Real Estate Marketing: Then and Now

Toni Becker September 17, 2021

We live in the digital age and with marketing technology ever-evolving, businesses from all industries are evolving too. The real estate industry is no exception and with the emergence of new digital and online technologies and software, real estate marketing has experienced a significant shift. 

In this article, we take a look at the evolution of real estate marketing and unpack how digital marketing and marketing technology have changed the game for realtors the world over.

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Real Estate Marketing: Then

Since the beginning of humanity, real estate has been an essential part of life. Historically, real estate owners were rich and powerful individuals who owned a variety of properties and land. They wouldn't necessarily use this land just for themselves and they would either rent or sell out the property. But, how did they market their land back in the day?

The Town Criers

It was a straightforward process that involved word of mouth and the success of a property was based on the owner's reputation. In fact, the most vital form of marketing communication were “town criers.” That is people who homeowners would hire to speak to the public about properties for sale in certain areas. It was a simpler time.

The Printing Press

Then came the printing press. This was the first big leap into modern advertising and marketing. In 1450, Gutenberg developed the printing press and in time, real estate owners and professionals began to publish advertisements on small pieces of paper and handed them out to the community. This had a notable impact on real estate sales as news of new properties spread far and wide. 

With the success of print advertising in full force, the real estate industry took an innovative turn and the first-ever real estate advert was printed in the Boston News newspaper. The message reached a large audience and the real estate industry took note - they were going to get their message across even wider. 

It was in the late 19th Century that real estate agencies began to rise and worked as the middleman between buyers and sellers. This was when marketing for the real estate industry took a significant turn. The first property listing newspapers were printed at this time and they helped sellers and agents reach a mass audience - an audience like never before. 

Telephones and Cold Calling

We all know about Alexander Graham Bell and how he invented the telephone in 1976 - and this was when modern real estate marketing truly took hold. Real estate agents were given a specific location or neighborhood that they would target and they would pick up the phone and cold call households with information on properties. Of course, brochures, newspapers, listings and billboards were still being used (I mean, they are actually still being used to this day) but telephones changed the game for real estate agents. 

This combination of print and telephonic marketing for lead generation ensured that real estate agents could now reach thousands of potential clients. And when they thought things couldn't get any better, they definitely did.

Radio and Television

In 1922 the first real estate radio advertisement hit the airwaves and many other real estate businesses took notice. Because of this the market actually became more and more saturated and targeting became difficult. You see, the ads would reach thousands of people - but they weren't all the ideal target market. In fact, the bigger the campaign (more expensive), the lower the conversion rate. 

Print marketing, cold calling, radio and television advertising were great for the real estate industry - and still are. However, as the digital age set in, marketers were able to use the digital space to reach a more specific target audience.

Real Estate Marketing: Now

Websites and Property Listings

As the internet became more and more accessible to the general public in the early 2000s, realtors began to turn to the world wide web to reach a new audience and to stand out from the over-saturated market. In order to stand out from the competition, they started creating websites and or blog pages to showcase their business and their properties. It was at this time that website listings took center stage. In 2006, 80% of home buyers did their property research online and of course, the numbers continued to rise. 

The modern customer began to use Google as a tool for property research. Again, the market became saturated and it was difficult for realtors to get their website to rank organically. But then came the one and only - social media. 

Social Media

With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well as the availability of smartphones, customers were completely connected to brands and businesses. This completely changed customer expectations regarding access to information and communication. You see, customers were now able to find anything on their phone, computer or laptop - and it was vital that information about properties were made available on all possible online touchpoints. 

Today, 80% of real estate  clients are using social media to find their dream properties or investigate possible agents. Agents and property owners had to quickly adjust and now Facebook ads, reviews and pages are available to customers at the click of a button. 

Now, agents have print media, cold-calling, websites and social media to reach their audience. And they are able to use social media and online advertising to reach a more precise audience than ever before. They are able to target ads to specific demographics to make sure that their marketing budget does not go to waste. 

But how can all of this be managed? How can leads be generated seamlessly? Enter Customer Relationship Management software for real estate marketing.

Customer Relationship Management Software

Thanks to digital technology and marketing innovation, real estate agents are able to track the entire customer journey and align marketing and sales departments. By aligning marketing and sales processes, real estate agents are able to understand the buyer's journey in greater detail and reach out to a lead at the right time - with the correct message. This strategy eliminates low-quality leads from the equation and ensures that every call and follow-up email has value - saving real estate agents time and saving real estate brokers and developers resources. 

In order to do this, real estate marketers are investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software. With this marketing technology, real estate agencies are able to u manage interactions with customers and potential customers, helping  streamline marketing processes, build and nurture relationships. This, in turn, increases sales, improves customer service and ultimately increases the bottom line. 

Quality CRMs such as HubSpot provide a single place for marketing and sales teams to implement, manage and track all their efforts. For example, all digital marketing campaigns can be run through the platform including search engine optimization, social media marketing, blogging, lead generation, email marketing, and paid online advertising efforts. 

Not only can your marketing team run all campaigns through the platform, but they are also able to track the success of every campaign in greater detail in order to learn what is working and what is not working. Your marketing team and sales team will also gain greater insight into your leads through the platform, identifying warm opportunities by tracking lead behavior and understanding where each lead is within the buyers funnel. 

A quality CRM will also be able to send out automated and personalized emails and communications to leads based on their behavior, sending them the right message at the right time - making for better customer service and more conversions. This automated service also saves your real estate agents time, and instead of typing out personalized emails, the system will do the work for them so that they can spend time making sales, instead of focusing on time-consuming tasks. 

All the tools that you require to run a great marketing campaign are available within the HubSpot software, and these tools work together to attract, engage and delight potential and current property buyers and investors. 

The future of real estate marketing lies in marketing technology - and we look forward to what is to come. 

The Wrap Up

With the digital age in full force, potential property buyers are able to search for real estate online and make the choice as to whether or not they want to view the property in person.

This is why digital marketing has become vital for the real estate industry, from content marketing to digital lead generation, the opportunity to reach target markets has significantly expanded. 

How we can help

With years of experience in digital marketing for the real estate industry, Nexa is here to help real estate professionals reach their target audience online, generate quality leads and convert those leads into customers. 

Our experience in Real Estate marketing stems from our work with CBRE, JLL, Savills, Sotheby's, DAMAC Properties and countless other agencies and real estate developers.

Contact Nexa for all your real estate marketing needs. 

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