Real Estate Going The Digital Way

vikram

The expanding world and the increasing aspirations of buyers have created a great of scope for marketers in the digital era. Every brand wants to create lasting and unique customer experiences for its customer/consumer base, which is now completely absorbed in a world of rich digital experiences. As traditional offline channels struggle to keep pace, digital has emerged as the key marketing medium for building, growing & retaining customers and increasing topline growth.

Digital has created more avenues for brands to engage meaningfully with their consumer. Fuelled by the increase of portable devices and internet penetration into the Indian heartland, digital is the best and more ROI centric medium for all brands, categories and sectors. Real Estate is no exception.

Today, an integrated digital strategy includes a lot of techniques such as Search engine optimization (SEO), Search engine marketing (SEM), Content marketing, Influencer marketing, Content automation, Campaign marketing, E-commerce marketing , E-mail and SMS marketing etc.

The Indian real estate sector is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes towards 5-6 % to the Country’s (GDP). Recent government initiatives have raised hopes for both developers and buyers of a better marketplace which is already starting to translate into improved sentiment, sales and growth.

Real estate companies in India are trying to shift towards a digital led marketing strategy designed around great online experiences, online generation of leads and bookings. India consists of approx. 250 million users online, which makes for India’s real estate marketplace consisting of potential homebuyers across the top 50 urban hubs. According to sources, real estate firms in India spend around Rs. 2,500 crore per annum on campaigns and various other promotional activities, of which over 30% is already being spent in digital. Industry estimates this to increase to over 50% in the next few years.

As per trends, 90% of the searches for property is done primarily online because it provides ease of parsing through variety of options within a few clicks. Growth on the basis of comparison is observed as it makes the decision making process of the potential customer far easier and aided. Communication and messaging tailored to online buyer behavior ensures more eyeballs, clicks and better conversions.

Quality and authentic content is the key to success of any Real estate marketing campaign in the digital medium as it creates interest in the mind of the potential customer and moves them to taking actions for registering interest. High quality content includes information which contributes towards effective discovery of quality content. For instance, a more relevant search result is expected by usage of more specific keywords. Also, if a more real experience based feature is added, then it adds huge value to the search results of the potential customer.  A 360 degree online tour of a property is likely to remove any initial misgivings that the customer might have about the project while giving him a quick ‘on the easy’ product experience.

Also Social Networking can be an equally effective real estate marketing tool with Facebook tools like canvas ads, 3D videos etc. – over 90% of the leading real estate brands use social media sites for promotion, generation of leads, consumer engagement and other marketing activityand the numbers are only growing.

Lead generation campaigns, lead management platforms, mobile responsive sites and online reputation management (ORM) play a crucial role in driving marketing activities to their end outcome – sales and revenue growth while creating a positive recall and preference for the brand.

Digital has emerged as a very significant technique for targeting customers for Real estate developers. Use of digital marketing depends on the needs of the developer. For example, for a project costing between 20-30 lakhs by a small developer, spends on digital marketing are also smaller. Customers can be targeted via SMS & database marketing. However, the case is different for a mid – segment or a big developer. Majority of the customers come from the digital savvy class, so targeting via digital medium is more effective. Depending on the target, postings could be made on most visited sites like Forbes, Telegraph, Money Control etc. The whole approach to digital marketing has become very dynamic.

Geo-targeting has become the new buzz today. Real Estate companies try to target specific areas to promote business in the form of Hyper-local marketing since it is primarily a micro-market sport. This helps them focus on smaller number of prospects and build local brand recognition early. Also it facilitates them to understand the market easily and measure their success results on the basis of early responses. The more confined is the area; the more easily one can target the strong prospects within that region.

The emergence of Assisted Buying Platforms is another step taken up by online sites like IRFS to showcase properties within a time span of 3-4 days with a discount of 20% for buyers who wait for the prices to go further down with ties with the famous builders.  Hence the buyers can use the given coupons after the event and book their respective property accordingly. The properties showcased are available for all the budgets starting from Rs 45 lakh to near about Rs 10 crore.

Use of contests and ads

Social Media contests have been beneficial in many ways in order to engage more customers, build a relationship with them via an online platform, increase the customer database and help promote the product throughout. Real Estate contests could be about coupons, music, related to captions, video contests or related to referring to a friend. A good plan for the contest ultimately helps to reach the desired goal. Along with this, the full screen ads loaded with rich media containing images, videos, and graphics in form of Canvas ads on Facebook have created a lot of impact in improving and increasing the number of leads for the Real Estate Industry. The buyers scroll down the posts as per their content channels and get targeted on the basis of their interests.

Automation for speed, scale and conversion in a real estate company can generate on an average of around 15,000 leads, which may increase upto 30,000 depending on the campaign. For every lead, there could be events like an ad creative, site or a page visit, an e-mail, a missed call or contact in any other form that can be captured and recorded. Any event or campaign nearly has 50 data attributes which approximately comes down to 7.5 Million data points on a yearly basis.