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Facebook for new-builds?

Facebook has come a long way over the past few years, says Nelly Berova and now it’s proving very effective for marketing new developments.

Nelly Berova

Facebook screen image

Facebook’s sophisticated marketing platform, ‘Facebook Business Manager’ combined with its incredible database of active users (2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users for Q4 2017) makes it ideal for any business looking to attract more customers.

Once the data’s in place it’s a sausage factory – what you get out depends on what you put in.

This is particularly the case with the property sector. Many estate agents are reaching their prospects through the social media giant, but the businesses which do exceptionally well, speaking from experience, are those estate agents or property developers promoting off-plan or new-build developments.

So why does marketing newbuilds work so well on Facebook?

FIRSTLY, LET’S LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS:

Traditionally, estate agents use the property portals to attract buyers and tenants. However, they are less effective when it comes to marketing a new-build development, especially off-plan. In some cases the estate agent can’t place properties onto a portal until they are registered with Land Registry, making it impossible to market off-plan.

Nelly Berova image

Nelly Berova

Traditional leafleting is also an option, but to reach a wider audience it is very expensive. If your development can appeal to buyers from around the UK, you will need a lot of leaflets to reach most buyers.

Many agents rely on email marketing, using lists accumulated throughout the years or purchased through third party sources. However, this is no longer an option, especially when the new data protection regulations (GDPR) kick in. Unless your contacts have actively opted-in, you will be in breach of the regulations and may face a hefty fine. Furthermore, the success rate from an old database is very low, so you will need an extensive list to get a decent open rate and click-through-rate.

Estate agents who have invested in SEO and benefit from regular website traffic can attract prospects through Google. But this is not a guarantee and will not be enough if you have many apartments to shift.

There is Google AdWords, which works well when attracting buyers off-plan or promoting new-builds. However, it has become quite expensive over the years, especially for locations in London.

There is also the traditional PR approach, which relies on getting your story in relevant, targeted publications. But again, this can prove costly, there is no guarantee of conversion, it is hard to track, and it is often hit and miss with regards to bringing results.

HOW DOES FACEBOOK COMPARE?

Unlike the options above, Facebook offers a range of advantages:

It is an intelligent algorithm which can target the prospects who are most likely to convert. If you have set things up properly, defined the ideal buyer and built a sales funnel, then once Facebook tracks a few conversions (i.e. people registering their interest or booking to view a showroom), it will target people who are similar to those that have already converted. No other platform as yet can do this.

It is completely trackable – you know exactly what you put in and what you get out. No guesswork is needed, and once you have some data in place which allows you to improve your campaign, it works like a sausage factory – what you get out depends on what you put in. For example, if you know that each prospect costs you £50, how many prospects you get depends on your level of investment. If it takes 20 prospects to make a sale, it becomes a no brainer. Simply invest £1,000 for every property you want to sell.

It helps you build a pot of prospects you can leverage for your next development. Yes, Facebook allows you to put prospects into a ‘pot’ in a similar way to email marketing, but with Facebook you don’t hold any personal data and therefore do not need to worry about the risk of a data breach. So next time you launch a new development, you can start your campaign by targeting hot prospects in your ‘pot’, making it easier to gather data and deliver conversions.

Facebook also helps you with the conversions. Once a prospect has engaged with your development – perhaps they have visited your landing page or requested more information – you can set up a remarketing campaign. You can then follow or ‘chase’ those prospects with specific messages, driving them through the sales funnel. It helps you to automate the process and focus on speaking with the hottest prospects rather than wasting time on chasing those who are not quite ready to take action.

Nelly Berova is Managing Director of digital marketing specialist, Art Division.
www.artdivision.co.uk

May 10, 2018

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