New home sales in the U.S increased 1.3% in November, capping the best three months of demand since since 2007. CEO of digital home buying platform

What is digital marketing in real estate?

4 in 10 buyers look for properties on the internet as a first step in the home buying process. Unbelievable, right? But, wait. There’s one more surprise. The same study revealed that 94% millennials and 84% baby-boomers search for their future homes online.

These numbers make one thing clear: People prefer researching about and evaluating properties online before their first meeting with a realtor. And that’s where Digital Real Estate marketing comes in. Because, being a realtor, you can turn this into your advantage, with interactive digital marketing. If you’re saying, “Ah! I already have a website, what’s the big deal?”, think again. A website might be your digital address, but for people to discover you there, you will have to create some engaging content. It’s your only ticket to influence your prospects, get them to visit your website, and turn them into customers! To give you a fair idea of how to go about it, we will look at a few examples. Time to get inspired!

#1 Using your knowledge to build a community

The best way to build a community organically is through blogging. Think of this as the welcome pad to your online world. It is your best bet at answering FAQs and address the concerns your prospects may have. By doing this you will not only position yourself as an expert, but also indicate to your buyers that you care about them.

Another good idea is to give your readers an inside scoop. Review local restaurants, fitness centers, etc., publish photo blogs on various community events, or do a roundup post of a recently concluded exhibition in the neighborhood. Tell your prospects that you’re atop all that’s there about real estate. Most importantly, constantly monitor comments on your blog. Who knows you might just capture a lead from a small conversation. Small talk goes a long way in real estate!

The Weiniger Homes blog is a perfect example of using local expertise in blogs. They may be real estate agents but one of their most popular blog pieces is The ULTIMATE Guide to Farmers Markets & Farm Stands in Central New Jersey! So much for community building! How about you follow their footsteps?

Another way to reach out to the community is by collaborating with industry-adjacent professionals like an architect or an interior designer, whose expertise matter to your prospects. In fact, you can also write blogs for popular websites that welcome guest posts. The idea is to spread knowledge as well as network, because both will improve your online visibility and credibility.

Finally, actively participate in discussion forums and share your expert tips and ideas. Write answers that are educational. Don’t make blanket statements to questions that deserve a substantial response. A good starting point is this answer a realtor gave to a question “What are some of the things realtors hide from their clients” on Quora.

#2 Storytelling through photographs

A survey revealed that 83% home buyers prefer property photos to be available online. Now, you might already be posting photographs on your website but we want you to start posting them on highly visual networks like Instagram. Sign up if you don’t have an account yet, because if you didn’t know, 80% of users follow a business on Instagram! At all costs, post only real and quality photos. Your prospect can obviously make out the difference between what was shown and what it really is!

Do add location to your photos as they 79% more engaging than those without location tagging. Additionally, use relevant hashtags so that people searching for those places or using those tags can easily discover your content.

It’s also a good idea to interact with people commenting on your photos.

Besides posting gorgeous photos of property interiors and exteriors, you can make announcements for open houses or a sales success just as Julies Realty Miami does.

Since we are talking about Instagram, we cannot help but mention Instagram stories. It is extremely popular among Instagrammers, so much so that it has increased the amount of time people spend on Instagram to 28 minutes! So, start right away!

#3 Using Client Testimonials

A testimonial is persuasive social proof. So, ask your clients to vouch for you and write about their experience with your firm. Just make sure your customers highlight how you tackled their pain points. One of the shining examples of a testimonial is on Weiniger Group’s website. Their client highlights that despite the house not being “typical” for the market, Judy and her team helped them sell it off. Interestingly, this testimonial is appealing to similar property owners who may not have a typical house either.

#4 Interactive Calculators and Quizzes

You can totally gain an edge over your competitors through interactive content. Without even having a direct conversation, you can lead them into your marketing funnel. For example, a ‘What’s my house affordability?’ or a ‘How much will a rented accommodation in Massachusetts cost me?’ calculator can actually help you segment your leads purely on the budget parameter. Consequently, you can run email campaigns and send your buyers properties that match their budget .

Given the fact that interactive content can generate 12x more leads than usual, we checked if realtors do use calculators and quizzes. During our research, we came across a mortgage calculator on Grove Realty’s website. We absolutely dig the fact that they are forward in their marketing approach, yet at the same time we feel they could have done better.

To make you understand, we created a mortgage calculator via the Outgrow app. You can compare the differences quite easily. Instead of asking the user to input values, we give them a slider option. We also asked more questions so that we could obtain a rich customer profile. Besides, if you’d have noticed, we revealed the results real time. You see, the combination of these factors actually makes the whole experience quite engaging and valuable for the user.

While a mortgage calculator is a perfect fit for prospects in the Middle of the Funnel (MoFu), you can create fun quizzes for those at the top of the marketing funnel. Think of quizzes like “Which celeb house should I plan my staycation in?’ or ‘Which celeb will enjoy staying at my home?’.

Related Read: Interactive Marketing Ideas for the Real Estate Industry

#5 Publishing an Ebook that focuses on ONE problem

An ebook is the exact opposite of a pushy sales tactic. You write it to be seen as a thought leader in your industry. The best approach to writing an ebook is to focus on ONE specific problem and give a detailed answer to the readers. Classic ideas of lead-generating ebooks for real estate are “15 Things Real Estate Agents Pray You Don’t Ask Them’ or ‘How to Find a Dream Home in Seattle’.

You can also use Google Keyword Tool to shortlist a few highly-searched real estate keywords. Adapt those keywords to your market and surprise your prospects with an ebook! Make sure you wrap up your ebook with a call-to-action to your website. For instance, if you’ve written ‘5 Things Single Parents Need to Consider Before Buying a Property’, you can end it with a CTA that says ‘Talk to an agent’.

It goes without saying that to capture leads, you should keep your ebook behind a lead capture form. Lastly,design a high-converting landing page for your ebook. It should have a catchy headline and highlight your ebook’s value proposition.

#6 Broadcasting webinars that connect with anyone, anywhere

A webinar is a highly immersive medium and you can actually use it to educate people and demonstrate your expertise in the real estate sector. Since you host it in the virtual space, you and your viewers don’t need to be under the same roof! Another bonus of conducting a webinar is that it doesn’t have a shelf life. You can archive all the past webinars on your website and continue to capture additional leads. Besides, you can publish the webinar on your YouTube channel!

Now that you know the benefits of hosting a webinar, let’s discuss the kind of topics you should focus on. To begin with, keep it educational, not promotional. Some of the topics worth considering for a webinar include, ‘How to prepare to sell your home’, ‘Are you buying a condo for the first time?’, ‘Banks vs Private Lenders For Home Mortgages’, ‘Why is your Home still Unsold and What You Can Do About It’.

Check out this video by Natalie Sisson. She lists out some incredible tips on how to create a winning webinar experience.

#7 Broadcasting Virtual Tours

Videos are a great way of offering your potential clients a vivid experience of your listings. You could either give them a property tour or of the neighborhood. If budget is no constraint then you could even hire a professional videographer to shoot videos for you.

Or, you can make the best use of your phone camera and still enamor your prospects. Check out Jade Mills’ Instagram video here. The conversation between her and her son starts off on a candid note. It gradually reels down to highlight the gorgeous location and view from the penthouse in LA. They don’t show the property but definitely get the prospects interested by talking about the spectacular view from the penthouse!

Another way you can go creative with videos is by using the LIVE video feature on Facebook and Instagram. According to Social Media Examiner, 50% of marketers plan to use live video this year. A lot of people watch these LIVE videos. Facebook says that its users spend 3x longer watching live video than video that’s no longer live.

As a matter of fact, you can also experiment with 360-degree videos. It’s a perfect fit for your business and an improvement from a meet-and-show-and-tell format when it comes to property tours.

What’s even better (provided your budget allows) is that you opt for virtual reality and augmented reality. Revenue from augmented reality is projected to be 4x as high as that of VR by 2020. Although, it’s pretty popular in the gaming industry but it has caught up with other industries like marketing and travel too. You should definitely explore this option. After all, you are in the line of business where visuals matter. Imagine being able to show people what their future homes might look like!

#8 Podcasts!

16 million people in the US are ‘avid podcast fans’ and 67 million men and women are monthly podcast consumers! The number isn’t surprising given the fact that it’s an easy-to-consume format. One can listen to it while driving, walking the dog, doing household chores or over solo lunches. As a matter of fact, once people start listening to one podcast they tend to binge watch! So, how about you take advantage of this growing popularity of podcasts and start your own channel?

You could do a mix of solo podcasts and interviews. If it’s an interview then line up a series of interesting people. These could be local residents with whom you could talk about the neighborhood or peers with whom you can discuss challenges your buyers or you face! The idea is to get people hooked on to your channel so much so that they look forward to the next episode. If you achieve that then there’s definitely no stopping you!

#9 Emailers

70% buyers say they forget about their realtor after one year. Hurts? We know it’s a heartbreaking statistic given the amount of hard work you put to close a deal. But, don’t lose hope yet! You can definitely stay on top of your game by consistently sending valuable content as emailers. However, before you start sending mailers it’s important that you segment your email lists. Send content that is tailored to every buyer’s persona and purchase interests. This will ensure a great click-through rate of your emails.