What if the world of real estate advertising and marketing, as we’ve known it for decades, was irretrievably broken? What would it mean for real estate investors and agents? What would it take to get real estate leads and retain clients? What level or care and quality would it require to stay in business and keep growing?
In a recent interview with Inc. Magazine, Seth Godin alluded to the idea that marketing and advertising, as we used to know it, has been broken in large part to too much noise. Perhaps ironically of course, Seth Godin is revered by many as one of the greatest marketers of our time. Seth has recently posed a couple of important thoughts. The first, which can be found in the respective Inc. interview, referred to paying for marketing as a losing strategy. The second, via his blog, asked what if there were no more customers to be had? What if this was the last generation of potential clients – how would you treat them differently?
There may absolutely be challenges in real estate marketing, more competition for attention, and platforms like Facebook may constantly be upping the premium to reach your hard worked for fans, but thankfully traditional channels aren’t dead yet.
Traditional real estate marketing (phone, SMS, yard and bandit signs, direct mail, email, PPC and SEO, print and display advertising) is far from being outdated. All of these types of real estate marketing may have their own cycles, just like the property market as a whole. However, attention is undoubtedly becoming more valuable, as are loyal customers. Few could argue that working with referrals and repeat customers isn’t the highest ROI and most sustainable type of business. So in order to maximize ROI and avoid being held ransom by marketing agencies which control the costs of so many of these channels, what does it take to make your budget go further, get free business and keep them coming back?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, real estate companies and independent pros have to realize it is about the customer, not themselves. You have to really, really understand this, and keep it in mind with ever move you make. So make your messaging more about helping consumers, home buyers and sellers and renters and investors, and a lot less about you. Stop bragging and show them what you can do for them. Think creatively. In order to get more out of a real estate marketing budget, it needs to be highly effective. It needs to have viral capability by itself. Consider any paid boost to get it in front of others a bonus.
We are also seeing a return to personal connection. The internet isn’t going away, and in many ways this can actually augment relationship building if engaged accordingly. To cultivate referrals, close new business, retain customers and benefit from repeat business, relationships are important. Seth Godin suggests focusing on building ‘tribes,’ communities and groups that really care about something. This could be helping each other succeed in real estate, or rebuilding their community or beautiful design. It can be done on Facebook, Google+ groups, Twitter, via email, and in person at events.
The bottom line is that paying for marketing is still a reality in the real estate world and can have great returns. It’s just better done with same level of care and quality as if it was the only single message you could afford to send. Sincere marketing is hard to fake, and even harder to stick with. However, those that care enough and care about the long term will find these things helpful.