Along with changes in user behavior and expectations as well as technological advancements, digital transformation has become a vital strategy for the marketing industry and, specifically, the real estate sector. To grasp the competitive advantage brought about by digital technology, real estate businesses need to be aware of the potential, necessity as well as application of the digitization of marketing channels.
1. What does the transformation of real estate marketing include?
Digital transformation of real estate marketing is the application of digital technology in the real estate marketing and communication industry to boost sales of real estate products and services.
Digital transformation in the real estate industry will therefore focus on replacing and improving procedures based on three key factors to optimize digital customer experience, including:
- Change marketing methods
- Personalize customer experience
- Ensure seamlessness in multi-channel experience
2. The role of digital transformation of real estate marketing
Digital transformation in real estate marketing plays an important role in the development of businesses.
- Attract potential customers
According to a survey by Property Guru, property buyers are increasingly inclined to search and research online. Brokers then take advantage of this tendency to target buyers via social media and digital media. As a result, marketing campaigns have been implemented in a more effective way, thereby attracting more potential customers.
- Increase advertising efficiency and promote purchases
When customers feel that they have acquired sufficient information regarding the property, direct contact with the agent via app or website is expected. In other words, customers desire to be at the center of the service and that their decision-making is held in high regard. In fact, the majority of real estate business models are driven by buyers (customers).
- Increase customer experience
Customer research has become the key for agents to be able to provide customers with desirable experiences. It is traffic on the agent’s website, information collected through the app, and feedback on social media that provide information on the needs of customers, thereby helping the agent to attract both buyers and sellers.
- Improve the quality of products and services
Changing the exchange’s interface or making suggestions based on search history is no longer considered groundbreaking by customers, especially Generation Z. Such new technologies as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or 360′ viewing angle (360View) have raised the expectations of real estate customers to a new level.
In addition, real estate exchanges need to optimize search and information on their website to increase transparency and create sympathy for users. This can help prevent users from accessing old search results, lacking updated information, and not having their demands met.
In general, the digital transformation of real estate marketing methods optimizes the efficiency of collecting and analyzing customer data and increases marketing efficiency. On the other hand, digital transformation has reshaped customer experience and taken it to the next level, thereby promoting competition among real estate marketing units.
Note: the human side of marketing is still essential. Therefore, the goal is to drive marketing efforts, not replace the real brains behind them.
3. Technologies supporting the digital transformation process
To ensure the success of marketing efforts, a company doesn’t need to follow all the trends. Adapting to a number of applications is the foundation for comprehensive digital transformation later on. The following are the main digital trends in real estate that will help businesses improve their marketing strategy.
3.1. Internet of Things (IoT)
The application of the IoT in the real estate industry is not restricted to smart homes only but is also relevant in the field of marketing.
- For customers: A more accurate display of the information and location of real estate. Users can carefully review the real estate without having to commute there.
- For agents: Increase user experience with support in case of difficulties, especially in the Covid-19 pandemic. Technology also helps reach distant clients.
An example of IoT application to real estate marketing:
Zillow is an American PropTech company founded in 2006. By using IoT combined with geographic data, Zillow’s map not only gives the exact real-time location of the property but also shows images of infrastructure and roads around the selected location as well as properties put up for sale or lease in the same area.
3.2. AI-based automated marketing
Over the past few years, remarkable developments in AI have led to a spike in the number of companies using this method to support their real estate marketing strategies.
AI is the main technology behind virtual assistant tools and chatbots. These are the tools that are widely used on real estate websites today. The use of machine learning in the development and testing of chatbots makes conversations between AI and buyers more meaningful. Accordingly, the interaction between customers and service providers has been substantially improved.
In addition, the support of AI’s predictive analytics and Big Data helps the real estate marketing team better understand the needs of customers. Knowing customers’ preferences in terms of price, location, investors, etc., consultants can then offer valuable suggestions to ease customers’ decision-making process.
The above analysis has a vital role to play in personalized real estate marketing and communication. This is becoming a trend in the real estate industry that helps businesses grow in both revenue and size of operations.
3.3. Live video / Livestream
According to Grandviewresearch.com projections, the global online video streaming market is valued at $184.3 billion in 2017 and $330.51 billion by 2030. Audiences find live videos interesting because they give them the opportunity to watch real footage, watch behind-the-scenes videos, or interact directly with industry experts.
According to Wyzowl.com’s report, up to 68% of respondents learn about new products through short product reviews.
It is observable that the use of online video in real estate advertising is highly potential. Such an application can satisfy the need for information transparency, support solving customers’ concerns and attract new leads.
3.4. Online advertising tools
In addition to the above technologies, real estate exchanges can also use existing advertising techniques to optimize their marketing process. A prime example of this technology is real estate SEO.
SEO – search engine optimization helps the company’s website and online content to be displayed first when users query. Specifically, these strategies turn the company’s website into a reputable and reliable real estate site with more organic traffic from customers and better ranking by search engines.
3.5. Use the customer data platform
To have an effective marketing campaign, businesses need to carefully analyze customer information and needs. That said, the data platform is the core:
- Real estate CRM software is a system that helps manage the relationship between buyers, sellers, agents, brokers, developers, and financial institutions and meets the many demands of real estate agents and real estate companies. The main benefit of a real estate CRM is to help businesses manage customer data in a centralized way as well as analyze customer information, thereby collecting and analyzing data to gain insights into customer behavior.
- Analytics tools can help real estate companies increase the efficiency of their content by analyzing text, images, and videos and providing insights with the help of artificial intelligence, thereby enhancing customer journey to buy real estate.
4. Opportunities and challenges of the real estate marketing industry
With the aforementioned benefits, real estate companies can place their faith in ample opportunities brought about by digital transformation. Along with existing strengths, businesses are also well-advised to brace for lurking difficulties and challenges in the transformation process.
Firstly, digital transformation boosts the efficiency, speed, and convenience of businesses’ marketing strategies at a more affordable price than the traditional approach.
Furthermore, digital technology also helps to change the traditional working model, making the management of customer data, project management, or corporate documents more proactive, smooth, and organized, thereby creating synchronization and transparency in the operational links. Overall, this plays a key role in information exchange and customer care.
In addition, invested technologies can be applied flexibly and widely for many of the company’s purposes, not just limited to the marketing industry. This is the foundation that offers companies the opportunity to expand their business model from a real estate exchange to a management unit or investor.
With great opportunities come considerable challenges that require businesses’ serious consideration. Firstly, real estate is a specific industry that necessitates the need for specific data on projects, land, customers, markets, spending, etc., thus making it difficult to collect, process, and manage the industry data.
Such a unique trait is also reflected in the nature of this industry when demand for real estate changes continuously over time, hindering the understanding of customer needs. Not only that, real estate transactions are of great value, requiring the consistency and trust of all parties involved. Therefore, the lack of trust, as well as the lack of successful pioneers, has made real estate businesses wary of the digitalization trend.
On the other hand, not all real estate companies have sufficient resources in terms of finance and personnel. Therefore, it is not uncommon for companies to implement digital transformation internally with fewer processes or not comprehensively; and as a result, the output quality of services has not been markedly improved.
The real estate industry, however, is still heavily influenced by the government. Legal regulations play a crucial role in regulating real estate, and many steps in the standard procedures such as notarization or mortgages have yet to be fully digitized. This may interrupt and decrease the seamlessness in customers’ multi-channel experience.
5. Solutions for the digital transformation of real estate marketing
With the opportunities and challenges mentioned above, it can be seen that the seamlessness of the marketing experience plays a key role in the success of the real estate industry. In order to optimize the digital transformation journey and achieve the ultimate goal, businesses can refer to the following solutions:
- Build a technology ecosystem:
Businesses need to develop a strategy that focuses on developing a long-term data-driven technology ecosystem. The strategy in line with the industry’s specific nature can help businesses gain competitive advantages as well as seize opportunities brought about by digital transformation in the real estate industry.
- Focus on human development
The emphasis on technology is a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition. In order to reap the fruits of technology, real estate companies also need to focus on the human factor. There needs to be a plan for adjusting corporate culture towards a digital approach, building a professional marketing team in particular and human resources in general, and adapting quickly to internal and external changes.
- Take advantage of the experiences of the guest units.
Referencing the digital transformation experience of units that have implemented and received support from leading digital transformation consultants such as FPT Digital is also a convenient solution for businesses that require fast-deploying digital solutions to seize new opportunities.
As such, the digitization of real estate marketing channels brings businesses great benefits as well as advantages and opportunities to bloom in the digital era. However, in order to reap the achievements of digital transformation in real estate marketing, companies need to carefully consider and conduct in-depth research on companies that have successfully implemented digital transformation or consult leading experts such as FPT Digital to build a unique strategy that is most suitable and effective.