Lower your Cost Per Lead with Smarter Property Marketing

Written by
Al Mackin
Published on
April 9, 2024

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 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 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 and inbound marketing automation.

Programmatic advertising is useful for building and then marketing to highly relevant audiences. Inbound marketing automation uses content delivered at strategic touch-points 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.

The programmatic approach takes away some elements of human interaction and conscious decision-making that are seen 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.

Automated elements may come both before and after the point of enquiry. In fact, many of the most successful campaigns continue the automation of marketing after data capture to nudge prospective buyers towards making a purchase decision.

Social media posts, email workflows and paid advertising campaigns can be automated. 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.

Let’s take a look at the second development.

The second development was is comparable to the previous offering. For this one, theEword built the digital marketing approach from scratch. We blended smart tactics such as programmatic, paid search, personalised social and content marketing, 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 one single magic solution that will drive up conversion rates and max out the efficiency of your marketing spend.

Success takes a lot of thought, most of which should be centred on your prospective buyers, who they are, and what influences their purchase decisions.

It also requires an effort to sew together the kind of campaigns that achieve these results. Such campaigns 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 target market, the quality of the product and its suitability for the area it is in.

There are also external factors like seasonality and market forces, all of which can influence the success of developments, independent of the approaches taken to digital marketing.

Having said all that, it makes sense to arm yourself with the smartest possible approach.

While you can’t control external forces such as the market and wider consumer economics, you can control your digital marketing, how intelligent it is, how well it reaches relevant prospects, and how it complements your sales agent function.

All elements which go towards improving conversion rates and driving down the cost of selling homes.