It’s not 1989 any more

Do you remember the world 20 years ago? No computers on desks at work. No email. No Internet. Forget about Google (started just 12 years ago) and social media was a gathering of newspaper reporters.  :O)

Please name for me 1 thing that you do in the same way that you did back in 1980. Just one thing that’s done in the same way. Something that hasn’t been affected by technology, made faster, or eliminated altogether? Is there anything at all that’s the same?

Do you communicate the same way you did back in 1989? The same phone? The same typewriter? Has your job been changed by technology? Of course it has. If it has not, you’re probably a painter. Even if you’re a painter, I’m sure the way you sell your painting has probably changed. Unless you’re that guy on the street corner selling your art, and I suspect, if you’re reading this post, that’s not you.

What about your marketing campaign, are you marketing the same way you were in 1989? If you said yes, then you need to wake up!

Best practices in real estate marketing have changed a lot. The unfortunate fact is that lots of real estate agents are marketing themselves and their services in the same way they always have. If the only significant affect of technology to your marketing has been the way you generate listing sheets, it’s time to get with it.

The really shocking thing is that there are lots of BIG real estate firms that still haven’t embraced the internet. They’re not leveraging SEO or PPC or social media. If they are, it’s a small percentage of their marketing budget.

Developers are some of the biggest culprits out there, or I should say, it’s the marketing firms that work with developers. These guys are spending a lot of money – I’m talking about hundred of thousands or often millions of dollars – on the same media and sales methods that they used in 1989. I invite you to look at the marketing budget for a development in your area. If you live in NYC or maybe LA, then this might not be as true, but just look at where they’re spending their money. What do you see?

Very often you’ll find large print media budgets in marquis local newspapers, the same papers who are dying because of drastically reduced circulation. You’ll find huge budgets on branding firms to design expensive brochures and folders filled with highly designed collateral. There will be special attention paid to press releases (ok, that’s a little better) and flowers for the model unit. Even with all of this spending, the real estate marketing firm that reps the place is probably still taking a full split.

If you find a website on that budget, you probably won’t find much online marketing to support it. An email marketing plan? A SEO retainer with a good SEO firm? A PPC ad buy? A CRM system? Is any of this on there and does that budget rival the print budget? I doubt it. Have they invested in a good CRM system for the sales center or model unit staff? Is technology going to help them sell the units in inventory any faster? If not then you know as well as I do that an opportunity is being missed.

OK, for you analysts out there, I know what your comment is going to be before I even ask. You want to know why a budget should be allocated. Or, maybe the question is not why there needs to be an online marketing budget, but is it actually a better investment? The answer is unequivocally yes. We’ve done the math for many projects and over many years. SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, the online marketing 4 some, you might say, are by far more cost effective marketing investments for real estate marketing.

If, by chance, that budget you’re examining does have some online marketing on there and leads are, by chance, being associated with media buys or sources, do the math. Calculate the cost/lead and you’ll find that the online leads generated are costing half if not less than half of the leads from traditional media.

So, please ask yourself again. Am I using the same real estate marketing methods that I was 20 years ago? If you are, it’s time to innovate.

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