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When it comes to real estate marketing, some things never change. The most successful agents are still those who are able to forge a true and lasting connection with their customers, and to understand what they really want when it comes to buying a new home.
To get the opportunity to use that core skill, however, savvy agents deploy a number of tools and subsidiary techniques. These range from intelligent methods to secure new customers — through automated systems that allow you to connect with them — to advanced data analytics platforms that can look at how people are interacting with your brand and suggest ways you can improve.
That said, for many real estate agents, the world of digital marketing can be a confusing one. There are loads of great tools out there and plenty of advice on digital marketing strategies for the coming year. But where should you start when it comes to digitizing your business? In this article, we’ll explain.
1. Lead generation
A useful way of thinking about your digital marketing and customer management systems is as a “stack.” Consider the typical customer journey, and look to see if there are tools that can help make that step easier, more efficient or more effective.
The first encounter most agents have with customers is in the form of a lead. This could be customers making an initial inquiry or sharing their email address. Whatever form it comes in, generating this kind of lead is core to most real estate businesses. This is one of the areas where technology can really help.
There are plenty of apps, for instance, to help you deploy effective marketing in difficult times such as — let’s choose a really far fetched idea and pretend there’s a pandemic afoot.
One app, BombBomb, allows you to create and send videos through any device to connect one on one with clients from any location and to capture leads and track engagement with analytics.
Likewise, WeVideo offers a similar level of functionality but focuses more on video production. A choice like Animoto does much the same but for animations. Any of these tools can seriously improve your brand visibility, and therefore generate new leads.
2. Social media management
After hearing about you for the first time, most customers head over to their favorite social media platform for more information. This is a good reason to keep those pages as professional as possible and updated regularly.
There are plenty of pieces of software that can help with this. Hootsuite is one of the most popular. Look for a tool that allows you to manage all of your social media profiles from one interface and provides support for a wide range of networks.
Above all, you should recognize that lots of potential customers are turning away from Facebook. It’s no longer appropriate to rely on it as your “one and only.” You will need to get creative with marketing and keep an eye out for the up and comers.
With data privacy in sharp focus now, it’s a selling point to use an encrypted, private messaging app for some or all of your business communications. Yes, in case you were wondering, there are viable ways to create a marketing strategy in a secure environment like this. Better yet, not everyone is doing it.
3. Relationship management
Though building a good relationship with potential customers has always been the mark of a great agent, all of us could use some help from time to time!
Today, there are plenty of tools that will allow you to plan, schedule and automate your client communications across a range of digital channels. For corresponding with valued clients, however, email remains the gold standard — it is still the most direct, personal and trusted form of digital communication.
For this reason, it’s crucial that all real estate agents have a professional email management system in place and to account for the cost of this in your business plan.
Tech tools like MailChimp and MailerLite can automate your email marketing to save you time and help you reach more prospects, but they can also be used to keep track of your communication with high-value clients, and remind you when to check in with them.
4. Website development and management
Just as email remains the gold standard when it comes to client communications, your website remains the most visible articulation of your brand. Most agents will use a website design company (like Easy Agent Pro, Intagent or Agent Image) to build their website, but don’t stop there. It’s possible to add many tools and features to your basic website that will take your marketing to the next level.
An example of this is posting content that is locally relevant to your target audiences. Recent surveys indicate that 53.6 percent of real estate agents think adding more locally focused content to their real estate website will make it more appealing.
There are plenty of website design software options that offer the ability to run these kinds of campaigns directly from your website CMS. Perhaps the most popular is Wise Agent, which integrates with programs such as Gmail, BombBomb, DocuSign and Facebook.
There’s also Contactually, which allows you to use customized marketing templates and schedule automated follow-ups, and kvCORE, which offers lead generation, website templates, listing management, business analytics, and email marketing automation.
Ultimately, no marketing tool or real estate marketing strategy can replace the core skills of a successful agent. However, by making the best use of the tools available in today’s tech-laden world, you can free up time to focus on what really matters — building genuine, lasting relationships with clients and helping them find the property of their dreams.
Derek Dowell is a real estate raconteur with Blue Coconut Publishing in West Plains, Missouri, and Big Pine Key, Florida. Connect with him on LinkedIn.