Online Real Estate Marketing Ideas
If the mortgage crisis is winding down, online real estate marketing ideas will once again be explored in earnest. Some economic indicators, along with some prognosticators, have suggested that indeed the mortgage crisis is bottoming out. If this is true, then not only online approaches will be reevaluated, but all real estate marketing tools will be taken out of storage and placed on broker's grindstones to be honed to a new height of effectiveness. The fact is, real estate brokers have used real estate marketing tools that include online strategies for a number of years. The only question at this point is how much improvement can be made to the process. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Traditional methods of marketing houses, businesses and buildings for sale are still a staple for agents. In fact, marketing experts for all types of selling recommend at least three or four mediums to drive the sales wagon of any venture, including real estate. Traditional ways of advertising include newspaper ads, flyers, pens, calendars, open houses, mass mailings, brochures, ground signs, and even road advertisements. Many a refrigerator magnet has adorned appliances all over the country, reminding owners of that friendly agent just around the corner who is waiting to list the next home for sale. There have also been, over the years, the many home salespeople riding in the local Fourth of July parade with a friendly wave and a large magnetic sign on the convertible's door. These kinds of personal, up-close contacts can never be replaced in the arsenal of real estate marketing tools.
From broker to broker, rules are different, but many agents must pay for these traditional marketing tools from their own income. These advertising methods are personal, and tax deductible, but they are also expensive. Giving out a number of different products to prospective clients can be a heavy fiscal outlay. A healthy balance between the traditional methods and the online real estate marketing tools that are now voraciously ensconced in the business are called for in the 21st century. The marketing of any product has become a delicate science of knowing when and where to use the advertising mediums that are available. Real estate advertising methods are becoming more and more imaginative.
When it comes to online real estate marketing ideas, the Web has really become the oyster for the agent. It is a less expensive way to engage prospective buyers per capita than the traditional methods that still need to be used. And data supports the assertion that Internet customers looking for homes spend at least 25% more for a home purchase than non users. The handwriting is indeed on the wall. The Web today provides a number of advantages that brokers no doubt wished they had possessed twenty years ago. Consider the following real estate marketing tools that are available to agents today:
Websites are now emerging to make investigating a property's history available to online prospects which include former sale prices, virtual inside tours of the property, satellite images and now even allow for the negotiation and final sale of the house, saving a large chunk of the agent fee on the buyer's end. There is the availability of pod casting and even video casting, which enables agents to give daily or weekly personal messages to all clients, thus building a trust factor as clients get to better know the broker. Websites now allow clients to view housing price reductions on the property of interest, and can also see how long the property has been on the market. These features can play right into the hand of a savvy broker. Here is another of a number of real estate advertising possibilities tools:
Consider a fictional agent who uses a viral marketing plan as part of a number of online real estate marketing ideas to sell a million dollar house. The agent contracts an author to write a half page mystery story with an ending that is not complete. The story is loaded online and sent to every email address that the agent has ever collected. It is hoped that the unsolved mystery piece will then be sent as a fun interlude to all friends and family of the original recipients and on and on. At the end of the short mystery story, a link is provided with an invitation to travel to the agent's website for the solution. Upon arrival at the website, a sweeping panorama unfolds of the house's many amenities and beauty, as well as a place to get the mystery's solution. While wild video clips and online games have been used for viral marketing to younger people, this more cerebral approach could appeal to the demographic that possesses the economic means to make such a purchase.
Online real estate marketing ideas also include the ability to give a virtual tour of any listed home, room by room. In addition, clients can have realtors automatically send them more home choices, selected by location, price, schools or a combination of all three. Broker authored newsletters that can be sent as email attachments are a good way to keep in touch with customers after the sale. Sending valued clients important holiday greetings with actual personal handwritten messages, through traditional mail sources, can all be done from online services. As the mortgage crisis begins to wane, the real estate broker has plenty of help to make the future business outlook bright.
Online Retail MarketingA business's retail marketing strategies will consider several factors in order to be effective, including the goods and services it offers to customers, pricing strategies and distribution channels, amazing customer service, and innovative promotional campaigns. Though many entrepreneurs conduct business only through websites, almost all traditional stores will benefit from establishing an online presence. The online retail marketing strategy should complement the storefront and vice versa. The company's website can be used to introduce internet surfers to its goods and services or to provide information relevant to the products. For example, a small business owner with a traditional bricks-and-mortar store selling baby items can establish a well-designed website that gives the physical location, contact information such as a phone number and email address, a link for getting driving directions, and photos of some inventory items. As an added benefit, the website may include articles especially written for new parents. With the appropriate use of keyword purchases, new parents may be directed to the articles from the search engine and then spend time browsing and shopping on the site. The innovative owner may also include a baby shower registry and other fun features like a due-date countdown to increase traffic to the site.
Some business owners or managers can become so busy in the day-to-day activities of running the store that retail marketing strategies are neglected. If left unchecked, this neglect can lead to lost sales and lost profits. Whether or not the company has an online retail marketing campaign, the owner is responsible for knowing marketing basics so that effective advertising techniques can be utilized both to retain current customers and to attract prospective ones. It's a given that owners and managers need to know everything there is to know about the goods and services they sell. Each employee should be able to answer a customer's questions about the product(s). Most successful companies, no matter their size, focus advertising on a particular market segment. This is possible because they have conducted research on the demographics of their typical customer. Based on this research, which may have been conducted by a strategic marketing firm, the owner or marketing team can identify such data as the gender, average age range, income, and educational level of those who buy the items that the company offers. With further research, the management team may even know, for example, what magazines their customers are likely to read and what television shows they enjoy watching. This information is gathered by listening to consumers. Business owners and marketing firms can conduct surveys and polls to learn more about those individuals who come into the store or visit the website. Focus groups are a great way to find out what customers think of existing and potential products. All this data, properly collected and analyzed, is used in creating a cost-effective advertising campaign.
An entrepreneur who is investigating the viability of opening a specific business can find information on typical customers by researching information collected by the industry trade associations. Other resources are local chambers of commerce, small business development centers and incubators, and industry trade shows. Armed with demographic information, the entrepreneur can make decisions about potential niche markets and also select appropriate products to meet the needs and wants for that selected group. As part of larger retail marketing strategies, and depending on the industry, the entrepreneur may want to utilize focus groups to examine potential products and provide honest critiques about them to further assist in the decision process. The entrepreneur is going into business to make a living. Many decisions, about products, pricing, distribution, customer service, and advertising, need to be made. Good decisions are based on good information. As the Proverbs writer said: "Wisdom is before him that hath understanding, but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth" (Proverbs 17:24). Thoroughly understanding a business leads to wisdom when it comes to formulating strategies for success.
Whether the business has a traditional store, a website store, or both, retail marketing strategies should meet customer expectations as far as product quality, customer service, and value. Brick-and-mortar businesses benefit from attractive storefronts with good signage. The same is true for websites. A dynamic website will be appealing to visitors. As part of an online retail marketing strategy, webmasters need to be creative while also sticking to the basics of providing informative product pages. A frustrated visitor who has to do multiple clicking to get to needed information will not stick around long enough to become a customer. Online retailers have an obligation, both to the customer and to the company, to test the website to ensure that it is easy to use. Details about the different products need to be easy to access and to read. The consumer should be assured that any personal financial information that is submitted to the site is protected from identity theft or fraud. Return policies and contact information should be prominently displayed.
Both longtime business owners and entrepreneurs need to design retail marketing strategies based on relevant data about current and prospective customers. Innovative promotions are useful for driving traffic brick-and-mortar stores and to company websites. Effective online retail marketing begins with a well-designed, easy-to-navigate website which provides a positive experience for the internet user. The website should complement a traditional store, if one exists, by providing location and contact information. By making use of existing research and collecting additional relevant data, owners and managers can design advertising campaigns that will lead to business success.