No need to waste time explaining the current financial situation. Chances are, you already know that tale all too well.
Although, there are signs of recovery, we’ve still got a ways to go. What you might not realize is that now is a smart time to invest in your company’s infrastructure through marketing efforts that, when done correctly, will position you perfectly for when the market finally turns. It’s not too late. Smart businesses are weathering the economic storm through strategic communications that forge a deep sense of connection with their customers. It’s no secret the web is one way to maximize your communications budget, but many real estate developers think that if they have a presence on the Internet—a web page, advertising or even social networking profiles —that they are covered. But what many don’t know is that, like any portfolio investment, your Internet assets must be carefully maintained, leveraged and monitored in order to realize their true potential. Here is a list of the top ten pitfalls to avoid while marketing your real estate development online, in anticipation that we’ll change the perspective of your online strategies:
Mistake #1: Focusing too much on your product.
The exceptional amenities or construction details may seem like the obvious platform to push on your project, but in reality you need consumers to connect with you on an emotional level. Engage them with something interesting besides facts and focus on lifestyle rather than price per square foot, and watch them fall in love with your brand.
Mistake #2: Not leveraging social media.
If you’re hoping people will find your site, prepare for a perspective change. In such a saturated marketplace, it is up to you to find your clients. People are now spending more time on social media sites than ever. Not sending out regular e-blasts, tweeting, or taking advantage of word-of-mouth marketing? You should be.
Mistake #3: Not watching traffic.
Where does the majority of your web traffic come from? What are your top referring sites? How many people visited your web page in the last week? The last day? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you don’t know who to go after. Install analytics on your site ASAP and watch them, closely.
Mistake #4: Not updating your sites.
So you put up a web page a couple years ago. You change out the names of key employees when necessary and add new projects, but for the most part you leave it alone. Stale content chokes your site and prevents you from getting the views you deserve. Like a stagnant pond, the stench of a stale site repels leads, precious leads.
Mistake #5: Not offering self service.
You may think that you’re being clever by leaving some vital facts about your property off your website, and think that a potential customer will come to you directly for the information. In reality, this tactic just doesn’t work anymore. If someone is interested in your project they want information, and they want it 5 minutes ago. The last thing they want to do is call before they’re ready to engage on a sales level. If they need you, they’ll call. Think of it this way: your sales office isn’t open 24/7, but your website is. The more self-service, the better.
Mistake #6: Delegating the website to marketing.
You wouldn’t ask an architect to build you a house without reviewing his plans in detail during the course of construction. Since you’ll be living in that building, it’s critical to engage regularly in the process. The same is true with your online communications. The marketing department might be responsible for building and maintaining your website, but everyone must play a participating role in keeping it fresh. Everybody needs to be involved, and that means you.
Mistake #7: Ignoring transparency.
Along with all of its strengths, the web is also a source of checks and balances— the great exposure. It is vital to be truthful and authentic when using the Internet as a communications platform. Access to information is instant, rapidly revealing attempts to twist the truth, misrepresent or pretend to be something you aren’t. Be exceedingly honest, or you will be held accountable.
Mistake #8: Timeliness.
You know to relate sales strategies to the season, and the same goes for your communications strategies. You need to know what’s going on in the world when setting your tone, so that your corporate voice will resonate with the online world today.
Mistake #9: Outdated design.
Technology has come unbelievably far in the last 10 years, and along with it interface and design have crossed a new threshold. Expectations for a seamless user experience instantly is unprecedented—are you meeting them? If not, it’s time for an upgrade.
Mistake #10: Novice SEO.
Do an internet search for real estate developers in your area. Who pops up? Chances are it’s not you on that first page. Now is the time to tighten the strategy you are employing to optimize your search engine results. Take a look at your metadata and keyword rich content. Tweak and watch leads translate. By navigating the marketplace carefully and avoiding the above land-mines, you can see success now and savor it when the economy fully recovers.