The real estate market is has a lot of ups and downs and is dependent on multiple factors such as interest rates, economic environment and employment growth.
If you have decided to set up your own real estate agency and have not yet found a way to boost your business, consider implementing these strategies that will help you attract more potential clients and increase sales opportunities. Regardless of how the market is currently acting, novices as well as pros can apply many strategies that can drive the business forward.
You have to plan properly as a real estate agent to get your important tasks done without becoming a slave to your work or being distracted by unimportant details. Implementation of a communications campaign would require the same kind of preparation. You need to understand your industry and the competition in order to plan a marketing strategy properly, so you can detect opportunities.
It seems unbelievable that a decade has elapsed since the housing market collapsed and the economy fell into a serious crisis. In the fourth quarter of 2008 alone, housing prices fell by 12.4 percent, recording the largest year-on-year decline since they were being registered by the National Association of Realtors in 1979. In 2017, however, the economy regained much of what was lost due to an increase in housing prices by 11.4 percent relative to 2008.
Factors such as rapid urbanization due to migration in search of better facilities, growing demand for residential real estate space and economic growth in developing regions in countries such as India, China, and many African countries have improved income levels and helped the real estate market, according to a Grand View Research report.
Taking advantage of this market recovery, and applying effective marketing strategies to improve your business is a good move now and always. A good marketing plan will help you earn loyal customers and increase sales of your properties.
Offer tours of your properties online
Your potential customers will not want to waste time and will appreciate knowing as many details as possible before they visit one of your properties in person. Virtual tours are the best way to provide a complete and detailed view of the property and help potential customers get a real insight into the home in question.
Not only do you gain an advantage over your competitors who use photographs to show their properties, but you can also optimize your resources and time. In-person appointments will be much more successful for the customers as they will know the property in advance and will therefore be more interested and willing to make an offer as they want to schedule a visit.
Digital or virtual tours are created in numerous ways. Here are a few options from which you can choose to find something that best suits your needs, preferences and budget.
Creating 360o pictures or videos: This is essentially the same technology used in Google Maps Street View. These are interactive images which allow you to move the 360o camera frame to view everything from a fixed point in the environment. By linking your property’s recordings to 360o from different points, you can create a video and upload it to YouTube and then embed it into your website, or even share it on Facebook.
You need a 360o camera (easily available on the market for about $/€200) and a tripod to build the immersive tour experience. Many of these cameras can be operated from a free application which requires a few configuration steps and allows you to quickly and easily create videos or photographs.
You may even pay a specialist to do it for you if you don’t have the time or money to do it.
Create immersive virtual tours from 360o photographs with specific software: While the 360 videos you can upload to YouTube or Facebook are sequences of images linked one by one, there are tools like 3DVista or NockNock that add interactivity bonuses that allow your potential customers to move around the different space points at will and then you navigate your property using the floor plan. Take an example here:
Record a virtual tour with a drone: Another way to create a virtual tour is by using a small drone to record a video. Although this method is not immersive, filming with a drone allows you to capture seamless motion pictures of the surroundings and get a much more complete view of the room than a static photograph would provide. For this, you should recruit a video recording professional who deals with drones. Here is an example of the outcome:
Hold a webinar to generate leads
You’ve certainly heard of webinars, the free online video conferences where an expert offers valuable information on a particular topic in exchange for a name and an email address.
Webinars represent one of the main inbound marketing techniques. This is the type of marketing that occurs when a potential customer actively seeks a solution to a problem through a product or service, and willingly comes to your business. This is different from outbound marketing when you are pursuing customers who may not actively seek your services (think print advertisements, billboards and similar methods).
For example, Ascend 2 affirms that the second most effective type of premium content for marketers is among the lead generation tactics available on webinars.
Generating qualified leads is about getting the customers who are really involved in what you are selling to give their contact information, their name and email in general.
Additionally, webinars operate very well in B2B companies so if you devote yourself to the selling of commercial or industrial property, it can be an effective marketing strategy for real estate. More than 60 percent of B2B marketers use webinars as part of their content strategy, according to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute.
Below you can see an example of a webinar provided by Sente Mortgage which provides information on the most important steps to buy your first home. The company has created a clear landing page with the correct text for it, as you can see, so that the user understands what to expect from this webinar with a simple form:
A webinar can be used to attract potential customers to interact with your brand, and to demonstrate products to keep your customers up-to-date. It will take time and energy but you will be recognized by those who come to your webinar and you will be able to establish a relationship with them. When said prospects are ready to buy a property, this relationship will make up for the effort.
Tips to create an efficient webinar
Find a theme that appeals to your target audience: You need to know your potential customers very well and talk about subjects that might be of great interest to you and at the same time enable you to achieve your goals. For instance, someone who wants to buy a new house isn’t going to have the same concerns as someone who just bought one. Nor will a young couple make their first buy compared to an investor who wants to buy a new property. For example, for those seeking a property, a webinar titled “10 Things You Should Check Before Buying a New House” might be effective.
Promote the webinar over the weeks before publishing it: In a BrightTALK review, it has been shown that webinars are more effective when advertised in advance, typically three or four weeks before and during the day of the case.
Using email and social networks to advertise the webinars: According to a survey conducted by ReadyTalk, email has been ranked at a 4.46 as the main promotion method when viewed on a scale with ratings of one to five. As the second most used tool to promote webinars, social networks came in at 2,77 out of five. Below is an example of a webinar promoted by the real estate agency Tilt Property Group on Facebook:
Do not overdo the duration of your webinar: Although most webinars are 45 to 60 minutes, a BrightTALK report reveals that a webinar’s average viewing time is 22 minutes. So when making yours consider making shorter webinars.
Reserve a time for questions at the end of your webinar: The great advantage a live webinar offers — and what sets it apart from recorded videos — is the potential for interaction between the public and the expert. Save some time, in the end, to answer questions and doubts from the attendants to take advantage of this.
Publish the webinar on YouTube once it’s complete: A webinar doesn’t have to be content that’s throwaway. You can record your computer’s screen while shooting the webinar, and then upload it to YouTube or any other platform that enables you to host videos. Then embed it on your website and make it available to your clients and can help you to build your clients base. Your content gets even more exposure this way. You can also email the links to users who signed up for the webinar but were unable to participate. This is also a good way of renewing the relationship with them.
Your customer loyalty weapon: email marketing
According to a study by eMarketer, email marketing is the major driver of customer retention for 80 percent of marketers. So one of the main goals of any content marketing strategy is lead generation.
It’s a channel that gives users direct and personalized communication, allowing you to stay in the minds of your customers and continue to cultivate the relationship you have established with them. As sales and customer service expert Katherine Barchetti likes to say – gain a customer, not a sale. Don’t just focus on selling via the content in your emails, but on earning your subscribers trust.
Keep in mind that sending emails manually is impractical as the network is expanding. Marketing automation tools, such as MailChimp, can help you automate the process of sending basic emails, organize and segment your subscriber lists, create attractive emails in just a few minutes and easily send bulk emails.
To do so, connect your website’s subscription forms with the platform you select. To give you a clearer idea, the MailChimp interface and some of the automation options offered are shown below:
It is not only crucial to strategically plan the material that your emails will include when designing an email marketing campaign for real estate, but it is also essential to invest a portion of your time in deciding when and how often emails will be sent to the clients.
Make sure that you are present at the central real estate portals
Real estate portals invest heavily in digital ads and often target Google’s first page when someone searches, for example, “buy a house in X” or “X rental apartments” and are often the main contact points for buyers and sellers. As evidence of this, recent research in the United Kingdom found that over the last 12 months 47 percent of the population had used a site for real estate.
The bad part is that people usually don’t browse Google search results past the first page. In fact, the stats show that the first page takes at least 75 percent of the clicks, with 33 percent of the clicks taken from the first position. The good part is that you can join the enemy to gain more visibility within their platform and take advantage of their positioning.
Thus, real estate portals can be an excellent tool for any real estate agency or industry professional, since they give your brand visibility and allow you to display your property catalog beyond your website.
There are currently between 8,000 and 10,000 real estate portals around the world, according to Simon Baker, CEO of the REA Group and an investor in the industry for more than 16 years. These can be national, international or technical.
Simon Baker suggests the Trulia site if you are working in the United States and if you are in the UK you should not underestimate Rightmove. It’s about investigating which portals are the most valuable to you in your country:
Find out how many visits their pages receive, and how many properties they are hosting. You may research the company through media publications or use SimilarWeb to get details on their web traffic.
Discover if your target visits them. If it is a portal mainly dedicated to the rental of student apartments and you real estate business is dedicated to the selling of commercial properties, it will be time lost to post an advertisement therein.
Analyze the terms of service, fees and conditions. Decide which ones are best suited to your needs, and that will support your bottom line.
These techniques for real estate marketing are all viable options which can help you attract and retain clients and help your business grow.
Identify the target market
This is probably the number one strategy you can use as a real estate agent to become truly successful.
Many real estate brokers and businesses are focusing on a niche market and becoming a market expert. This gives you an understanding of what actually drives the consumer market, what challenges it entails and, most notably, where the short- and long-term demand is headed.
A real estate broker, for example, who knows the details of a new transportation or school project coming locally could change its marketing strategies accordingly.
Marketing expenses budget
Another big factor in successfully expanding your real estate business is developing and sticking to a marketing budget.
There are literally hundreds of ways to spend your dollars on ads, such as real estate websites, email marketing, social media marketing and postal marketing.
Your spending has to have foundation in the target audience. For instance, customers in the San Francisco bay area may need internet-based marketing, whereas customers in a rural area may need a different approach.
Establish a website and utilize social media
Regardless of the market, with the help of a professional website, you need to establish your presence on the Internet as well as dedicated accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. These are relatively cheap, with the potential for enormous outreach.
By paying for ad campaigns you can also market your business on search engines such as Google and Bing.
Encourage referrals and mouth-of-mouth
A lot of successful real estate agents generate multiple deals by referrals from previous clients. A potential buyer or seller appreciates a customer recommendation immensely.
For example, when you are recommended by a friend, colleague, or family, new customers are more confident choosing you as a real estate agent. By offering referral bonuses to the person who refers a new customer, you can always boost that approach.
We are living in a world which is moving much faster than ever before. Responding to customer queries is very important or you’ll risk losing new business.
You must always have access to email via a smartphone, and ensure that you respond as soon as possible to a customer request. In this business you can’t wait until the next day to answer. If you respond promptly it adds to your credibility and reputation.
Post a real estate newsletter
If you’re serious about your long-term success then you might consider publishing a weekly or monthly newsletter with updates on current mortgage rates, changes in real estate laws, homeownership benefits, how to develop a portfolio of real estate investment, local market health checks, and so on.
All existing and prospective customers would appreciate the insights from such a newsletter, as it shows your business knowledge and commitment.
Dispose of questions on the need to have a real estate agent
Disintermediation refers to the mindset in which clients wonder if they really need a real estate agent or not. Disintermediation marketing aims to convince such customers of the value a real estate professional offers to them.
You can educate the customers about the need for a real estate agent and lawyer during the sale or purchase of a house or piece of land via your website or marketing channels.
Strategize for success
Whether you are a real estate agent or a real estate developer, you will need a business plan for the development of immovable properties. That is going to set you up for success. With the help of a real estate planning business plan, you will manage your costs, contingencies and other risks.
Many people fail without that planning when they work in a vacuum. For example, with the aid of a well-documented business plan, you can plan your budget for next year’s real estate marketing strategies.
Grow brand awareness
Much as a major name businesses, the real estate company always needs to aim to grow its own identity. It could be under your name, or under the name of your company. Any real estate sales strategy you are applying must bear in mind that concept.
People often wonder how to get into real estate sales, and how to build a business successfully. The answer lies in planning to develop a brand name and using it for years to market the business.
It takes effort and time to develop a successful real estate business. You should follow closely and faithfully the strategies mentioned in this article since they are worth your effort.
Success does not come from unplanned, random acts of work; rather, it comes from developing and following a plan.