In real estate development marketing there are countless opportunities to excite, entice and inspire potential buyers to turn their dreams into a reality.
As a real estate developer, some projects need marketing before dirt is even moved, so you’re constantly challenged with bringing a concept to life. From raw land and pre-development to construction and sales, real estate marketing needs to adapt to the many stages of development and beyond.
Word of mouth is still a very powerful tool, especially in real estate, but just as everything else, this too is now happening online. Real estate marketing needs to include a digital strategy that incorporates brand, web design, search marketing and online lead generation.
But before you jump into developing your strategy, make a list of your goals, project timeline and sales objectives. Think about what you want to achieve, and what you need to do in order to reach these goals. Don’t skip out on this part. Take the time to build a solid foundation.
No matter what phase of the process you’re in, pre-development or post-development, your digital strategy is vital all the way through.
We all like a good story right? Sometimes we can get hung up on the word “brand,” but that’s all that brand is: your story. It gives you a voice and shapes perceptions. A brand embodies your core values and is an honest representation of who the company is. It connects you with your clients.
Start off by asking these questions:
What are our beliefs, values and purpose?
How do we provide value to our clients?
What problems do we solve?
What is our tone of voice?
Who are we helping?
Once you have this understanding, you’ll begin to see your brand really come to life. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. As Seth Godin says, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”
Find the balance between who you say you are, who your clients say you are and what your messaging says about you. After these three things are aligned, your brand will begin to fall in place.
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Clients want to work with someone they can trust, someone who is looking out for them and can provide valuable advice during this process. Forget the headshots on For Sale signs- your website has now become your initial meet and greet.
Typically, when we think of content we just think of the context, or the words, but it actually encompasses much more. It’s everything from headlines to images, videos, blogs, navigation- all the components that tell your brand’s story.
When a visitor lands on your site, they base the quality of your service and listings off of what they see. Growing up, we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but in this scenario, the cover is everything. Take into consideration that majority of this market is visual, so make sure to incorporate large, beautiful and bold images. Let your properties speak for themselves. Don’t just take out your iPhone and snap a few quick pictures. Really think this through and plan a photo shoot.
More and more websites are incorporating flat designs that eliminate three dimensional elements, and focus on flat colors and typography (fonts, colors and styles that identify your brand). This design really gives your site a fresh, modern look. And what’s also trending are full-sized, responsive background images and videos. You only have a few seconds to catch the user’s attention, so showcase your most desirable properties with beautiful high-resolution visuals.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Potential clients need to be able to easily find you through a Google search results page. SEO is the practice of improving the visibility of your website in the organic search results of search engines like Google or Bing.
Optimizing your website for search engines isn’t a formula: it’s an ever changing and evolving process that needs to be evaluated on a periodic basis. Google is constantly changing the rules to its algorithm, but the one thing that remains constant is that if you have quality content on your site, you will have greater visibility on a search results page.
Think of it this way: the user is searching for an answer to his/her problem, and the search engines display the best results based on that query. Your site should be filled with quality content that will potentially answer the user’s question so that the search engine will point to you as a solution.
Online Lead Generation
Establishing your brand, creating a beautiful website and ranking on search engines are all obviously great, but lead generation is where the rubber meets the road. It puts buyers who are interested in what you have to sell directly in front of you. If these tools are not producing leads, then we have a big problem.
Whether leads are coming from your website, referrals or social media, there needs to be a way to capture their information. One way to do this is to offer valuable content during the research phase in exchange for their contact information. You can also ask for subscriptions to a newsletter, blog or email list to stay up-to-date with the latest listings or market trends. Just make sure it provides value and is relevant to your contacts.
Design to Sell
Real estate development marketing is all about creating a sense of place that’s desirable to potential buyers. Everything from creating your brand to building a website, marketing collateral to the final sale, needs to be designed to attract qualified buyers.