A quick Google search on real estate marketing techniques quickly reveals two distinct camps - those who prefer the traditional approach, and those who embrace the modern tech era.
There are advantages and opportunities in both traditional and digital techniques worth considering when building a marketing plan, and no one needs to be 100 percent digital or traditional to be successful. However, when considering effectiveness, brand-building, and cost, digital real estate marketing has some clear advantages where traditional marketing simply does not work.
Before diving into the gaps within traditional real estate marketing, it is important to understand some of its benefits. According to the Online Marketing Institute (OMI), traditional marketing, which includes outbound marketing (think billboards, print media, cold calling, etc.) has value due to its usefulness for targeting specific places, prices, products, and promotions (or as they call it, the four P’s). While inbound marketing is more associated with digital marketing (more on that later), outbound marketing requires the business owner to go out and make connections and to go find business. While this can be a lot of work, it does offer a certain amount of control to the business owner, as they have the power over who they talk to and what areas they specialize in.
Items like brochures, cards, and print ads also have their fair share of uses, according to the OMI, as they can easily start conversations, be carried in person, and resonate with a majority of audiences. Even in the digital era, “print” ads are still relevant on websites and online news media and may garner business as well. While they can be costly, a lot of them do have the benefit of being reusable, too.
So where does traditional marketing fall short? They simply are not dynamic and engaging enough in the fast-paced digital world on their own.
The clearest place to find the benefits of digital marketing is through a good website (which is also a form of inbound marketing, meaning customers come to find the business). According to Forbes, 94 percent of millennials and 84 percent of baby boomers do their home shopping online. Websites are affordable and, when appropriately optimized, effective. (Check out Forbes for some great website tips.)
To help bring people to the website, don’t forget to take advantage of social media (and post frequently) to help build a brand and further establish the business. Social media can be free (promotions can be costly, but are often cheaper than most outbound resources), and according to Branding Personality, are a great way to establish conversations, build a reputation, and add to a marketing campaign.
Digital marketing is also dynamic, which allows for on-the-fly updates to keep marketing as relevant as possible. Traditional marketing can easily be outdated before it even hits its target audience, but digital marketing can be changed on the fly. Websites are easy to update, social media posts are a click away, and empowerment tools like Homebot provide ongoing, useful data that is more than just a marketing device, but rather, a tool that empowers consumers.
Homebot helps real estate business owners engage with their customers on a regular basis, and build an ongoing relationship. No amount of brochures or bus stop posters can build a relationship like consistent value assessment and wealth-building discussion opportunities. The best part about this kind of marketing is it feels like anything but - which is key to successful engagement.
An average consumer can sense an advertisement or marketing ploy a mile away, but real-time online resources bring much more to the table. Some resources such as Strategic Marketing claim traditional marketing allows for personal touches, mostly through in-person contact, but the advantage of online resources is a valuable supplement. Digital marketing should not be used as a shield to avoid customer interaction - in fact, it should be quite the opposite - it is a way to strengthen an in-person interaction and bring much more to the conversation when in-person opportunities arise.
Businesses that depend on traditional marketing and outbound marketing can still find success - and there is nothing that quite says, “my business is successful” like having the opportunity to see your face on a billboard while driving home. However, as the world goes increasingly online, there are some distinct advantages and opportunities where traditional real estate marketing tactics fall short.
With the sheer volume of people online, apps like Homebot, and tools to build engaging and dynamic relationships, the era of digital marketing for real estate is here, and it will only continue to grow. Instead of deciding on whether to focus on traditional or digital marketing, understand the weaknesses of both and use the strengths of the other to build an unstoppable marketing plan.