12 min to read
Real Estate: "How Digital Marketing is Revolutionising Real Estate."
Digital marketing for real estate
Roughly 47% of home buyers kickstart their house-hunting journey with an online search, and it's worth noting that nearly all buyers will turn to the web at some stage during their home-buying process. And, to be prepared, a whopping 80% of real estate agents are gearing up to use social media to boost their business, according to a survey by The Close.
When we talk about the above stats, it becomes very obvious that in the present time, the question for realtors is not about “if”, but about “how soon” are they ready to gear up their online visibility. With digitalisation, it has become very convenient for users to just Google up what they need, or follow a few right hashtags to see the properties in their preferred location. Therefore, digital marketing has emerged as an essential component in the overall formula for success in the real estate industry for all realtors.
What are the major challenges for real estate agents when it comes to digital marketing?
major challenges for real estate agents
Different leads are at different stages of the customer journey
When it comes to digital marketing, not all of your leads are the same. For example, if we talk about a situation where a couple is looking to buy a home might visit a real estate website to browse listings and gather information. At the same time, a family relocating for work might be actively searching for a new house. Both are potential leads, but their needs differ.
Prospective leads may find themselves at different stages of the customer journey, where some could be simply looking for the properties as part of their investment plan for the next year, while others could be looking for purchasing a property instantly. In this situation, it becomes crucial that real estate agents must cater to leads at different stages and offer relevant content and services.
How do you stand out when there are multiple realtors lurking for the same attention?
We have seen many examples when a realtor wants to attract a fixed set of audience, but are unable to make any lasting impact. Let’s consider a realtor who wants to attract first-time homebuyers interested in condominiums in a specific neighborhood. However, many other real estate professionals are also targeting the same demographic. It's essential to stand out and offer something unique to capture their interest.
The real estate market is highly competitive, and numerous agents and platforms are vying for the attention of potential leads. Attracting the right audience amidst this competition requires a well-targeted approach.
Now, if you work with a digital marketing agency like us(CodeDesign), here is what we will suggest to you. For this example, let’s consider you are trying to target young couples aged 25-35.
We'd recommend that you try advertising on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. By targeting a specific audience, in your case, first-time homebuyers aged 25-35 in a particular city, you can cut through the noise and spend your budget only in talking to them. You could easily craft highly tailored advertisements that highlight your agency's expertise in serving this niche.
Here is how you win confidence, you must share compelling success stories of young couples who have realized their dream of homeownership with your assistance. This personalized approach significantly enhances the likelihood of attracting potential leads who align with your ideal client profile.
On the other hand, there is also a great possibility that the audience may then go to Google to search for more listings in that area. Now, it’s obvious that multiple real estate agents have listings for homes in that area. In this case, you need a dedicated SEO campaign so that your listings show above when searched for. At the same time, your listings must include high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and virtual tours to provide a comprehensive view of the property, increasing the chances of attracting serious buyers.
You also need to focus on Compliance and Regulations when marketing online
Compliance and Regulations when marketing online
For United States
Fair Housing Act (FHA): Realtors must comply with the FHA, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, disability, and familial status. In digital marketing, this means avoiding discriminatory language or targeting specific demographics in a way that could be seen as discriminatory.
Truth in Advertising: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees truth in advertising laws. Realtors must ensure that their digital marketing, including property listings and descriptions, is accurate and not deceptive. Misleading information can lead to legal issues.
Licensing and Credentialing: Different states have various licensing and credentialing requirements for real estate professionals. Realtors should prominently display their licensing information in digital advertisements to comply with state regulations.
For European Union
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR sets strict rules for the collection and processing of personal data. Realtors in the EU need to obtain explicit consent when collecting data, provide clear privacy policies, and ensure that data is handled securely in their digital marketing efforts.
Environmental Labeling: In some EU countries, there are regulations concerning environmental labeling for properties. Realtors may need to include specific environmental information in digital listings and advertisements.
Unfair Commercial Practices Directive: This directive prohibits misleading advertising and aggressive marketing practices. Realtors should ensure their digital marketing is transparent and does not use deceptive tactics.
Now, we are not trying to say that you only follow them in the US or EU respectively, instead this should be the norm. And, being an EU based agency with additional offices in US and Singapore, we understand these regulations, and we always come up with the most authentic and transparent marketing strategies.
How to choose the right attribution model for real estate marketing?
right attribution model
With multiple touch points along the customer journey, understanding the true contribution of each channel can be difficult.
Identifying the precise source of a conversion can often be elusive, making the selection of an appropriate marketing attribution model all the more crucial. There are numerous attribution models available, each possessing unique strengths and limitations. Therefore, the vital task is to determine the attribution model that best aligns with the specific needs of your real estate business.
There are different attribution models to choose from, each with its strengths and weaknesses. So, the important thing is to pick the one that fits your real estate marketing goals.
By selecting the right attribution model for your online real estate marketing, you can get a clear understanding of how people are engaging with your content and ads.
Here are the ones to choose from:
Last-Touch Attribution: This model attributes the entire conversion or sale to the last interaction the customer had with your marketing, such as clicking on an ad. It's simple and easy to implement. It's a good choice if your real estate sales process is relatively short and doesn't involve a complex customer journey.
First-Touch Attribution: In contrast to last-touch, first-touch attribution gives credit to the very first interaction with your marketing. This can be useful if you want to understand how customers initially discover your real estate listings.
Linear Attribution: Linear attribution spreads the credit for a conversion evenly across all touchpoints in the customer journey. It's suitable when you want to acknowledge that every interaction plays a role in the conversion process.
Time-Decay Attribution: This model gives more credit to touchpoints closer to the conversion and less to those at the beginning of the journey. It's helpful if your real estate customers tend to engage more heavily as they get closer to making a decision.
Position-Based Attribution: This model gives credit to both the first and last touchpoints while assigning some credit to the interactions in between. It's ideal for understanding how initial engagement and final interactions contribute to the conversion.
Leverage CRM to build an Integrated Paid and Owned Strategy
Most real estate agents often manage multiple lead generation campaigns concurrently. These campaigns encompass various channels, including their website, blog content, online events, email marketing, social media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, paid advertising, and even traditional methods like open houses.
Though having a grasp on lead generation is fantastic, managing a multichannel approach can become overwhelming if not done right. It's crucial to track where your leads are coming from and even if they are qualified and valuable for your business. This data helps your business assess their readiness to make a purchase, understand where they entered your sales process, identify what piqued their interest, and determine if they are indeed qualified leads.
A CRM helps you keep track of this data and help you make informed decisions. Your CRM keeps all your client information neatly organized in one place. You can see what type of homes they're interested in, when they last visited your website, and which properties they've been eyeing. With these insights, you can create content that speaks directly to your potential clients. If someone is on the hunt for their dream condo, you can showcase the latest condo listings on your website. If we talk about in the simplest of terms, then it's all about delivering what they want, where they want it.
Design a Service Blueprint in order to optimize touchpoints, and create a seamless User Experience and data strategy.
A Service Blueprint is a visual representation of the customer journey and all the touchpoints involved. It outlines every step a potential buyer or seller goes through when engaging with your real estate services. To design one, start by mapping out the various stages of interaction, from the initial contact to closing a deal. Identify digital channels, like your website, email, and social media, and physical interactions, such as open houses. Then, connect these touchpoints and establish a clear flow of information and actions.
Creating a Service Blueprint is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps you understand the customer journey comprehensively, ensuring that no aspect is overlooked. It allows you to spot potential pain points, bottlenecks, or areas where the user experience can be improved. This, in turn, leads to more effective and efficient processes like:
- identify areas where the user experience can be improved
- pinpointing any bottlenecks or points of friction in the customer journey
- allocate your resources more efficiently by understanding how clients move through the sales funnel
- collect data at each touchpoint with a clear map of the customer journey
Hyper-targeted Pay-Per-Click Advertising to capture new category buyers.
Hyper-targeted Pay-Per-Click Advertising allows us to pinpoint our advertising efforts to a highly specific audience. We narrow it down to individuals actively looking for properties in a particular category – whether it's luxury homes, commercial real estate, or first-time homebuyers.
This method leverages data and analytics to identify the keywords, demographics, and online behavior of potential buyers. We craft ads that will only appear to those who match these criteria, ensuring that our marketing budget is invested where it matters most.
When we go with hyper-targeted ads, it serves the following purposes:
- We're presenting potential buyers with what they're actively searching for. This relevance enhances the likelihood of conversion, as they see what they desire.
- It's about meeting the needs of specific categories – a unique selling proposition that grabs attention.
Host Virtual Tours to add value to our customer's phygital journey.
Virtual tours can significantly reduce the time and resources spent on non-serious inquiries. When potential buyers have already taken a virtual walkthrough, you're more likely to engage with genuinely interested parties during in-person visits.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Quality Imagery: Start with high-quality photos and videos. Invest in professional photography to showcase the property in the best light.
- Interactive Features: Use interactive elements in your virtual tour, like clickable links, 360-degree views, and floor plans. These features enhance the user experience.
- User-Friendly Platforms: Choose user-friendly platforms or software for creating and hosting virtual tours. There are several dedicated tools available that don't require extensive technical expertise.
Create landings and a Content Strategy to connect our audience with the Real Estate Topic.
You need to design specific landing pages that align with various aspects of real estate, like property types (condos, single-family homes, commercial properties), neighborhoods, or services (buying, selling, investing). These pages must be finely tailored to grab the attention of potential clients. For example, if someone's looking for luxury condos in a specific area, they should land on a page exclusively showcasing luxurious condo listings in that locality.
Additionally, it's essential to develop a content strategy that complements your landing pages. Create a variety of content, including blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics, addressing the needs, concerns, and interests of your target audience in the real estate market. Your content should be informative, engaging, and shareable. Consider publishing articles on topics such as "Top 10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers" or "Investment Opportunities in [City Name]." This approach will draw potential clients to your site and keep them engaged, ultimately boosting your real estate marketing efforts.
These are some of the ideas that we could together work on to build more meaningful campaigns.
Optimize Search Engine Presence by balancing Paid and Organic
An organic search presence signifies trustworthiness and authority. Clients often view organic results as more reliable, as they haven't paid for their position. Organic traffic, once established, can generate leads at a lower cost compared to paid advertising. A balanced approach optimizes your return on investment. Here is how to have a systematic approach:
Keyword Strategy: Carefully research and select keywords that align with the real estate market you serve. This should include a mix of highly targeted, location-specific keywords for both paid and organic campaigns.
Content Quality: Create high-quality, relevant content on your website. This content should not only appeal to search engines but, more importantly, offer valuable information to potential clients.
On-Page SEO: Implement on-page SEO best practices, including optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt tags. Ensure your website is technically sound, mobile-friendly, and loads quickly.
Local SEO: For real estate, local SEO is vital. Optimize your Google My Business profile and encourage client reviews. Accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information should be consistent across all online platforms.
When you are trying to run Google Ads, here is how you could approach it:
Ad Campaign Structure: Organize your Google Ads campaign into well-structured ad groups. Each ad group should focus on a specific theme or keyword group. This structure ensures that your ads are highly relevant to the user's search query.
Landing Pages: Direct users to dedicated landing pages on your website that match the content and intent of your ads. Ensure these pages load quickly, are mobile-friendly, and provide a seamless user experience.
Quality Score: Monitor and improve your Quality Score, which Google assigns to your keywords and ads. A higher Quality Score can lead to better ad positioning and lower costs.
Digital Marketing Trends in Real Estate To Watch In 2024
Using chatbots and AI-assistants could be game changers
Chatbots represent a powerful and increasingly favored marketing channel integrated with AI, connecting seamlessly with popular social platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, and more.
Marketers across industries are recognizing chatbots as a preferred means of communication, and this trend is making its mark in the real estate domain. The appeal lies in their simplicity and remarkable effectiveness. To put it in perspective, Facebook Messenger bot campaigns, as emphasized by marketing authority Neil Patel, boast an astonishing 88% open rate, surpassing even email marketing in terms of expanding your organic reach.
The setup process for a Facebook Messenger chatbot is remarkably swift, requiring only a matter of minutes. Furthermore, the larger your contact list, the more significant your potential to generate leads through this dynamic marketing channel.
Chatbots and AI-assistants offer 24/7 availability, allowing potential clients to inquire about properties and services at any time. This level of responsiveness can significantly enhance customer engagement.
Virtual Tours would be the norm
Virtual tours provide an immersive experience, allowing prospective buyers to feel like they're walking through a property. This firsthand experience builds a stronger connection and engagement. Buyers can virtually tour multiple properties without the need for physical visits, saving time and effort. This convenience is especially valuable for international or out-of-town buyers.
Virtual tours leave little room for surprises. Buyers can thoroughly examine a property, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or disappointments during physical visits.
Virtual staging could help generate interest
Virtual staging proves to be a cost-effective alternative, with potential savings of up to 97% compared to traditional home staging. Numerous AI-driven real estate tools are readily available to assist in this endeavor.
Harness the capabilities of AI to convert vacant properties into fully furnished homes. What's more, you have the flexibility to customize the staging style to align with the preferences and personalities of your target audience and potential buyers. This adaptability can broaden your reach, attracting a more extensive pool of potential homebuyers with minimal effort.
Furthermore, the process is swift, enabling agents to stage multiple properties simultaneously. This not only conserves time but also allows real estate professionals to direct their focus toward other critical responsibilities.
Increased use of voice searches
Voice Search Optimization in Real Estate pertains to the strategy of enhancing online content and websites to boost their visibility and ranking in voice search outcomes, particularly for real estate-related questions.
In today's digital landscape, consumers are increasingly turning to voice-activated queries as virtual assistants and smart devices like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant gain popularity. Let's explore a different set of Voice Search Real Estate queries:
"Locate modern waterfront homes in Miami."
"Who are the top real estate agencies in Los Angeles?"
"Display available townhouses in the suburbs."
"What's the average rental cost in downtown Seattle?"
"Which schools are closest to homes in the Maplewood neighborhood?"
These inquiries showcase the diversity of real estate-related voice search and the importance of optimizing content to address them effectively.
We assisted our client, MEXTO, in the O' LIVING project, achieving an impressive 85% of all listings sold in just under one year.
CodeDesign provided MEXTO with a comprehensive solution that addressed their core challenge: achieving remarkable sales results in the O' LIVING project. We leveraged a range of strategies, including integrating CRM for a seamless customer experience, implementing hyper-targeted pay-per-click advertising, hosting virtual tours, optimizing search engine presence, and curating a content strategy. These efforts collectively resulted in an exceptional 85% of all listings being sold in under a year.
We essentially served as a one-stop shop for all of MEXTO's digital needs, from generating leads to closing successful sales. By effectively understanding their customer base, providing them with an array of high-impact digital services, and implementing data-driven strategies, we significantly reduced their cost of sale, demonstrating our ability to solve problems and deliver results. Our partnership with MEXTO was a testament to our capacity to provide a turnkey solution that successfully tackled their specific challenge and delivered exceptional sales performance.
"They were, for sure, a one-stop-shop for all digital affairs and with a great capacity to solve problems.. -
Augusto Homem de Mello, Marketing & Sales Director
About Bruno Gavino
Bruno Gavino is the CEO and partner of Codedesign, a digital marketing agency with a strong international presence. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, with offices in Boston, Singapore, and Manchester (UK) Codedesign has been recognized as one of the top interactive agencies and eCommerce agencies. Awarded Top B2B Company in Europe and Top B2C company in retail, Codedesign aims to foster personal relationships with clients and create a positive work environment for its team.
He emphasizes the need for digital agencies to focus on data optimization and performance to meet the increasingly results-driven demands of clients. His experience in digital marketing, combined with a unique background that includes engineering and data, contributes to his effective and multifaceted leadership style.
Codedesign is a digital marketing agency with a strong multicultural and international presence, offering expert services in digital marketing. Our digital agency in Lisbon, Boston, and Manchester enables us to provide market-ready strategies that suit a wide range of clients across the globe (both B2B and B2C). We specialize in creating impactful online experiences, focusing on making your digital presence strong and efficient. Our approach is straightforward and effective, ensuring that every client receives a personalized service that truly meets their needs.
Our digital agency is committed to using the latest data and technology to help your business stand out. Whether you're looking to increase your online visibility, connect better with your audience, get more leads, or grow your online sales. For more information, read our Digital Strategy Blog or to start your journey with us, please feel free to contact us.