It’s no longer a matter of discussion anymore that we live in a digital world. And for the past several years, professionals who have successfully stayed in business have done so by acclimating to new –sometimes radically new – methods of conducting business. Real estate agents are no different. Take virtual home tours, for example. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find an agent not taking advantage of them; whereas before, and especially before the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, virtual home tours were just starting to become a trend.
But even since before the pandemic, many agents have been well aware of the changing marketing landscape when it comes to reaching and engaging younger buyers, especially millennials.
In fact, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors(Opens in a new window), virtually all millennials (98%) use the internet for their home search, and more than 80% of them found the home they purchased on a mobile device last year. And while our focus is primarily on millennials, we should note that home searching on mobile devices is not solely unique to that generation. For example, it is reported that 78% of Generation X and 68% of younger boomers have found their homes via their mobile device as well. Add this to the fact that we’re not that far away from Gen Z starting to become homeowners – and they’ve never known a world without digital.
So bearing all this in mind, it should be obvious that now more than ever is the right time to brush up on your digital marketing chops to make sure you’re meeting your customers where they are … online.
Perfect Your Web Presence
It’s likely you already have a pretty strong web presence – perhaps including your own website, email marketing, social media, and more. And while it might seem an obvious thing to do, you’ve probably found yourself letting a little too much time go by before checking to make sure that all your contact information is up-to-date and correct across your web presence. This is extremely important to stay on top of, as you want potential buyers to be able to find you on online easily, all the time.
When it comes to marketing yourself online, the most crucial element is having your own website. This gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of how you position yourself and your personal/professional “brand” to customers. Plus, it gives you the ability to create your own content, such as a blog or online video series – both of which play an important role in connecting with millennial consumers.
Polish Your Listings
Once your web presence is up to snuff, it’s important that you invest time and efforts (and maybe some budget dollars) in enhancing the way you list homes, to ensure that you’re giving potential buyers the best possible impression you can online. It has been reported(Opens in a new window) that the most common feature on firms’ websites recently were property listings, at 92%. This indicates it’s a good idea to invest in high-quality photography and, for extra measure, to shoot an engaging video of each home. As we mentioned earlier, virtual home tours are the norm now, and expected by homebuyers.
This is really a win-win situation. The higher quality of images and video you use will make your seller’s happy and confident while attracting more potential buyers. Be sure to look into some of our further advice from the blog Create a Listing That Wows.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Ask for them. Because they’re more important than ever. The more quality reviews you have online, the more likely you are to show up in people’s search results – so you’ll need them to improve your SEO. To increase your number of online reviews, it’s a good idea to ask all your clients to write one, if they are willing. While more and more people rely on reviews than ever before, writing them is still not always something a satisfied customer thinks to do, so a friendly nudge doesn’t hurt to help with the cause.
The fact is that it is the norm now for people to turn to online reviews to help determine their purchase decisions, and the same is true when it comes to choosing professionals to work with … including real estate agents. When you think about it, the online review is today’s version of word-of-mouth, and agents have relied on that for decades.
Organic & Paid Media
In 2019, it was reported(Opens in a new window) that social media was the tool cited as the best source for generating high-quality leads among realtors. And while at first it might appear that social media is a great way to market to millennials for “free,” such is not the case. Yes, you can always market and reach consumers through organic social media, but that’s not something you can rely on. Organic media is ideal for reaching your most loyal customers, which is why you should continue to utilize forms of organic media like social media and blogs in your business. But one of the easiest and best ways to achieve a broader reach is to ask to tag your clients in a closing photo. They in turn will then hopefully “like” the post, and you will have a wider net of friends to reach.
At the end of the day, the reality behind truly effective marketing is that you have to pay for it. Thanks to the internet, there are more places than ever to post paid social media advertisements. The internet also makes it’s easier than ever to actually know where you’re most likely to reach the audience you want to reach. Advertising on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can provide you with very specific targeting tools that’ll help you get the most from your marketing budget.
Speaking of getting the most out of your marketing budget, co-branding is one way you can reach a larger audience without having to spend quite as much. It’s also a faster way to build additional credibility, especially if you’re just starting out – a huge help when it comes to reaching millennials, who are likely to be more wary or cautious while shopping for an agent.
Partner with someone who has a good reputation. At Guardian Mortgage, we’re always happy to explore co-branding opportunities with agents. Give us a call to talk about options and details.
Try and Try Again
One thing will likely always remain true with regards to marketing: it’s a process of trial and error. Something that worked last year may not work this year. And while we don’t believe digital marketing will go away anytime soon, the ways in which we market digitally will definitely continue to evolve. Right now, and in the foreseeable future, digital is the best and most efficient way to reach millennial homebuyers, so staying on top of the changes is of utmost importance.