The real estate industry has always been competitive. With more than 2 million active real estate licensees and 86,004 real estate brokerage firms currently operating in the United States, according to Realtor.org, each Realtor must stay on top of the trends to remain viable. Since each locality has its unique quirks, an individual Realtor can capitalize on local knowledge to rise to the top in a specific geographic area or niche specialty market. One way to do this is to use inbound marketing tools and techniques to draw buyers and sellers to you because of the expertise you provide.
Here are a few of the top marketing trends for 2016 to help you stay on the top of the game:
The foundation of the inbound marketing concept is building relationships and trust. The traditional advertising approach using “in your face/sell, sell, sell” tactics no longer work. Realtors have long known that gaining customers’ trust is essential for repeat business.
Customers now expect advertisers to provide information to help them make good purchase decisions and lead them through the buyers’ journey. This is especially true for Gen X, who are looking to enter the real estate market for the first time and depend on a knowledgeable Realtor to guide them through the process.
With so much data available in internal CRM systems, social media and big data, much of the buyer’s journey can be personalized to individual customers. Marketers are getting smarter with their tools and information resources to provide a better marketing experience for customers and are increasing customer loyalty as a result.
Marketing automation allows Realtors to provide critical information in a customized manner at the right time without consuming excessive time and resources. Marketers today tend to spend at least 50% of their time generating new content which, in order to be effective, needs to be delivered to the customer at the right time in their buying process.
A marketing automation platform, like HubSpot, makes it easier to schedule emails, segment markets, automate social media postings, manage your content and track your customers through the buying process.
Location-Based Marketing Technology
It is no secret that more than 60% of the population uses mobile technology or that buyers and sellers begin a purchase or sale decision using the internet. Sticking a balloon on the mailbox no longer drives traffic to open houses. One has to do more to create excitement and an interactive experience.
Location-based marketing technology, like iBeacons and RFIDs, help make this possible. iBeacons are transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to detect nearby devices that can be placed in open houses. Customers who attend the open house can “check in” and easily sign up for additional information or newsletters. Attendees can also share their experiences with friends online with a simple tap to share across multiple platforms.
Realtors especially know it is about “Location, Location, Location” and this technology increasingly will become more important to make the most of it in real time.
If you are not using video in 2016, you run the risk of missing a large opportunity and eventually getting left behind. From drones and aerial view photography to a 3D virtual walk-through of a model home; video is a necessary item in the Realtors tool kit. With live-streaming video, you can now conduct virtual business meetings and property showings with your clients.
You do not have to be a professional to use video, the tool set and effects are increasingly easier to use. Hyperlapse, an Instagram app, can turn an amateur videos into an impressive film. While “image stabilization” may not sound like a big deal, you really have to see the difference to believe it. Time lapse video can be used to create a unique effect; from a beautiful sound side sunset, to the private beach access or a neighborhood tour. Time lapse video could also let you show a walk-through of a large house in a short amount of time.
Consider these video stats:
According to Adobe, 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
Mobile video plays were up 44% halfway through 2015, — up 74% from 2014 and up a huge 844% since 2012.
According to Techcrunch, between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion.
Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.
Virtual Reality, like Oculus Rift, is becoming more main stream. Prospective buyers can get the feeling of actually being inside a home without ever stepping foot in the door. Better tools and devices like these are increasingly being added to the Realtors tool box and will be expected with the emerging tech-savvy group of first time buyers.
Perhaps to Realtors these tools will be even more valuable than to other marketing professionals – bridging the distance between buyers, sellers and properties and avoiding travel to the location until later in the process.
Ephemeral marketing on sites like Snapchat capture the sense of uniqueness and establish a connection that is increasingly sought after. If you don’t catch it in real time, it will be gone forever. It is a special medium to communicate a sense of urgency. Snapchat is already moving into the space of a “standard marketing platform.”
Search Past Search Engines
Optimization in the future will go well beyond Google. And that doesn’t just include other search engines like Bing or Yahoo. Mobilegeddon, is here and by now you should know that your website will need to be responsive and mobile friendly. Increasingly, search capability within social media websites provide a treasure trove of information which is more targeted then Google search. Have you searched Linkedin or Facebook lately? What will customers find if they search for you or your brokerage on these sites?
The content on a Realtors site will be scrutinized as well. A site with the same page of copy with a few words here and there changed for different towns, cities or developments for SEO purposes, will no longer be effective. Google has already made an algorithm change to crack down on these “doorway” pages and penalize sites that do not add sufficient value. Each page should have a purpose, providing added value for visitors and focusing on a different set of keywords.
More content will be included on social sites without a link back to the marketers’ website. Increasingly, buy buttons and special messaging appear on social in 2016, to form an all-in-one-type platform. The convergence within these platforms to allow search capabilities, integrated payment methods, and sharing the social impact will make a transaction into a true experience. What are you doing today to make a buyer or seller recommend you for providing an enhanced experience?
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Our personal devices, including homes, cars, watches, and drones are increasingly becoming interconnected. By the end of 2016, wearables will see an adoption rate of 28%. This will significantly increase the data and information on the day to day habits of individuals that marketers will be able to collect and use to better understand consumers.
If you need help positioning your brokerage company to use inbound marketing techniques to attract buyers and sellers and to rank in SEO as a local expert, let Paveya show you the way.