The world of online marketing is ever-changing. New social networks surface practically every week, once-popular tactics and channels lose popularity and effectiveness, and emerging techniques and outlets take their place on the pedestal of essential digital activities to put into play.
When it comes to following news related to marketing, Realtors are, more often than not, unaware of these types of changes and, rightfully so, focused on building their lead gen strategies and converting prospects into clients.
So, we’ve decided to make it easier for you and the million other full-time agents and brokers nationwide to stay up to speed on these ongoing, numerous marketing industry alterations, arrivals, and updates in the form of Placester’s Monthly Real Estate Marketing Review.
Continue reading to get a glimpse of the latest changes happening in the online marketing space in March 2017 — and get actionable advice for how to take advantage of these major and minor developments to better your own digital presence and bottom line.
Instagram finally exceeds Twitter’s digital footprint.
Based on a study of the top million websites in terms of traffic totals, prospecting software firm SimilarTech reports the number of sites to feature Instagram embeds has surpassed those with Twitter embeds. Though this may not entirely confirm the minor shift in popularity from the timeline-based social network to the more visual-heavy platform, it is a noteworthy occurrence.
The two social channels remain in second and third place, respectively, behind the behemoth that is Facebook, but since the latter owns Instagram and, in turn, showcases much of the same content in people’s News Feeds, it’s not totally surprising to see this evolution in the social-sphere.
When it comes to embedding tweets and ‘grams on your real estate website, there really is no difference in terms of importance for your optimization efforts. The more images and videos you include on your site, the better, but sharing notable tweets from local influencers, publications, and brands in your blog entries is also an optimal way to keep your readers (a.k.a. site visitors) engaged and around longer — long enough to check out your listings or research more about your agency.
Moreover, the multimedia-based social platform announced recently it now offers the ability to share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post. That means you can promote a single listing, for instance, in just one share by offering up some short recordings and high-res shots of the home for sale in question — not a bad way to get some more digital awareness for your seller clients, eh?
YouTube prioritizes improving mobile ad options.
Count YouTube as one of the marketing industry’s biggest movers and shakers. While there haven’t been many changes regarding the look and feel of the video publication service in quite some time, that doesn’t mean the social network-search engine hybrid isn’t always tinkering with its bells and whistles to make marketing on the channel far easier for brands big and small.
Take this latest YouTube announcement, which denotes several new, ongoing projects that intend to simplify the advertising experience for businesses and professionals (like, say, Realtors) and afford them the chance to gain more intricate insights into their ads’ performance.
With more than half of all website searches coming from Google (which, if you didn’t already know, owns YouTube) via mobile devices — yup, it’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth — it’s more important than ever for you, the contemporary agent, to modernize your real estate marketing strategy — which means making a more concerted effort to amplify your digital promotion on smartphones and tablets.
Real estate referrals remain as effective as ever.
Outbound (or offline) marketing hasn’t entirely evaporated from agents’ overarching marketing plans. There are still tactics you can employ that can give your branding a modest boost and earn your agency some new prospects. Word-of-mouth real estate referrals, for instance, are still quite popular among modern Realtors, even those with comprehensive digital strategies and fully optimized IDX websites.
YouTube intends to simplify the mobile ad experience for real estate professionals.
As recent data from ReferralExchange shows, agents still get a moderate amount of business opportunities from outbound referrals via past and present clients. In fact, 40% of all inbound referrals reportedly come from Realtors’ customers. The majority of outbound referrals, meanwhile, also come from agents’ inner circles, the study indicates.
Friends and family also accounted for a sizable portion of referrals for agents nowadays, according to the report, but it’s evident the more clients you lock down, the more referral opps you’ll have the chance to secure from these folks down the line — meaning it’s time to enhance your networking with past customers to see if they know of buyers or sellers looking today or very soon (perhaps with some drip email nurture campaigns?).
Google is experimenting with call-only ad styles.
The typical ads you’ll see most agents create using Google AdWords include links back to their websites — often ones to their homepage or to specifically listing property detail pages. These kinds of ads are certainly the standard for online real estate advertising today, but The SEM Post reports Google is testing another ad type that could prove very fruitful for agents who want more immediate chances to generate leads.
Call extensions in standard AdWords ads allow Realtors to include their brands’ phone numbers beneath the main copy of their ads. Now, though, Google is trying out an entirely call-only ad style that allows Google searchers to simply click to call an agent, as opposed to click through to their real estate website.
While you definitely want to increase your IDX website traffic each and every month through organic marketing, email campaigns, social media shares, and paid ads featuring site links, this new ad type is certainly worth allocating some of your ad spend to see if you’re able to obtain more prospects by offering just your phone line.
Who knows? While your SEO strategy gets better each month and acts as a longer-term lead gen stream, these call-only ads could get to those prospective buyers or sellers who are already at the bottom of the funnel and ready to search the market or list today.
Adults’ time spent on social media increases greatly.
Whether you’re an agent who makes the most of Facebook for real estate or prefers short-form social sharing with a Twitter marketing plan, there are considerable benefits to using any of the big-time social platforms these days. While you may traditionally think Millennials and younger generations make up the majority of those using these networks daily, it seems the more senior population is a growing user demographic.
In its latest media survey, Nielsen discovered Generation X spends the most time on social media daily at seven hours, just ahead of Millennials, who spend an average of six hours on social networks. What’s more, adults 18 years and older increased their time spent on social channels during 2016’s third quarter compared to a year earlier.
Call-only ads could offer agents a viable, short-term lead generation avenue.
What does all of this have to do with your real estate marketing? Well, in short, if you don’t have a concrete presence on the biggest social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, to name a handful of the major players — you’re missing out on a big chance to promote your brand online, drive more fans and followers to your website, and convert those visitors into brand new leads.
After all, those aforementioned social media outlets were deemed very relevant by hundreds of agents polled by Inman News. Though that’s a small sample size, it’s clear there’s definitely value within those social networks — all you need to do is plan out your real estate social media marketing strategy for those channels over time to make the most of each one.
Content marketing strategies improve for B2C brands.
Each year, the Content Marketing Institute releases what is considered by many to be one of the premier marketing industry reports. The 2017 iteration of this study proved this reputation was merited, as it reveals a number of unique data points regarding how full-time marketers map out their strategies for the year ahead — something you and countless other agents can use to create an action plan for your Realtor marketing efforts.
The top takeaways from this edition of the vaunted report show just how organized and prepared marketing pros and B2C brands in general are with their digital campaigns. For example, 90% of survey respondents noted their companies are fully committed to building successful content marketing strategies.
It’s this kind of commitment to thriving online that can help your real estate business not only better your website traffic and lead generation numbers over time, but also get the right visitors and right leads in the door — meaning those who have a high likelihood of transforming into new clients.
If you think it’s too late to start your real estate content marketing plan, think again: More than two-thirds of those who took part in the study relayed their content strategies are in the “Adolescent,” “Young,” or “First Steps” stages, indicating they recognize the significant value a content blueprint can offer their brands.
Learn how to create an omni-channel digital plan by downloading our “Launch Your Real Estate Marketing Mix” ebook today!
What do you think of YouTube and Google’s ad news? What do you think about the content report? Share your thoughts below!