We’ve all been the unhappy recipients of unwanted junk mail and Internet advertisements, yet online marketing has been hailed as the Holy Grail among Realtors for turning up sales leads.
However, statistics show that scattershot online marketing does not necessarily translate into sales strength. By hyper-focusing outreach efforts on online portals, agents are missing valuable opportunities to not just create leads but actually increase sales.
Agents can optimize their reach and revenue by remembering the roots of marketing principles and embracing an integrated plan that engages more offline strategies.
To be sure, the prospect of influence through online channels is enticing, especially when the cost is little or none. Websites are reasonably economical to maintain and Google Analytics is very accessible, with the basic services offered for free. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter also have analytics tools that seem to deliver a sense of outreach impact.
Yet the fact is that only 15 percent of sales are the result of online outreach across all channels, including social media. So, what do these analytics tools really tell Realtors about the sales effectiveness of any particular online marketing strategy?
It turns out, not much. While the internet provides numerous marketing channels, online analytics tools cannot account for the funnel effect of offline marketing or overall strategy performance. Google Analytics, for instance, doesn’t reflect the root cause of a potential client’s interest in an agent’s online presence, like whether a lead viewed an agent’s Facebook page or website as a result of seeing a yard sign, meeting an agent at an open house, or following up on a recommendation from a friend.
Effectively, online analytics blind agents to many of the offline opportunities and leads, which account for 85 percent of all sales overall.
Each online channel delivers a different set of demographics, but also leaves some out entirely. According to the Pew Research Center, while each social media site is differentially popular amongst various ethnic groups, all are skewed demographically toward the younger generations or, in Realtor-speak, potential first-time buyers.
Other market segments are hardly represented at all. For instance, almost 75 percent of seniors (age 65+) do not use social media. In light of additional facts that more than half of home buyers age 50+ owned their previous home and nearly two-thirds of sales are the result of repeat business or referrals, clearly, there’s a significant lead pool that is not being actualized via online marketing.
Whether online or offline, effective sales-driven outreach rests on a foundation of traditional marketing principles. Rule no. 1 is to know your target audience and select the most appropriate channel. Agents can rise above the online marketing noise by considering who they are trying to reach and determining the best strategy before deciding on which channel—whether online, offline, or both— best meets that goal.
Maximizing sales potential requires an integrated multi-channel strategy with targeted messaging to reach specific, truly measurable sales goals.