We’ve been proponents of having a strong, dialed web presence for real estate development marketing campaigns – websites that provide detailed, relevant information – for a while now.
One of the key tenets of David Allison’s book for real estate developers, Sell The Truth is that your website should be the centre of your marketing universe. In this system, all other communication streams – both online and traditional (print, signage, direct mail, etc.) – should point back to that rich, centralized source of information. Because there, we’ve held, is where customers go to find the substantive data they need to make a confident purchase decision.
Well, we’ve come across some quantitative support for that notion.
Hanson Lok, Senior Research Manager at Ipsos Reid, revealed some very telling statistics at our recent Urban Development Institute breakfast seminar, called Real Estate Development Marketing in the New Economy . His presentation, based on the Ipsos Reid Homebuyers Report, confirmed much of what we thought was true about where prospects are getting their information in the post-collapse economy.
Here are some of the facets of today’s real estate buyer, as described by Ipsos, that we found most illuminating:
• Canadians spend average of 14 hours online per week – this number is on the rise
• The Internet is no “silver bullet” for real estate marketing
• Social media components must be very carefully strategized, and supported by other media
• Online marketing should be a vital component – but only one part – of your marketing mix
• However, it does play a significant – and increasing – role in helping Canadians buying a home
Of particular interest to us were details on where Canadians are getting their information, and when:
FOR FIRST CONTACT with a new development, the most successful medium was print advertising, with 39% of respondents citing print ads as the most likely place to find out about a new property or development. (This was followed closely by signage, with 36%.)
FOR SECONDARY & ONGOING RESEARCH, the Internet was by far the most popular medium; 46% of respondents cited the web as their most relied-upon source for more detailed information on properties. (This was followed by real estate agents, at 36%. Incidentally, real estate agents were also cited as their most trusted source of information.)
This confirms what we’ve seen on the ground. There is no single, easy best way forward for real estate marketing. It’s not a matter of “conventional marketing streams are dead; long live the web!” Rather, many of the old streams – particularly print ads – still hold a vital place in the new economy.
And although the web is definitely crucial, it is not a panacea. We must still very carefully structure our campaigns, and provide timely, relevant information to the prospects we are trying to reach.
The general thrust of the presentation was that, although a cautious optimism is gaining ground, the “post-abundance mindset” is still alive and well. This means that buyers need rich, detailed information to feel that they are making a sound investment.
It’s nice to be right once in a while.