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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Top 5 Changes in Real Estate Marketing

May is almost over, which means a few things:

• We’re approaching the halfway point of 2013
• Spring is nearly at its end
• You’ll soon begin thinking about your 2014 projections and budget

There are a number of quickly changing marketing details we’re seeing specific, pointed data behind. And if you’re not already thinking about them, we beg you to put them on the radar for the very near future.

The top five real estate marketing changes to keep your eyes on for the remainder of the year are:

1. Website redesign
2. Analysis of user interaction
3. How conversion rates are changing
4. Where mobile plays a role
5. How consumers and consumer expectations are changing

We’ll briefly detail each of these below, and continue to touch on them in upcoming articles.

Website Redesign

When was the last time you redesigned your real estate website? When was the last time it had some minor design improvements?

Your website conversion rate is much more important than what the site looks like. But Web design can help improve the conversion rate of websites. More importantly, a design touch-up should always focus on the key elements consumers want to find quickly and easily when visiting your site.

Any and all design strategies should take this data into account before touching the design of your website. We consistently analyze this data from the more than 300 real estate brokerage websites and 30,000 agent websites we build, and see how the market is trending. And we include those recommendations with any redesign we make. We’re currently recommending a redesign every 12-18 months, based on current market trends.

User Interaction

How users interact with your website relies on a number of factors, from market trends, to seasonality, to Web design and digital marketing tactics.

Surprising to some, we’re actually seeing a trend of users stop visiting desktop real estate websites. The reason is they’re instead following sophisticated market and new listing email reports, which push this information to them on a regular basis. This allows consumers to follow the information they’ve specifically specified, then choose to act when they find the right listing.

Those consumers realize they won’t see that personalized information upon a quick Web visit, but they will visit when the right info crosses their path. By then, many are ready to convert.

We see customers not visit a real estate website for months, click and submit a showing request the moment the right email is sent to them, then make an offer on that listing. That’s a closed transaction that occurred with possibly only one visit in a three-month span. But it’s impossible without the right email and social marketing platforms.

Conversion Rates

Of course, these kind of trends will affect conversion rates.

Conversion rates have historically been low in the real estate industry, in part due to the cost and process involved to make one conversion possible.

But we’re seeing changes in these rates, particularly among real estate brokerages that are utilizing many of the tools we make available to help improve conversion rates.

Some of our customers are seeing conversion rates between 14-18 percent direct from real estate leads.

When brokerages don’t report good conversion rates and blame leads for being “low quality,” our polling has found a number of reasons lead to this, including an extended period of time between lead submission and when (or if) a real estate agent responds to the lead.

Mobile
Mobile is making up a much larger percentage of total Web visits, and that percentage will only continue to grow larger in time.

For the first time in history, smartphone adoption has surpassed 50 percent in major markets around the world. And real estate is inherently mobile by nature.

We see brokerage after brokerage with significant traffic receiving nearly 1/3 of that weekly Web traffic from mobile devices.

Don’t have a good mobile real estate website? Have a poor mobile presentation or no ability to capture leads from a mobile device? You’re already losing a significant amount of business to your competitors.

Consumers and Expectations

All the changes detailed above lead to the one detailed below: that consumer expectations are changing.

Consumers are empowered. They can drive around town, see a listing, instantly gather more information on it, and find an agent who will respond to them within minutes, if not seconds. And they know this.

That’s a drastically different business than the former model of finding a listing in a print ad and having to use an agent to find any additional information on it.

And it’s leading consumers to start working with the brokerages and agents who will help them make the purchase they want, while weeding out those who use excuses or take a significant amount of time to respond to their inquiries.

Conclusion
Consumer expectations are now high, and you have the capability to provide the real estate website, mobile website, and lead management platform that allows you to exceed those expectations, rather than continue to miss out on customers because you’ve missed out on their expectations.

Each of these five real estate marketing changes is significant to the present and future of your business, and we can help with all of them.

Stay tuned for more details, and contact Delta Media Group for more information.
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