It’s no secret that foreign buyers are becoming an increasingly important group in real estate markets globally.
Although a lot of the media on this topic tends to focus on Chinese or Latin American buyers, a good portion of these buyers also come from mature markets such as Canada and the UK. Regardless of the source, finding a way to generate, prospect, and convert these leads is clearly in your organization’s best interest. However, far too often marketers get overwhelmed before they even begin. We understand, the global market is a big place!
For Developers, Brokerages, and Agents the question becomes, ”How do I get started?” In this special Blueprint series we will focus on how to capture this activity and turn it into revenue generating opportunities for your business. Before getting started its a good idea to see how your project or market differentiates from other global markets and projects by looking at a global property rankings table.
STEP 1– UNDERSTAND & IDENTIFY YOUR OVERSEAS BUYER
First things first, do you know who you're marketing too? At the risk of over generalizing, your international buyers likely come from one of two categories. These two categories of buyers have vastly different motivations for buying overseas properties and your sales and marketing campaigns should reflect these differences. Adjust your strategy based on your buyer's interests and cater to their property preferences.
Ownership of real estate is a sign of wealth and stability in virtually all emerging markets given their relative turbulent histories. It has always been symbolized as a real asset based wealth stream compared to other investment vehicles such as stocks and bonds.
On the other hand, developed market buyers are probably very similar to your local clientele with some minor tactical issues such as legal requirements and language differences needing to be accounted for.
STEP 2 – LOCALIZE THE MESSAGE
- Localize The Project Story – Everyone knows the importance of selling a story. The worst real estate marketing is a floor plan and some written copy, while the best is those projects that effectively communicate a certain lifestyle and feeling to buyers. How does your project communicate this feeling? For emerging market buyers consider different design aesthetics, as well as, lifestyle factors like immigration and education options for dependents. Naturally these are very important but often go unmentioned, as your initial story may need to be tweaked for your new audience. For instance, if your project is nearby a university, make that clear and I’m sure your Chinese and Brazilian buyers will take notice.
- Common sense would suggest that for developed market buyers with similar buyer motivations, translating existing material and simply providing clear information on the additional steps required for foreign purchasers would be sufficient.
- Once you are clear on the creative and strategic side of your international plan, you can begin looking at the tactical marketing decisions needed to target these buyers.
NOW GET STARTED
Don't just sit there, think about your campaign's next steps! Answer the following questions honestly before proceeding with any targeted international marketing strategy.
1. Based on what is going on in your market, are international buyers an important enough buyer group for you? Which countries are they likely from? If you don't know the answers to these questions, part 2 of this Blueprint series will provide more information on how to research and validate a certain market for your international marketing.
2. Using your historical local marketing knowledge for your development project, what would be a realistic target volume of foreign buyers? What would be a best case scenario? If that best case scenario number is above 10-15%, does that number equate to your marketing resources and efforts? Does your team target these buyers effectively (bilingual websites, web advertising, SEO, channel partners, property shows, paid portal placement, and more)?
3. Now, how do you plan on getting started?
Marketing real estate internationally is a topic we are constantly asked about. We want to help guide you through your evolving strategy in this series.
Part 2 of this Blueprint will help answer question 3 and take a more detailed look at localizing your project's message, international lead generation, utilizing channel partner's effectively, and generating overseas buyers lists.
Part 3 will discuss converting non-local leads and building an overseas marketing platform that lasts. Join us and let us help show you how.