With the ever-increasing digital channels to empower buying and selling in the real estate industry, only the players who are ahead of the curve will have the means to compete and get a piece of this lucrative pie.
In our previous post, we touched upon why the real estate industry needs influencers to effectively reach their target audience. In this post, we are looking more in depth at the challenges of advertising in this unique industry, and how influencer marketing can remedy these issues, both for the real estate companies and the buyers and sellers. With the level of investment and risk associated with real estate purchases, it is essential that the consumers are well-equipped with all the necessary information accessible at their convenience to make their decisions, and for the real estate companies to create a more hassle-free experience.
1) Reliance on Traditional Media
The real estate industry is heavily reliant on traditional media and to cut into the promotional noise, billboards, bus or newspaper ads are no longer effective to target the right audience and to convert them to buyers. Not only these channels are costly with low engagement rate, but they are not enabling a two-way communication and due to the lack of real-time hard performance data, real estate companies will not know how well these ads performed to optimize subsequent ones. To focus on delivering quality in the market, the real estate industry must be equipped with more data-driven and targeted marketing channels to empower these multi-million dollar transactions in a seamless manner.
2) Unimpressed Millennials
Millennials are obtaining their information online and primarily via social media on their smartphones. This generation is not impressed with the impersonal and company-focused promotions as they are used to customized and interactive messages that are specifically tailored to them, based on their individual needs and characteristics. Millennials grew up checking out their peer reviews and opinions online, before committing to a purchase. As a result, traditional channels will not do the job when targeting this unique and tech-savvy generation.
3) A Dreadful Process for Buyers and Seller
From the perspective of buyers, the online content that is out there to assist them in finalizing a home purchase is monopolized by the industry players, such as the brokerage firms and real estate companies, or less personal channel such as newspapers. Real estate investment is potentially one of the most significant purchases a consumer will make a handful of times throughout their lives, which necessitates extensive research and thus a longer purchase journey. Also, due to the high risk involved, it can be a dreadful process for the buyer. For the seller, lack of trustworthy sources of information is a paramount challenge which prolongs the transaction, as well.
Influencer marketing can be an effective channel to remedy the mentioned challenges facing the players in the real estate industry. Through leveraging relevant and targeted influencers who create informative and engaging content, real estate companies can reach their specific target market at a lower cost in a more personalized manner that also resonates with the younger tech-savvy millennials, and on the other hand, buyers and sellers can have access to a third-party and trustworthy source of information that is presented to them in a more engaging way.
Insights of a Tech-Savvy Real Estate & Marketing Expert:
To shed more light on the issue, we are discussing the potential of influencer marketing in this industry with real estate and marketing expert, Dylan Nihte. As a licensed agent and Growth Manager at Zolo Realty, Canada’s most popular online real estate marketplace, and Nihte is responsible for leading more than 50 agents, in the busy Vancouver, B.C. real estate market.
“There is so much noise in today’s marketing landscape,” explains Nihte. “Traditionally real estate agents rely on the three p’s of real estate: Put a sign on the lawn, place a listing on MLS and pray that it sells! Those days are gone,” says Nihte. But where do you begin? “How do you stand out?” asks Nihte, “when there are so many channels, forums, hashtags and different types of engagement available?”
1) Three L’s of Real Estate: Location, Location, Lifestyle
To answer that question, Nihte suggests re-examining the timeless rule of real estate: Location. “Rather than location, location, location, think: location, location, lifestyle. Buyers simply don’t want four walls to call home, they want a neighbourhood that suits their needs and a home that supports their lifestyle.”
2) Targeting a Lifestyle Niche
What’s great is that social media integrates so well with a person’s chosen lifestyle. “You can find anything on social media: Dog lovers, yogis, the slow food movement, you name it, social media will connect you,” says Nihte. “Some smart companies realized this and collaborated with social media influencers to build recognition and promote their brand to a specific market segment—a specific lifestyle.” By leveraging the power of lifestyle followers a brand has the potential to brand and promote their product to an active market niche.
3) Power of Digital Channels
It’s what Zolo Realty chose to pursue when the company started just over five years ago. As a tech-driven real estate marketplace, the company ignored big ad buys and refused to spend money on bus branding, newspaper ads or gimmicky giveaways. As a company, we realized that with more than 90% of home sales start online, says Nihte. “It was more important for us to build a comprehensive and responsive online marketplace, then spend money on traditional marketing. The proof is in the results. Each month, more than four million home shoppers start their real estate search using the Zolo brand. This number continues to grow.
4) Higher Engagement
Now, more than ever, digital marketing needs to be at the front of brand planning. “The aim is engagement,” says Nihte, “celebrities get this, as do popular lifestyle influencers.” Nihte believes that smart, savvy Realtors—and the brokerages that support them—can easily end up as the real estate influencer in their particular market segment. “As Realtors, we need to vet our target audience and align our clients, and ourselves, with these audience members.”
The takeaway? Influencers are about impact. Influencers can be utilized in the real estate industry as experts and thought leaders in location and lifestyle choices. Real estate agents who choose to grow their influence through social media and digital marketing are at an advantage, says Nihte. “We have a targeted reach and a high degree of trust that resonates with our audience.” Using this reach and leveraging our storytelling is what grabs the attention of a target audience and turns them into loyal customers.
To find out more about Dylan Nihte and his expertise, click here.
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