Engagement with digital marketing strategies should have been a priority even prior to the pandemic forcing a majority of Australians online, a marketing manager has said.
In conversation with REB, Raine & Horne Group national marketing manager Anjee Hopton acknowledged that many real estate agents do “live and die by their reputation”.
It’s led her to warn that this reliance on reputation, if combined with a lack of concentrated effort on marketing, can mean that “the appraisals, leads and sales will start to dry up”.
Highlighting how consumer behaviours have changed with technology and the advent of social media, Ms Hopton said “in many instances, prospective vendors are taking a much closer look at the agent’s online presence before deciding on who gets their business”.
It’s why she believes “having a strong digital presence should be every agent’s major concern”.
“Not only is it more cost-effective, it is targeted and measurable,” she said.
She has acknowledged that the onset of COVID-19 brought with it the closure of a number of traditional media outlets, such as local newspapers, which, understandably so, has been a major concern, “but with declining print usage, engaging in digital marketing should have already been a priority”.
The marketing manager outlined social media, email and digital marketing as all “valuable ways for agents to stand apart from the crowd”, before warning agents that “they can’t afford to ignore these ever-changing and emerging channels”.
Digital marketing enables agents to reach more consumers for less money than more traditional marketing methods such as direct mail and press, Ms Hopton added.
“Agents can have peace of mind that their message will be delivered to their target audience, while also letting them engage directly with their clients and create brand loyalty.”
From her perspective, it means there is plenty of value to be found in having a marketing plan.
“A good marketing plan does not necessarily have to break the bank, but it must be targeted with goals that address websites and social media, and can still include more conventional marketing tools such as drop cards, public relations and print advertising when relevant and applicable,” she offered.
This does require agents to understand the different channels and where they should be spending their marketing dollars, the manager added, explaining that “for some offices, Facebook will work better than Instagram, and agents need to be able to adjust their marketing channels depending on their local area and target audience”.
Pay attention to online feedback
Despite all this, an agent’s ability to harness digital marketing strategies is not the only online indicator of success in 2020.
Ms Hopton has also highlighted how buyers and sellers are now more likely to be leaving online reviews than they ever were before.
She said: “Indeed, more than two-thirds of Australian consumers (68 per cent) say they read online reviews about products or services they are interested in purchasing. On average, people read seven reviews before deciding to make a purchase or work with a service. Forty-two per cent of people post online reviews of products and services — primarily on the social media channels of the brand or business.”
According to the marketing manager, “the more positive reviews an agent can garner, the more likely they are to experience a much-needed surge in business”.
“Anyone who sticks his or her head in the sand and ignores the feedback is in for a bumpy ride in 2021 and beyond,” she warned.