When it comes to selling or purchasing property, most estate agents and housing developers tend to lean towards traditional marketing – we’re talking about listings in the local newspaper and adverts in high street windows.
But in recent years, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the UK property market embracing the digital world, migrating away from the high street to the Internet as prospective buyers become even more tech-savvy and immersed in the world of social media.
To put it simply, the conventional way of marketing properties has come to an end. The fragmentation of marketing channels has meant that traditional channels, that were once very effective (TV, radio and print) are no longer resonating with audiences as they once were. The property marketing landscape has changed, and it’s vital that housebuilders, property developers and estate agents are up to speed with the current digital marketing trends.
Consumer behaviour has also changed, as buyers have become more proactive in the purchasing process. They are heading online to find what they are looking for, and in most cases, buyers will most likely be visiting multiple websites and comparing different options before making contact to get the next steps rolling.
Online property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla are increasing in popularity. In 2019, estate agency Yopa found that one in 10 eager house-hunters spend as much as five hours a week on these websites searching for their desired property. It’s an incredible statistic and highlights why property professionals should be increasing their online presence in order to place their properties in front of the right people.
The advantages of digital marketing are well documented – our blog is packed full of reasons why any business should consider a digital marketing strategy – but its main benefit is how affordable it is to access the mass market. This is particularly beneficial for smaller and independent homebuilders and family estate agents. Aside from being cost-effective and receiving a good ROI and ROAS, we have seen improved purchase rates for our property clients (but more on that later).
So, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. How can housing developers, homebuilders and estate agents improve their digital marketing strategy in 2021 and increase sales… take a look at our 3 tips below.
- Start with an SEO Strategy
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a strategy used to increase website traffic by ensuring that the site can be easily found in search engines. After all, Google and other search engines’ main goal is to provide the user with the best possible results, and if they think that your site has what the user is looking for, it will bump your site up higher on the search results – this where a good SEO strategy can help.
Let’s say you’re a housing developer that’s building retirement bungalows for the over 60’s. When a person is searching for retirement properties, Google will rank your site (basically determine where it placed in their search results) based on whether your site provides content relevant to the user’s search.
The aim of SEO for property professionals is to improve your website ranking and get it as high as possible at the top of Google’s results.
There are a few ways to go about doing this. The first is to ensure that your website contains all the necessary keywords and phrases. In this case; retirement, bungalow, retirement property etc. It is very difficult to compete with portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla on high volume search terms, so we recommend looking at implementing longtail SEO techniques. This targets long-tail keywords, which are search terms that consist of three or more words. They have a lower search volume and competition rate, as well as a higher conversion rate than short-tail keywords (one or two words).
The second, and perhaps most important, is to obtain links from other reputable websites. Search engines will take into consideration links from authoritative sites as proof of credibility. Put simply, the more links your site has, the more keywords it has, the better chance you have of ranking higher in Google. An easy way to achieve this is to link back to specific pages on your website from your portal listings.
These aren’t the only steps you’ll need to take to improve your website’s ranking, but is a good place to start. Given the enormous amount of content that already exists on the internet, you need to do more than creating a website and hope that it will rank well.
A thorough and well-planned SEO strategy is a must for homebuilders. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you
2. Build a Social Media Presence
As mentioned already, consumer behaviour has changed and more people are now using social media on a regular basis than ever before. There are many property developers and estate agents out there using various social media channels, such as Instagram and the latest social media craze – Tik Tok, as part of their wider digital marketing strategy.
A strong social media presence allows property professionals to establish connections with potential buyers, showcase new listings and increase brand awareness and sales. Best of all, it’s free!
Our previous blog looks more in-depth at the different ways the property industry can utilise each different social media channel, check it out here.
3. Paid Content Strategy
So now that we’ve covered websites and social media, let’s combine the two and look at a paid content strategy. Whilst SEO and social media are essentially free, you can place budgets behind Google and social media channels to expand your content out to a wider audience that is searching for what you are offering.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to use paid advertising is to promote your page to your target market. Let’s say you’re an estate agent targeting first-time buyers in Essex, you could potentially target 190,000 people via Facebook. Encouraging people to like your page will expand the organic reach of your day-to-day posts, drive traffic to your website and potentially increase viewings.
On the other hand, let’s say you are a property developer that’s building retirement properties in the south-east of England, you could look at creating development specific pages. Again, a paid advertising campaign will increase your page likes/ fans whilst you’re in the building stages, then once all the properties are sold, you have an online community/ forum for the residents within that development. You can continue to share news about the local area and amenities nearby, allowing residents to feel like they have a place that’s dedicated to where they live. Using this example, there are 1.7 million people on Facebook that match the retirement age within the south-east location.
Increasing Brand Awareness and Sales for Scott Properties: Case Study
We began working with Scott Properties in 2019, when they approached ahead of the launch of a new development of retirement bungalows. Using a paid social media advertising strategy and a good understanding of their target market, we were able to generate 1,261,648 impressions (the number of people who have seen their content) and 40,722 clicks to their website via Facebook and Instagram – which led to a fully sold-out development within a matter of months.
Without going into too much detail about their budget… let’s just say that the total amount they spent on paid advertising was around the same as a 5% deposit on one of their properties, so you can imagine the return on investment they received.
It’s important that the property industry recognises the change in the marketing landscape, that property developers – especially smaller and independent ones – invest in their website, their online presence and social media channels. By investing time into your own marketing channels, you will ensure that you’ve created a valuable asset for your business and one that you can expect many benefits from in the long run.
Where smaller, independent property developers have traditionally relied on estate agents to do ‘all the work’ in terms of bringing their properties to market, there is now a defined need to control how this is achieved and how this can bring marketing ‘longevity’. By controlling their digital marketing and bringing in partners like estate agents and marketing specialists, property developers can grow their businesses via these marketing activities.
If you’d like to chat more about any of the techniques discussed in this article, feel free to get in touch with us here.