The Best Real Estate Marketing Plays from 2015
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Creating real estate marketing materials from scratch is no easy feat, but more often than not, the results of such bold initiatives — innovative listing and neighborhood videos, unique blog post series, and stylized visual reports and guides, to name a few — more than recoup the costs (money, time, and otherwise) to develop illuminating and enticing promotional collateral. All the proof you need to understand this payoff is below in the form of numerous creative real estate marketing pieces below.
The gorgeously produced videos, enlightening infographics, sleek single property sites, and other distinct content from industry brands small and large featured here offer a small sample of the countless fantastic digital marketing plays from agents and brokers across North America during 2015.
So take a look to see what stood out in the past year. (And since we know there are countless more great plays out there, feel free to share other incredible real estate marketing examples that made an impression on you in 2015 in the comments at the end of the article.)
High-Quality Real Estate Agent Videos
To begin, here are some of the best real estate videos produced by industry pros in the past year: everything from listing clips that show off homes for sale via new (and in one case, adorable) means to one that shows off the vast estate of a highly sought-after tropical paradise. These are all essentially high-end properties, but agents working in any niche can learn some real estate video marketing tips and tricks they can apply to their own strategies by watching them.
The San Francisco Good Life Team — 4021 Mission St. and 44 Sanchez St.
We couldn’t pick just one real estate video from the Bay Area Good Life team, so we picked out a couple of their most popular and well-made clips, both of which epitomize real estate marketing creativity and high production value.
The first offers a one-of-a-kind view of the listing’s neighborhood as shown from a bicycle mount as its owner navigates the city streets and sidewalks. Though the property isn’t a focal point of the video, viewers (a.k.a. prospective buyers) get a unique tour of the community — one many would love to live in — including a local coffee house and some boutique retail shops and bakeries.
The second video, meanwhile, leverages the “cute factor”: Instead of showing an actor portraying the homeowner and enjoying all of the listing’s amenities and luxuries, we see what life is like for the Corgi-in-residence. Some agents may say taking this real estate listing video angle detracts from the point — to garner more attention for and ultimately sell the property — but the view count for the clip (40,000 and rising) and high comment total (all of which approve of the vid) proves it’s a savvy marketing move.
Sometimes, it’s best to think outside the box with your real estate marketing.
Malia Cox — 4249 Nugget Lane
Whereas the Good Life team has the urban real estate video nailed, Colorado-based broker Malia Cox has perfected the rural listing video. This particular one highlights a property amidst a sprawling forest filled with pines, bubbling brooks, and some awe-inspiring hilltop scenery. These features certainly make it much easier to showcase the home for sale, as they add bonus selling points to it. But don’t think for a second that it didn’t take plenty of effort to create the outline for this listing video. Hiring the right real estate videographer also helps, but the final result of putting lots of time, effort, and money into clips like these is a boatload of views and (eventually) leads checking it out and asking to learn more about the residence.
Saba Shoaeioskouei — Mission District Tour
Writing a substantial amount of content for each of your area and community pages (a.k.a. neighborhood pages) is definitely wise, as this search-optimized copy can help you get found by searchers looking to learn more about specific facets of your area — including prospective home buyers and renters. But these potential clients who land on your site likely want some visuals to accompany this text to give them the complete picture about the neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and other community aspects in question. Realtor Saba Shoaeioskouei has developed the perfect asset to accompany these real estate agent website pages, as her series of San Fran neighborhood tours are exhaustive: You see maps of the area, notable establishments, and info about their history, all jam-packed into a healthy 8-minute clip.
Michael Shower — Hale Komodo
The laid-back lifestyle is a common theme among those living in (or looking to live in) tropical locales. What better way to market homes for sale in paradises such as Oahu, Hawaii, than to give the sense of calm and wonder? This is exactly what Anne Oliver of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties does with this real estate agent video, which focuses equally on both the lavish interior and astounding exterior. A residence like this surely appeals to only those with big wallets, but if you want to catch the big-fish clients, you have to put down the big bucks on recordings like this. (P.S. The footage of the sea turtle at the very end was a nice touch — though it’s not noted if it’s a regular visitor to the property.)
Eye-Catching Single Property Websites
Next up are some of the premier single property real estate websites set up by agents and brokers during 2015, each of which has its own unique design aesthetic and explains every detail you could want to know about each listing.
To put it plainly, broker and “Million Dollar Listing San Francisco” star Roh Habibi is a busy man. When he’s not filming his hit TV show and making appearances at the National Association of REALTORS® Realtors Conference & Expo (including at the Placester booth), Habibi is working hard to promote his firm’s many high-end listings, including through stylish single property sites like this one for a home for sale referred to as the Magnificent Chateau Vivant. A standard real estate photo gallery, a 3D property tour, a video showing the innumerable luxury features, and maps for the area in which it’s located all contribute to this distinct site. If the property itself doesn’t seem attractive at first to buyers, Habibi’s infectious charm in the listing video is likely to change their minds.
Let the visuals do the work for you: That seems to be the core strategy behind this intriguing real estate website devoted to an expansive waterfront property located right across the water from Seattle. Aside from little tidbits about the main home and accompanying residences on the property, Windermere Real Estate’s Pete Elswick and Anne Jones ensure the primary listing video and a few dozen striking real estate photos take up most of the page, allowing visitors of the single property site to get a clear view of every aspect of the property. The backstory behind the home for sale, including its previous owners, as featured in the news article at the end of the page helps establish an identity for the listing. And, as it’s been proven time and again in the world of marketing, storytelling can go a long way in making the sale.
When it comes to helping luxury agents and brokers with their real estate marketing strategies, few assist them better than RUHM, a high-end video marketing firm that expertly showcases some of the nation’s most beautiful and interesting listings. The agency is back at it again, helping Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Realtor Jill Lorenz put an enchanting spin on the single property site by making this Las Vegas residence seem utterly irresistible — even for those with little or no chance of securing the $12.5 million it’s listed for. Hollywood-esque films, remarkable photos, and an intuitive virtual tour headline this marquee site.
Talk about a modern real estate agent website: This well-crafted gem from Dwellus Group agents Janet Amendola and Ryan Zook relays just about every piece of information home buyers could want to know about the prestigious Washington, D.C., property around which it’s crafted. Easy-to-use photo galleries of the home’s many amenities, an in-depth and clearly outlined floor plan for the home, two well-made residential tour videos, and all of the pertinent specs, dimensions, and details associated with the listing are all here.
Superbly Produced Real Estate Blogs
Real estate blog posts that either entertain or educate your audience and are optimized for search engines accordingly are the backbone of your online marketing. Since most agents need some inspiration for how to structure their blogs, though, check out these nine stellar ones.
There’s seemingly no limit to the types of real estate content you can produce for your site’s blog. Case in point: Better Homes and Gardens Kansas City agent Sarah Snodgrass covers an array of different topics on her blog. Subjects span insights about the latest homes she’s sold, general thoughts on other notable properties on the market, and how homeowners can ensure their residence’s curb appeal is top-notch before listing.
With real estate blogging topics that include ways to make the most of your time in San Francisco, monthly housing market reports that reveal intricate local data, and updates on the most recent properties and developments to list and sell nearby, Realtor Ruth Krishnan has a firm grasp on what’s important to her audience of home buyers and sellers. Some posts are quick and to-the-point, while others delve into the subjects at hand to explain what’s going on in the area or regarding a specific matter, making this blog quite a diverse one.
When an agency decides to create a single real estate agent blog for its employees to run together, it can offer a more robust variety of content and voices behind the articles. In the case of Allen Tate’s blog, there are a handful of team members, including agents and the firm’s CEO, who offer their unique takes on goings-on in the community, tips for enjoying the latest holidays, seasonal home preparation advice, and a number of other subjects its audience can find useful.
Showing off your most recent and notable listings in blog posts is a quick and easy way to divulge details on properties of interest to local home buyers. Jennifer Egbert doesn’t stop there, though. She puts in a lot more effort, in fact, to exhibit her local community knowledge with articles like that broadcast info on the newest and hottest restaurants and retail shops, as well as spotlight new school programs, town events, and market insights. All in all, this blog can be classified as well-rounded.
Phoenix-area agents Nick Bastian, Dean Ouellette, and Shar Rundio certainly know a thing or two about both their local market and the industry at-large, which is evidenced by the timely and enlightening content featured on this terrific real estate blog. A small sampling of their blog post hits: The holiday season has brought on posts with topics like where to shop on Small Business Saturday, how to determine if selling around the holidays is the right move, and info on charitable endeavors around the community (including ones the firm partook in).
A little bit of humor infused into hot takes on the local housing market and the most recent trends and news affecting the industry: That’s what readers of the Toronto Realty Blog — one of the more popular real estate agent blogs around — will find. Regular article series like “The Friday Rant” and opinion pieces on the state of different Toronto niches make the TRB one of the more interesting industry blogs online today. David Fleming, the man behind the publication, may turn some people off with his moderately brash statements, but it’s clear this blog has a dedicated following, as evidenced by the lively comments most articles receive.
Incredibly Attractive Real Estate Marketing Visuals
It’s not just written real estate content marketing like the blogs above that effectively generates and nurtures leads — it’s also visual collateral. Infographics, SlideShares, interactive media, and other visuals have a significant impact on everything from site traffic to form fillouts. See the agents and firms below for prime examples of appealing visual marketing done right (abridged versions of most are featured for the purpose of brevity).
You can toss all the real estate statistics you want at your home buyer and seller audience, but if they’re not packaged in an easy-to-consume medium, they simply won’t take the time to check them out. Enter infographics, like the one above from Charlotte Realtor Jon Patrick, which makes it simple to understand how the local housing sector has performed in recent months and what’s likely in store in the months ahead.
Given the multitude of interesting graphics featured on his real estate website, we could’ve selected one of any number of the unique visuals created by Colorado Realtor Andrew Fortune and his team. This particular one caught our eye due to its appealing headline, great use of real estate branding, and clearly outlined and visualized tips and tricks for its home buyer audience.
Though it’s simplistic in its design and aesthetic, Parkland Realty Group out of Florida (a Placester customer) hits it out of the park with its mini graphics and consistency of use. Each month, the firm releases local market data featuring home sales, price, and other figures. All it has to do to update the graphic for the following month is adjust the size of the graphs and charts and highlight the correct figures. And just like that, the agency has reusable visual content for one real estate marketing tactic that it never has to remake again.
This market data design from Mainstream Real Estate Group’s Liz Kroft takes Parkland Realty Group’s vision a step further by creating a larger version of the housing stats infographic. After compiling all of the relevant figures her audience cares about, Kroft is smart to make sure her face and contact information are clearly displayed at the bottom (click on the infographic to view the full infographic), allowing those who view her content to know exactly who it came from and how they can get in touch with her to learn more. Consider this one of the more well-branded pieces of real estate marketing collateral to emulate in your strategy.
Creating a gorgeous infographic can certainly prove beneficial for your real estate marketing, but if you want to really maximize your content for search engines, transcribing the copy from your graphics in a blog post featuring the visual can ensure Google recognizes the SEO quality of your collateral. This is something Gateway Arms Realty Corp. understands, as it did just that with this fashionable graphic.
Some marketers will tell you to keep written copy to an absolute minimum when creating infographics, noting that too many words can detract and distract from the visual design work. However, if you need to explain intricate tips or explain difficult concepts, then your only choice is to add as much copy as you need. With this graphic from Jacob Grant Property Management, the design draws the eye to the written content which blends perfectly with the designed stats and headlines for each section. It’s clear this firm either has a savvy graphic design expert on staff or they hired the right person to craft this piece for them. Either way, it’s a premier example of a thorough-yet-eye-pleasing infographic.
Truly Unique Real Estate Reports and Publications
In the same vein as real estate marketing materials like the chic and informative ones above, reports, guides, publications, and other long-form content pieces — ones that give home buyers and sellers critical information that can aid their housing decision-making or help advance your agency’s branding and position it as a premier entity in the industry — can prove very beneficial. Discover some real estate brands that nail the art of combining explanatory copy with stunning visuals below.
Think of the Compass Quarterly as one of the preeminent digital lifestyle magazines that just so happens to focus on the best and most unique elements of the real estate industry. Whether it’s discussing the latest architectural trends of major metropolitans nationwide, presenting hyper-local data on those markets, or giving modern interior design tips, this publication is a must-read for agencies and brokerages who want to show they’re more than just a service company. They also know the industry inside and out and what their target demographics most want to learn and read about.
Consider this exhaustive report from Sotheby’s International Realty a dual-audience piece of content. On the one hand, high-end buyers and sellers (and even just those interested in the conditions) throughout New York can glean new insights and info that cover hundreds of stats for dozens of markets. On the other hand, fellow real estate pros who want to keep abreast of how the state’s housing sector has performed in the previous quarter can hone in on the data pertaining to their specific neck of the woods in the Empire State. Covering their bases audience-wise means this report is likely one that’s highly consumed all around.
Another highly revered real estate brand, Douglas Elliman, is becoming increasingly well-known not just for the posh properties its many agents represent around New York, but also for its magazine, which spotlights notable personalities in and out of the real estate industry, memorable closed deals from the previous months, and some famous members of high society and Hollywood. If you don’t operate in the luxury real estate market, the publication may not appeal greatly to you, but its storytelling and visual aesthetic are two facets you can translate to your own real estate marketing plan so you can make a big impact on your core demographic.
If you want to create some of the best real estate marketing collateral around, you need to know which digital activities to undertake. Check out our free online marketing statistics ebook featuring data from 2015 that can impact your real estate marketing plan in 2016 and beyond.
We know there are many other agents and brokers with phenomenal real estate marketing strategies who implemented top-notch tactics in 2015 that we missed. What are some great marketing plays you saw this past year? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below!
Published on December 5, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
As the Content Creator at Placester, I'm devoted to producing content that helps transform real estate professionals' marketing efforts and bottom lines. When I'm not developing Academy posts here, I'm writing film reviews and screenplays (the latter of which will never see the light of day).