be doing to drive traffic to your website. Here is an article on some best practices you can start to incorporate into your website.
If you think you need help with the technical aspects of SEO, or would like to talk about a website audit, reach out to us at LYFE Marketing. We offer a suite of real estate SEO services to help you drive more traffic to your website and craft an effective real estate digital marketing strategy.
While optimizing your website for the best search engine ranking will definitely help your case, you probably want a more targeted approach. You don’t want just anyone visiting your site. You want to target relevant, local traffic.
Google Analytics provides a comprehensive report on who is visiting your site. Through their tool you can see if you are actually reaching an audience within your town.
Optimizing for local SEO should be priority because this people will most likely be your prospective clients. To accomplish this, you need to establish a digital relationship between your location and your online assets.
There are a few ways to go about this:
- List your areas of operation on your website. Think about including an address or even embed a map. (If your territory is larger than average, you may want to refrain from being too specific. It could bottleneck results.)
- Make sure addresses across all platforms are exactly the same. This will eliminate confusion for the user and also the ranking algorithms.
- Include your city and target locations as keywords you rank for. This is especially helpful because prospective clients will surely make the search at some point, ‘real estate agents in [your location].’
- Get your past clients to leave testimonials on your website and social media. This not only builds credibility, but satisfied customers are more likely to refer you.
Let me preface by saying that online advertisements should not be the sole focus of your digital marketing strategy. But it would be remiss not to include them on this topic. They are a costlier and shorter term method than building your online portfolio. But they can still be effective.
Let’s start with how they work. For platforms like Google Ads you will be paying a cost per click to appear in the sponsored ads section for a specific keyword search. This is a highly competitive market within itself, but thankfully SEO does not work on a CPC basis.
Social media also offers similar ad pricing structures. Facebook and Instagram use a cost per 1,000 impressions method which focuses more on awareness than conversion. LinkedIn offers CPC and CPM pricing structures depending on your preference.
Because these are paid structures, you need to know where your marketing budget is going. Know that the ROI will be significantly less than previously discussed methods. But paid advertisements can be part of a larger real estate digital marketing strategy.
You need to know your demographics and how they will view your ad on every platform.
Ask yourself questions like:
Would you consider clicking on a real estate ad on a Google SERP?
Are home buyers more likely to be on Instagram or LinkedIn?
At the end of the day, it is up to you whether or not you want to incorporate ads into your digital marketing budget, but just know that it is an option.
How Blogging Fits into your Real Estate Digital Marketing Strategy
Traditional marketing hinges on sales pitches and quick interrupters to gain your attention. In the age of digital marketing where people can quickly wade through hundreds of websites and real estate agents, the cream will rise to the top. The modern age of marketing is all about providing value and gaining customer trust.
One of the most notable benefits of content marketing is becoming a figurehead in your industry. When it comes to real estate you should not only become a figurehead in your industry but also in your community.
For most people, buying a house or a piece of real estate is a very important decision in their lives. It is usually the product of a lot of careful thought and planning, so you are unlikely to gain a ton of traffic through simple advertisements.
When it comes to boosting your digital presence, content marketing through blogging provides some of the longest term results.
It also helps by your business by making you take an introspective approach to research topics in your industry.
Through writing and curation of informative thought pieces, you can garner a following of prospective home buyers. More often than not, you develop this audience long before your followers are even in the market to buy a home. Your current business plan most likely incorporates some sort of pipeline or lead generation system. So think of this as another piston in the engine.
Here are a few topics for example:
- Here’s what to do If Your Tenant Abandons your Property
- 10 Things You Probably Haven’t Thought of When Buying a Home
- Why [Your Location]’s Housing Market in on the Up and Coming
- Checklist of Priorities When Finding a Real Estate Agent
The list is endless, but you get the point. Try to find a balance between your audiences as well. More research focused articles will be geared towards fellow movers and shakers in your industry. Articles that showcase your expertise would be especially beneficial in the commercial real estate realm.
Community and home buying articles will probably cater towards a consumer demographic. It’s up to you to decide what sort of image you want to portray. But know that creating intellectual value is what matters when blogging. It’s an after-hours approach to traditional sales methods.
Now, building a content portfolio isn’t the only cog in the digital marketing wheel. You need to understand the platforms you should be active on and how to promote yourself using those tools. If you want a more in depth guide on how blogging will be your best friend for real estate digital marketing, check out this article on how to capture more leads and gain clients.
Nurture Your Clients
In this industry who you know is everything. Networking has, as you’ve probably guessed, also moved online. Not to say that traditional methods are out of style, but you are more likely to be sent a lead from a loyal client through social media.
A good salesperson knows that the follow up is crucial to maintaining good relations with clients, new and old. When on average, a majority of an agent’s business is through networking and referrals, its pertinent to maintain relations with past clients.
You never know when their friend, relative, or coworker will be in the market for a home. Thankfully, if you’ve maintained your website and social media, you are going to be within arm’s reach.
You can accomplish this in a variety of ways, and you probably already have some implemented into your current strategy. But one of the most effective is through email marketing.
Email marketing is a very high ROI approach, and you can make it even more effective using client data.
- It starts with improving your database of clients. You need to clean it up by segmenting them into groups depending on what stage of the home buying process they are in.
- Identify the levels of engagement across your clients and make a definitive priority list.
- Employ drip campaigns to raise levels of interest. Send newsletters and informationals to mildly interested subscribers. But maybe send offers and listings to people you know who are in the market.
Once you have identified who you want to nurture, send them relevant content. You can even integrate your database into automating the process for you, taking on a bulk of the heavy work. Once you have been sending out emails, you need to reanalyze your metrics.
- If an email has a low open rate, you know that the timing or the headline content is not relevant to the person.
- If you have a high open rate but a low click through rate, your content may be missing the mark and needs to be reworked.
- If you have both a high open and click through rate, think about reusing the strategies that are working.
Email marketing is a great way to nurture clients. But like most real estate digital marketing tactics it will take time and optimization to follow through.
Real estate digital marketing isn’t unlike other industries. But it definitely comes with some of its own quirks. Your digital marketing goals should revolve around establishing an online presence to gather a following and then guide people down your sales funnel.
You should be branching out as much as possible to all platforms. Make sure your social media is active and up to date. Make sure your website is accessible and optimized for traffic. Nurture your clients through providing value in the form of content marketing. Follow up and provide more value through email. Accomplish all of this and you will be well on your way to a lead generating real estate digital marketing strategy.
The only way to get all of this going is to start today! Your future self will thank you.
If you think you need expertise gaining traffic, or want to automate your digital presence, contact LYFE Marketing. We offer a variety of services to help you establish yourself online, as well as services tailored specifically for real estate. From real estate search engine optimization, to social media management services, to content creation from industry specialists, we are here to help you achieve this year’s goal.