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Expanding Your Definition of Digital: Critical Real Estate Digital Marketing Alternatives to Zillow & Trulia

real estate digital marketing

When you put the words "digital marketing" and "real estate" in the same sentence, there's probably a handful of MLS names that immediately come to mind: Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com to name a few. Certainly, these online listing and information sites are important to ensuring your properties end up in front of home buyers. But that's not all there is to  in the digital age, so today's post will include some updated real estate marketing tips and best practices.

The Real Buyer’s Journey

When marketing to second home buyers in resort markets like Summit and Eagle Counties, consider the complete buyer’s journey in the 21st Century. The basics remain the same — learning about the communities they're interested in via community newspapers, magazines, and websites,  finding listings that match their needs, and eventually, connecting with an agent. But believe it or not, that journey is starting much, much earlier.

Buyers are still likely to be browsing , but before they ever approach an MLS or real estate agent, 42% will start their research online, and more than half of those home buyers will be using a mobile device to conduct their searches. Even if they don't hit the internet first, 92% of buyers will utilize the internet as a part of their search process, and 82% of those will see online resources as "very useful" for providing information. In fact, the internet is where roughly half of these home buyers found the property they'd eventually purchase.

What they use to shop isn't the only thing that has been changing. Those that didn't use the internet took an average of five weeks to search and looked at five homes. Meanwhile, buyers online took 10 to 12 weeks searching and visited 10 homes. Those that eventually used a real estate agent, did two weeks worth of searching before reaching out.

What These Changes Mean for Agents

The fact is, you need to be reaching out to potential buyers sooner, capturing them earlier in their searching process. This isn't to say that you shouldn't use an MLS site for marketing — they are very useful tools! However, they are useful with a very specific purpose, and you need a robust, dynamic real estate digital marketing plan that goes beyond just using those sites. You also need to think beyond the typical types of classifieds and develop a complete marketing strategy that encompasses and integrates true digital marketing on community-centric sites, with traditional methods like print.

The Benefits of Digital Marketing Solutions

There's something you need to consider about a broader digital strategy — it offers a range of options that other methods can't offer, or perhaps don't even address. Digital marketing is an industry unto itself, and you ought to be taking advantage of it.

Tracking Made More Concise

Internet activity is eminently traceable, and people are willing to provide information if they feel they receive a benefit in exchange. What this means for you is that, with the proper tools and research, you can effectively alter your reach. Tracking means obtaining a wealth of actionable information, including determining how your customers find you, how many and who are paying attention to your digital ads, whether or not those viewers convert to inquiring for information, and so much more. Depending on the platform you use to market, the ability to do these things might already be built in, making it easier for you to get started. Here's just a few of the things you can track:

  • Type of device
  • Type of media
  • Time of day
  • Point in the buyer journey
  • Certain demographic (race, age, gender) and psychographic (beliefs, ideologies) data

There Are More Targeting Options Online

With concise tracking comes a variety of options, all of which can be used to tailor your marketing not just to all potential customers, but to the right potential customers. After all, marketing to 2nd home buyers isn't exactly the same as marketing to a first time home buyer; they have different needs, interests, and expectations in what the home has to offer. Trying to market to everyone isn't nearly as useful as targeting quality customers who are worth your time and effort, and are more likely to make use of your services. Targeting means segmentation and improved personalization, letting you craft the relationship that closes a sale.

Earn the Win with Display Ads AND Classifieds

Just as we mentioned that MLS are still important tools, print media and classifieds are important too. Consumers and home buyers in particular are using multiple types of sources as they gather information for making a decision. If you look at what Google has to say about micro-moments, you realize that what you need to do is be available to the buyer in the right moment. That may mean a display ad, an MLS listing, or the classifieds in the Vail Daily. What you also need to remember is that higher income home buyers — like the ones in Eagle and Summit Counties — that are interested in investment buying are more likely to be looking online in addition to classifieds.

Stand Head and Shoulders Above Competition

The brands behind MLS are very good at what they do, and their marketing ensures that buyers of all income levels are going to browse their sites. Quite simply, everyone is going to be on MLS like Zillow as a result. Your digital marketing could be exactly what you need to reach the buyer in the right moment and distinguish yourself from your competition.

Build Your Brand Better

To build on our last point, digital can help you build your brand to stand out. Make your USP stand out so that in a competitive market, buyers know exactly why to choose you. Digital opens up a whole new realm of design and creative, giving you the resources and space to elevate your simple agency to a truly attractive and competitive brand.

And Most Importantly: Be Where Your Buyers Are!

If you knew that there was a particular high end social club where high income couples went and talked about real estate, you'd want to put in some face time, or at least work out a way to make some marketing material available for them to find. Digital marketing is exactly the same; you need to put yourself exactly where your customers are going to find you. Your buyers are online — they're probably online a good bit, too. That means you need to put yourself in their line of sight while they're consuming media, and not just when they're specifically searching classifieds or MLS.

As you can see, marketing to 2nd home buyers is an evolving process. Take advantage of these digital real estate marketing tips to continue growing your business by being where your buyers are with an integrating, multi-spectrum strategy.

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