Top Trends in Real Estate Marketing

Louis Glickman once said: “The best investment on earth is earth.”

Nothing about that statement has changed in recent years. Real estate is still in limited supply; surveys still show that for most people, owning their own home remains an integral part of the American dream.

But real estate marketing is a different animal altogether.

The top trends in real estate marketing are constantly shifting with technology. For many realtors, it can be a struggle just to keep up with these developments, let alone implement them in any meaningful way. That’s why we’ve assembled some of these top trends and listed them below—along with some tips for making the most of them:

The Modern Web Platform Rules the Market

There’s no doubt about it: research begins online. “Companies like Redfin, Zillow, Trulia and Homesnap have been changing the way sellers and buyers perceive the market and it is crucial for agents to quickly adapt to this new reality,” said Alex Chieng to Forbes. These sites have not only changed the way that people begin their search for real estate online but can also affect the way real estate buyers perceive the value of a home.

Zillow’s “Zestimate,” for example has become something like the “blue book” equivalent of the real estate world. Even though the Zestimate may vary wildly from individual real estate prices in any given transaction, many customers might look at their Zestimate and expect that’s what they should pay or sell for in a given marketplace.

For real estate marketers, the key is to understand how these platforms have altered perception—and to take advantage of it. Here are some ways you can embrace this trend:

  • Familiarize yourself with each platform. Most people seeking a house online will skip from platform to platform—they won’t have any idea about the amount of work that might go into any individual listing. If you’re in real estate marketing, you don’t have that luxury. You have to take the time necessary to familiarize yourself with each platform and learn how to create entries that entice searcher interest.
  • Invest in visual elements. Because the modern real estate buyer can enter in a search on a site like Zillow and browse through entries at the drop of a hat, you have to make an instant impression with visuals. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in visual elements that help make each of your listings more “real”—such as the use of a drone to give a birds-eye view of the property, or even simply using a DSLR camera for improved shots of the home interior. Investing in these visual elements will incur a higher upfront cost but will continue to pay dividends down the line.
  • Use the tools that make listings easier. The Balance rated Zillow as the best overall app for real estate, which means it’s worth taking time and attention to learn more about it—as well as using it from the other end of the spectrum so you have a better sense of what customers will expect. Use these tools on a regular basis so you not only understand how to make listings easier but can get a sense of what customers are looking for.

Automation: Increasing Customer Engagement and Saving Time

Marketing automation is ushering in sweeping new changes in the way real estate marketers deal with potential clients.

For example, consider a software application like ManyChat. This allows you to create a Facebook messenger bot that deals with marketing, sales, and support—without you having to be physically present at your smartphone while the questions roll in. This solution allows you to create a bot that can be up and running the same day you first try it out.

Why bother? Marketing automation makes it possible for you to extend your reach and create a more interactive online presence without actually being there. With the right application of marketing automation, you can go on vacation or be busy with a showing while your website or social media presence continues to draw in new leads.

Another tool to consider: Intercom. Intercom is a more comprehensive solution for any real estate marketer with a full web presence; it can manage emails, inbound chat, and handle email campaigns from one platform. For those real estate marketers looking for an edge in today’s competitive digital environment, marketing automation is essential for building a wider reach.

If it sounds scary, keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all at once. You might consider implementing marketing automation in the following way:

  • Try out one tool at a time. For example, if you sign up to Intercom, you can make that your focus for the time being. There’s no need to spend 10-hour days creating new usernames for each and every portal. The key is to consistently try new approaches, but not to give up trying the moment you hit a snag.
  • Focus on continual improvement. As a real estate marketer, you should set aside some time each day to get a sense of what the market wants and what tools are currently available in the digital world to help get you there. The good news? You’re doing it right now.
  • Keep building your online presence. Your online presence works for you day in, day out—seven days a week, 365 days a year. Any investment you make in that online presence is worth it in the long run because it promises to pay long-term dividends.

Social Media and How Today’s Real Estate Buyer Forms Trust

Whoever thought you could sell a house on Twitter? As it turns out, social media might be far more important for gaining trust as a real estate marketer than you ever imagined.

As AdWeek once noted,  “You never know when a potential homebuyer may be scrolling through your feed.” Today’s Internet user is savvy and they want to find someone they can trust. Before they even contact you, there’s a good chance they might scroll through your social media feed to get a more comprehensive understanding of what your business looks like. They might look for previous examples of you closing on similar houses. They might simply use your social media presence to verify that you are, in fact, not a robot.

Sound ridiculous? Consider that today’s younger generation—many of whom are ready to purchase their first real estate—do their research. Yes, they look up sites like Zillow to get a sense of the market. But they also utilize more social tools to get a sense of who’s trustworthy and who’s not. And it goes beyond trust: according to some statistics, 87% of real estate marketers note that social media’s main benefit is giving them more exposure.

Tax Changes Alter the Market

Changing trends in real estate go beyond the digital world. Tax changes can also have a drastic effect on the real estate market itself. Effective real estate marketers need to know this and adapt accordingly.

A recent survey at Realtor.com pointed out that 43% of those who plan to buy a home soon believe that tax changes—like the tax cuts that went into effect in 2018—will affect how they consider the real estate market. A change like this could mean that home buyers have more money to put into a mortgage, which in turn allows a real estate marketer to reframe the unique selling points of owning a home.

Another key economic indicator that real estate marketers should pay attention to is the rise in interest rates. A new home buyer may look to procure a home on a fixed interest basis simply because they fear the rise in interest. This can be a key point for real estate marketers who need to convince money-minded individuals that real estate is a smart investment, particularly as it relates to timing the market.

Customers Will Expect a More Virtual Experience

Let’s return to the digital world for a moment.

Consider what it’s like to be a home buyer in 2018. You can go online, enter in a search for local homes, and generally have a high expectation of what you’ll see once you click on any link. You can not only find local home prices, but you can look at pictures and video of each specific piece of real estate. You may even be able to take a “virtual tour” of one location, making that location seem more “real” than the next.

An experienced real estate marketer knows that the advantage of a virtual experience is that it can draw a customer further down the sales funnel with emotional investment.

Today’s home buyers expect to see real estate on a digital basis. They want to be able to click ahead, tour the rooms, and get a sense of what another home is like before they even visit it. That means that a real estate marketer has to position themselves to accommodate.

How can you do that? One tool, Matterport, allows you to create “3D marketing for real estate.” According to Matterport’s statistics, a 3D showcase almost doubles a customers’ likelihood to call to follow up on a house. They estimate the added engagement at 300%.

Buyers and Sellers Will Expect a Plugged-in Real Estate Marketer

As previously stated, visual elements are key to driving that kind of engagement. And homeowners know it, too—statistics show that 73% of homeowners who are more likely to list with an agent who can create videos for them.

Your ability to market real estate is about more than drawing in a larger list of clients. It’s also about demonstrating just how high-quality your services are when clients do elect to sign up with you. That means including elements like a virtual experience, a better knowledge of marketing automation, or even learning how to leverage social media for the future.

These might be “trends” in 2018, but they have the potential to add up to far more importance down the line. Invest in an update on your marketing skills and bring yourself into the modern real estate marketing world.

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