So the time is here – the time to sell your home. In this world of instant communication and digital messaging, it should be easy, right? All you have to do is find someone with a big sign to stick in your lawn, take some quick pics on the old cellphone and you’re good to go.
All of the above is completely false.
Real estate marketing has changed more in the past decade than any other time. Most Realtors I speak with think that it’s actually gotten easier to effectively market a home. Systems like DDF and IDX allow Realtors to broadcast your property (uncontrollably) all over the internet in mere minutes, thus providing the feeling of doing more. But does it work? Just throwing it out to the internet and hoping a Buyer will find it? Sure, but only sort of. More than 95% of today’s Buyers utilize the internet in their home search. Where else would we go?
As Realtors, we used to just be able to pay for an ad in the paper and leave it out there until somebody saw it. If we could afford more, then maybe the ad would get a little bigger, but it didn’t get much more complicated than that. It was a simpler time. But where was the feedback? Accurate analytics were non-existent and advertising was more of a carrier pigeon mentality – just throw it out there to the world and hope it gets to the right place.
In my opinion, too many Realtors and real estate companies are using the internet in the exact same way – just blasting a listing out there and hoping for the best – but that’s not how the internet works. There’s so much noise, confusion and attempts for attention on the internet, and people are becoming immune to messaging that they can’t relate to.
The internet is the greatest weapon for targeted, effective, and measurable real estate marketing. You’ve heard the saying, “Location, location, location.” Well, placement of your property on the internet should be the fourth location – because if the best buyers for your property don’t see it, then you likely won’t get the most you can when selling it.
Proper real estate marketing is no longer static. In order to get your home in front of the right eyes, it’s an active and constantly evolving process. The trick is to take your property off of the shelf, where all of the other homes sit, and vie for buyers’ attention; stick it directly in front of them so that they can’t miss it. This is called product placement, and if you’re marketing a home correctly, the internet can make sure that the right buyers won’t be able to miss it.
In 2017, 88% of Buyers said that the most useful sources of information for the property they purchased were online websites.* Okay, so how do we make sure that those 9 out of 10 buyers find your property? We make sure that it shows up in the places they traffic the most! Aside from getting your property in front of the right buyers, the best benefit of using the internet to market is that we get thorough and quantifiable feedback. This feedback (aka “metrics”) tells us how many people have seen our ad, where they came from, how old they are, how they found our ad, how long they stayed and if they came back for another look. Wow! That’s a ton of useful information, and it allows us to target the right markets and demographic(s) for your property.
Effective and efficient marketing strategies, no matter what the product, involve analyzing who your target demographic is, developing advertising that appeals to them, and then positioning that advertisement so that they can find it. That requires putting yourself in the consumers’ shoes. It means not just casting a net as wide as possible, but knowing who your buyers are and what tools they’re using to search for your product. With that knowledge, you can optimize their search experience and increase the likelihood of them wanting to see more of what you’re selling.
Let me put it this way, if you’re selling shoes, do you put your newest models on the shelf at the back of the store? Nope! You stick them under the lights in the front window so that everyone can see them. It’s the same way that the embedded algorithms in internet search engines allow advertisers to target you with products you like to search for or purchase.
How about another example; what are the banners on either side of your Facebook page showing you right now? Mine aren’t showing me shoes. Aside from property videos, mine are showing me golf clubs and motorcycle ads. Why? Because it’s May, the weather’s getting warmer, I love to look at this stuff and my computer is (maybe sadly?) the window I look at most often.
In the end, it’s all about balance. True success teeters on marketing and the positioning of that marketing. You can have the best advertisement in the world, but if nobody sees it, then it does you no good. Conversely, you can have optimal positioning but if the marketing looks awful or has the wrong message, then all you’re doing is turning buyers off.
To be a smart seller, like everything else, you need to do your research. Shop around and look at a bunch of different real estate websites. Ask educated questions and remember to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. I think you’ll find that the majority have fallen well behind the 8-ball on most of this and are playing catch-up… and if they can’t market themselves properly, then odds are they’ll have a tough time doing much better with your home.