Pardon me, but do you speak digital?

Rethink how you market both your listings and your real estate business

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Speaking “digital” requires a whole new way of thinking about how you market both your listings and your business. Wordy descriptions have given way to quality photos and videos, texts, and tweets. Have you made the shift?

Generation Next image via Shutterstock.
Generation Next image via Shutterstock.

Part 1 of this series looked at the importance of immediate response as well as how visuals are becoming increasingly more important in how you market your listings. The visuals themselves as well as how they display are also changing.

The changing look of websites
I recently heard realtor.com Vice President Max Pigman share a rather surprising fact about what is happening with search. Unless your website is “responsive,” automatically adjusting to the screen size of the user, Google no longer includes it in mobile search results.

Ouch! Given that close to half of all searches are taking place on mobile devices, this is a compelling reason to make your site mobile-friendly.

Part of the challenge is that the small screen allows for very few words. Pictures work better. AudioAcrobat recently changed its main navigation page. Although this isn’t a real estate site, it does illustrate the simplicity preferred by today’s users, as well as the importance of visual imagery.

audioacrobat
Screen shot of AudioAcrobat main navigation page.

Speaking digital is about speaking lifestyle

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Gen Next often will settle for a lesser house in exchange for being in a location best suited to their lifestyle. Consequently, you must carefully craft your digital marketing messages to fit the demographics of the groups to which you are marketing.

For example, if you are marketing to the hipsters in the downtown high-rises, make sure your visuals include pictures and videos of this group enjoying the nightlife, the great restaurants, and recreational activities associated with that area.

Become a guerrilla marketer

Along the same lines, if you want to compete with the giant advertisers — whether it’s realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, or a major real estate company — it’s smart to follow the advice from Al Ries and Jack Trout in their classic book, “Marketing Warfare.” Large companies and advertisers simply cannot afford to compete for small slices of the market.

This is especially important in light of Pigman’s comments about consumer behavior. The research from realtor.com shows that clients who are considering transacting start visiting the portal sites up to 18 months prior to the time that they plan to transact.

In fact, many wives are looking at dozens of homes long before their husbands know that a move may soon be in the works. In contrast, they don’t start looking at agent sites until six to eight months prior to the time they plan to buy or sell.

To compete, determine a narrow niche you can dominate. Second, regularly post on multiple platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Third, create strong video and visual content that matches the people in that niche.

This type of guerrilla marketing will help you become the resource those people are most likely to find on the Web. Ultimately, it will also increase the probability that you will be the agent they are most likely to hire.

How to speak digital to client leads

Pigman also shared what types of responses worked best to convert leads. Some of these were surprising.

The response that worked the most poorly was this one: “Thank you for contacting me. How may I assist you?”

This response works poorly because it is not customized to the consumer, it fails to identify a specific property, and lacks a sense of urgency.

Now compare it to this response: “Thanks, Jim, for calling on my listing at 123 Main Street. We have had quite a bit of interest in that home. How can I help you?”

Or:

“Thanks, Jim, for calling on my listing at 123 Main Street. I have some important information about that property. Please call me at 555-1212 between 4 and 6 p.m. to discuss.”

Both of these messages are specific, personalized and create a sense of urgency.

A highly creative approach

Pigman shared a video of an agent who had come up with a very creative way of responding to inquiries using video. The agent made a series of videos taken in various locations and in various types of weather.

Each video said something like, “Thanks for calling. I’m just dashing into a meeting and will get back with you just as soon as possible to answer any questions that you may have.”

Before he sent the message, the agent would look outside at what the weather was like and then send the video that matched the weather.

Don’t say what you do — show them

Pigman pointed out that people who “speak digital” do not want you to tell them that you give great service. They will search you online to make that determination based upon your reviews.

A better approach is to show them. As one savvy agent who had picked up a lead at a Starbuck’s noted:

“I heard two women talking about buying a home in our area. I excused myself for interrupting them and simply said, ‘If I can answer any questions to help you, please feel free to call me.’ “

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.


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