Real estate is a game of risks and rewards. It’s a strategic bet by each developer that each project will generate the buyers, leasees, or tenants necessary to yield a return on their investment. In today’s crowded market, it’s never been more important to differentiate your property and generate leads (and ultimately customers).
Marketing in real estate has historically been viewed as a cost center rather than a business builder. The perception is that marketing is necessary, but also expendable. It’s often diminished to a building logo or a flowery brochure. When you need to tighten the belt… goodbye marketing!
The glaring oversight is that real estate marketing rarely differentiates between its audiences (whether by generation, geography, or lifestyle); nor is real estate marketing leveraged as a tactic for achieving measurable business goals. Let’s take a quick glance at the current environment…
What does marketing in real estate currently look like?
- One size fits all. When was the last time you were excited about wearing a piece of clothing that says “one size fits all?” Historically, real estate has used a copy-paste strategy when marketing apartments. It recycles old messaging and doesn’t take into account the resident or the lifestyle.
- It seldom harnesses new technology. Direct mail? Brochures? Sales speak? The rise of technology and a new age of consumerism has made some of these traditional promotional techniques extinct. The industry has seldom taken advantage of digital platforms, despite these being used by their target audience.
- It lacks measurement. With new technology comes the ability to track, trace, and affect the bottom line. What kind of ROI is your marketing producing?
What is content marketing?
Traditional marketing focused on disruptive tactics. TV commercials and radio programs have become less effective with the invention of the DVR and internet radio—not to mention, today’s consumers are averse to traditional sales speak. Content marketing or inbound marketing takes a drastically different approach. Content marketing meets prospective customers by providing helpful information about the topics they’re already searching for.
Let’s take a baby boomer, for example. He’s nearing retirement and sits down at his computer to search for “Best retirement cities in the country with golf all year round.” If I’m a residential resort community that practices content marketing, I’ve already anticipated what my best prospects will be searching.
Throughout the past few months, I’ve been blogging about relevant topics, including a recent blog post that highlights cities across the country with the best golf courses and ideal weather. I’m not directly selling my property, but rather I’m educating on what’s out there. My blog answers the questions of my target audience, who may be searching for answers online. The idea is that through education, transparency, and thought leadership, I have an excellent platform through which to tell prospective customers about my business!
Let’s extend the same approach to millennials, except this time I’m also engaging them on social media—interacting and delivering relevant information when it makes sense. Perhaps they’re interested in “active and health-conscious cities with good job markets.” Through relevant blog topics, conversational interactions, and well-targeted social media advertising, I can be the one to open their eyes to a new city, a new neighborhood, and a new property.
Why is real estate is a good fit for inbound?
- It’s targeted to specific personas. As highlighted above, you are not blanketing the market with collateral material and wasted dollars that may land on the doorsteps of folks no where near the buying process. With inbound, you’re engaging in a dialogue with individuals specifically seeking solutions you provide. You’re targeting individual personas, identifying their pain points, interests, motivations, and creating solutions.
- It delivers measurable results. Inbound is more than social media and blogging. It is a strategic alignment of tactics that surround your business goals. The inbound technology allows you to see real-time data on valuable metrics. By monitoring increased traffic to your site, you can determine the amount of visitors that have further engaged: How many qualified leads did we drive? How many of those leads turned into tenants or customers? From there, you can associate dollars spent for dollars earned—direct ROI.
- It meets your best prospects where they are. Increasingly, all generational cohorts are using the internet and social media to do research for all of life’s buying decisions, big or small. With the ease of gaining information at their fingertips, your prospective clients are expecting you to provide this information through this conduit. Doesn’t it make sense to meet ideal prospects where they are?