Digital marketing can produce amazing results, but agencies must first consider what they want to achieve and how much they’re prepared to invest, as Fiona McEachran explains
Every real estate agency needs a digital marketing strategy – but before you jump into it, as a principal, you need to make some big decisions that will guide the scope of your strategy.
Digital marketing can provide amazing results, if it’s done correctly. And like any initiative your agency undertakes, the amount of effort put in can really affect the results.
Here are some important questions you need to answer first:
Where does your digital marketing strategy fit in relation to your total marketing strategy?
There are many elements that make up your total marketing efforts. These can include internal marketing and communications to your team, as well as traditional marketing, which includes tactics like print advertising in magazines, newsletters and newspapers, as well as flyers and brochures.
How will your digital marketing tactics support and work alongside your traditional marketing?
For example: Will any flyers or brochures you create be encouraging readers to visit your website, sign up for your e-newsletter or follow your agency on Facebook?
What are you trying to achieve?
There are various outcomes that digital marketing can achieve for real estate agents, and you need to decide which tactics and how much spend is required for each outcome.
Is your primary goal to get homeowners to contact you for a sale or rental appraisal? What if they are not ready to contact you? Should you concentrate on relationship-building tactics instead?
If you know that only a certain small percentage of homeowners in your area are ready to make a decision, then only a small percentage of your digital marketing should focus on this.
The rest of your strategy should be focused on engaging customers in your area to follow you, interact with you and like you. So when the crucial moment comes and they need your help and guidance, they already know who you are and what your agency is about.
What resources does your agency have to achieve your goals?
Of course, it would be great to advertise on the high-traffic news portals and be at the top of Google Adwords search, but all the things you can do depend on the time and money that your agency can allocate.
Will you decide on your marketing budget based on a percentage of your agency revenue? Or is there only a fixed amount you can spend?
Can you have a dedicated marketing coordinator in-house, or do you need to outsource your help?
You need to consider resources for campaign management, content creation, IT resources, software and administrative costs.
Research from Gartner has shown that businesses that spend more time and money on effective digital marketing tend to grow their business revenue faster.
What tactics and channels should you focus on?
You need to decide who your digital marketing is for. Who is your target customer? Is it property investors, holiday homemakers, first-time buyers or growing families?
Profiling your best and ideal customers can help save your agency time, ensuring a better quality of client. This will also then guide the kind of advice you share online and what visuals (graphics, photos and videos) your team needs to create.
Once you know who you are talking to, you can choose your channels.
Your website is the most important channel and should be the funnel for driving online enquiries to your business. You need to have a mobile-friendly and customer-friendly website that is regularly updated and maintained.
If your customers are on the social media networks, then you need to be there too. Don’t get on all the social networks, though: only use the ones to which you can dedicate time and money, so that you get the most out of that network.
You will likely start with Facebook and YouTube. Then you could look at Twitter and Instagram.
Putting it together
Once you have answered the key questions, you can create your digital marketing strategy. In terms of the size of the document, it can be one page or 10 pages, as long as you focus on quality of strategy rather than quantity.
Also remember, it can change. In today’s agile marketing world, you need to keep your strategy flexible and fluid to ensure as technology and the market changes, your agency’s online marketing can too.
Fiona McEachran is the marketing manager for the Console range of real estate software at Onthehouse Holdings. Fiona manages the Console team, driving the brand strategy and implementing the marketing tactics using both web and traditional advertising, promotions, events and campaigns. Fiona has more than 10 years’ B2B and B2C marketing experience, and has led successful campaigns encompassing planning, website development, email marketing, SEO, SEM, direct mail, e-newsletters and more.