Real Estate Marketing Ideas: 7 Tips to Grow Your Agency
You know that driving a beat-up little Hyundai Excel to meet homeowners will give you little hope of securing the right to sell their house.
What you may not appreciate is that your online presence may be preventing you from getting the meeting in the first place.
In a digital age, there are so many opportunities to attract & convert vendors and buyers for your real estate business.
But where to start?
The ideas or suggestions I want to share with you should by no means form your entire online marketing plan or should they be all that you do. They are ideas to help you plan your real estate marketing strategy.
They are not hacks. They are not short-term wins. But they are rock-solid tactics to help your agency project an innovative image, improve user experience and drive more website traffic.
By now you’re fully aware that internet usage on mobile devices has surpassed that on desktop. But how important is a great mobile browsing experience for your real estate website?
Buying or selling a home is a huge moment in one’s life and the decision-making process is long. It involves a great deal of research conducted on a mobile phone. So it makes sense to not only present users with the content but present it in a friendly manner.
There are a couple of options here if you’re looking at a mobile website including an alternative version hosted at m.yoursite.com.au or the same version that responds to the size of screen. The latter choice is named responsive website design and this is our suggested approach and this is backed by Google.
Industry examples of mobile websites include realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and realestateview.com.au. Whilst before all three had a version loading at m.theirsite.com.au but only m.realestate.com.au remains. The others now opting for a responsive website maintaining the same domain.
Whilst we love responsive web design, serving the same content on a smaller device can be problematic with mobile page speed. Particularly in the real estate industry where websites are so heavy. On a mobile device, slow page loads will definitely lose you customers.
But as another consideration, Google is launching its long-awaited (at least in SEO circles) mobile index. So up to this point, your search performance on mobile has largely relied upon a lot of technical optimisations from your desktop site. But this will change. For responsive websites, there shouldn’t be too many issues. But, if you have a separate mobile site, then it will take some work to add the same optimisations.
Further Reading: Check out Yoast’s post ‘How to optimize your real estate site‘.
Your reputation is crucial in real estate and this applies to your online reputation as well. If you didn’t appreciate that before, I’m sure the success of RateMyAgent has convinced you now.
So you first need to do an audit of your online reputation. This begins by searching Google, etc for your agency name and each of your agents. How do you fare? Do the same for your competitors. Understand how this search will influence potential clients and their research.
A simple search in Google for ‘real estate agents Carlton’ produced the following local pack.
The ratings are far from compelling but there’s one choice that will get more clicks than the others. This alone highlights the importance of reputation management for search.
Your strategy moving forward should include:
– Addressing any negative feedback online that may negatively impact.
– Implementing a feedback/review system to ensure you are encouraging online reviews. Give them a couple of options to leave a review and these should be chosen strategically. RateMyAgent is definitely one of those. Your Google My Business should be another.
– Monitoring online mentions of your agency and your agents. This will ensure that you can address any issues promptly before they gain traction and hurt your reputation. It may also identify some other positive mentions that are not being leveraged yet.
Search Engine Optimisation
The websites realestate.com.au and domain.com.au dominate search results for buyer-related search terms. Yet, there are still opportunities to attract buyers and vendors from search engines.
A content marketing strategy will help you to attract and engage buyers during their initial research. More on this below.
Potential vendors are a more traditional target in search for the real estate agent.
Here are a few basic results from keyword research (Australian search volume per month):
– ‘Real Estate Agents’ (2,900)
– ‘Real Estate Agent’ (2,400)
– ‘Real Estate Agents Melbourne’ (1,000)
They’re the big, high quality search terms of course. But it gives you an idea of the volume of searches out there. You will want to target the more local searches, whilst also aiming to compete for searches involving the words ‘best’, ‘reviews’ and ‘trusted’.
From the same ‘real estate agents Carlton’ search from earlier, here are the next four organic listings placed under the local pack.
At least in the Australian marketplace, realestate.com.au will dominate search results, so if you’re like Woodards who can break into the top few then you’re very well placed. Just a shame they haven’t broken into the local pack as well.
A content marketing strategy identifies your audience, their needs and wants, what obstacles they have to buying or selling, what information they’re searching for online, where they usually turn to find it, and much more.
As noted, content marketing presents an opportunity for you to attract potential buyers. In fact, this might be your greatest search engine opportunity. Perhaps they’re looking for a tree-change or a sea-change – Where are they getting the info they’re looking for? Here’s a perfect opportunity. Provide the most valuable resource (blog post) on the web for people considering moving to your area. The competition will be a lot less competitive than for the typical ‘real estate agent Geelong’ search for example. By engaging with them early you can nurture them along their journey and this will put you in the best position to convert.
Other content ideas might include:
– Property hotspots in your area
– Ultimate guide to the local schools
Each piece of content strategically created to fulfill the needs of a specific target audience, which you should then nurture into serious leads.
Further to this, a blog provides you the content that people share on social media and this can then help promote your business.
Retargeting provides significantly higher ROI than traditional banner advertising.
Here is an example:
A visitor comes to ABCRealEstate.com.au has a look at a couple of property listings and then leaves to cook dinner maybe.
That visitor is then served your display advertising when they’re looking at other websites for the next 30 or 45 days for example. For real estate, this is a fantastic opportunity to advertise a new and relevant property listing to a person who visited your website two weeks earlier.
Has been around for ages but it seems for many industries, particularly in Australia, it is under-utilised. From a real estate agent’s perspective, you’re not going to sell advertising space on your website but you can create an affiliate program to serve your advertising.
If you haven’t followed me let me explain. Affiliate Marketing will help you serve your display advertising around the web and to the people that matter to you. Whilst it’s not Adwords and being able to advertise to someone actively searching for a relevant term, you can still target a demographic and it helps to build your brand.
Create a suite of display ads promoting your agency and sign up with an affiliate platform that allows you to create your own affiliate program or affiliate marketing campaign. Offer websites that serve your ads an incentive, which can be based on impressions, clicks or registrations of your email newsletter for example. You can review applications from publishers so your ads are not serving on sites you do not approve and are serving only on sites that will see your target audience.
It is an affordable method of driving traffic and leads if you get the incentive right.
You could aim to signup local bloggers whom have an active local community or provide a range of valuable resources on the local area.
Chatbots are gaining a lot of publicity as experts see the opportunity to provide a deeper, more personal experience for users browsing a website.
It has been the integration of natural language processing, machine learning and AI that presents the greatest opportunity.
How can you apply a chatbot to your website and why?
The chatbot can quite literally have a conversation with your user. Asking them questions and responding to answers based on either pre-determined answers you’ve fed it or on previous conversations it has had with other users. That’s right, if your chatbot is utilising machine learning, it will get smarter with every interaction.
What sort of conversation do you ask?
Let’s look at the standard real estate website experience, from a buyer’s perspective. I search the suburbs I want and add the filters. I’m presented with the search results. It might only be 5 or it could be 100. If it’s on the larger side I’m going to be browsing through pages.
Now this is where the Chatbot can improve user experience and set you apart from your competition. Here’s a hypothetical conversation:
Chatbot: Hi. Can I ask your name and email address? And where are you looking to buy?
Me: Sure. I’m looking to buy on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria.
Chatbot: Nice. There’s a number of wineries and of course, you’ve got access to the bay and the ocean. The most recent sales report has a number of suburbs showing strong growth.
Me: Really. What suburbs have shown growth?
Chatbot: Clifton Springs has performed well with Median house prices increasing 5.2% in 2017. You might want to check out this article in the Geelong Advertiser.
Me: OK great. Can you show me some properties for sale in Clifton Springs.
Chatbot: Of course. Did you have a budget in mind? How many bedrooms were you looking for?
I cut that hypothetical conversation short but you can see where it was going. As a user, I could chat with the bot any time of the day and be presented with valuable info and a more refined list of properties. Making for a more streamlined and better user experience.
There will likely be a point at which every conversation will need human interaction and when it does, the chatbot will know which member of your team is best qualified to answer and the query will be redirected to them.
Of course, you can have a live chat functionality and whilst we definitely encourage you to do so with your website, it is hard to scale as it will always rely on someone being on the other end, only ever being able to chat 1:1.
Bonus: Livestream on Facebook
Facebook was always going to follow Meerkat and Periscope into the live streaming arena. Knowing the saturation of Facebook, this is a platform that you can rely on being able to reach your audience.
Until recently streaming was restricted to those that have the technology. Now anyone with a smartphone can become a broadcaster. A broadcaster that can get live feedback from viewers via comments.
So how to apply it to real estate?
If you have an open house on a Saturday, why not run a live stream of the house 24 hours prior. This will allow interested parties to check it out and ask questions of you whilst you are streaming. This has them more prepared for the live open house.
If you want to find out what you need to know to get started, I suggest you check out Pat Flynn’s video below.