In a buoyant and increasingly noisy property market, developers and agents are looking for any way possible to reach and convert more potential buyers - without massively increasing their spend. Automated and AI-driven marketing techniques offer the power to do this in ways that are budget-friendly and hugely efficient. In this post, we look at two marketing approaches - programmatic advertising and marketing automation - that could help supercharge your sales function into 2020 and beyond.
What is programmatic advertising? Put simply, the term refers to an automated process of buying and selling online advertising inventory which gives brands the ability to purchase highly targeted ads in real-time through AI-powered algorithms, vastly improving efficiency. The technology removes some of the human interaction and decision-making required in traditional forms of advertising, leading to more efficient and more targeted campaigns.
Programmatic advertising works by collecting data about online users in order to select and serve adverts more closely related to their needs. The sorts of data that can be collected include demographics (age, gender, social grade); behavioural data (the sorts of websites and social networks they use and the frequency with which they use them); devices (mobile, tablet, laptops); and their interests (which in the context of this market could be property purchases, investment, particular geographical areas, plus other interests which may drive house-buying decisions such as culture, the arts, sports, education and so on).
The programmatic platform then crunches all of this data together to create an audience - a group of people more likely to be interested in the products or services being advertised - based on their identifying characteristics. It then buys digital advertising inventory in the places online that this audience is most likely to spend time and notice ads. Clever!And much more targeted (and therefore likely to convert) than traditional forms of advertising such as outdoor media or print.
Formats can include display (think banners and MPUs), videos, social ads, audio ads and so-called native advertising, which can be inserted into web pages in ways not usually allowed for with traditional display placements. Programmatic ads crop up in places such as newspaper websites, social networks, at the beginning of people’s favourite podcasts, or during YouTube videos. Essentially, all of the places people spend the most time online during their day - you don’t even have to rely on someone using search in order to show them an ad.
The combination of showing relevant ads to relevant audiences as part of their usual daily content consumption makes this approach hugely efficient and budget-friendly. You really only spend money on what works, and the automated algorithms do the audience-building and media-buying for you.
In the property market, the applications of programmatic advertising are really exciting: you can build lookalike audiences of the people most likely to buy at your developments - based on previous sales - and show them highly targeted ads in the places they spend most time online, massively ramping up the hit rate of your ads and the efficiency of your sales spend.
So you’ve used programmatic advertising to reach an audience more likely to convert - and find lookalikes similar to typical buyers. But there’s a risk all of that effort will go to waste if you don’t have an efficient sales function to nurture the leads you’ve generated and push them along the journey towards making a purchase.
Of course, you or your agent will have tried-and-tested sales tactics in place, but in an increasingly competitive and noisy market you will be wanting to look for new methods that give you the edge and make things easier, more efficient and ultimately more fruitful. This is where marketing automation comes in.
What is marketing automation? It works by using different behavioural triggers and software to automate parts of your sales and marketing activity, both before and after the point of data capture (the best marketing automation campaigns join the dots all the way from awareness to purchase).
The types of tasks most commonly automated include social media posts, email workflows and paid ad campaigns and the most refined automation campaigns drive not just greater efficiency in your sales and marketing, but also more personalisation for your target customers - which ultimately leads to improved conversion rates.
Consider the following example. In the days pre-segmentation and automation, if a potential customer had just filled in a basic enquiry form on your scheme’s website, they’d typically have a follow-up call from an agent asking them further information about the type of property they’re interested in, their budget, and so on.
Now imagine your development’s website has smart forms designed to capture all of this information up-front, and feed into future email comms and social ad campaigns. Say a user was interested in two-bedroom apartments. Using marketing automation, you could enter them into the workflow for that specific type of apartment, meaning that thereafter they would only see content in their email inbox relating to that apartment type.
No need to annoy them by sending irrelevant information about one-beds, townhouses or anything else. Moreover, having landed cookies on the device they used to fill in the enquiry form, you can use social retargeting to continue to show them sales messaging relating to the type of property they are interested in, further nurturing their interest.
This massively boosts the sales power of agents, who, also armed with this information about each prospect, can tailor their telephone comms to be more relevant too.
Basically, programmatic advertising gives you access to more relevant audiences and marketing automation gives you the ability to engage them with more relevant communications, in a super efficient way that boosts the power of your sales function.
Through using smart techniques such as marketing automation and programmatic advertising for our property clients, we’ve been able to deliver improvements to lead gen above what they have previously achieved using just traditional advertising and sales tactics alone.
If you would like to discuss the challenge of building audiences of likely customers and tailoring marketing workflows and content around their needs, please send us a message here or call us on 0161 848 4300 and one of our experts will be more than happy to help.