Intelligence on prospective buyers and their buying habits has always been a marketer’s dream, and today we are surrounded by data.
Data from past sales, research data on generational buying habits, as well as the personal data of consumers’ social, search and browsing behaviours stored by companies like Facebook and Google – this is all at our fingertips.
Understanding how to collate and utilise these data sets can seem daunting, but in the battle to remain relevant to the evolving needs of consumers, those who do so hold a powerful market advantage.
Social Media is now the third biggest source of business for real estate markets in the upper 25% quartile of property values, and whilst the competition is fierce, there has never been a better opportunity to craft the right message, for the right person, and deliver it at the right time in their life.
Who are your audience?
Of course, you can’t inspire everyone with the same message – so determining your target audience is always the first step.
Evaluating and understanding your own sales data should reveal what kind of buyers you have sold well to in the past and where current buyer interest is coming from – whether these are young families, retirees looking for a summer home, investors seeking to grow their portfolio, or anything in between.
Armed with this data, you can seek out those of a similar demographic and comparable life stage, and this is where the power of social media comes in.
Platforms like Facebook and Google have access not only to demographic data, but to interests and behaviours, making them extraordinary discovery platforms for marketers.
Not only can these sites identify those who might be interested in your product today, but by analysing and layering key life events (marriage, childbirth, job change, etc.) their algorithms are reaching the point of predicting buying habits four to six months in advance, putting your product in front of individuals who might not yet realise they are interested in what you are offering.
These are tools you simply can’t ignore, and they will empower you to engage a very specific audience, delivering a personalised message across multiple touch points.
Still, purchasing real estate is no small decision.
Once you have identified your ideal target audience(s) and have established an excellent way to reach them, you still have to inspire them to make a major financial commitment.
To do that requires an understanding of the different cues that consumers respond to – and this is where it pays to do your research.
There is an incredible amount of data available that will help you understand the generation you are trying to reach, and how to move them.
For example, Baby Boomers and Generation X still turn to search engines as their primary way of researching products, services and brands, and this is often the most effective place to target these generations online. However, don’t discard social media. While younger generations are plateauing in their time spent on social media sites, these two generations are still growing steadily across almost every platform.
These generations want to visualise the community they will be a part of, so featuring people they can relate to enjoying your properties and amenities is often an effective tactic for this age range.
Millennials, on the other hand, are still the largest group on many social media platforms, and more and more they are turning to social media, rather than search engines, to find and research products to buy. They interact with brand social media channels more than any other group, and content marketing is fundamental for this generation – the primary focus of which is to connect with customers instead of talking at them.
We know that Millennials like to find all of their information online before they even think about contacting someone, so video walkthroughs and 360 degree imagery of your properties can be a good way to help them feel engaged and fully informed.
Looking to the future, we can see that Gen Z use social media for product research more than any other group.
Influencer marketing is becoming incredibly important for this generation. They have a keen eye for authenticity and are focused on brand trust. This means they are drawn to ads that show real people in real situations, and dislike ads that portray a perfect life.
With such a wealth of information that can help you identify and understand your audience, and powerful platforms that enable you to target and reach them, gone are the days of marketers taking shots in the dark.
If you want to be relevant to today’s property buyer, and to understand how to reach tomorrow’s buyer before you get there, then don’t be afraid of data.