The housing market may have picked up since the darkest days of lockdown – with rising demand and house prices – but there’s no denying that the economy remains in a precarious state.
Winning over customers in a volatile market takes careful strategic planning. While there’s more to marketing strategy than you might think, the good news is that it can be easily broken down into eight stages, designed to take your customer from completely oblivious about your brand to passionate supporter.
One thing you should remember about estate agent marketing is that there’s no quick fix. You can’t expect to transport a prospect through the stages at break-neck speed. Think of it like any relationship – you would be surprised to hear of a friend going from first date to wedding planning overnight – you’d probably be quite worried. The same is true for the blossoming relationship with your new customer.
So, what are the eight steps in a successful marketing strategy?
1 Awareness – imagine that your customer has never heard of you before. You need to get yourself noticed by investing time and money. Have an effective social media strategy with regular posting and paid content along with search engine optimisation. You might need to use some traditional methods too; such as targeted leaflet drops or sponsoring local events to get your name out there.
2 Engagement – build on this growing awareness with action to draw your audience in. Think about who you are trying to attract – first time buyers? Aspiring buy-to-let investors? Downsizers looking to sell? Create content that will address their unique pain points. This is the stage where many estate agents go wrong. Having caught their customers’ attention, they go in for the kill, demanding viewings are booked before their prospect has even made the decision to sell. Instead, use carefully-crafted blogs, videos or social posts to solve problems; explaining how to sell in the current market, or what new landlords need to know now, for example.
3 Subscription – now make the relationship a bit more formal by getting hold of your customer’s name and email address. But you need to offer them something of value in return – maybe a place on a webinar on everything a new landlord needs to know or a downloadable local schools guide.
4 Conversion – this stage isn’t about making a sale but moving your customers further along the road to commitment, gaining their trust and increasing their engagement. It isn’t always about getting them to spend money – their time can be just as valuable. In some businesses it means entry-point offers; low-cost deals or no-commitment purchases to draw them in. In property, conversion is more about your prospect booking a valuation or video call than signing on the dotted line.
Imagine that your customer has never heard of you before. You need to get yourself noticed.
5 Excite – having got your customer’s attention, you need to present your business in the best possible way, convincing them that you are the right agent to sell their home. They are interested enough to give you their time, so use it wisely. Be passionate and authentic – make them excited about working with you.
6 Ascend – the steps you’ve been going through so for are more about securing future business than quick profits. Ascension is the point where profitability starts to kick in – when your new vendor agrees to sell with you or your buy-to-let landlord engages your services. This stage is also about up-selling – if you’ve done a great job of finding your landlord a tenant, now is the time to interest them in your property management services.
7 Advocate – this stage is about making sure that your customer had a good experience of your agency and will speak favourably to others. Also known as ‘passive promoters’, advocates won’t necessarily be shouting about you from the rooftops, but they will offer positive comments if asked.
8 Promote – promoters are important in the property world. If someone buys or rents a home from you, and things go well, they will probably look to you next time they need to move. But this may not be for several years. Turn them into a promoter, and they will share their good experience with friends and family but also complete strangers via testimonials, reviews and social media posts. They may do this unsolicited but most likely you will need to prompt them with requests or even incentives.
Once you understand these eight stages, it’s time to put things into practice with well-planned campaigns for each stage of the process – but that’s another story.
Got a question?