Innovative Real Estate Digital Marketing Strategies to Maximize ROI
Real Estate Digital Marketing Is Not Optional
Real estate agents, brokers and brokerages are always focused on getting the brand in the spotlight and increasing leads. The majority of successful real estate professionals have a powerful online presence. This makes it even more challenging to stand out in a highly saturated market.
Historically, the real estate industry has relied primarily on traditional marketing. However, the internet has helped to change the real estate game.
The Real Estate Marketing Shift to Online Consumers
Real estate agents are knowledgeable about both the local market and the demographics of prospective homebuyers, so winning the client comes down to persistence and hard work.
There’s been a shift in recent years, however, and more homebuyers are conducting research online. With numerous listings and home scouting sites, this shift has transformed the traditional real estate environment, making it more challenging for a real estate agent to win the client.
Fortunately, putting a little effort into real estate digital marketing can help you stay ahead of your competitors. Shifting to an online format doesn’t require a total overhaul of your strategy, just a few new tools and ideas.
How to Develop Your Real Estate Marketing Strategy
Here’s what you need to do in order to successfully shift from traditional to digital marketing in real estate:
Your No. 1 priority when developing a digital marketing strategy is defining your goals. Your business goals are focal points for your marketing strategy that inform all the other decisions you make.
Define Your Real Estate Marketing Goals
Your goals must be S.M.A.R.T. It’s best to set specific, realistic goals that can be measured over time, so you can be sure you’re on the right track and adjust your strategy as needed. Vague goals are hard to plan and even harder to reach, so be sure you’re focused on details.
Measurable goals are goals that can be tracked with time and a business metric. Instead of saying something like “generating prospective leads in my area,” make it more specific by saying “generating 20 prospective leads in my area this month.” This breaks your strategy down into smaller, attainable goals that help you monitor your progress.
Identify the Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is a theoretical customer journey from awareness of a product or service to purchase. These include:
- Awareness: The customer discovers a product or service.
- Interest: The customer becomes interested in a product or service.
- Decision: The customer decides on a particular brand for the product or service.
- Action: The customer takes the next step toward purchasing the product or service.
Digital marketing helps you attract customers and guide prospects through this decision-making process by increasing brand awareness. Content marketing, a type of marketing that uses online content like blogs, e-books, photos and videos, keeps your brand in the customer’s mind and increases traffic to your website.
Use Content Marketing
Digital marketing has put a lot of control in the consumer’s hand, ensuring that they have access to hundreds of websites and real estate agents to choose from. In this market, earning trust and providing value to your clients is the best way to gain business.
One of the best means of inspiring confidence in prospects is to become a real estate authority with content marketing. Buying a home is a big commitment that involves a lot of time, money and planning, so your clients want to know that you have their best interests in mind.
Planning your content may seem overwhelming, but it’s as simple as starting a blog. Think about the type of real estate you’re in, the type of homebuyers you work with and what they’re looking for from you. Once you know that information, you can develop blogs, videos, infographics and other content that addresses their needs.
Due to a combination of value and visual appeal, virtual home tours are incredibly successful pieces of content. It gives an active homebuyer an idea of what a particular home has to offer and allows them to picture themselves living in it.
If you’re considering a virtual home tour, here are some things to focus on:
- Use real footage of the home rather than digital illustrations.
- Make the video tour interactive and responsive across all viewing platforms and devices.
- Try to make the virtual tour three-dimensional and user-friendly.
Use Social Media
For a real estate agent, branding is everything. You are your brand, and there’s no better way to establish and promote your brand than with public social media profiles. Interact with your community, engage with prospects and provide information to your clients about yourself and what you have to offer.
No matter what type of real estate you do, your clients are most likely active on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. Having an active presence on these platforms will help you gain credibility with your clients by showing that you’re a real person, and it will also help you leverage multiple social media platforms for your content marketing efforts.
Gaining a following on social media platforms takes time, but you can maximize your efforts by:
- Educating your clients with quality content that’s shared on your accounts.
- Conversing directly with your followers to find out their wants and needs.
- Promoting the community.
- Sharing relevant videos, whether yours or another industry professional’s, to hold more viewer attention.
Social Media Posts
Some excellent topics for social media posts in real estate include:
- New or existing listings that fit the audience on a particular platform.
- Team biographies, if applicable.
- Case studies.
- Industry news.
- Community news.
- Success stories.
- Personal or inspirational buyer stories.
- Events you’ve attended professionally, such as conventions.
- Charities you participate in.
Though all of your content should be relevant, it’s best to keep it diverse and interesting to multiple segments of your audience and stages of the buyer journey to ensure you’re holding everyone’s attention.
Hone Your Website
Whether your website is drawing people directly or it’s the last stop from a piece of content or an ad, it’s the “face” of your business. All the other accounts should be consistent and professional, but the goal is to funnel people toward your website.
Many modern homebuyers use mobile devices to search for homes, so it’s vital that you have a mobile-optimized website. If your clients come to your site and struggle to find the information they need or spend too much time waiting for pages to load, they’re more likely to click away from your site and move on to a competitor’s.
It’s also important to make your site aesthetically pleasing, though not at the expense of its usability. You want a website that reflects your professional personality, not one that looks boilerplate with stock imagery. Try to include high-quality photography, simple designs and compelling copy that’s neither boring nor cluttered.
Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is also important for your site. IDX covers a range of practices, but it typically refers to software that improves your website functionality to keep clients coming back.
IDX allows you to store a client’s searched information or integrate your MLS listings into a property search feature.
IDX Best Practices
In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) developed guidelines for how to implement IDX. Check with your MLS to be sure you’re compliant with policies, such as:
- Only post listings that the seller indicated they wanted on an IDX.
- Keep your IDX current.
- Don’t give false information to the IDX that isn’t MLS compliant.
- Adhere to MLS policies and refrain from listing properties not approved by the MLS or broker.
If you plan on collecting data from your site, it’s a good idea to get an SSL certificate to ensure your URL is https instead of http. This not only helps your search engine ranking, but it assures your clients that your website is secure and safe.
Real Estate SEO
Google search is a common way for homebuyers to begin the process of house hunting, so search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for real estate agents. With much of your competition on the internet, you want to be sure that your site comes in at the top of the search engine results page.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to gain higher rankings and more visibility. Many search engine users find what they need on the first few pages of the search results, so if you’re not showing up there, it’s likely they won’t visit your site or learn about your services.
Keywords are vital to your SEO strategy. They are the words or phrases users are searching to find the information they need. With keyword research, you can find the most competitive keywords for your specialty, location and target audience, which you can then use in your content to boost your chances of being visible to search users. When looking for keywords, try to find relevant, high-volume keywords with relatively low competition.
Generally, the more helpful and relevant your content is, the higher your website and webpages will rank on the results page. It also helps if your site performs well and is trustworthy, as noted in the previous section.
Tips to Boost Your SEO
- Post quality articles and blog posts that offer value to your prospective clients. Use the most relevant keywords from your keyword research, but make sure not to “stuff” your content with keywords.
- Ensure all your site’s links work properly and lead to another page. Error links and broken links hurt your SEO.
- Create buttons and links to connect your social media accounts to your website, and ensure that all your contact and business information is consistent across accounts.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Check your page load times. If possible, remove anything that slows them down, such as embedded videos or large photos.
As search engines learn and evolve to deliver a better experience to the user, SEO evolves along with it. Fortunately, these basics help your SEO strategy to weather significant changes in search algorithms and maintain a favorable ranking.
SEO is a broad practice that improves your search engine ranking, but you may want an additional, targeted approach for your local marketing to drive relevant traffic.
Optimizing for local SEO is important for real estate since many of your prospective clients will be either local homebuyers or homebuyers looking to relocate to the area.
Optimize for Local SEO
Here are some tips to improve your local SEO:
- List your address and your areas of operation on your website, and consider embedding a map if your professional territory is small.
- Ensure all your address listings on all your active platforms are the same. Even something small, such as “S. Main Street” vs. “South Main St.” can confused users and search algorithms.
- Include your geolocations and city in your keywords to help prospective clients find you when they do a targeted location search.
- Ask your previous clients to leave reviews or testimonials on your website and social media pages to build trust, confidence and credibility with prospects.
Networking is a mainstay in a successful business, but like most things, it has moved online. You can find numerous contacts and leads through your website, email and social media, building your network a little at a time.
Like in-person networking, follow-up is crucial to keeping great relationships with your clients. Since most real estate business is done through networking and referrals, your past relationships with clients could very well define your future success.
Your website and social media accounts are already designed to capture leads, so all that’s left is email marketing. This high-ROI approach can be enhanced with customer data to deliver relevant, personalized information that keeps clients opening and reading your emails.
Email Marketing Strategy
To plan your email real estate digital marketing strategy, clean up your client data and segment them into groups. Include information like demographics, location and stage of the homebuying process. Then, gauge the interest across your client base to divide them into different stages of the sales funnel.
Use “drip campaigns” by sending informational content to clients who are just learning about your offers, and send listings to clients who are actively looking to buy.
- Email with a low open rate may be going to a client who isn’t at the appropriate stage of the process.
- An email with a high open rate and a low click-through rate may indicate that your content isn’t relevant or interesting enough.
- Email with a high open rate and click-through rate is likely on target, so consider using those strategies moving forward.
Though real estate digital marketing uses a lot of the same strategies as other industries, there are some unique factors to consider. Your marketing goals should be centered around attracting a following and guiding clients to buy a home.
If you’re looking for guidance with your real estate digital marketing strategy, M16 Marketing can help. We have an experienced team of content creators, website designers and SEO consultants. M16 can handle every aspect of your digital marketing plan. Contact us today to see what we have to offer!