Ever feel like you are lacking with your online presence? Want people to get to know, like and trust you, without having ever spoken to them? Not sure where to start.
In this video, I go through a variety of different decisions you need to make and people you could engage to help you gain the higher ground on your competitors in the digital world!
Following is the video transcript.
Getting started with digital marketing
Most business owners know it’s vital to have a formidable online presence to succeed. Of course, this is easier said than done, as you need to consider many elements. These include a great social media profile, a website that’s accessible, mobile friendly and responsive, and a recognisable and trusted brand. In addition, you need an ad budget for both social and Google ads. The days of organic reach (that is not through paid advertising) are long gone.
Ecommerce businesses like eBay and Amazon have been around now for close to two decades. In comparison, the real estate industry’s foray into digital media has been somewhat stilted. Now, three years after the first digital awards that I judged, Google and Facebook, as well as Instagram and LinkedIn, to a lesser extent, are now firmly on the real estate industry’s radar.
Traditional versus digital marketing
Many real estate businesses are still reluctant to venture too far from the comforts of traditional marketing methods. Instead, they’ve left the portals to dominate the online space. As geo targeted data and local area marketing come of age, the real estate industry is realising the value of digital marketing.
Real estate business owners are gravitating towards digital marketing and social media. In particular, they’re starting to spend money on advertising more and more. This move however, is not without its challenges. The key is to understand what resources you need, and what level of budget you need to allocate so that your digital dive is successful and delivers worthwhile targeted leads.
How to set your digital marketing budget
There’s a number of challenges and obstacles still to overcome. One is committing to a budget. Often you need to make a significant upfront investment to get everything set up correctly. You’ll also need to commit money to ongoing social media and online advertising.
How? Look at your total revenue, or the revenue level you’d like to reach, and calculate your marketing as a percentage, and allocate around 8% for one year’s worth to brand marketing.
For example, if you’re a $500,000 GCI agent, then you should expect to invest around $40,000 on your marketing. If you’re a million dollar GCI agent, then you’d be looking at an $80,000 budget. I know it sounds a lot, but it’s the best way to generate online leads.
Gaining board level buy-in
Another challenge, if you’re in a bigger organisation is convincing the board, or sometimes yourself that the investment will yield results. The challenge for many agents and principals is often the willingness to back and invest yourself.
Understand that executed effectively digital marketing will bring you a steady flow of leads. A strong online presence makes it easy for people researching you as part of that ‘digital interview’. To have peace of mind that you’re a highly skilled professional who knows what you’re doing.
Digital marketing is the warm up act
It’s also important to understand that digital advertising should not exist in isolation. Digital can do most of the heavy lifting, but real estate is a people business, you still need to make sure that your digital marketing works in conjunction with traditional methods.
Let’s consider how you both capture and then convert your leads. Your digital marketing can only do so much. Once you have the leads, you need to make sure that you have a system in place to take advantage of them.
Don’t let your leads go cold
My team and I run lead generation campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Google and LinkedIn for our clients. However, we realised that after passing these warm leads on to the agency or the agent, they were not always being followed up in a timely fashion.
A high quality lead will cost in the region of $20 to $40. So it’s imperative to follow up. In fact, we now offer a telemarketing service so that we speak with people that have inquired by our clients ad, so that a real human being has got in touch with them within a very short space of time of that person clicking on the ad, then the real estate agency or agent can follow up again thereafter.
Keep your staff in-the-know
Another challenge is educating staff. It’s easier when you can show the full value and importance of your collective digital footprint to agents. In particular, we need to convince agents that they have strength in numbers. What I mean by this is that by combining ad budgets and working together, versus individual agents going alone with their digital marketing, you can have a greater impact collectively in your market.
It can also be hard to keep abreast of the changes occurring to social media and the advertising platforms. Google in particular, changes its algorithm continually. The goalposts are always moving.
Engaging with marketing experts
Next, how do you go about allocating resources, there’s a number of ways to manage your digital marketing. Your costs will depend on the model you choose, which could be one of several.
One option is to self-manage your marketing, you could be an agent, a property manager, managing your own account, or you might have an in house admin staff member that can do it for you. If you’re really lucky, you might have an in house specialised creative team. Real estate agencies with in house teams usually have skilled marketers, including writers, designers and videographers.
Another option is to outsource to a social media marketer. Under this model, you pay a freelancer to help with content creation. Often these people come from a PR background and are not always skilled in paid advertising. They focus solely on organic posts. This could result in many of your social media posts going on seen or seen by only a few people.
Another option is to subscribe to a property advertising platform. This gives you the benefit of a systemised approach to digital property campaigns. Some systems generate more than 70 different types of creative for a property and they can also promote your clients properties to a range of preset audiences. There are more than a dozen players in what I call the ad tech space. But the challenge then becomes who to choose.
Then there’s the option to engage a digital marketing coach. A coach helps you learn more about social media advertising, you’ll learn how to map your database to social media channels and how to grow your own advertising audience across multiple platforms.
Alongside running paid advertising campaigns, you may wish to go one step further and engage a digital marketing agency. Your marketing agency will provide multiple skilled creative resources, source the right professionals for the job on your behalf and devise a digital marketing strategy. They’ll oversee and add a new content program, manage a digital media advertising budget, and they’ll basically do all the heavy lifting for you. This agency will target ad audiences in a far more sophisticated way.
Finally, you could opt for a combination of those models that I’ve described. What you would do is use a property advertising platform in conjunction with a digital agency. You’d use the ad tech platform for systemised property campaigns, and then the agency helps with your brand strategy. This might include social media setup, and training. Many real estate agencies now run content marketing programs as well as paid digital advertising campaigns to promote their businesses.
Digital is still a moving target
As a digital professional with more than 20 years of technical expertise, I understand that it can feel near impossible to stay abreast of the continual changes and updates to social media and digital marketing platforms.
In my business, I see the number one challenge for real estate professionals is finding the time to create content to schedule posts, to run ads, without professional help.
In my experience, most end up with inconsistent branding and failed campaigns. Most importantly, running your own digital media takes time away from what you do best, and that’s helping your own clients with property transactions.
So engage the professionals and have a marketing strategy that works without the headache of managing it on top of our own workload.
This article first appeared here: https://www.hoole.co/how-to-dominate-digitally-in-real-estate/