Just a few decades ago, people used the newspaper to find homes for sale. Today, everyone uses websites instead. In fact, nearly half of today’s aspiring homeowners use the internet as the first step in their home search.
The modern homebuyer has a variety of online tools available to them. Apps let them search by location and neighborhood. Filters help them narrow in on specifics like home type and construction materials. They can flip through photos in Google and take virtual 360 tours. They can even read up on the school system and read realtor reviews on Facebook.
All of this happens before homebuyers ever connect with a real estate agency.
The majority of buyers still prefer to work with real estate companies to buy their home, but for them to choose your agency—among the dozens others in your area—you have to stand out. You have to interrupt their search on all of these digital channels, from social media to Google.
The way to do that is with strategic digital marketing.
By supplementing your offline efforts with a robust digital marketing strategy, you lay the foundation to attract more qualified real estate leads. You’ll have more customers visiting your website, attending your open houses, and choosing your real estate agency.
Sure, many people still drive around looking for open houses, but the majority of customers are using the internet to find their future home. The world is too fast-paced—and the buying market too competitive—for customers to rely solely on Open House signs.
If they want to find their new home, your customers have to be online. If you want to find your customers, you have to be online, too.
Our Best Real Estate Digital Marketing Tips
Let’s upgrade your marketing and get more leads to your website. Follow our top digital marketing tips for real estate agencies
Set yourself apart from the competition
The real estate field is highly competitive. You know that. Discover a niche or unique marketing message to attract leads away from your competitors. You need to give customers a reason to remember you—and your ads.
Build trust signals
Trust is so important to your customers that the third most-visited page on realtor websites is the About page. Home buyers want to know who you are. Help them get a sense of that by generating reviews on Yelp and Google. Share these testimonials throughout your website and the landing pages for your ads. The more trust signals you can utilize, the more customers will trust you.
Press releases are not dead
Release news and advice about the real estate industry to drive your credibility. Hopefully, news sources will pick you up and help build trust, or at the very least, increase your SEO. Get to know your homebuyer’s backstories. Local newspapers and bloggers are always looking for a good human interest piece.
Develop email drip campaigns
It’s cheaper (and easier) to nurture your current database then market to get new leads. Create a strong email marketing nurturing campaign that welcomes leads to your agency, introduces them to your agents, and shares helpful resources on home buying. Send them instant property listings to get them excited to move to the next step.
Segment your email database
People are more likely to open your emails if they’re personalized to their needs. Consider the different needs of your buyers: top of funnel vs bottom funnel, first-time home buyers vs. investment buyers, and so on. Develop different campaigns to target these unique audiences.
Focus on your conversion rate.
Monitor the conversion rate for your landing pages and perform A/B testing to increase it. Redesign your pages to show your form above the fold. Include visible trust signals (such as homes sold), quality photos, and customer testimonials.
Watch your spend
Real estate CPL is high because the leads have to be qualified. Your customers need to have enough disposable income in order to be able to buy properties, but that doesn’t mean you should treat your budget as disposable. Allow channels enough time to build, but keep an eye on your marketing spend.
Top Digital Marketing Channels for Real Estate Companies
Paid search refers to the ad placements you see at the top of search engine results in Google. Companies pay for these ads on a pay-per-click, or PPC, basis. You bid for your ad to appear for keywords relevant to your real estate company (such as “92612 townhomes”), but you only pay when a customer clicks on your ad.
With paid search, your real estate agency can instantly reach customers, precisely at the moment they’re searching for a house or an agent. Paid search visitors tend to be 50% more likely to buy than those who visit your website through the regular search results. Best of all, if you bid competitively, you can ensure your ad shows up above one for your competitor’s.
For real estate firms, we recommend bidding on broad keywords that describe the type of homes buyers are looking for, such as multifamily or single-family investments. The idea is to cast a wide enough net so you reach the most potential buyers possible.
Once your ads are running, it’s time to aggressively watch your spend and keyword performance. Add keywords that underperform to your negative keywords list. This tells Google to not display your ads for those keyword phrases, so your budget gets better spent on the top-performing keywords that send qualified leads your way.
Over 1 billion people use Facebook on a daily basis, with the average person spending over 40 minutes a day on it. When they’re taking a break from searching for homes on Google, you can engage buyers while they catch up with friends on Facebook. Today, only 10% of realtors are using social media to market their listings—giving your agency a huge competitive advantage.
Facebook advertising can be one of the most cost-effective avenues for capturing bottom of the funnel leads. Real estate companies can create Facebook Lead ads to collect email addresses for potential clients. Then you can send them new listings over email, transitioning your marketing efforts from paid to free.
Facebook advertising operates similarly to paid search, but the ads live in the Facebook News Feed as opposed to the Google search results. There are a variety of ad formats to choose from with Facebook, many of which are highly-visual—just what homebuyers are looking for. Photos continue to be the single-most important feature to homebuyers and investors.
Capture their interest with eye-catching visual ads. Facebook is the prime place to reach leads at the top-of-the-funnel, just when they’re starting to think about moving or looking to invest. If your agency starts using social media—and using it well—you’ll be way ahead of your competition.
People work with real estate agencies because they like having a trusted expert on their side. That relationship is what keeps them working with you. That’s why email marketing is essential for the real estate industry. It’s all about the relationship.
With email marketing, you strengthen your relationship with regular check-ins—without having your team make calls themselves and touch base. You can provide that personal touch to all of your company’s leads at once, with personalized email campaigns that automatically send them new property listings that match their preferences.
Once you’ve used paid search or Facebook ads to get leads into your system, switch to email marketing to nurture them down the funnel. Because it’s so competitive, the cost of lead generation is high for real estate. Once you acquire their emails, however, marketing to them is free. You just need to send them the right emails.
Buying a home is a large investment—the largest many people will make in their lifetime—and they want someone they can trust. Use email marketing to convince them your company is one they can count on. In addition to sending new property listings, you can develop campaigns that build trust and affinity for your agency. Highlight your team and include testimonials from happy new homeowners. Share a story about how your team helped them find the home of their dreams.
As for emails announcing new properties, include professional photos, key details, and a call to act now. Position these emails as the best way to see the hottest listings as soon as they’re available. That not only keeps your leads subscribed; it keeps them opening your emails on a regular basis.
Real Estate Email Marketing Success Story
To ensure your emails keep performing, you need to continuously A/B test them. Even a small change can make a huge difference, as we saw with our client HomeUnion. By adding labels like “new construction” to their property photos and expanding the copy to include more features, we increased their open rate by 39% and their click-through rate by 67%. Better yet, these email improvements doubled their website sign-ups. See how we did it.
Real Estate's Top Digital Marketing Challenge
The customer journey for real estate is a long one. Buying a home, investment property, or multifamily building is expensive, and its feasibility depends on a multitude of factors for each customer. There are work and family to consider, timing, and of course, cost. For first-time home buyers, they have to be educated on how the whole process works.
Because of the difficulty involved, it takes buyers time to find the right home. The average homebuyer spends at least 10 weeks searching for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Because it takes longer for customers to convert, your firm has to be patient but persuasive. That requires a multichannel marketing approach. You’ll want to invest in multiple places to ensure you’re capturing quality leads everywhere possible.
While we live in a digital-first world, offline channels are still important—especially for reminding homebuyers of your agency and growing your brand awareness. You can use offline channels like radio ads and open houses to engage customers in the real world. Coordinate these ads with your paid search and Facebook campaigns, so customers hear a cohesive message wherever they are.
Never let your marketing channels operate in a vacuum. Brainstorm them together, and analyze their results together, to evaluate which channels are working best for you. Pay attention to the full funnel. Don’t get blinded by sign-ups; you need to focus on the people who put in offers or close on a home, too.
Our Best Real Estate Digital Marketing Tips: A Recap
- Set Yourself Apart From The Competition
- Build Trust Signals
- Press Releases Are Not Dead
- Develop Email Drip Campaigns
- Segment Your Email Database
- Focus On Your Conversion Rate
- Watch Your Spend
About Your Marketing People
You might say digital marketing for real estate is hot right now. For your company to take advantage, you need an expert marketing strategy behind you. Just as you guide your customers to the perfect home or investment, let us guide you to the best digital strategy for your company.
At Your Marketing People, we’ve helped real estate companies build brand awareness, boost their leads, and sell more homes and investments.