Digital marketing has changed the way real estate is done, drastically altering the ways in which customers view and go about their purchasing journeys. While the homebuying process has traditionally been a long and laborious road, filled with paperwork, legalities and going back and forth with agents, today’s customers know they have the power to capitalize on digital platforms and focus in on what they truly want. They do a lot of the homework themselves early on, researching online, checking and even shortlisting properties for themselves before choosing to contact an agent or booking a viewing.
But digital marketing itself is an evolving process, with continuous developments and emerging technologies, making it possible for agents to be ever more productive, and create more intuitive marketing programs for potential customers. COVID-19 further accelerated this trend, causing real estate companies to increase digital ad spend in 2020, up 12% from the previous year, and statistics show that there is a general stance towards increasing digital adoption for future marketing success in many formats and capacities. It’s clear that those who will gain a competitive advantage in the coming years will be those who are able to leverage digital in showcasing their brand and services as part of a fully realized digital marketing operation program that addresses consumer needs and delivers impactful and relevant sales messaging.
Why are emerging digital marketing trends, as novel as they can be, so important for the future of continued real estate agent success?
- Digital is where customers already are
As previously mentioned, 98% of real estate buyers look for property online, so it’s vital for agents to get ahead of audiences, being sure to make that critical first online connection, raising awareness of the brand and propelling lead generation.
- Emerging tech is becoming more intuitive when it comes to CX and more cost-efficient
Although real estate as an industry has been resistant to change in the past, that is no longer the story today. Innovative technologies are offering businesses and agents exciting new ways to generate buyer interest and make genuine, engaging connections with audiences unlike any time before, and often at little to no cost.
- Proptech investment is surging
Proptech investments grew almost 800% between 2014 and 2019, and have only continued to increase since. Tech that was little thought of before is now becoming a staple in the real estate digital marketing toolset, such as 3D cameras, drone footage, digital signatures, and more.
- Emerging digital marketing trends are audience-focused
Today, agents are able to concentrate on advertising platforms that allow them to be highly targeted (again, upping cost-effectiveness and reducing wastage). Agents are increasingly able to subscribe to platforms and softwares that help them identify their core audiences to the micro level, whether it be specific income strata, location, interests or purchasing patterns. This is incredibly valuable because it means that all the carefully curated and collated marketing content is much more likely to reach the right people, eliminating traditional methods where it was a ‘spray-and-pray’ tactic, casting the marketing net wide but with no indication of who the audiences were and if they were even interested.
- Emerging digital marketing trends prioritize and utilize data
Perhaps one of the most important shifts in the last few years has been digital tools promoting true marketing analysis of the property sector. Unlike times before, silos of data can be analyzed and given real meaning, working alongside new market data constantly coming in. Platforms like SEMRush provide detailed reports on how competitors are doing, such as advertising spots, the level of ad copy that they’re running and how effectively they’re performing. Data analysis can also be conducted on what consumers have been searching for recently, making it possible for marketing teams to take their digital marketing efforts to the next level with highly-informed and solution-ready marketing copy and content that are relevant for consumers and favorable to search engines. This allows agents to make the most of their marketing budgets and tap into greater ROI potential.
- Emerging digital marketing trends are designed to optimize sales operations
The digital landscape is changing rapidly with the advent of increasingly powerful AI solutions, allowing almost entire marketing programs to be automated and creating streamlined processes. From apps that can calculate and tell how much natural light an apartment receives, to those that can automatically install a (human) voice-supported chatbot directly onto an agent’s website to answer FAQs, new AI platforms are emerging all the time to help agents be more productive while saving time and reducing room for error.
- Blockchain has entered the chat
Research has shown that blockchain and IoT are some of the emerging technologies that are making the rounds in real estate boardrooms; some US cities have petitioned to have cryptocurrency made acceptable in the transaction stage, with the perceived reassurance that they will enhance speed, safety and reduce the risk of fraud. If widely adopted, blockchain will significantly accelerate property sector processes, from title deeds, to land registry to co-ownership details; all made available 24/7 with real-time data and instant validation. This would revolutionize the way agents and real estate businesses work, and drastically inform the way they build their digital marketing programs as a whole.
PwC has suggested that AI and emerging technologies alone can help the global economy generate over $15 trillion by 2030, which drums in the fact that AI in real estate is not the future, but it’s already here. These powerful platforms are increasingly valuable to real estate players because of their incredible capacity to gather so much information from so many data sources, creating opportunity to make intelligent, data-based decisions and promote enriched data systems. This is going to be not only incredibly impactful but beneficial to sales and lead generation, as well as the identification of undervalued property areas, prevention of risks, ROI modeling and market forecasting.