Has anyone ever asked you who’s on your real estate team? Who helps bring in business for your brokerage? Naturally, we think of our real estate agents. They’re the people on the front-lines, selling real estate.
But, too often we forget the operational side of the business. Yes, you may employ the ISAs, the listing coordinators, and other support staff. For this post, though, we’re going to focus on the one area where I feel real estate businesses need to improve the most: Marketing staff.
And I’m not going to limit the marketing staff to “people” hires. There’s also marketing technology to hire — which you need to vet, onboard, and treat like any other individual. Yes, I just personified software as a person.
Let’s start with the why …
“But I’ve Got My Sphere”
You have your sphere, and it’s delivering great business for you … for now. However, your sphere gets older every day, and if you’re not proactively bringing in fresh opportunities, then your sphere will only get smaller and smaller.
Reaching savvy, modern consumers should hold dual-priority with your sphere. For one, your sphere grows with new opportunities. Second, it diversifies your business (so your eggs aren’t sitting in one basket).
In today’s age, the modern consumer is mobile and digital. Here’s a statistic to demonstrate the point: Google announced in 2015 that mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches, and recently announced they were moving to a mobile-first search index.
In addition, consumer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. According to eMarketer, “US adults will squeeze an average of 12 hours, 5 minutes per day of media usage into their waking hours this year.” That’s over half of the day being allocated to media consumption!
To compete for their already fragmented and overloaded attention, the digital experience of your business needs to both meet modern consumer expectations and be remarkable.
The website your cousin built 3 years ago — the tactic to “blast the whole database with an email” — every piece should be re-thought. How are you going to break through the digital noise in your real estate market? Answer = technology + people.
Marketing + Technology = MarTech
Modern consumers expect a fast, mobile, “answer to my question” type of business experience. There are two sides to creating this experience: the marketing and the technology.
The technology is simply the vehicle that distributes your marketing to the right people, at the right time, and/or place.
However, navigating the marketing technology landscape can be daunting, as evidenced by Scott Brinker’s annual compilation. There are over 3500 vendors in the martech space, and this doesn’t even include those companies that are specific to real estate. Now, of course you don’t need everything on the list, so here’s a basic list of the common martech tools that you should consider for your real estate business:
- Fast, responsive, mobile website (preferably with blogging functionality)
- Database that can be segmented or tagged to create specific audiences or marketing pools
- Marketing automation suite for email and text/SMS based marketing (preferably integrated with your database directly or with API capabilities)
- Analytics and/or Business Intelligence tools
- Paid search and paid social advertising tools (for opportunity creation)
- Organic social media tools
These are scratching the surface, but you can see how it starts to get complicated. And among them, you’ll need to also ensure all these systems are talking to each other (i.e. integrated).
Who’s Going To Manage All This Stuff???
It’s time to breakdown the people who are going to bring the marketing side to life. A word of warning: You’re not going to find someone who can do all of this on their own. I will outline below some areas where one person may be able to wear a couple of different hats, but don’t expect to find a unicorn to handle everything.
Let’s take a look at our martech players:
Paid Media Specialist
This person is your lead generation expert. Their primary channels (and areas of expertise) are paid search and paid social media advertising. This person will need to be well-versed in using tools like Google AdWords and Facebook Ad Manager for lead generation. Ideally, you want to find someone who is certified by both Google and Facebook, and has the references to back up their previous work.
If you’re considering doing any online branding campaigns, then you’ll need to find someone who also has experience running display and/or re-marketing campaigns.
Other Hats: Many paid advertising experts are adept at using tools like Google Analytics (or general reporting suites) for reporting and business intelligence. You could potentially save money by finding someone who could serve both of these roles.
Traditionally, one of the first marketing hires on a real estate team, this individual is responsible for all channels and all marketing. Generally, their focus is centered on community programs, social media, and content writing. They may even handle real estate flyers and other traditional advertising, like billboard advertising. Skills range from social media proficiencies, copywriting, and some knowledge of advertising.
Depending on the amount of technology (or real estate software) you use within your business, you’ll need an “IT” individual — someone who understands APIs, website management, and analytics. They’ll be your tech guru, making sure each and every software communicates to each other and works best for your team. Their priorities lie with data coordination and system communication. Other positions that may fit this role include Web Developer.
Social Media Expert
As your marketing team grows within your real estate business, oftentimes you’ll employ a Marketing Manager. Next to follow is a Social Media Assistant. As the Marketing Manager sets the direction of advertising campaigns, the Social Media Assistant will pave the way for social media strategy. She’ll be the champion and brand voice on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But also think of the Social Media Assistant as an extension of your client care personnel. They’ll field questions, comments, and concerns shared over social media.
This individual may also be your content writer, who supports your real estate blog.
Nowadays, video pretty much rules the web (or at least social media); and, in real estate is becoming the norm. You’re going to need to have someone either in-house or on call, depending on the size of your business (or amount of listings you have). In my opinion, though, having a strong video presence for your brand is a must-have in 2017.
Hiring Technology vs People
Not every brokerage, and not every real estate business, will need to hire a full marketing team. Like I mentioned before, you’ll need to treat real estate software like a person — vet them, onboard them, and get your staff utilizing their capabilities.
Example: Platforms like BoomTown offer lead generation services, so you don’t have to worry about paid advertising. Our CRM also manages API integrations, data communication, and so on. And we offer real estate websites that communicate with our CRM and lead generation services. So, if you’re looking at the potential hires and the costs associated with them, consider what you can save with employing a SaaS provider, such as BoomTown.
Remember, the goal is create a delightful customer experience for homebuyers (and sellers). To drive more deals, more transactions, and more opportunities, examine what gaps you need to fill with marketing software and marketing staff.