For most property brands, the goal of generating more leads from marketing while spending less money is something of a holy grail. And while the reality is that headline budgets may tend to creep up year-on-year, there are lots of things you can - and should - do to improve the effectiveness and profitability of your marketing efforts, especially where digital is concerned.
Using a blend of smart digital marketing tactics, you can start to drive down that all-important cost per lead (CPL), one of the metrics which most clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of your advertising spend.
To work out your CPL, simply take total spend (or total channel spend, for a more detailed breakdown) and divide it by the number of sales enquiries generated from the activity. CPLs can be driven down lower by acquiring more enquiries from prospective buyers using similar - and sometimes even smaller - levels of spend, a process in which the use of smart digital tactics plays an instrumental role.
What kind of tactics are we talking about?
It’s worth pointing out that in property marketing, just as in other sectors, there is no single silver bullet which will deliver ultimate success. But smart agencies and brands are finding that a combination of several tactics, all working together in an organised workflow, can be incredibly powerful when it comes to maximising efficiency and lowering CPLs.
Two of the more useful approaches to come to the fore in recent times have been programmatic advertising, which is useful for building and then marketing to highly relevant audiences, and inbound marketing automation, which uses content delivered at strategic touchpoints to nurture prospects along the sales funnel and ultimately drive up conversion rates.
Programmatic advertising is an AI-powered approach which involves the purchase and sale of online ad inventory, allowing brands to buy targeted adverts in real-time through powerful algorithms, which dramatically improves efficiency. In this, programmatic takes away some elements of human decision-making and interaction that would go with more traditional approaches, making campaigns more targeted and more efficient.
Content marketing automation involves, unsurprisingly, automating parts of your marketing and sales workflows, using different software and behavioural triggers to do so. Elements that are automated may come both before and after the point of enquiry - many of the most successful campaigns continue the automation of marketing after data capture to nurture prospective buyers towards making a purchase decision.
Social media posts, email workflows and paid advertising campaigns are among the things that can be automated, while you can also segment and personalise your content for different audiences, which again helps to boost conversion rates and ultimately lower CPLs.
Let’s look at an example
The following two developments have been anonymised but the data is accurate as of December 2019.
Our first example is a city centre development which had been using online display as its primary campaign channel, which can be good for driving click volumes, but often is much less effective when it comes to conversion. The campaign also featured use of paid search, based mainly around iterations on the keyword ‘Flat for sale + [Location]’, and organic social content.
Looking at performance, online display worked well for driving traffic - but it was at the expense of conversion rate, which came in at 0.07%, something which, although very low, is fairly typical with this form of advertising. The channel also delivered a bounce rate in excess of 80%. Paid search did better, converting at a little over 2%, accounting for more than a third of leads.
The second development is a comparable offering for which theEword built the digital marketing approach from scratch, blending smart tactics such as programmatic, paid search, personalised social and content marketing and tailoring each to suit the buyers being targeted.
In just a five-week period, the campaign overtook the leads generated by the first example, which had been live longer, and it wasn’t just down to volume. Why? It was in the conversion rate: by combining smart tactics as part of a joined-up campaign, this second example was able to more than double the rate of enquiries from prospective buyers (which at the time of writing was just under 4.5%) and achieve a blended CPL more than 70% lower than the other development.
Understanding the results in context
While stats such as that certainly make a case for the power of taking a smarter approach to property marketing, it is worth again pointing out that there is no single silver bullet that will magically drive up conversion rates and max out the efficiency of your marketing spend. It takes a lot of thought - most of which should be centred on your prospective buyers, who they are and what influences their purchase decisions - and effort to sew together the kind of campaigns that achieve these results, and they are often made up of multiple complementary tactics, working together at different stages of the customer journey.
There are also plenty of other variables involved in property marketing, such as the location of a development, the quality of product and suitability for the area it is in, plus external factors like seasonality and market forces, all of which can influence the success of a development independently of the approach taken to digital marketing.
But all of that notwithstanding, it makes sense to arm yourself with the smartest possible approach to digital marketing. You can’t control external forces such as the market and wider consumer economics.
But you can control your digital marketing, how intelligent it is, how well it reaches relevant prospects and joins up with your sales agent function - all of which go towards improving conversion rates and driving down the cost of selling homes.
If you would like some advice on building a smart digital marketing campaign that will reach the right audience for your development, please leave us a message or call us on 0161 848 4300 and one of our experts will be glad to help.
Meanwhile, for a broader view of property marketing and the channels and tactics that go into building a successful campaign, you can download our 2020 Property Marketing Guide now.