We are well into December and it’s that time of year when we stop and take a look back at what we have accomplished in 2013. It’s been fantastic to watch our clients’ developments grow and we’ve been proud to watch their marketing campaigns evolve. For many, we know it has been an eye opening year with the digital medium changing rapidly and online marketing at the forefront of successful project sales campaigns. The reality is with continued evolution in digital technology, the marketing environment is more dynamic than ever!
As we live and breathe real estate marketing every day, we know the trends and understand where the market is headed. So what will be the landscape for the future? In this Blueprint, we’ll walk you through our real estate industry marketing predictions for 2014.
1. Growing the Digital Sales Cycle Funnel
As project’s ramp up and we get busy we often see marketers forget the ultimate point of their marketing efforts in the first place: generating leads and selling projects. Here are a few ideas for bolstering your 2014 campaigns:
- Know your property portals. Many companies right now, don’t see how fast the real estate industry is expanding and how prospects are landing on their sites. Know where your projects are being found and see if further resource allocation in these areas is required.
- Don’t expect buyers to do all the leg work. What do your prospects and agents not know about your development? How can you make discoving this information easy? Your goal in 2014 should be creating and sharing all content unique and relevant to your projects and company brand across your communication touch points. By proactively reaching out to your clients you develop the reputation as a market leader for your willingness to be open about your project’s details.
- Keep buyer’s lists at your fingertips. Ask yourself if you are effectively building out your potential buyer’s list. Is you team’s CRM working for you? Consider how well your process is automated and how your process for managing your database allows your team to stay organized and connected to those buyer's in your pipeline .
2. Online Perception and the Role of Creative in Branding
Many of the trends we are seeing with regards to project branding are directly related to the continued decreasing role of traditional media and how a project will be perceived when the first or primary touch point is online. Conveying that emotional connection online is different and it seems many developers are simplifying the message or not trying as hard. Creative is still a very important aspect to your marketing strategy even in the digital age! The focus in 2014 will be for real estate brands to effectively communicate their desired brand messaging in a way that retains its uniqueness and creativity while being appropriate for the communication medium.
3. Continued Reallocation of Marketing Resources
Of the Holy Trinity of print ads, billboard marketing and sales centres, we’re seeing the most scaling back in the elaborateness of sales centres as random foot traffic becomes less prevalent. With that being said, the staying power of traditional print media remains stubbornly consistent despite the numerous predicitions of its emminent demise. Although marketers are getting wise to what is truly adding value to their sales funnel, going forward the continued shift to expansive digital strategies supplemented by a lessening importance of traditional advertising mediums seems likely over the near future.
4. Being Bold and Creating Buzz
There are a variety of ways to differentiate your property in today’s market place. Understanding what will capture your buyer’s attention will be key in the future as marketing to different audiences continues to segment itself. Some examples would be hosting your live events like sales centre openings and penthouse unit unveilings online. Or why not try using augmented reality to revolutionize your print ads? Not in the budget? Why not simply showcase your past project with reflective case studies. The point: get creative.
5. Keeping Prospects coming Back for More
Since we know pretty much all your clients will research your developments online, keep them coming back. Stay top of mind through ad-retargeting. (Click here for our latest post on this topic). Secondly, create digital collateral enhancing your project’s wow factor while generating pre-build revenue. Regularly we see online visitors forwarding links to websites or social sharing projects. This is the best marketing you could ask for as the project speaks for itself. Referral marketing. Track it and see where people are discussing your project.
6. No More Excuses for Your Social Media
Many individual agents are there and having success. Why isn't your develpoment project? The trend is away from just getting plugged in for the sake of plugging in, but rather selective use. Not all social media is right for every brand. We know it can take up a lot of resources managing multiple social media accounts. Look for more developers this year focusing on paid Facebook usage, Google+ and of course your digital storefront Pinterest as your ideal social media platforms to engage with for the real estate industry.
7. Segmenting Your Marketing and Customer Segmentation By Geography
Understand the scope of your marketing campaign, and specifically target for your audiences by geography. International buyer marketing requires a specialized marketing skill set and at a very basic level starts with understanding the search engines, property portals, and localized language marketing material required to target that market. Adapting and localizing is key to reaching these potential buyers.
8. The Emergence of Interactive Technology. Everywhere.
Invest in the user experience and it will continue to pay great dividends.
Trends for 2014:
1. Integrated platforms combining the sales centre and web platforms.
2. Better measurement. Digital analytics will continue to improve and other digital efforts like social media analytics will become further intertwined.
3. New property portal players will continue to emerge changing how buyers find your properties.
4. Focus on design and well branded content tool interfaces will be at the forefront of all successful web and mobile application products.
9. I Can’t Believe We Have to Say This But… Mobile is a Must.
In 2013, mobile statistics outpaced most marketers’ expectations. For instance, 85% of people use their smartphone while watching TV. I know I do. Our time spent online is only increasing, and therefore so does the amount of people visiting your site and the amount of time they spend on it. Mobile has happened, and if you're not really there, soon you’ll be in the dark ages.
10. Perfecting the Art of Storytelling.
Finally, storytelling is more important than ever. Communicating to your market segment and understanding why your target audience would want to live there is essential. Don’t just think floor plans and a picture of a smiling family. Demonstrate how the space will work for your buyers. Be visually centric. For instance more and more people are considering downsizing, and adjusting to smaller spaces. Show them why they should… or shouldn’t!
At any rate, the more you truly dig deeper and communicate what you developments are really about, the more buyers will want to engage with your project and your company.
Stop looking at individual pieces of the marketing puzzle and instead see your strategy as whole. Make 2014 the year your digital marketing strategy finally takes the lead and watch your sales soar.