Marketing for any product or service digitally has now become mandatory. With over 234 million internet users currently, the digital market has really opened up a plethora of opportunities for brands today. Real estate is one such industry that has really benefitted from the digital marketing wave. According to research, around 92% of potential buyers do vigorous research online before they ultimately make the purchase offline. Hence, making sure you have a strong digital marketing strategy is of the utmost importance to make your brand name stand out in the real estate industry. To learn more please do read our book on digital marketing or subscribe to our YouTube channel.
So, what makes digital marketing for real estate such a vital tool for developers and home seekers?
Marketing techniques are open to evolve and get better over time. Additionally, if you are an ardent user of the digital space for marketing your products, you know it comes with numerous benefits. Apart from the urban space, digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India as well. Real estate developers are yet to realise these benefits and are only scratching the surface when it comes to taking full advantage of what digital marketing has to offer. Here’s where digital marketing in real estate gives developers an edge, with a multitude of digital marketing trends to expect in 2017.
For any real estate developer who is hoping to succeed, digital marketing is a great place to start. Developers not using this medium are losing out a plethora of opportunities that the medium has to offer. Here are some of the strategies that a developer can use:
Let's look at some digital marketing practices (in the Real Estate Industry) that will help achieve the above-mentioned goals.
Creating an online presence is the first, most important step, and serves as a backbone for all future digital marketing activities. To establish a powerful online presence, Real Estate developers need to focus on creating three things.
For Real Estate, a website can serve two purposes: a virtual office that showcases the builder's latest projects or a virtual marketplace for home seekers to explore purchasing options. To make either one or both of these purposes work well, there are numerous tools and optimisation techniques that need to be implemented.
Even the design of the website matters as it can make a difference to user experience and one such design that has been making waves amongst the real estate websites is a Flat Design. Flat website designs are categorised by their simple, elegant and square’ish’ look; first noticed in the Windows 8 Tile User Interface. With minimalistic animations and loads of white space, the Flat website design has proven to be effective in page speed loading times, readability, mobile optimisation and ease of navigation.
While a good website design is pleasing to the eyes, it only scratches the surface of what matters especially in the Real Estate sector. A stellar design needs to be accompanied by great content to create an impact. Writing good content that effectively communicates a Real Estate brand’s message and intrigues the user to go ahead for a purchase is vital. Presenting your target audience with engaging content is a sure-shot way to grab their attention and generate leads.
Real Estate is a very broad topic, so to fit everything into a single website, other strategies can be utilised to showcase everything a Real Estate developer has to offer.
Here is an example of pillar content we created for one of our leading real estate clients, Shriram Properties. The pillar page is currently ranking for a total of 1000 keywords out of which 150 keywords are ranking on page one.
When people need help or are looking for something, they do one of two things – seek out a person or a place or browse the internet. Blogging has come a long way from being a casual online tool for storytelling to an essential element of a digital marketing strategy.
Blogs are a long, short or creative source of information and if there is one thing Google loves, it is loads of valuable information. Research shows that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. Google recognises and ranks these websites easily due to the information provided, ultimately leading to that site showing up on the first page of search results.
Considering how broad a topic Real Estate is, builders must take advantage of the power of blogging and focus on sharing information to potential home buyers. Blogs that give detailed information on upcoming properties, tips on home buying and guides on investment options are just some of the many topics a Real Estate blog can include.
The platform of Social Media offers brands a unique way to get more personal with their audience, and it is no different in the case of Real Estate.
There are numerous platforms for Social Media Marketing available today and some of the most useful ones for Real Estate developers include:
Having an online presence won't be fruitful if your potential customers are not aware of that presence. Real Estate developers depend heavily on lead generation, and digital marketing offers the quickest, easiest and most ROI friendly lead generation method. Here are some of the ways Real Estate developers can acquire customers via digital media.
Advertising online is one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching your potential target Group. If done right, it can be the best lead generation tool for real estate developers. Be it Facebook or Google or even other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo, using lead generation, website conversion ads or even interactive ads to engage with your target audience and collect leads.
As of July 2017, there are 241 million active users in India on Facebook. This is a primary reason why advertising on Facebook is something every builder needs to try. From website conversion ads to lead ads and carousel ads, builders should try a combination of videos and images to drive enquiries and site visits. Facebook also has detailed targeting by demographics, age and behaviour. Additionally, you can also target your website visitors and those you have engaged with your post so that the ad is displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.
Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.
With Facebook’s Brand Reach and Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.
Google AdWords is a paid digital marketing strategy that is run on the Google search engine. Adwords smart display campaigns run strongly through a set of rules and guidelines and work best when incorporated into SEO tools and strategies.
Let's say a home seeker is typing "flats in OMR" in the search box; if the digital marketer has incorporated the keywords "flats in OMR" along with some other relevant search queries, Google will pick up that ad and display it in the search results. The placement of the ad depends entirely on the budget set for the campaign. You can also optimise your AdWords campaign for profound results.
Google’s algorithms are ever changing and evolving to be more consumer-friendly, and 2017 has some cool new digital marketing trends that every marketer must keep close tabs on.
Drip emails are automated emails that are sent out based on a predefined time or user actions. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria retrieved from a strong email marketing database. Let's say that a customer has visited a property website and shown interest by subscribing to property newsletters. Digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties.
Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.
Influencer marketing is the Internet's word-of-mouth marketing method and can prove very effective to generate leads for Real Estate Developers. Just like word-of-mouth, influencer marketing uses popular bloggers and other professionals in the Real Estate industry to promote a particular property. Influencer marketing channels include both blogs and social media channels, so Real estate developers must carefully choose the appropriate kind of influencer to market their properties.
Influencer.in provides a one-stop platform for Real Estate developers to search and connect with the best influencers in the country; they can choose from either working on long campaigns with a selected influencer or contacting multiple micro-influencers over various social media platforms to spread the word.
The age-old marketing rule of getting new customers while retaining existing customers applies in the digital space as well. Of course, the most popular tool for customer engagement today is social media, and Facebook ranks high up on the list, especially for the Real Estate industry. There are a plethora of social media trends benefiting the real estate industry. Here are some interesting ways developers can utilise Facebook and YouTube for customer engagement.
As of 2017, India had 450 million active internet users. While these numbers are set to increase over the next few years, what’s interesting to note is that by 2021, 9 out of 10 internet users will be Indian language users. These massive numbers indicate a much larger audience group for real estate developers to tap into. The easiest way to do this, is by employing multilingual marketing as part of their digital strategy. Take a look at our detailed video on why every Indian brand MUST have a Multilingual Digital Strategy and Vernacular Communication.
Be it ads, a landing page or even an entire website, when a potential customer sees content in his own native tongue, several things happen. You create brand awareness and increase brand recall, you build your customer’s trust in your product or brand and finally, you have a higher chance of converting potential leads. In the case of real estate companies, your buyer is likely to purchase a home or at the very least recommend your company to a friend.
Keeping the vernacular approach in mind, real estate companies can use vernacular content in their ads to reach their target audience using Facebook Marketing Solutions. One thing to remember is that you can’t stop with just your ads – your entire digital strategy must include an end-to-end multilingual marketing approach. You can read how regional ads resulted in a 70% drop in CPL for one of our biggest real estate clients.
The sales funnel of yore has been proclaimed as outdated by many. Today’s digital marketing funnel is a cocktail of strategies targeted at gathering better quality leads, converting them successfully and then nurturing your leads/customers so they keep coming back. Of course, the important aspect of lead generation is quality content. The various phases in a digital full-funnel marketing approach are Awareness, Consideration, Conversion and Retention. You can check out our detailed video of Full Funnel Marketing via digital for an in-depth explanation.
The reason the digital marketing funnel is so important for real estate companies is because back in the day, only the final level was considered important. Driving conversions was the only target real estate brands poured their resources into. However, that’s where the problem lies. Without your audience knowing who you are or the products and services you offer, your brand cannot expect to have a high conversion rate. It is therefore imperative that real estate companies include a solid full-funnel marketing approach in their digital strategies.
If a picture paints a thousand words imagine what a video could do. Videos have been around for decades and have taken the world by storm across industries – be it education, entertainment, information, etc. YouTube is currently the world’s second largest search engine with over 225 million monthly active users in India alone. Suffice to say that your real estate brand needs to have a comprehensive YouTube strategy to tape into this sizeable audience. It is important to note, however, that you don’t have to stop with just YouTube. Real estate brands will have to explore multiple video formats across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc and create customised strategies for each. Today, interactive videos are currently an extremely popular trend due to the higher user engagement they deliver. You can also read our blog on tips to create compelling videos that convert.
One of our esteemed clients is a Chennai based Real Estate enterprise which laid its foundations in 2004. Known for providing niche residential segments like luxury villas and high-rise apartments, the company has since produced 68 projects, selling to over 4000 happy residents.
Our client wanted to scale up its digital presence through powerful digital marketing, focusing on five primary goals.
An intense digital marketing campaign followed, running on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google search, resulting in an impressive turnaround that showed:
Real estate is the most reliable and secure long-term investment you can make, and the ability to purchase a home will only get easier with newer technologies coming into the digital space, which is capable of giving you a real-time experience of any property right through a screen.