Of all the non-tangible assets that realtors possess, credibility is perhaps the most important. It takes a long time to build it and it's fairly easy for it to be damaged. Think about all the referrals you get from your past clients, for example. Realtors attract buyers primarily through referral business. If you've been reading our blog too, you know we're big on the following mantra:
People like to do business with people they
Video: Building Familiarity With Prospects
We posted a 60-second video on Instagram yesterday about building familiarity through the fog and received over 250 views on Facebook and Instagram combined. We also received some great feedback (video below). It helped us build familiarity with the audiences we target - realtors - through the same strategies we talk about in this blog and generated a couple of leads. Familiarity is the first step in real estate marketing and building your brand as a realtor. These are the same strategies you, as a real estate agent can use to attract buyers. But first, watch this video (and follow Mastrat Digital on Instagram):
Traditional Referral Model
When a past client of yours - let's call them "client A" - refers a friend or family member to you - let's call them "client B" - you have what marketers call a "warm lead." Client B knows you through Client A, so there is familiarity. Client B knows you have done business with Client A so there is a certain degree of trust. It is up to you to back that up and build likability. But essentially, realtors attract more buyers through their personal and professional network.
Your circle of influence only extends so far, however. In other words, your network is only so big. How do you attract new buyers or prospects that aren't already warm leads? In a digital, mobile-connected world, the buyer journey is fragmented. How do you generate more leads? Equally importantly, how do you warm them up to you so that you've built familiarity, likability, and trust before that first phone call?
Today: Buyer and Market Characteristics
To understand this, we have to look at three key characteristics that define the market and the buyer behaviour:
- There are more than 40,000 Realtors in Toronto
- The world is now mobile and decision-making happens in an instant
- The buyer journey is fragmented
Let us break down each of the above characteristics in detail in the following few paragraphs:
There are More Than 40,000 Realtors in Toronto
We already know that there are literally tens of thousands of realtors from which to choose when it comes to buying a home, selling a home, or investing in a property. All these realtors are trying to attract more buyers from within their circles of influence, that is, through referral business. This works great for everyone because these are what we call low-hanging fruits.
But for you to generate new leads, attract buyers, and funnel them from outside your network, you need to approach them differently. In fact, we would argue that the only real way towards exponential growth is to target those outside your network so that you operate at full capacity. This is a numbers business, and the law of large numbers reigns supreme.
For you to break through the wall, you need to do something to attract buyer attention that others are not ordinarily doing. We know that most realtors don't have a strong social media presence, which is critical to building familiarity (see: Instagram Marketing for Realtors).
The World is Mobile and Decision-Making Happens in an Instant
Smart phones have forever changed consumer behaviour. Take a look at the following statistic:
(see: Real Estate PPC Marketing)
This is inarguably a commanding statistic. You might have done this too - when you wake up in the morning, you might check your emails on your cellphone. When you get to your office, you might pull out your laptop and write a detailed response to those that need it.
What this means is that for you to build familiarity with your audiences, you need to be there for them on all devices that they use. Practically speaking, you should have a mobile-friendly website. You should also be on Facebook and Twitter where you can interact with your audiences. Instagram is specifically built for mobile devices, so you should be there too, since more than 20% Canadians are on Instagram, with over 400 million users worldwide.
So, how can realtors attract more buyers? Ny being there every step of the way, especially on mobile. This builds familiarity. (for a detailed understanding, read Google's research on the being-there micro-moment).
Decision-making also happens in an instant. Think of the last time you needed to figure out a restaurant's location, how the traffic was on the highway, or what the current foreign exchange rate was. Chances are, you pulled out your cellphone and looked for the information on Google or on one of your apps. If a page took too long to load, you moved on.
Take a look at this video.
The Buyer Journey is Fragmented
Buying a home is a big decision - but you already know that. You've spent months working with a client to find them the right home. But looking at homes isn't the only decision that goes into the process. Finding the price you can work with, the mortgage rate you can afford, the neighbourhood, all play an important role in getting to the closing phase.
With smart phones and technology, as I mentioned above, the buyer journey has become even more fragmented. Watch this video:
"Erica and her husband were considering buying a larger home to to fit a growing family. While sitting at an airport waiting for a flight, she flipped into research mode, searching on her smartphone for “mortgage calculator." Over several weeks, Erica continued to rely on her phone to research all kinds of home-buying and finance-related topics, nudging the process along in convenient spurts."
#5 Well-Informed Tips Through Which Realtors Can Attract Buyers
So now you know that your digital marketing has to be informed by the above three realities, what can you do to attract more buyers? Implement the following tactics right away. Speak to your current developer, your in-house social media team, or an agency like our's (you can book a consultation with us for free) to get the ball rolling. Even if you don't have access to teams to do this, you can start yourself.
1. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
If, based on the above videos, a prospect decides to look at your website on their cell phone because they saw your ad on Facebook, or wants to find mortgage tools, you need to be there. Your website - and every tool within it - needs to work on mobile phones. This includes your mortgage calculation tools. Ensure also that it rapidly loads on all devices so that you don't lose a client (who tends to wait about 3 seconds for something to load before moving on to the next resource). Remember, prospects are loyal to their needs before anyone else.While you're at it, make sure your website loads lightning fast, since Google loves this! We're happy to test your website for free.
2. Be present on all social media
It's critical to be on all social media platforms where your clients are - and they're on most of them. Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you have to be there. Instagram is more predisposed to working better on mobile devices. When you make connections with your clients and prospects every step of the way, you're building awareness and a cohesive brand. If you're not on one of these networks, pull out your smart phone and sign up now.
Speaking of social media, like us on Facebook.
3. Consistently post USEFUL content
Whether its a blog post on your website, a picture or video on Instagram, or articles on Twitter and Facebook, create and post content. Do it consistently (use a content marketing editorial calendar). Your prospects get used to your posting times and will begin expecting to see something valuable. Once you start, don't stop because it will hurt your credibility. In fact, being useful is so critical, that the following statistics from Google/IPSOS and Google/TNS/Ogilvy are so critical in understanding why you are or aren't getting conversions based on the fragmented consumer journey:
If you would like to read more about the micro-moments that are characteristic of consumer behaviour, check out Think With Google's Micro-Moments page.
4. Create Pay-Per-Click marketing campaigns
Even with social networks, organic reach can be slow and will take time. It is still in the social networks' interests to sell you their sponsored ads platform from which you can boost your posts reach. Pay-Per-Click campaigns go a long way in helping you do this, but you have to be strategic. Sponsor only that content which you own. If you've written a definitive blog post that demonstrates your expertise and credibility, you can promote this. Do you have pre-construction condos that you're trying to generate leads for? This is a good idea too. Are you doing a webinar? Promote it! PPC campaigns will not only strengthen your brand, but build your credibility and directly generate leads.
5. Build your brand - everyday!
Following from what we speak of in part 4 above, it is imperative that you have a cohesive brand across all your platforms or owned media. Start with taking inventory of your current branding. Ask yourself some questions: Is your logo contemporary, or outdated? Do you have a colour scheme? Is your style and personality reflected in all your branding material such as your business cards, your social media page headers, and your website? Build your brand every day and ensure that it is cohesive. All images you post should ideally have your logo on them at the very least. This uniformity will make you undeniably recognizable. Remember, branding is no longer for big corporations. Since creative marketing services have become so accessible - and a whole lot cheaper - professionals and entrepreneurs across all industries including ours have been taking advantage of it. It is essential that you do the same to stay on the curve. It is okay to co-brand as long as it does not withdraw from your own brand.
In a mobile-enabled, fragmented consumer journey, it is essential that you are there for all your clients and prospects throughout their journey. This will help you build familiarity, trust, and likability. The above tips are meant to be implemented right away - and you should rapidly get on them. This larger, strategic approach to attracting buyers is the X-Factor, and the above tips are tactics you can execute. If there is something that isn't clear, please ask us in the comment section below, tweet us, or send us a line.
Is there something else you would add to this story?