Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas for Your Listings
People don’t buy just listings; they buy lifestyles. It’s important, then, that marketing for your real estate listings not just reiterate specs and data. Instead, develop a special narrative in your marketing of what it’s like to live in the home.
It may feel like you’ve run out of ideas to make your listings stand out. Falling into this rut compromises your messaging and presentation, which turns off potential buyers. We compiled some creative real estate marketing ideas to make your listings shine.
Start with Strong MLS Listing Descriptions
Most leads discover your listings through a MLS, so writing descriptions with punch is critical. Though you have limitations on the scope and length of your MLS descriptions, include the most notable features with descriptive listing copy. Also, include photos that showcase the property’s unique qualities and focus on non-traditional angles so your listing stands out.
Optimize Your Listing Campaigns
If you hope to attract qualified buyers through search engines, keyword research is essential. There are several great resources for finding long-tail keywords so you can anticipate what your target buyer is searching. Once you’ve identified key phrases, include them in your marketing copy and landing pages.
Get Amazing Real Estate Listing Photos
This post will recommend using listing photos in many places. But first, it must be said that you should get photos of the highest quality possible. Familiarize yourself with the secrets for beautiful real estate listing shots, including the use of natural or artificial lighting, planning indoor and outdoor shots, and improving curb appeal.
If you’re on a budget, you can shoot your own listings. Learn shooting techniques that work, like proper staging, focusing on the elements that matter most, and maintaining consistency across your shots.
If at all possible, go for a professional. Use this Academy post to learn how to hire a real estate photographer to shoot your listings. Make sure they achieve the look you want and edit photos to look great.
Whether you shoot photos yourself or employ a professional, keep in mind:
- You’ll likely have many listings, and therefore many photos to manage. Come up with a file system that allows you to access them easily for all your marketing needs.
- For search engine optimization, make sure the file names and alt text of your photos highlight the listing’s address or keywords you’ll be using throughout your marketing.
Feature High Priority Listings on Your Home Page
Often, leads will enter your real estate website on the home page and quickly glance at the offerings there. Capitalize on this by showcasing priority listings.
Use Email to Get Your Listing in Leads’ Inboxes
Email is a strong lead generation tool for listings. Because most leads check email daily, they’re more likely to see and open marketing messages about your listings. Develop an email format that provides leads with a beautiful preview of your listing, including details about location, important features, and a call to action that asks them to connect with you, either by replying, filling out a form, or visiting a landing page to view more.You don’t want to overload your email, so include only one or two striking photos. It’s also important to write a clear subject line so folks know this isn’t a general newsletter. Think “Newly Listed: Pristine Colonial in Newton,” or for a hyper-local impact, include the street address.
You don’t want to overload your email, so include only one or two striking photos. It’s also important to write a clear subject line so folks know this isn’t a general newsletter. Think “Newly Listed: Pristine Colonial in Newton,” or for a hyper-local impact, include the street address.
Create Special Landing Pages to Capture Lead Info
A great lead generation tactic is grabbing lead information through a landing page. A listing landing page should captivate your audience with great photography or video, details on the unique value of the property (this should be different or more in-depth than what appears on the listing page), an effective call to action to incite users to connect with you, and a simple lead capture form. Some agents also choose to offer a free download, like a buyer’s guide, because they find it increases conversions. Make sure you receive a notification each time a person completes the form so you can follow up in minutes.
Marketing Listings with Descriptive Blog Posts
A MLS listing can only hold so much information, and doesn’t leave tons of room for creativity and out-of-the-box marketing. For greater freedom, create a blog post to expand on your listing’s information and create a fuller experience for leads. The format should include a strong balance of text and graphics — the former to educate leads and build SEO value and the latter to keep visitors engaged.
- Focus on using related local, long-tail keywords throughout your post, including the title, URL slug, page content, and meta description that will appear in search engines.
- Blog posts provide ample space for listing photos. You can enhance your real estate photos by providing a description or caption for each.
- Include your contact details in the post and create a call to action that invites leads to reach out for more information or a showing.
- Go further in-depth with content about the surrounding area. Provide information about the surrounding community and reviews of businesses or schools. Ideally this content will link to other content you’ve created on your site, but feel free to link to great external resources as well.
Host Great Open Houses
If you have a listing that translates well in person, hosting an open house can not only generate traffic, but also allows you to capture lead information connected to a face.
- Develop a strong marketing play from beginning to end. Make sure your open house is adequately marketed both offline (e.g. local mailers and newspaper announcements) and online (e.g. event invites on social media, newsletters, and advertisements) well in advance. Additionally, if your MLS offers open house listings in a feed, adding this microdata to your website can generate open house listings right in Google’s search engine feed. So, as leads search for targeted keywords, they’ll be able to see your listed open house dates and times without having to search through your website.
- Make sure the home is staged. Clear the space of unnecessary or cluttered items, and create an inviting atmosphere throughout the house. Use data about the benefits of staging to make sellers comfortable with moving or hiding items during the open house.
- Practice lead generation before, during, and after the open house. Collect names via a lead capture form on a landing page before the event, and with an open-house sign in sheet during the event. Then, follow up with each of the leads and mention something special you remember from your interaction. Get your own customizable sign-in sheets here.
- You should consider printing guides with information about the listing and the local market that include your full contact information. Offer a special touch by getting branded labels with the listing’s address and your contact information and placing them on items leads will use, like water bottles, pens, magnets, and other giveaway items.
Create a Striking Video
When creating an all-around experience for potential buyers, few things impress more than real estate videos. Video tours allow you more creative license to showcase angles and depth, as well as add in mood music or narrative that incites emotional reactions that make consumers take action. Last year we covered some of the most breathtaking listing videos on the market, like this one:
Shooting and editing videos obviously takes more budget and dedication, and you may need to hire a videographer. But, considering about a quarter of real estate leads prefer video as a medium for viewing listing information, it can be a wise investment to attract the absolute best leads for a high-profile listing. Once your videos are ready for posting, make sure to optimize them for local search.
If a pro videographer is a bit out of budget, modern technology allows you to approach professional-quality at the flick of a finger. See The 10 Best Video Recording Apps for Real Estate Agents.
Leverage Social Media
There are numerous ways to use social media to amplify the marketing of your listings. Here are a few suggestions by platform:
Pinterest is proven to be a great source for generating real estate leads, so long as you’re consistent and creative with how you pin. Real estate listings are the perfect excuse to create a Pinterest Board, where you can pin not only photos of the listing, but articles, tips, and resources that cover the area, like school data, restaurant reviews, and outdoor attractions. Remember some best practices for Pinterest:
- Title your board with the street address and then write a keyword-optimized board description.
- Every pin should have a clear description that describes the pin in detail, and should link to something, preferably to content or landing pages hosted on your real estate website.
- Pin gradually. If you pin all in one day, there’s a chance your pins will get lost in the feed. It’s best to add a few each day to keep your pins at the top of followers’ feeds.
- Share your pins. Find collaborative Pinterest boards where you can post photos of your listings. Many of these boards have lots of followers. Additionally, Pinterest provides an embed feature, which shows a preview of your board in real time. Use this on your landing pages, blog posts, or other social posts to capture leads’ attention.
While posting an update every few days may get you some engagement, Facebook marketing campaigns are more successful when they’re multifaceted.
- Start by developing a Facebook Business Page that allows you added business capabilities.
- Have an open house? Create a Facebook event to share invites with your followers.
- Lots of photos of your listing you’d like to share? Create a Facebook album that showcases your best photos. Title the album with the street address and be sure to include descriptions and links in both the album description and on each photo.
- Have a strong video you want to share? Add to your videos tab and give your video a strong description that includes links.
- Promote your listing in real estate groups that allow self-promotion, preferably ones with a high “Like” count. You can also create your own group and invite colleagues and leads.
- Want to get more eyes on your listing updates? Try real estate Facebook advertising to promote them to a wider, targeted audience.
Posts on Google+ have the added benefit of showing up in Google’s search engine results pages if a user is following you on the platform. The platform is also big on using hashtags for searches.
- Create a Google event for open houses and showings. Use that to invite followers and to share in your emails.
- Develop posts for your listing’s content so you can post a new photo with information each day.
- Create a photo album for your listing and provide links that lead back to your blog post or landing page.
- Upload listing videos and provide a description and contact details for those wanting to see more.
- Share your listing’s post in Google groups (if they allow promotional posts), or create your own, to gain more traction for your listing. Be strategic by choosing your best one or two posts and not overloading groups with too much self-promotional material.
The Twitter feed moves quickly, but there are still many tactics you can use to promote your listings creatively on the service. Try these to increase engagement:
- Schedule posts about your listings over a period of time, preferably at high-traffic times for real estate. Use social schedulers like Hootsuite and Edgar to publish your tweets around the clock.
- Add media to your tweets, like photos or video, as this helps to increase engagement. Links are also engagement boosters, so make sure all of your tweets lead back to a post, landing page, or album about your listing.
- Include local hashtags in your tweets to reach folks who may be seeking local real estate.
- Recirculate tweets. Unlike other platforms, it’s okay to repeat tweets so you can reach users at different times, so long as the tweets are sent enough apart. Feel free to schedule similar tweets and use Twitter Analytics to monitor which types get the highest engagement.
- Advertise on Twitter to boost the reach for a particular tweet. Don’t make it too wordy or use too many hashtags. You’ll also want to pay attention to Twitter ad specifications and rules based on your goals.
Instagram is newer terrain for many agents, but an area some agents find successful for getting leads for their listings. Professional filters within the app itself, as well as numerous smartphone photo editing apps, allow you to create beautiful listing photos leads will love. Here are some quick tips to consider when using Instagram:
- Add a friendly photo and connect with your network by integrating your Facebook friends with the app.
- Tag your listing’s location so folks can see what photos were taken at a particular locale.
- Use descriptive language in your post. Instagram is fun, after all, so don’t use salesy language. Use this time to tell a story. Luckily there’s no character cap on Instagram, so you have ample space to develop a story around the property’s style, locale, features, and even listing price. Build anticipation and encourage users to click on the link in your bio to get to your landing page.
- Hashtags are a main driver of search in Instagram, which means you should use both generic and local descriptive hashtags to broaden the reach of your photos. If you’re going to use lots of hashtags, Agent Dusty Baker recommends posting a short description only with the photo, and then go back to add your hashtags into a comment on your own photo so you still get search attention without inundating your followers with a ton of spammy looking hashtags.
LinkedIn is all about making the right connections. Once you have a strong strategy for connecting with influencers, colleagues, and residents in your local market, you’ll have a great audience for marketing your listings. Here are some ideas for listing marketing on LinkedIn:
- Publish content daily with pertinent links to your posts and landing pages. Don’t just stop at posts about your listing: LinkedIn is a great medium for informative articles on living in your area and the local market, or general tips for buyers.
- Create a Showcase Page that can display your main listings for sale and where you can house pertinent content about your featured listings.
- Develop strong local connections to expand your audience reach. You can also use the Advanced Search feature to find local leads.
- Create or join local community groups and post your listings’ information to increase engagement.
- Explore LinkedIn advertising to expand your listing’s post to a wider targeted audience.
Across the board, the same agents and brokers tend to have strong followings on all social platforms. Having a bio that communicates your brand message and being consistent on these channels is key — not just when you have a listing to sell. Learn some tips for posting on each of the social media platforms. You should engage with users. That means following, liking, commenting, and developing conversations so you’ll grow your audience naturally and have a larger pool to whom you can market your listings.
Amplify Your Listing’s Marketing with Advertising
Paid real estate advertising is a great way to generate traffic to pages that market a listing. Particularly with pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines, agents can target their listing’s ad for keywords that are difficult to rank for organically. Here are some ways to develop an advertising strategy to maximize your ad dollars:
- Choose long-tail, local keywords. Because you’re focused on listings, you want to be as specific as possible, focusing on neighborhoods, property styles, street names, and other prominent geographic features in your area to describe the home.
- Find a balance when setting bids. You’ll want to compete for keywords with high search volume, but with a moderate cost-per-click that won’t deplete your advertising budget quickly. Figure out your ad goals and determine how critical certain keywords will be to your traffic.
- Develop advertising copy that sells. While ad length is typically limited, stand out with amazing advertising copy, including a strong headline that uses targeted keywords, a descriptive line that highlights the best features, and a call to action that gets the user excited. You can also add extensions that make certain features prominent on the page, like your Google reviews, contact details and location, and sitelinks.
Claim Listings on Major Portals
Claiming your listings on real estate portals can help you generate more leads. Many of these portals also offer advertising solutions, but those are best explored once you have planned a series of marketing tactics (like the ones listed above) so you get the best return on your investment. Learn how to claim your Zillow listings here.
Send Mailers to Your Local Community
While many buyer leads will come from out-of-market, it’s good practice to announce your listings to the local area. High-quality mailers are great resources to mail to your entire local network because they notify current residents who may have contacts interested in moving to the area, and receiving marketing mailers keeps you top-of-mind should they choose to buy or sell in the area.
- Only professional quality will make a mailer worth the effort. Choose quality paper, ink colors, and graphics to leave a strong impression. This is an area where hiring a graphic designer can help.
- Develop your mailer into a magazine-esque experience. Most residents receive less physical mail than they do email, so there’s no doubt that sending a mailer will get their attention. But why stop at a one-page tip sheet? Create a multi-page document with photos, graphs, statistics, and information that will make readers want to sift through your mailer.
- Connect the dots by giving your mailer an online aspect. If you’ve created your own landing page, video, or single property site in honor of your listing, provide an easy, short URL that’s memorable where folks can go to see more. You can even offer a promotion or free download for folks who visit the special page. Also, make sure your brand name and contact details appear on most pages so it’s easy to get in touch.
Create a Single Property Site for Your Listing
Creating a whole website for a listing is something many agents will do when they want to garner lots of interest. The benefits of this are that you can brand the whole site around one listing and focus the experience on lead capture and lead nurturing. This also allows you ample space to present creative assets for the one listing you want to showcase. You can then track the site’s traffic and engagement to see how your real estate marketing efforts pay off.
- Choose a keyword-rich domain name that will help the organic search value of your listing.
- Streamline your pages to fit the most important content on the home page, and more in-depth resources on the second page.
- Put lead capture forms on every page of your single property site to generate leads. You may also have a listing of open houses or a list of possible private showing dates.
- Showcase a variety of content — videos, photos, articles, blogs, etc. — that will help build a fuller experience for your lead, and include statistics about the market, testimonials, and an excerpt from your agent bio that links to the original on your main website.
Share Listing Information with Other Agents
You want to expand your pool of potential leads to attract the most qualified ones. Other agents are working daily on lead generation tactics and may have buyers in mind for your listing. The best bet here is to send personalized messages and be clear about how you want them to interpret the information. Depending on how close you are to the agent, request they share a tweet or ‘like’ a post, or perhaps even request they forward a link to one of their leads.
Brand Your Real Estate Listing Across Channels
You want to present your listing as if it was its own brand. Too often, a marketed listing can feel like a hodgepodge of information that doesn’t give the user a strong sense of its unique qualities. Branding listings is similar to branding your business: Build a consistent story across every channel you use and you can create real estate marketing magic. Use these tips to ensure your listing’s story gets across.
Identify your target buyer.
It can’t be stressed enough that not all of these tactics should be used for every listing or lead. Your messaging, positioning, and presentation will change based on the demographics, budgets, and pain points of your target buyer. Use our step-by-step guide to find your customer personas and identify the needs of those most apt to purchase your listing. Then, choose from the real estate marketing ideas above to determine which tactics will resonate most.
Create a unified message for the listing.
Great branding means that if your leads see your listing’s marketing in a few places, they can easily say, “that property is known for [X].” Hone in on your target buyers and compare their needs with the values of the home to find a happy medium. Don’t feel you have to get too specific, but play to the strengths of the style of the listing, the neighborhood, and the lifestyle a buyer in that price range would value. Then, translate that into your marketing assets with copy and the visual aesthetic you present.
Find that special something about your real estate listing.
When faced with a number of comparable properties, the listing that comes out on top tends to be the one with a special “It” factor. That can be a feature, like a striking view, or a feeling, like a quaint cottage. Point is, if your marketing doesn’t showcase a unique “thing” about your listing, you’ll be hard-pressed to get buyer leads interested. Write down all the positives you can think of and look at similar listings in the area to figure out what would be a major selling point for a potential buyer.
Published on March 17, 2015
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.