The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit property sales in South Africa as earnings potential continues to take a knock despite online searches rising throughout the lockdown period. In-person viewings have also been put on hold and so has moving in or out of homes. However, there is a silver lining. This is an excellent time for first-time home buyers as South Africa currently has a strong buyers’ market.
For your property business to recover from the loss in sales, you’ll need to adapt to the massive shift caused by COVID-19 and adjust your marketing strategy using the approach we’ve put together. This approach has two phases - lockdown and post lockdown, ensuring that your business is operational and profitable during these challenging times.
Here are our top tips for the Real Estate Market to make it successfully through lockdown:
Find a suitable digital marketing partner
A digital marketing agency will be able to develop two sperate approaches for your online marketing strategy. These will address the following;
1) How to navigate a buyers’ or sellers’ market during COVID-19 and
2) A ‘business as usual’ approach to be implemented post lockdown, that anticipates and makes room for the lockdown’s lasting effects.
The rise in online property searches indicates that there is a growing interested market and getting a professional marketer on board saves you the time and effort a trial and error DIY techniques. Not to mention the money you’ll save by avoiding spray and pray marketing methods that often involve sending the same message to multiple audiences.
Cut down spend on printed marketing materials
For as long as property viewings aren’t available, it’s advisable to cut down costs on printing out marketing materials such as adverting leaflets, business cards, property boards and other materials. Rather invest this money into more tailored digital marketing efforts such as blog posts, social media listings and customized email campaigns.
Your marketing agency can help you split interested renters and buyers into smaller segments, which will allow you to send emails out to specific groups based on the kind of place they are looking for. This take will spare you the extra work of manually sending one email at a time, while giving you detailed reports on how well the email campaigns are working, which recipients opened the mail and which addresses were not delivered. You can also get other important insights, such as how many times emails were opened by recipients, which links they clicked on as well as the average time spent looking at a particular property.
All of this is very useful information that can be sent to the realtor to help them make follow-up calls and arrange viewings for a later date.
Look at the current market
South Africa is currently in a buyers’ market meaning your sellers may have to accept a lower price than what they want to sell their homes for. For buyers, this is a great opportunity to get a good deal on a property. Although this is not news to you, many buyers and sellers may not know what it means. Creating a blog on your website that educates your clients could be a great idea.
Of course, you would have to utilise the top performing keywords and search terms to get your content noticed (which is why it helps to have a digital agency helping you). Furthermore, these blog pieces can be sent to third-party publishers that are read by your audience to get more eyes on your content.
Educate the first-time home buyer
Without proper marketing, first-time home buyers may not be aware of the opportunity presented to them right now. By marketing this opportunity well, you get more people thinking about purchasing their first home, and moving out of their parents’ home or rental - opening up a whole new sales market.
By highlighting this opportunity with messaging around concepts like ‘How much do you qualify for?’ ‘Taking that next big step’, and ‘Everything you need to know about purchasing your first home’; you can pique this market’s interest.
It also helps to segment your audience into subsets such as newlyweds, the newly engaged, parents to young children and adults under 35 years old (to name a few). These are great audience sets for potential first-time home buyers and can easily be segmented into groups by utilising social media ads, which will ensure you get the right message in front of the right audience.
Push the right message with helpful tips and free advice
For sellers looking to sell their properties in a buyers’ market, there’s additional pressure as the number of homes on the market is much larger than the number of prospective buyers looking to purchase within a certain suburb. This means that sellers are less likely to get their full asking price and are more likely to wait longer for their home to sell. However, there are ways to navigate this and get full asking price. This is where the educational material and messaging comes in handy.
Making use of social media, Google Search, Display and Gmail marketing to push your blog and monthly newsletters can educate sellers and landlords on how to put their best foot forward and get the most for their rentals or house sales.
Your core marketing message for this audience should be education around the screening of qualified tenants for their rentals, how sellers can turn some of their most neglected spaces into a selling feature, and cost effective ways to upgrade their homes during lockdown.
These types of articles give homeowners and landlords information they need to think about getting these upgrades.
What sellers and landlords would find really helpful is a handbook on getting the best asking price for their rentals and homes, with lockdown-friendly DIY tips, info on the housing market, as well as advice on home staging and how to take really great photos of their property. You could even send all this info as a digital pack to landlords and homeowners, helping them get their properties listed and generate interest, fast.
Understand the needs of landlords and sellers
More people have been working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies are not looking to renew their leases on office space, which leaves many rentors and buyers looking for a spare room or quiet corner to turn into a home office. For landlords and sellers, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase that neglected corner that could accommodate a foldable desk, or a tidy room that could become a home office.
Your property business does not have to come to a complete halt because of the lockdown. Let us help you conduct a marketing strategy that can help you acclimatise to the current environment and keep performing well after lockdown. For a full marketing strategy, or if you need help managing your blog and custom mailers or promoting your social media content, contact Arc Interactive on email@example.com.
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