2020 has shown us that digital is here to stay. As digital continues to grow as the preferred medium for real estate marketing, it’s important that realtors know how to leverage the various online marketing tools. Consumers are searching for properties online now more than ever and it’s time to get real estate digital marketing right with this complete guide for 2021.
Thanks to digital marketing, a homebuyer's journey from discovery to purchase, has become less time-consuming, more informative and well-fragmented. It has also enabled digital marketers to target their audience better and increase the conversion ratio. Here's a quick look at the different stages in a buyer's journey.
Stage 1 : This is the Awareness Stage.
A buyer is out there with a set of preferences looking for his/her home. As a brand, it is important you meet your potential buyer halfway. To achieve this, it is important to execute search ads with relevant keywords, which will help the ads feature in the top three list.
Google search ads are an excellent way of making a powerful first impression.
Many times, people already know your brand and search using its name. However, if that's not the case, then it's your job to reach out to them while they're browsing.
Stage 2 : We're now in the Discovery Stage.
You’ve already made an introduction. It is now time to entice your potential buyer with informative & educational content about your project.
At the same time, have an omnipresent CTA in the form of an online booking tab or a call now/enquire now button.
Stage 3 : Next comes the Consideration stage.
From this point onwards, the journey can split into outcomes. The first outcome is quite straightforward – the user contacts you directly using the CTA you've provided.
The second outcome is that, after visiting your landing page, the user may not take any action. But this still gives you a lot to work with. This is where your remarketing strategy comes into play and helps you garner a response from these users, thus turning them into leads eventually.
Stage 4 : Next up, we're now in the Analysis stage.
Here, the user has shortlisted you as one of their potential purchases and is a hot lead for your sales team. In this stage, you have the users' phone numbers & email addresses to work with.
It is important that you educate your leads on how they can make the purchase. If your properties are under construction, you can talk about the Benefits of investing in an under-construction property such as comparatively lower cost, more room for customisation, etc.
Apart from this, you can also talk about what your customers can expect in your after-sales services. One of the top priorities in this stage is to have your leads schedule a site visit (multiple if necessary). The content in emailers & SMS must have a CTA for scheduling the same along with a limited period offer to help create a sense of urgency. E.g. discounts, attractive giveaways, Benefits of visiting the site etc.
Stage 5 : Finally, we're in the purchase & loyalty stage.
This is where you make a successful sale. However, it's not the end of the line for you! Now's the time you share your customer's positive buying experience with the world. This is done with the help of customer testimonials and can be published on your landing page, social media handles and in your other content offerings as well.
You can also help your customers earn some prizes by providing them with referral schemes.
Most common sufficient mentions will be:
CTR (Click-through rate): A better click-through means your ads and ad-communication are relevant, appealing.
Time on site: A better engaging website, a blog will longer time on site and eventually better conversion.
Conversion ratio on website: This is how you will calculate your ROI. You are recommended to use Google Analytics to track events and goal conversions/ eCommerce conversions on your website. Today software also goes ahead and measure conversions across devices giving you a better understanding of how a user navigates before they end up buying.
Cost per conversion: Basis the conversions tracked and money spent on advertising, comes your cost per conversion. Again it boils down to the ROI you get for your campaigns.
A good digital marketer measures all of these metrics, an excellent one utilizes them in real-time. But are you sure you have the correct definition for the metric you track? Do these definitions vary by industry? Let's take one metric – Conversion Ratio and discuss it in relation to the Real Estate industry.
Understanding what a conversion is and how to track one?
Definition of conversion differs by industry.So for an eCommerce site – it means a purchase online, for a ticketing site it means a booking, for a SAAS company it means a subscription to their software, for a blogger it could mean a subscription to their RSS feed, or for a Facebook page it could be alike.
What does it mean for industries where the buying cycle is long and the actual sale cannot happen online?
Real estate buying is majorly an offline process. Also, it's a long one, involves multiple contact points (online, offline and personal) with the customer. With ever-growing internet penetration, the information presented by companies on their website, user-generated content available via social discovery – real estate buying has changed a lot. Today the research happens online, the first level of convincing can be done online. But the actual sale – that still happens offline.
So for a marketer or as a company – someone submitting a lead on your website, someone making a phone call to enquire is not an end-conversion. Some may even say a booking (customer giving the booking amount) is not an end-conversion. Companies typically see 10% cancellations, which means your end conversion is an AGREEMENT. Website conversion is certainly an important metric when you measure your communication or website design, information architecture or for that matter how engaging your product is. But building a media plan based on a wrongly interpreted ROI of online conversions; can be misleading and could result in wastage of funds.
What does this tell us?
It's important to understand the different stages that lead to an end conversion. Not just understand but track them, measure conversion ratios on your website and each of these stages. We need to measure campaign ROI for each of these stages. For example, “how many site visits did I have from the Google Adwords NRI campaign we ran last month?” Or something like “We had an excellent conversion ratio on our website for our TOI campaign, did we actually get the bookings? What was the cost per booking?”. A good real estate marketer needs to have answers to these questions. We need to understand that getting leads from a campaign is not our end goal; how many of those leads were qualified, how many actually went ahead and booked – is what matters!
Marketers often completely ignore lead conversion as part of their real estate marketing strategy while creating interest and hype around their real estate products. For example, Marketers need to inform their audience about the next step after watching a video to “call”, “visit”, or subscribe.
Some of the most important elements of an effective conversion strategy include customer profiling, using the correct call to actions, pitching and designing. However, there should not be any compromise made on the creative element, because the creativity & communication of the brand will make an impact on the consumer and will push him/her to enter the sales funnel.
Strong lead nurturing strategy
In today’s information age where the audience is constantly researching on digital channels, it is imperative to enable interaction, make dialogue or have a conversation. In the case of digital marketing solutions, brand engagement can be through various means blogs, communities, groups, blogs, emails, forums or on social media.
Engagement helps in building amiability, loyalty and a sense of dependability among the audience. There needs to be a well thought out real estate marketing strategy for engagement in terms of the way in which interest can be generated, for example, showing a video about the essence of the property and what it signifies, infographics, running contests etc. The technology and the platform of engagement also need to be thought out: it could be social media, blogs or flash media. Lastly, the most important aspect when it comes to engagement is the kind of conversation initiated and the objective of that conversation.
In the real estate marketplace, the above-mentioned engagement tactics play a crucial role as the purchase decision takes a long time as compared to other industries. This will enable real estate firms to establish the top of the mind recall and also help in building a word of mouth strategy.
Extensive marketing on vertical search engines
For any real estate firm, property portals such as IndiaProperty, Makaan, 99acres etc. are in top Google searches. There is a huge influx of traffic on these websites and they offer free as well as paid listing for properties along with advertisements. However, developers should also conduct a thorough research about their target audience traffic on these websites and then market accordingly. Companies can also research their competitors and get a sense of which competitor is aggressively marketing on such platforms.
The most important element in marketing on these websites is the communication i.e the ad copy, use of call to actions, use of keywords and clean images of properties in order to give your target audience a clear picture about the company’s product and offerings.
SEM and advertising
Marketers have often committed mistakes in ad copies, budgeting, targeting and most of the times, they have made a mistake of having a common advertising and SEM strategy. This can be improved in three ways:
In order to target your audience effectively, Google Adwords and Ubersuggest can provide with the right keywords. The use of Webmasters and Google Analytics for a long term can help in optimizing your keywords data and help in understanding audience behaviour and your most valued keywords.
The next step would be to analyze which are the most successful keywords and expand on those common variations. Marketers should also consider long-tail keywords which have good potential to get in more revenue as they usually have low competition and specifically targeted by visitors who are interested in buying. Guerilla marketing is a technique used in targeting, wherein locations and competitor keywords are used for improving brand search.
Ad copies need to be developed by considering the needs of the prospects with a major focus on the headline, as David Ogilvy once said: “On an average, five times as many people read the headline, read the body copy.” Ad copies built out of the targeted keywords need to be precise, crisp and crystal clear. Another crucial aspect of ad copies is mentioning CTA’s. Any ad copy without a CTA is incomplete. CTAs help in pushing the audience in making the right decisions, it helps in identifying your real customers.
Making personalized communication through ads which highlight the buyer’s unmet needs always makes a larger impact.
This process will help in understanding which ad copy is performing. Every aspect of the ad copy including the content, CTA, colour combinations or even the headlines is put under the scanner in order to get a complete understanding of the performance. The objective here is to make use of the best copy with the best elements and have personalized communication with the prospect.
Video has become the biggest form of consumption in content marketing on every platform. More than 45% of people watch at least an hour of video on Facebook per day. Video marketing plays a crucial role in real estate marketing, especially in a country like India where trust is a major concern.
Showcasing properties on video through various channels is a way of establishing a strong brand identity and also to cultivate brand loyalty among your customers. As compared to television ads video marketing is way cheaper with better returns as you have a higher probability of conversion through these ads. Today real estate marketers are showing their creativity by using different elements apart from just showing the properties.
Having an emotional connection with the brand
Brands which have an emotional connect with their target audience develop a personalized relationship with their audience. There is a sense of trust, reliability and also forms a strong brand identity. Having a clearly defined brand persona creates strong brand loyalty.
Social media groups, blogs, articles, user communities play an essential role in developing a relationship with the target audience. Real estate being such an involved product, brands need to be aware of the interest levels of their audience in order to provide them with an enhanced buyer experience. Having a dialogue with your audience results in better engagement and strong brand recall.
Here are a few tips to optimise your search ad content for the best returns on your spends:
Ad performance has always been based on the sentiment represented, be it an online ad or an offline banner ad. The advertising domain is based on the sole aim of engaging customers and establishing the best connection possible. This makes sentiment analysis a good measure to calculate ad effectiveness.
Focus on best-performing words
To find out which words really make an ad worth clicking, which words really stand out for users, we ran an analysis on ads that performed well, observing metrics such as CTR and clicks. By aggregating all words in the ad text and finding frequently used words that either made the ad perform well or poorly, we were able to compile a list of must-use and must-avoid words.
Make your ads “optimally” readable for more clicks
“Content that people love and content that people can read is almost the same thing”. In the case of ads, it’s more of “the content people can read easily is the content people will love”. Readability scores play a large role in getting people to click on your ads and then stay engaged on your landing page. Remember, readers don’t like to be talked down to.
Check for lexical diversity in your ad copy
The lexical diversity of your ad is a measure of how many different words are used in the text, while lexical density provides a measure of the proportion of lexical items. By checking out trends in the CTR of different ads, compared with their diversity, we found a direct relation between them - the more lexically diverse your ad the higher the CTR. Diversity essentially helps you cover more unique words in your ad that eventually relate to your keywords, thereby increasing your quality score.
Using numbers in your ad copy will affect their performance!
Numbers play an important role in ad text for the real estate domain, as ads are used to convey the offers and prices of properties. The reason numbers work in ads is that people like predictability and don’t like uncertainty. Numbers help manage the expectations of readers so that they know exactly what they are getting into. During our analysis, we classified ads according to their performance.
Ensure your ads are personalised with pronouns
When targeting customers, marketers sometimes use pronouns that suggest a partnership between their brand and the people they're talking to. Think of "Together, we can make a difference". Such usage of ‘you’, ‘us’, ‘we’, etc. makes the ad personalised, creating a better connect between the brand and the audience.
Use CTAs that will really work to get more clicks
The right CTAs will get you higher clicks and CTR for your ads. While sifting through our data, we were also able to use call action catch analysis to determine which CTAs really get people clicking on your real estate search ads!
Use certain punctuations to get a higher CTR
Exclamation marks and percentage symbols contributed significantly to the CTR. Using the right punctuation marks will make your ad appear structured and organized, making it stand out from the others and increasing clicks.
Every industry has moved its marketing presence online, today tailored to mobile devices. Real estate is no exception. Hence, it is imperative that a real estate firm has a profound presence on the internet and its ads are specially designed for Facebook. Here's why:
The sheer reach of Facebook
Facebook has an unparalleled reach in India. A staggering 77 million Indian residents use Facebook on a daily basis. Compare this with the widely-popular Times of India newspaper, which has a daily circulation of only 8.57 million.
Facebook is a mass media
Facebook is not just social media, but also an integral part of mass media. Potential buyers and developers are discovering each other every day because of their news feed. On average, people visit their news feed about 14 times a day. On the news feed, buyers are discovering content as they scroll. This content means something to the buyers – either brands that they or their friends are following – and not something that is forced upon them like traditional advertising mediums.
Facebook efficiently fulfils the basic goals of real estate
The three basic goals of any real estate developer are - brand awareness, driving traffic to the website, leads and enquiries. And Facebook fulfils all of these goals satisfactorily as it enjoys seamless cross-device functionality, creates a seamless lead capture experience on mobile, and finds potential customers who look like your best customers.
Accurate targeting with Facebook
Facebook is identity-based since it has all the relevant information of an individual. Apart from this, it also monitors a user's activity, behaviour, preferences, etc. which helps in designing campaigns for acquiring quality leads and thereby reducing wastage on impressions.
Track your performance with Pixel
One of the best features of Facebook is its ability to monitor how your ads are performing. With Pixel, conversion tracking, optimization and remarketing become effortless. Pixel helps advertisers track how many people visited their page in the last few days, how much time did they spend there, etc. This way, you can tailor your campaigns to target only those audiences that spent the maximum time. Ultimately, Pixel can be utilized to design better targeting.
Facebook segments your audience better
Core audience: The core audience is basically the group of people who are targeted using the information provided by them – demographics, interests, behaviours, etc.
Custom audience: A custom audience is essentially a list of existing customers. A database of people who are either leads or who have purchased your project.
Lookalike audience: With lookalike audiences, you have the ability to find new people who might display keenness in your project because their demographic and behaviour is similar to your existing customers.
Facebook as a lead generation tool
Lead generation is a crucial objective for ad agencies to attract a customer towards a product or service. Facebook is one of the most sought-after mediums for achieving this objective due to the versatility and efficiency of its ads, and the tremendous customer reach it provides. It is also flexible enough to be used at every decision point along the way.
So what are those decision points?
- Awareness: When a Facebook user is informed about a product or service
- Consideration: When a user shows interest, clicks on the ads fill out a form, and turns into a lead
- Conversion: When a lead is convinced about a product or service and turns into a buyer
Most realtors struggle with generating leads from their marketing strategies in the face of intense competition. Real estate social media marketing can revolutionize the way realtors expand their outreach, build a following, and make deals. Effective real estate social media marketing entails giving the homebuyers and sellers exactly what they are looking to leverage from a real estate agent's social media presence. Using intelligent marketing solutions and strategies through best social media channels, realtors can craft tailored outcomes for their target markets and gain a competitive edge.
Build a Wholesome and Informative Social Media Experience
For buyers, details about the locality and the town are of equal importance as the property itself. They would be delighted to know the wholesome picture before they make any hefty real estate purchases.
Your real estate social media marketing strategy must feature the best and the worst of all the aspects of a property and its surroundings. Upscale your social media handle and give your buyers more than the basic demographic statistics and help them understand the kind of markets you cater to.
This helps you engage your target audience effectively and even builds credibility. Use official social media handles of the cities you serve in your social media posts to promote your listings. If an official social media account picks up on your posts, they may re-share your post with their broader audience base, working wonders for your outreach.
Curate the Best Mix of Social Media Platforms to Suit Your Needs
The nature of the product or service being sold and the audience demographic must define the mix of social media platforms a realtor must use for marketing.
The wide variety of social media networks at your disposal may confuse you when it comes to promoting your real estate business. Choose social media avenues wherein your target demographics and persona are adequately represented.
For example, LinkedIn is an unconventional social network for real estate, with millions of users representing multiple demographics. Another unusual pick for real estate social media marketing is Pinterest. Most Pinterest users use it to explore, and realtors must feature beautiful pictures of their portfolio properties to draw the user's attention on the channel. Make it a point to share your contact information on all social media handles to promote direct communication. Additionally, you can also engage your audience by sharing valuable home improvement and interior design tips.
Be Consistent with Real Estate Social Media Marketing
Social media channels often boast of subscribers that range in billions and include celebrated brands and businesses and the general public. Most popular brands have a strong social media presence of these networks and overshadow the presence of small companies trying to build communities of followers for themselves.
Budding realtors can establish an influential social media presence by consistently publishing relevant and relatable content of their social media handles. All social media channels have an ideal number of posts per day; real estate business must use this knowledge for their own advantage. Regardless of whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, publishing consistency can help you win followers and create engagement. It is best to come up with a pre-planned content calendar for all the channels you wish to leverage.
Monetize Your Real Estate Social Media Marketing Campaign
In the past, real estate businesses enjoyed great success using social media to publish both paid and organic content. Realtors must optimize their social media posts and ads for the best results. Social media ads are a dynamic way to reach out to your target segment through social media networks. With high algorithm formatting, social media ads can educate real estate business owners about how their advertising should be targeted.
Leverage the Power of Social Media Analytics Tools
Real estate businesses must monitor data and analyze results to brush up their social media strategy. Social media analytics can help realtors keep a strict track of the performance of the content they publish. They can develop insights about what kind of content works for what kind of audience, what's the best time to post content on different social media platforms and what maximizes audience engagement. In short, leveraging social media analytics helps them see which social media channel is of most value to their business.
Results from the analytical tools can help real estate businesses improve both their organic and paid social strategies. Businesses can tailor future content and messaging for their real estate social media marketing in a planned manner to maximize their outcomes.
Understanding the buyer journey, we can use the right tools and features for all marketing & sales functions. Keeping stage-wise business activities in mind, this One Technology Solution for Real Estate Sales & Marketing covers all your internal functions and stakeholders.
Marketing functions cover all the four stages of the consumer lifecycle phases. It includes solutions ranging from ad automation to consumer engagement portals.
- Remarketing & Custom Audience Automation
- Social Listening: Meltwater
- Channel Partner Marketing
- Measurement, Optimization & ROMI
- Remarketing & Custom Audience Automation
- Social Listening: Meltwater
- Channel Partner Marketing
- Measurement, Optimization & ROMI
- Website, Chat, Chatbot, CRO
- Lead Integrations — FB, AdWords, YouTube, Portals
- Analytics 360, People Analytics, A/B Testing
- CRO Tools
- Lead Capture
- Marketing Automation
- Easy for customers to reach out
- Understand customer intent
- Helps run experiments – test, iterate & fail faster.
- Measure the success of strategy & communication
- Engage with in-the-moment marketing
- Get in touch immediately with leads active online
- Instant gratification for customers with auto-responders
- Content Marketing Automation
- Remarketing Engine
- Video & Content Personalization at scale
- More engaging video formats personalized at scale
- Create more touch-points
- Customer Facing App
- Loyalty & Referrals Program
- Customer Engagement Platform
- Increased brand advocacy
- Provide service beyond just the product
- Better ROI & low maintenance costs with IoT-enabled remote and integrated asset and property management
Pre-sales & Sales Solutions
The pre-sales & sales solutions cover the middle two sections of the funnel. Technology solutions at both the stages strengthen and simplify sales functions.
- Call-Centre — Cloud Telephony
- Email & SMS Automation
- Workflow Engine
- Escalation & TAT Measurement
- Remote work with Cloud Telephony
- Zero upfront infra cost
- Better audits & quality maintenance.
- Cater to international customers.
- Improve conversion with Sticky Routing & AI.
- Sales Automation
- Inventory, Negotiation & Approvals —Cost Sheets & Payment Schedules
- Offer, Schemes, Online Payments
- Video Conferencing, Online Presentations, Virtual Site Visits, 360o Tours
- Collaboration with Channel Partners, Sales
- KYC, Loans, Agreements/ Document Management & Digital Signatures
- E Complete visibility into lead pipeline
- Easy sales forecasting
- Optimized response time for customers
- Follow-up with automation
- Secure access to information and documentation
- Easier Collaboration, Negotiation
- Secure way to maintain all customer
- All stakeholder on one platform
- Faster booking to agreement
- Prioritized bookings to financially qualified leads to reduce cancellations
- Focus on right leads
- Create the same brand experience online.
- Take sample show apartments online
Channel Partner Solutions
Solutions for the channel partners also follow the same two stages as above. The technology features allow complete transparency and help in the successful management of channel partner operations.
- Website, Chat, Chatbot, CRO
- Scheduling & Sales collaboration
- Lead Conflict Resolution
- Lead Capture
- Email & SMS Automation
- Create more touch-points with channel partners
- Personalized content in the middle of the funnel
- Get in touch immediately with leads who are active online
- Inventory — Cost Sheets & Payment Schedules
- Offer, Schemes
- Video Conferencing, Online Presentations, Virtual Site Visits, 360o Tours
- Document Management
- Online Payments
- Channel Partner Apps
- Brokerage Calculations
- Online sales with Pre-sales, Sales, Channel partners, customers all on one platform
- Reduce Office visits & physical interactions
- Manage channel partners as sources
- Single platform to reach, engage & activate channel partners during launches
- Brokerage calculations, invoicing & ledger for frictionless working
Generic CRMs fail to provide the features and solutions that an integrated strategy needs. Covering the last two stages, our CRM solutions provide tools and features for a holistic booking and nurturing platform for customers.
- Agreements, Receipts, Booking Forms & Allotment Letter automation
- Document Management
- Faster documentation
- Reduced cancellations
- Secure way to maintain all customer documentation
- Multiple touch-points with customers with personalization to stabilize cash-flow
- HR cost optimization
- Clear real-time insights on recovery to plan and manage funds
- Better collaboration with customers
- Demand Letters, Ledger, Payment Follow-ups
- Case Management, Property Customization
- Follow-up & Reminder Automation
- Calling, SMS, Email Automation
- Frictionless Process for creation of Demand Letters
- Standardized communication to all
- customers without any delays
- Faster recovery of payments
Implementing Vertical-Focused Solutions
Once the components of the system have been laid down, the next step is the implementation of this system. Successful system implementation requires:
a. All systems connected with data flowing across seamlessly
b. All stakeholders with access to a common system
c. Platform available online for ease of use, secure & controlled access
d. Allowance for faster growth experiments
Choosing a vertical-focused solution and then tailoring those solutions to fit internal requirements is a cost-effective and efficient option for real estate builders. It offers a low cost of ownership with innovative industry solutions and faster go-to-live timeline.
At Amura, we have been living and breathing real estate digital marketing for as long as 12 years. Over these years we have helped countless real estate brands achieve their sales target while maintaining cost efficiency. Today, we are the market leaders in digital marketing for the real estate sector across major metropolitan cities in India. Being in the business for such a long time, we understand what it takes to deliver cost-effective results with absolute accuracy.
Our unique brand of digital marketing comes with a focus on growth. We apply the principles of growth marketing to help brands not only achieve their desired results but grow their business in the long run as well. Here are the critical aspects of our digital growth marketing solutions.
1. Full-funnel Approach
Although getting leads is one of the main goals of marketing, an effective marketing strategy doesn’t stop at that. Growth marketing focuses on all the stages of a buyer’s journey, from awareness to conversion - it helps attract customers, keeps them interested, and leads them further through the marketing funnel towards a purchase.
2. Market Understanding
The core driving factors behind successful and effective marketing are consumers. They should feel nurtured to the point that they’ll be more than happy to become your lifelong customers. Being the thought leaders in this industry, we understand the market and the consumer mindset to devise the best strategies.
3. Technology Tools & Solutions
We have been using MarTech solutions from a time when it wasn’t even this popular. Our in-house experts are well-versed in the right tools and automation technology and know-how to use them effectively. Data-centricity is an important aspect of marketing and we understand that every step of the way.
Traditional marketing focuses on creating brand awareness and reputation through outbound marketing and reputation management. This takes time and a substantial marketing budget. Growth marketing focuses on constant experimentation with smaller budgets to test strategies that work and then scales them for success and ultimate growth. The focus of growth marketing is the overall revenue growth. Based on the analytics developed through modulated experiments and with the help of technology tools at each stage, decisions are made over the consumer life cycle to effectively deliver business goals at reduced marketing costs. Our extremely data-driven and agile processes help you get closures at a low cost per lead (CPL). By backing strategies that have worked well based on analyzing the data from our full-funnel experiments, we help businesses achieve optimal profitability.