Top 10 Best Practices for Real Estate Marketing in 2020 and Beyond (+ Descriptions on How To Achieve Each One)
- Why real estate agents should engage in digital marketing
- 10 Tips for Real Estate Marketing
- 1. Use Social Media
- 2. Utilize email marketing
- 3. Engage in digital advertising
- 4. Create real estate videos
- 5. Utilize your real estate website
- 6. Make your website mobile-friendly
- 7. Know your real estate audience
- 8. Make sure you’re on Zillow and Realtor.com
- 9. Identify goals
- 10. Analyze your marketing efforts
- Bonus: When in doubt, hire a marketing professional
- Additional resources for real estate marketing
- 1. Use Social Media
Why real estate agents should engage in digital marketing
Digital marketing helps businesses establish an online presence. With access to the internet provided to over 85 percent of Americans, it’s important to be where your customers are. And they’re definitely online—that’s for certain.
Real estate marketing is online
In the past, traditional methods of marketing for real estate have taken the form of newspaper ads, physical mailers, and even open houses that people might stumble upon in person. As the years went by and digital marketing gained popularity, more businesses turned to the internet and pursued online ways of promoting their services.
In addition to the prominence of digital marketing in this digital age, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 further limited any kind of gatherings for many months. Real estate, historically a heavily in-person practice, has witnessed a significant shift towards online efforts. Listings are promoted online more so than any other outlet, and promoting homes for sale on social media is becoming increasingly common.
Real estate buyers are online
50% of buyers find their new home online, and 79% of buyers found detailed information about properties online. 84% of new homebuyers say the information they found online was crucial for their research. With buyers looking to online resources to purchase a home, it’s important to be where they are.
In addition to buyers being online, sellers are as well. 43% of sellers say they are more likely to try to sell a home entirely online, and 33% of sellers anticipate they would still be more likely to try and sell a home entirely online even after the pandemic ends.
Remote workers are online
The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. 44% of employees say that part of their team is full-time remote in 2020, and 87% of business owners want to support remote work in the upcoming year.
Due to an increase in remote work, people are now spending even greater amounts of time online. The ability to work remotely has also helped many workers realize that they need a better workspace to support their new remote work lifestyle, while the opportunity to work from anywhere is allowing people to finally live in their dream locations and purchase their dream homes.
The acceleration towards digital outlets for working, functionality, entertainment, and more is exactly why businesses like real estate must engage in digital marketing. There are many ways to approach it, but there are 10 key elements you can follow as a real estate agent to make the most out of digital marketing for real estate.
10 Best Practices for Real Estate Marketing
1. Use Social Media
Social networking is one of the most popular internet activities in North America; 79% of internet users in the US have a social network profile, and 49% of survey respondents felt that social media and messaging apps were among the three types of apps that they spent the most time on.
People use social media for networking, entertainment, communication, and even for work purposes. With three quarters of the US population utilizing social platforms, engaging on social media is a great way to get your content in front of your target audiences. Including social media as a part of your inbound marketing and overall digital marketing program can lead potential buyers to the available real estate you have to offer.
Tips to use social media for real estate marketing
Facebook for real estate marketing
Facebook accounted for 55.9% of all social media site visits in the United States in February 2020, and is the most widely used social platform with 78.1 percent of adults in the United States using it.
Our experience in running social media marketing campaigns for real estate has shown us that Facebook is very much alive, and is a great platform to use for real estate marketing purposes. After implementing a custom social media marketing strategy, one of our real estate clients experienced a 4,460% increase of traffic to their website through Facebook alone!
- Create organic posts to share your original content. Ideas for organic posts can include descriptions of listings with photos attached, videos, articles, links to your blog posts, links to listings, links to interactive tours, testimonials, and more. You can even share a text post or a video of a client’s home buying journey and their experience working with you (with their permission, of course). As a platform for entertainment, users like to see real stories because they can connect with them on a personal level, and adds a personal touch to what you have to offer.
- Engage in social media advertising. Running boosted posts and Facebook ads can help get your content in front of your ideal audience and lead them directly to your listings or offerings.
- Target your ideal audiences to make sure your business gets in front of the right eyes. Utilize your buyer personas and some educated guessing to create target audiences within the platform. Just be sure to follow Facebook’s ad targeting guidelines for housing-related offers.
- Create event pages to market in-person or virtual events. You can even boost your event pages and promote them to the appropriate audience.
- Share links that lead to your website in posts. This will lead viewers directly to your website, which is one of the most important tools in your digital marketing arsenal.
- Invite your employees to like your business page, engage with the account, and like and share content from it through their own profiles.
- Track your marketing efforts using UTM codes. Adding tracking to the links you share allows you to understand where website visitors are coming from. With this information, you can customize your marketing efforts by doubling down on a platform you receive lots of traffic from, and engaging less on platforms you receive trace amounts of traffic from.
- Join or create Facebook groups that are relevant to real estate and your community.
- Connect with your community and support local businesses online. Sharing posts from local businesses shows that you are engaged with your community and helps to market the area in which you do business. As a real estate agent, you aren’t only selling houses; you’re also selling a location. Help your audience see the amazing benefits of living in your area.
- Engage with an older audience. Due to the nature of time, Facebook users are becoming an older demographic. Understanding this can help you put the right information in front of the platform’s frequent users. Older Facebook users may be in a more comfortable position to purchase a home listed at a higher price, so you can customize the listings you share on this platform compared to sites like Instagram, where the users are much younger and more likely to be at an earlier stage in their home buying journeys.
- Ask for and utilize customer reviews. Establishing trust is an important part of providing great customer service, and prospective customers are most willing to trust other customers’ reviews.
Instagram for real estate marketing
As of March 2020, the second-most used social platform was Instagram, with 49.5% of U.S. adults engaging on the image sharing social platform. Like Facebook, Instagram is a great place to be for real estate. Although it has some limitations compared to Facebook, it is a visual platform that lends itself perfectly to sharing listing photos and images of the community in which you live.
- Publish high quality organic posts and content. Posts can include listing photos, video tours, testimonials, photos of scenery, images of your local area, and more. Just keep in mind that you can’t add clickable links in post captions.
- Utilize hashtags and locations to help your content appear in searches. When users search for keywords or locations in the Explore section of the app, the search functionality bases its searching on related hashtags that are included in post captions and locations added to posts. Make sure to include hashtags that are actually relevant to your post, and if you are uncertain about the meaning of a particular hashtag it is worth the extra couple of minutes to research the hashtag on your own to make sure that it is relevant and is not already being used in a way you are not planning to use it.
- Use Instagram stories and live stories for walkthrough tours. You can even publish a post prior to creating a live story in order to promote when it will be happening and increase the viewer turnout.
- Add a link to your website in your Instagram bio. Adding links in post captions is not helpful to users because Instagram does not make them clickable. The link in your Instagram bio is the only clickable link on the platform. Utilizing systems like Linktree or Tap Bio allows you to share a link to a type of landing page, on which you can add multiple links to various pages on your website rather than sharing one link with a single destination.
- Run ads on Instagram. Unlike organic posts, ads do allow users to click on a link via a CTA in order to visit the page where you are promoting your offer. Ads can include photos, videos, captions, and a CTA banner.
- Appeal to a younger audience. Instagram holds the attention of a younger audience compared to those who are more engaged on Facebook, allowing you to customize your marketing efforts and sharing listings that would appeal to a younger demographic.
LinkedIn for real estate marketing
LinkedIn appeals to a more professional audience than Facebook or Instagram. It is often used for career networking, but can be a good place to market upscale homes or commercial spaces.
- Create posts to publish your original content. LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform, so it is entirely acceptable to use high end language and share detailed information and numbers. Posting content can include photos of listings, videos, links to blog posts, links to resources available on your website like webinars or ebooks, and more.
- Share articles that are relevant to the real estate industry.
- Invite your employees to like your business page, engage with the account, and like and share content from it through their own profiles.
- Utilize LinkedIn ads. Ads on this platform tend to have a higher price point, but the audience targeting options can make them extremely effective if you know the details about what type of user you are most interested in reaching. Updates made to the platform within the past couple of years have helped make LinkedIn ads more effective than ever before.
Twitter for real estate marketing
Twitter is an interesting social media platform that has taken on the role of a real-time news source for many of its users. It can serve as an additional space to share content.
- Publish content and information like listings, links to blogs, videos, website links, articles, and more.
- Share relevant content by retweeting posts from reputable sources, including leaders in the real estate industry or trusted brands. Even “liking” a post offers your support without directly sharing the content, and the posts you like will also show up in your followers’ feeds.
- Follow the accounts of industry leaders, relevant brands, and local businesses in order to view their content on your own feed and to show your support and interest in their content. Stay away from following personal accounts, because your own followers can see who you are following as well. Keep it relevant and clean.
- Optimize content for the platform. Unlike other social media sites, Twitter has a strict 280 character limit, so captions must be short, attention-grabbing, and get straight to the point.
Pinterest for real estate marketing
Pinterest has reemerged as a popular platform due to the pandemic. With more users turning to solo hobbies that can be done at home, Pinterest serves as an inspiration board for crafts, home improvement, recipes, and more. It is also a very visual platform, making it a good space to be in for real estate marketing.
- Sharing images of available listings on the platform can get it in front of a wide audience.
- Create Pinterest boards for specific listings to share many photos in one collection.
- You can also advertise on the platform and ensure your listings are seen amongst the millions of images that compete for users’ attention on the platform.
Google Business for real estate marketing
Although it is not exactly a social media platform, your Google Business profile is an important account to establish and keep updated.
- Make sure your hours and contact information is fully up-to-date so people can reach you at the right time and in the right manner.
- Publishing posts on your Google Business profile shows that your business is active, and sharing relevant photos and links is a great way to promote your current listings.
- Allow reviewers to publish their stories and testimonials of working with your business. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, so the more positive reviews prospective customers see, the more willing they are to choose your business over another.
2. Utilize email marketing
After setting up a regular email marketing strategy, including sending monthly newsletters, one of our real estate clients experienced a 579.17% increase in traffic to the website just through email!
Tips to use email for real estate marketing
- Send regular newsletters to your contacts with appropriate content included. Share listings, articles, blog posts, and even events (virtual or in-person) that are happening in the upcoming weeks.
- Segment your audience into categories, if it is large enough to do so. An email for people who have recently purchased a home would likely look different than an email for people who are looking for a new home, so it is important to share information that is actually relevant to each recipient’s current stage in their buying (or selling) journey.
- Services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Benchmark make it easy to keep your email marketing efforts in one place and allow for easy analysis of each campaign.
3. Engage in digital advertising
New content is added to the internet every single day, and with millions of pieces of content already out there it’s all too easy for your information to get lost in the endless sea.
Digital advertising is a great way to get your content in front of your target audience and those who would benefit from seeing it. Small businesses earn an average of $3 in revenue for every $1.60 spent on Google AdWords; that’s an increase of 87.5%!
Tips to use digital advertising for real estate
- Creating ads on social media can be considered a piece of your digital advertising efforts.
- Utilize search ads, display ads, and remarketing ads. Each of these types of ads are in different formats, and they take advantage of audience targeting, keywords, and website cookies to deliver the ads to the right viewers.
- Target specific audiences. Establish what types of people you want to target, utilizing psychographic and demographic targeting information based on buyer personas and your ideal customer.
- Target keywords that users would type in to search for real estate offerings. 50% of search queries are made up of four words or more, so engaging in some market research can be helpful for you to figure out what types of words people use in those searches.
4. Create real estate videos
Whether buyers are looking for a new home and enjoy perusing videos prior to visiting or are unable to view a home in person at all due to outstanding circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, videos are an excellent way to help them visualize a space without seeing it with their own eyes and make a decision based on what they watch.
One of our real estate clients experienced a significant uptick in listings going under contract sight-unseen in 2020 due to the pandemic, and chose to supplement listings with videos to aid their attempts to show listings without being there in person. The inclusion of videos has helped them finalize contracts and sell more homes virtually than ever before.
Tips to create videos for real estate
- Create engaging videos, like tours and slideshows, and include information on price and location. Choosing good music can be helpful as well; just keep in mind that if there is any dialogue in the video, it is best practice to include captions for accessibility purposes.
- Share videos on social media platforms, in emails, and on your website. Don’t be afraid to re-use the videos you create on a multitude of platforms. After all, you did put a lot of work into it, so why not share it on all channels?
- Use video editing software you’re comfortable with. There are options for beginners, including Typito, and for experts, like Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Hire a professional if the need arises. If you are not equipped with the time, skill, programs, or interest to create videos, there are countless creatives who are more than willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work for you.
5. Leverage your real estate website
At the beginning of 2020, searches for “buy online” sat at around 15,000. In March of 2020, these searches skyrocketed globally, reaching up to 27,000+ searches per month. There has also been an increase in mobile device usage; mobile app usage grew 40% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020. Buyers are online, using both desktop and mobile devices, more than ever before.
Just like the shift towards ecommerce, online is the first place people will go to look for homes. 100% of 18- to 29-year-olds use the internet, and millennials will have made up about 50% of all homebuyers in 2020. With 97% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 88% of 50- to 64-year-olds also using the internet, it is extremely important to have a website and provide a space for those users to view your listings. Those of home buying age are used to finding information online, and if they can’t find your real estate website they will quickly move on to another.
Tips to use your website for real estate marketing
- Link to your website from all social media channels. This increases the chances of social media users visiting your website after viewing a post on the platform.
- Add videos to your website. 87% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
- Utilize engaging experiences, like walkthrough videos and self-guided tours through platforms like Matterport.
- Make it easy to contact you or your agents via an effective contact page.
- Including high quality pictures is key. If possible, hire a professional to get the job done right.
- Utilize your blog. Blogging is a great way to publish evergreen content, answer questions that today’s buyer might have, and is an opportunity to establish your company as thought leader for the real estate industry.
- Keep your website updated and make sure it is up to modern standards.
- Have good search functionality. While many people like to peruse through all listings, a lot of focused buyers have a specific list of requirements they are looking to follow. Make it easy for them to filter search results based on popular key features.
- If you have tangible offerings, like webinars or ebooks, add them to your website. These items add value to users, and if you request simple information like a name and email in exchange for a download you can add the users to your contact system and reach out to them later on.
6. Make your website mobile-friendly
This is a big one. People are using phones and mobile devices constantly in this day and age. In 2020, 83% of adults in the United States accessed the internet through their mobile phone and 61% of all Google Search visits take place on a mobile device.
Between increased mobile device usage for internet searches, increased social media usage on mobile devices, and increased email usage on mobile devices, people are most likely to land on your website using a mobile device. If your website is not optimized for mobile, visitors will not stay.
Tips to optimize your website for mobile use
- Ensure that your website design is mobile responsive.
- Make sure your website is quick to load on a mobile device. Mobile visitors are 123% more likely to bounce from a mobile website if it takes up to 10 seconds to load.
- Remove information that is not of importance or does not display properly on mobile.
- Audit your mobile website for usability to ensure a positive user experience.
7. Know your real estate audience
In digital marketing, it’s important to know your audiences as well as you know yourself. Establish buyer personas, know the right regions to target, and understand what kind of customer you would like to draw to your business.
This will help you to focus your audience targeting efforts on social media, advertising, and more, and make your work much more effective than they would be if you were to simply cast a wide net in hopes of catching prospective buyers.
Tips to establish real estate target audiences
- Establish buyer personas. Take a look at the data you’ve collected from past sales/leads. Where is it coming from? What are the similarities? Are there key locations? Use the psychographic and demographic information you’ve noticed threading through many of your clients. You can also add in some additional information about what you think fits. What you are left with is the description of your ideal customer that is partially made up of information you’ve gleaned from actual customers as well as some educated guesses of information you think would fit. Creating several buyer personas to use is best practice.
- Use your buyer personas & data to establish target audiences. Platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and most others allow you to establish target audiences to use for digital marketing efforts that you can save within the platforms and update as needed.
8. Make sure you’re on Zillow and Realtor.com
While it is extremely important to have your own real estate website and keep it updated, it’s equally as important to be on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com as well because they’re very widely used.
These platforms are helpful to home buyers because they are able to see many listings at once. Syncing your listings to these platforms ensures that your listings will be seen within the lists of other agents’ listings.
Tips to using Zillow and Realtor.com
- Create your profile. Add your name, your agency’s name, your contact information, and all of the relevant details the platforms require. Be sure to upload a profile image so users can see you and note you as a credible resource.
- Add team members, if applicable. Linking your agents’ personal pages helps connect them with your agency and increases your credibility while strengthening your brand’s reach.
- Sync your listings. Make sure that your listings are showing up on all platforms and all photos, videos, descriptions, and details are displaying properly.
- Use high quality photos. Great photos will help your photos stand out amongst the rest.
9. Identify goals
Most people and businesses have goals, but one simple practice that differentiates between having goals and achieving them is setting them up for success. SMART goals are set up in such a way that it is easy to understand if they have been met.
Tips to create a SMART goal for real estate marketing
- SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Take a look at what you want to accomplish, marketing-wise. Do you want to increase the number of leads you receive? Create a goal using the SMART acronym. You should be left with a goal that has a measurable change, a deadline, and is specified without being too high reaching.
- A normal goal might look something like “Increase leads gained through marketing.” Creating a SMART goal would look something like: “Increase the number of marketing-generated leads of home buyers by 20% in the next 6 months.” It is Specific (Increase the number of marketing-generated leads for home buyers), Measurable (by 20%), Achievable (this is measured by your knowledge of achievability based on previous data), Realistic (also measured based on previous knowledge), and Timely (in the next 6 months).
10. Analyze your marketing efforts
Engaging in marketing is one thing, but it’s just as (if not even more) important to analyze your efforts. Analyzing your real estate marketing efforts allows you to recognize if what you are doing is effective, and cues you in to making relevant updates in case what you’re doing isn’t working.
Tips to analyzing your real estate marketing efforts
- Check in-app analytics frequently. Social media platforms all have built-in analytics, and taking some time to go through the data can shine some light on what is or isn’t working on each platform.
- Use Google Analytics. Google’s analytics platform is a powerful reporting tool that allows you to tune in to your website and measure its performance. You can use the program to identify the source sending the most traffic to your site, view how users are flowing through your website, and even find out demographic information about visitors, which can be helpful to review while you are establishing target audiences and buyer personas.
Bonus: When in doubt, hire a marketing professional
Marketing agencies and professionals are trained for and specialize in all of the above best practices, and more. If you have any hesitation about your ability to take on any of these tips to enhance your real estate marketing efforts, working with a marketing agency can provide you with the knowledge, expertise, and bandwidth to ensure you’re following the top digital marketing practices for real estate at all times.
If you are interested in learning more about working with a digital marketing agency for your real estate marketing, please contact us and we would be happy to get in touch with you to discuss your needs.