Everybody has a phone in their hands these days, but we are not all on the same “page” digitally. Even with smartphones and virtually-instantaneous messaging, effective communication is far from effortless or automatic.
With so many aps, social media platforms, technologies, and digital tools in use, ensuring communication compatibility on many levels with target prospects and clients requires forethought.
Have you ever watched two professional scuba divers before they dive down to work at great depths? They invest time running through a series of hand signals and moves—their only form of communication underwater. They guarantee that they are both on the same communication “page” before they submerge. Not a bad metaphor for working with real estate clients in this fast-paced, high-pressure, digitally-crowded world where effective communication is even more difficult under pressure.
Real estate professionals are most successful—for themselves and their clients—when the professional goal is engagement on clients’ terms:
#1: When marketing to prospective target buyers or sellers do you consider what they are thinking about or are intent on when your advertisement or social media message pops up on their screen?
#2: Is your communication accepted because it blends with what they are receptive to at that moment or is your messaging seen as an intrusive sales pitch?
#3: When you begin a working relationship, do you initially establish communication compatibility with that buyer or seller? That is, do you mutually-agree which digital and online tools and technology to use during your working relationship to ensure direct, speedy communication? The goal in selective digital communication is to suit their style and needs to reduce their stress and enhance engagement throughout the buying or selling experience.
Consider how genuinely client-centric and useful your digital messaging is:
1. Facebook Advertising: Facebook ads will not automatically bring you targeted hot-leads or eager prospective clients.
• First, you must define which digital marketing goals you want to pursue and how you’ll measure progress. What do you want people to do when they see your Facebook ads? Be attracted to visiting your website or blog? File your name away for future use?
• Then, select from the variety of Facebook ad types for the right fit for your target markets and what you want to achieve. What are Facebook users intent on when your ad pops up? Are you catching them when they are already thinking about buying or selling real estate? Or, are you intruding on their efforts to do something completely different?
Ad Objectives: Awareness? Connection? Conversion?
• The learning curve that represents understanding Facebook advertising includes figuring out ad types, terminology, ad mechanics, and related “how-tos.” This may intimidate you enough to hire digital marketing professionals to design an effective campaign for you.
• Whether you invest time learning which Facebook ad types will bring the best returns or you spend time interviewing online professionals to find the best fit, this effort will be reflected in results and cost.
• Jump in without understanding how to target the specific buyers or sellers who drive your practice or without learning how Facebook ads work, and you may spend too much, accomplish too little, or both.
Keep in mind that most Facebook users are not there to shop and buy, but to mingle and share, so ads may seem intrusive, even pushy.
2. Amazon Advertising: “Find. Attract. Engage.” is the advertising pitch for Amazon, the third-largest digital ad platform in the US. Amazon’s extensive data is the big draw for advertisers. User buying-patterns reveal connections for many advertising objectives. According to Amazon, use “Amazon’s ad products to reach those people, both on Amazon’s properties and through a network of third-party sites.”
Advertising on Amazon can be complicated and is probably more suited to a campaign. Hiring knowledgeable digital marketing professionals should save time and money while increasing effectiveness.
Amazon data, collected from people who are there to buy, could be used to target people purchasing items like interior design books or do-it-yourself home repair products who potentially may be preparing to list their home. Instead of selling real estate services on Amazon, data enables targeting these consumers on Amazon and multiple sites.
Note: Free online promotion may provide creative outlets for less traditional approaches.
Social Media Platforms
You realize that you can’t be active on everything from Facebook and Linkedin to Pinterest and have time for all that’s required of a real estate professional. Social media eats up a lot of time, so how do you measure return on investment?
• Select platforms important to your target market.
• Tailor your messages to match how targets use the platforms of their choice. On Facebook, aim to build relationships and loyalty. On Linkedin, your sales message can be more direct. Pinterest is evolving into multi-layered engagement opportunities which may lean toward the aspects of real estate you are interested in. For instance, interior design, a popular theme, is a natural overlap with new home sales, renovations, and condominium lifestyles depending on where you find common ground with buyers and sellers.
• Consider teaming up with other real estate professionals like mortgage brokers or interior designers to offer diverse, practical content that will attract buyers or sellers to you. Become an online destination to create genuine engagement.
Flexible Individual Contact
Newsletters, bulletins, videos, blog posts, emails, texts…there’s an ever-increasing list of digital communication tools for marketing to past clients and prospective buyers or sellers. Again, your choice of how many tools to employ and which ones to use should arise from research into what your target markets prefer, not what is easier or cheaper for you.
During the intensive buying cycle, an important part of getting to know a prospective buyer or understanding how to serve a listed seller is achieving communication compatibility.
• Interview your client or prospect to establish communication compatibility. That is, decide between you which set of digital tools and social media platforms are going to be ideal for effective communication.
• When you need to reach them quickly and they need to reach you without fail, what approaches will be easiest for them? Would a combination of Twitter and texting or FaceTime suit that buyer? If voice-to-voice calls are preferred by a client, a special ring tone may be in order for your phone and theirs. Being connected is vital.
Respecting the target’s intent and strengthening their sense of control is paramount when communicating for any purpose, in any medium. Communication compatibility, or using digital tools and methods that prospects and clients are comfortable with, reduces stress and earns the trust of prospects and clients.
This deliberate recognition of the essential value of selective digital usage with buyers and sellers, prospects and clients, reinforces client loyalty. What seems like a small thing, may increase the likelihood they’ll feel connected enough to you to refer you to friends and call you in the future.