Michael Palmer TheEword

COMMENT | Thinking digital first

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In simpler times, property marketing equated to commissioning a brochure and drafting a press release and that was the job done, writes Michael Palmer of theEword.

Today, successful property marketing is a lot broader in scope, and the firms that are doing it well are the ones taking a ‘digital first’ approach.

The digital explosion has revolutionised how modern consumers discover, investigate and decide upon which domestic or commercial properties they would like to either buy or rent, relying heavily on websites, search engines, and referrals from social media.

Before you begin using any digital tactics, it’s imperative that you build an accurate portrait of your target demographic. By truly understanding your target audience, you can then begin devising marketing strategies that will effectively engage your would-be customers.

To aid this process, we encourage our clients to build buyer personas. For those who don’t know, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. After completing this process, you can begin formulating answers to the following questions:

  • What exactly are they looking for?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their barriers to purchase?
  • What type of messages and marketing formats do they respond well to?
  • Where do they hang out online?

After completing this process, you’ll be left with a firm idea of who you’re marketing to, what they need to hear, and where to place your messages. Now it’s time to roll out a digital strategy that delivers on these points. Invariably, this means deploying the following techniques:

  • Marketing automation: if a prospect downloads one of your brochures, views a pricing page or books a consultation with you, it’s essential to send them a timely and relevant message based on their previous behaviour
  • SEO: making sure your website and the content you produce is findable by search engines
  • PPC: paying to ensure that your advertisements are being shown to people who are searching for terms relating to your property
  • Social media: an engaging social media strategy will allow you to creatively inform potential customers of your offering, build a positive relationship with actual and potential customers, and encourage leads and referrals
  • Content marketing: writing articles, creating area guides, and embarking on a process of digital PR will help you influence the research stage embarked on by a potential customer
  • Email marketing: if somebody downloads one of your area guides, or books a consultation on your site, follow up by sending them timely and relevant content via email
  • Video marketing: ignore video at your peril. We’re finding that online property-seekers are actively searching for video content that brings properties to life
  • Influencer marketing: amplify your marketing message by partnering with reputable individuals on social media. They can tweet, post and share relevant content about your development and help influencer buying behaviour

Of course, we aren’t saying the brochure no longer has a place in modern property marketing.

The buzz of receiving a nice brochure through the door will mean there will always be a place for the more traditional side of marketing. However, the fact remains that technological evolution has fundamentally changed how today’s consumers find property.

To ensure that you aren’t being left behind by your competitors, who are rapidly coming to terms with the new landscape, it’s essential that you too start taking a digital-first approach to marketing your developments.

  • Michael Palmer is head of marketing at theEword

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