EMBRACE ONLINE MARKETING
Good online marketing strategies can lead to a solid sales increase
By Colleen May
Right now if you are sitting in front of your computer, you can log onto the Internet and purchase just about anything you could imagine, and have it delivered right to your doorstep. The greatest commodity in life is no longer money, it’s time. And the Internet is creating more and more ways to save consumers time; eventually all goods and services will simply be the click of a tab away, so why not maximise your sales through your Internet presence?
How can the Internet benefit you?
The property industry and the landscape of marketing and advertising is changing; there is a shift away from printed and paper advertising to the online environment. As consumers spend increasingly more time online, advertising and marketing have adapted to reflect this change and you can benefit from using the Internet and social media sites to increase traffic to your site. Ooba COO Rhys Dryer explains: “If you think of the average 33-year-old in the property market today, they’ve probably had an email address for most of their adult lives, have used search engines over any other reference tool when they’re looking for information, have Facebook profiles and interact with friends and brands on Twitter; naturally when considering buying a house, the Internet is the first place they’ll look.” This is borne out by the increase ooba has recorded in the number of bond applications, page views and online tools on its website.
Your online presence
“Consumers are becoming more and more tech savvy and everything is going online,” says Stuart Chait, CEO of Homes2go, an online property sales company, which brings buyers and sellers together. The most important thing in today’s market is your online presence, as it’s not just your company website but your social media platforms that form the basis of who you are online. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube are all ways to open up your company to a new audience, one that is live 24/7 and hungry for interaction with the companies and brands they are purchasing from. Gone are the days of property listings in newspapers or magazines; today your phone or your tablet is the way you research, shop and buy.
When it comes to using these social media platforms, you need to do three things to increase your clients and increase the interaction with existing and new clients. You need to Engage, Entertain and Educate. Breaking that down even further, think of whom you are talking to, what type of person is reading your posts or following your company? Someone who is interested in, or already has, property. So, on your social media pages, don’t list things like your favourite travel spot or just have properties for sale; the former is white noise to your client and the latter is going to disengage them. Rather have simple but striking property updates, the best mortgage choices, paint colour trends, news from the community/communities you buy and sell in, and positive news about the property industry. Social media is a great platform to keep people informed about your brand and engaged with your brand; when it comes to posting on these sites, it’s about relevance and consistency.
Making sure your name is visible can make the difference between success and failure; brand awareness is just one part, and the other is your interface. How user friendly is your website and, if you have one, your app? How user friendly your site is and what information it delivers will decide whether people use your site/app or your competitions.
YouTube is another invaluable tool in your online marketing arsenal: “YouTube will increasingly become the first port of call for those looking for property, YouTube is already the world’s second most popular search engine,” says Dyer. People are living in a world that is more visual than ever before, and short videos are perfect for showcasing your brand and agency.
One common mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to online campaigns is not following through in their print campaigns. Your advertisements and print media campaigns should all be sending people to your online presence; if they don’t, the lack of follow-through conveys a negative message and will discourage people from following you.
Another common mistake you don’t want to make is not having a fully completed profile. Your profile is your short engine optimiser, which, in a nutshell, is tech speak for how people essentially find you when searching for property on Google. It is through your profile that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn rank and group you; by not completing all the relevant fields when creating your profile, you are losing out on SEO clout.
Create a set social media and blog posting campaign
The best way to ensure you are on top of the entire gamut of social platforms is to have a clear and concise campaign. Start with what platforms you want to utilise, ideally it should be all of them. And then work out a way to post news and information that links all your platforms together, so if you are posting ‘the best areas to buy property in’ on Facebook, use the link and a short blurb and post it on Twitter, and then put a longer version of the article on LinkedIn as well. This way you are creating cohesion between your platforms and driving clients to your brand. Once you have people on your platforms, you need to drive the interaction. Engaging with your ‘friends’ daily across all your platforms is what makes social media such a useful tool. It will keep people going back to your site and pages. It’s important to remember that social media is a prospecting tool; you won’t sell a lot of property through it, but it will allow you to make contact with your clients, win their trust and move them offline to close the deal. It will also increase your brand awareness and stimulate more business.
At the end of the day, social media is here to stay and is a fantastic tool for your business to get your brand out there, to increase your client base and best of all it costs very little, just an hour or two of your day, to exponentially increase your client numbers. All you have to do is embrace the technology and keep up to date with social media trends and changes to turn social media into your personalised PR guru.