How can real estate developers use the most effective digital assets to promote their properties and generate quality leads without over-burning budgets?
How these leads can be “hot”, and really interested in buying properties, not just users sending inquiries without any intent for buying. Or maybe without budgets? How to sell/lease properties after the pandemic era?
In this guide tailored for modern realtors, we will try to emphasize the most important lead generation tactics in 2020, with proven successful track record based on our expertise in this industry.
Key drivers for lead generation performance are a combination of decades-old marketing tactics with effective digital assets and utilization of new communication channels. It is done by a well planned, multi-channel strategy that covers complete customer journey through all-important digital touch-points.
Over 90% of user journeys (users who are buying new properties) are starting online:
Global mobile’s share of total internet time:
Shift your mindset to the mobile first!
The major pitfall noticed in the industry is that real estate development companies are focused on heavy, interactive and animated websites, with modern property listings (360 views, best-in-class renders), but they are not paying attention enough to the mobile versions of primary websites, which is in most cases is the first touchpoint for attracting new leads.
The bigger picture: Your number-one goal
Property developers deal with a unique set of circumstances and have challenging goals. The biggest: selling very valuable, expensive and life-important products (or even complete experiences) that (in most cases) haven't been finished at the time of purchase – basically trading in promises. To be successful in this, property developers need to use big data analytics to get actionable insights about potential buyers, to optimize advertising/sales budgets in order to have a higher return of investments.
Real estate developer nowadays focuses nearly entirely on building, expanding, and perfecting their online presence and adopting the digital marketing methodology — that is, using their websites, email campaigns, social media presence, and overall digital shrewdness to attract buyer and seller leads they will have a high likelihood of converting into new business.
Data collection and integration from all possible sources in combination with marketing automation is one of the most important priorities.
Also, property developers need to be aware of macro trends and economic patterns. Based on PWC research (Emerging trends in real estate - Europe 2020) - before Covid-19 pandemic:
Кееping in mind post-pandemic market recovery, companies are aware that "shifting to digital" is crucial for catching the next wave of leads.
Your task as a real estate developer: Attract leads and move them through the funnel
The key to growing your leads database and nurturing your potential buyers is to have a multi-channel, multi-device and hyper-personalized strategy for every funnel phase. This means you need to know how to:
- Lift brand awareness - Potential buyers need to be aware that specific properties will be built. (top of the funnel)
Campaigns/channels example: (PR, Social Media, Display Ads, Word of mouth, Offline ads)
- Attract potential buyers - Get your target audience to engage with your major digital touch-points - social media profiles, chatbots, websites, platforms or mobile apps. (top of the funnel)
Campaigns/channels example: (Social media interactions, Inbound search, Outreach newsletter campaigns)
- Capture high-quality leads - Capture interested users into leads via lead-capture forms. Conversion optimized web and mobile websites are crucial in this step. (Middle of the funnel)
Campaigns/channels example: (Advanced display and social retargeting, Search remarketing. Lookalike audiences targeting)
- Nurture leads (CRM) - Move leads through the funnel with personal or automated email campaigns, direct calls, and meetings by your sales team. (Bottom of the funnel)
Campaigns/channels example: (Account-based marketing and Persona-based marketing on various channels)
- Convert leads - Convert leads into buyers and keep good relations in order to get an “advocate” for your property. (Bottom of the funnel)
Lead generation website as a major digital touchpoint
Yes, a well structured and website optimized for lead-generation is the core for converting leads. Your complete strategy should reflect on the website in several different aspects:
Keep in mind these key aspects to rethink, build or rebuild your website.
- Define your ideal buyer profile. You can’t sell to everyone. Take the time to outline who your target buyers are and what is most important to them. Think demographic structure, location, interests, etc.
- Craft the value proposition for your potential buyers. Consider showing all the unique selling points that will be valuable to them and answer their biggest concerns.
Now that we’ve painted a high-level picture, let’s discuss how to reflect a strategic approach in daily operations. Here are some proven tips and tactics from our experience in working on conversion-oriented websites and platforms in the real estate development industry.
Website content will help potential buyers to find relevant information needed to make the decision and convert.
- Tell the story which will bring emotions. Storytelling sells. Use video as a preferred format to showcase the property and neighborhood.
- Emphasize the “lifestyle” side of the property - it’s very important to emphasize all those details that add value so that potential buyers could imagine the perfect life they could have in this property.
- Sell the Neighborhood, not the property. Of course, this is not applicable in all cases but showcasing amenities in the neighborhood can complete the picture and actually close the deal.
- Communicate that you are a “trustable” brand with a good “reputation” (this is for new brands), especially if the property is in the early stage of the building process. Rethink what could be communicated as a competitive advantage.
- Don't compromise your copy for on-site SEO.
- Implement FOMO aspects (fear of missing out). Communicate that properties are almost sold or selling fast.
Website structure and design can help to optimize the flow potential buyers have on the page and allow you to direct and lead them through the content and messages you’d like to communicate.
- The site should be optimized to support all funnel phases from brand awareness to nurturing leads, with matching sub-landing pages for different campaigns in every stage.
- If you have several properties under one brand, it is suggested to have separate segments for every property on the website (or to use subdomains).
- User experience needs to be intuitive and easy to use (every user needs to be able to navigate through the site in a few clicks).
- Interactive floor plans and 360 views are always welcome but sometimes are not essential (companies tend to invest too much time and money in these areas sometimes which is not equivalent to the total value of these features).
- Site flow should be optimized to have the highest possible conversion rates. That can be done by using best Conversion optimization practices in UX/UI design phase, as well as using various A/B split test platforms for ongoing optimization and improvement (Google optimization is enough in the 90% of cases).
- Using smart call-to-actions and lead-generation forms - they should be there in the exact step in the customer journey, not too early to avoid low-quality leads.
- Don't have too many input fields on forms - just most important for the next step in the funnel - name, email and mobile phone number. And always send automatic “success” email after the user fills the form.
- Personalize site content based on traffic-source/campaign-name/referral/user-location, and have different website variation for new and returning visitors - in order to adapt content and flow to specific scenarios and user intent. (advanced) Example: You can adapt content for Brand name search queries - users who are directly searching for your Property on Google since they already know who you are (they are lower in the funnel).
Website technology is the pillar for optimal user experience and all business activities. From the aspect of technology, website needs to provide support for online marketing campaigns and SEO activities. Here are 5 aspects with massive impact on generating new leads:
- Mobile-first - the main focus should be on the mobile/responsive version of the site, then on the web interface (not the opposite as 99% of companies do).
- Use HTTPS - very simple but has too many positive impacts (especially on SEO).
- Always improve speed and reliability - we have seen many “heavy” and “non-optimized” websites that are so slow and unstable on some devices that they are losing 20%-30% of potential leads. Hosting infrastructure has an important role.
- Use Tag managers for quickly and easily updating measurement codes and tracking pixels on your website (for product analytics, conversion tracking, and retargeting campaigns).
- Take care that the website has basic SEO principles implemented, especially regarding title/OG tags, URL structure, and headings. Comply with GDPR or new CCPA (depending on your region).
Unified user data
Top priority is to set a data strategy that collects information about users from all relevant digital touchpoints in the funnel - from the initial phrases at the top of the funnel (advertising analytics) to converting the lead at the bottom of the funnel (web and mobile analytics). Cross-device and cross-platform user journey tracking is one of the most challenging areas in lead generation optimization, but the value which businesses can get from it is huge.
Track what’s the percentage of users coming from different devices, browsers and platforms, learn how they interact with your brand and based on this intelligence create personalized messages for them no matter at which stage of the sales funnel they are.
Also, It is crucial to have integrated data collection and reporting between different departments in your company: data from your marketing team (analytics data from social media campaigns, paid search campaigns, media campaigns, newsletter campaigns), your websites, mobile apps, and sales team (CRM, ERP) - everything should be unified and shared.
We are Creitive, a global digital product agency. Check out our Digital Strategy Consulting page for more info.
If you are looking for a custom lead-gen "magnet" website for your Real-estate business, feel free to reach us.