Back in the dark ages of marketing, success meant throwing millions of dollars at extensive newspaper spreads and glitzy Super Bowl commercials. Don’t get us wrong – we enjoy quippy, 30-second spots just as much as the next guy.
But here’s the thing: people aren’t sitting in front of newspapers or TVs anymore.
Data Doesn’t Lie
As eMarketer found in a April 2014 study:
“Print still commands the most ad dollars – despite the fact that it’s losing in terms of absolute time spent with media at double-digit rates each year since at least 2011.”
US marketers are expected to spend nearly $1 on print ads per hour per adult. They are only expected to spend a measly 10 cents on digital ads per hour per adult.
Conversely, the time that adults will spend with print ads will continue into a steady decline. Adults will spend almost 20% less time engaging with prints ads than they did in 2013.
However, the time spent with digital media is increasing. In fact, smartphone usage is set to penetrate over 50% of the US population this year. According to Inman News, mobile devices are quickly surpassing desktop computers as the preferred method of accessing real estate websites.
In other words: if print marketing isn’t dead, it’s certainly on its way out. When we keep throwing our hard-earned marketing dollars at it, we’re essentially trying to revive a corpse.
So what’s a poor marketer to do? Here’s a hint: digital is taking over, and our marketing strategies should reflect that fact. If you haven’t started a digital strategy for your company, then put it on your to-do list.
If you already have a digital marketing strategy, evaluate it. Maybe it’s time to rethink your approach. Here’s what you should be doing with your digital marketing:
You can attract more mobile visitors to your site with a responsive design. 50% of our population will access the Internet through their smartphones this year. If these users navigate to your site through their phone – and you don’t have a mobile-friendly layout – then the format will appear messy and chaotic. Your mobile visitors will see this and leave your site (hello, high bounce rates).
In other words, trying to squeeze a desktop website into a smartphone is kind of like trying to squeeze into a pair of teeny tiny skinny jeans; it just doesn’t fit.
In case you need any more convincing: Google conducted a survey and found that 48% of users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphone, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business. That was 2 years ago in 2012; those numbers have almost certainly risen since then. You want that business!
Create sponsored PPC ads through Google and Bing that draw visitors and complement your organic traffic. Sponsored results account for 64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches. Organic, unpaid results only accounted for 35.4% of those clicks. In this setting, sponsored results grossly outperform organic results and collect twice as many clicks.
In addition to PPC ads, consider mobile remarketing strategies. Market your brand to visitors after they leave your site, and base those ads on their site behavior. These ads appear in the headers and sidebars of other sites that they visit. For example, a user might visit your real estate site and conduct an advanced search. Maybe they save a property to their favorites list. But they don’t contact your office, and they leave your site. A few days later, they visit a blog, and your ad appears in the sidebar. It’s like saying, “Hey! Remember me?”
Last but not least: turn your digital marketing strategy toward social media platforms (especially Facebook). Too many real estate agents believe that social media will detract from their other marketing strategies. This thought couldn’t be farther from the truth; when done correctly, social media will enhance your other marketing strategies.
And here’s the best news: the cost to get on the ground floor of social media marketing is slim to none. If all you need to win a poker tournament is a chip and a chair, then all you need to win the social media marketing game is an account and some really good content.
Facebook has over 1 billion mobile active users, and 609 million of those mobile users interact with Facebook every day. Desktop users add millions of more people to these numbers. These users represent a huge, untapped audience for your real estate company.
Here’s how to capture them: create great content. Link to mobile-friendly blog posts on your site that will interest your fans, and encourage them to share those posts on their personal accounts. On the other hand, don’t blast content just for the sake of doing so. One quality post per day is better than half-baked ideas posted every hour. Facebook followers don’t always have patience for business posts that aren’t relevant to them; if a fan feels bombarded with strictly promotional posts from your company, they might feel compelled to unfollow you.
Once you start pumping out great content, start using the Facebook ad network to enhance your reach. Facebook’s organic reach for business pages has dropped significantly. This means that the best way to reach a larger Facebook audience is by promoting your business page and boosting your best Facebook posts.
You can boost your brand by navigating to your company’s homepage and clicking on the “Promote Page” button.
A dialog box will appear. You can tailor your Facebook marketing strategy to your company’s specific needs. Facebook ads are super accessible for small businesses; you can get started with a budget of only $5 per day.
Once you have a few good social media posts under your belt, navigate to your Facebook analytics page and have a look at your posts’ performances. If you notice that one post is doing particularly well, consider boosting the post to a wider Facebook audience.
The Bottom Line
Digital marketing strategies trump print advertisements. When will you make the leap?
Check out our infographic on Pinterest for more information on digital strategies.