With the arrival of Digital marketing in the real estate scenario, location of person is no more an issue for people to buy a real estate property far away, the world is now your oyster, writes Mansi Saxena, Head of Marketing at SPF Realty, Dubai.
Real Estate marketing is probably the oldest form of marketing known to the world, with hand written “For Sale”, “To Let” signs hanging outside of a yard, a plot, a house or a building. Like most other industries, the digital age has completely revolutionised the way real estate marketing is practiced in the world today. No more are you restricted to the catchment area of people who might pass by your street; the world is now your oyster.
Now let’s look at Dubai real estate in particular, a peculiar destination, the only one in the world actually where over 150 different nationalities invest in properties. The world needs to be our market place; we literally need to reach out to consumers across the world. The only way to do that, and do that effectively is digital.
So, we have established the channel as online – we can just put ads online, geo target them and we are good to go, right? No. We are not selling clothes or jewellery, we are selling a house – so as much as the consumer mind-set might have evolved, impulse purchase is out of the question. How do we get customers to purchase a house sitting in China or India? Not just that, what about the time poor consumer in Dubai?
Well, if we can’t bring them to the house to experience it, we have to take the house to them. Enter Augmented Reality, Virtual Tours, 360 angles and Google Glass. These tools are used effectively to bring the property to life when clients cannot travel half way across the globe to see the plot for themselves. As mentioned earlier, impulse purchases simply do not happen in real estate transactions, and this technology is a huge step in breaking that barrier of making sales internationally. In some cases, this will most likely not seal the deal in terms of making a sale on the spot, however, most of the time it will convince the buyer to strongly consider visiting the property to experience it for themselves, where before this might not have even been an option.
It is important to factor in what digital marketing as a science offers us in terms of return on marketing investment. While we still believe in the power of traditional media to some extent, going digital is a lot more cost effective. It allows us to target specific consumer segments, who have erstwhile shown interest in properties of a certain range, in a certain area, over a certain time period. With geo-targetting, remarketing, adwords, mobile and social media available to us we are able to truly filter out customers who are relevant as a first time home owner looking for a value deal to an investor who is looking to invest in a luxurious project. It gives us focused leads, which in turn leads to presenting products that the customer actually wants. Compare this to traditional media and the numbers on investment versus return just don’t match up.
It is important to be relevant not just from the sales point of view, but also putting useful content out there. Whether it is curated or created, the right content is important.
We live in an information age; today a consumer sitting at her Mumbai house can look at the street view of a building in Downtown, Dubai. She can understand the average price of that area, what kind of rental returns she can expect; she can get inside the house see exactly what it looks like. She can see what restaurants, schools or hospitals are nearby, how far is the airport, and the list goes on. Now scratch all that, with mobile she can do it all while she’s in the car going to office. She doesn’t even need to call the agent, can simply go the agent’s page, see his experience and area expertise and just drop him a line.
Without question, digital marketing has completely changed the game in the real estate market. It has not only played a large role at the individual agency level, but it has helped the Dubai economy as a whole by attracting worldwide interest in real estate investment. Digital marketing tools will only get better and more advanced in the future to further assist agencies and consumers alike. And quite frankly, you either get on or miss the prize.