Buying and selling real estate in the US housing market has been majorly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, real estate agents and brokers have to up their marketing game to continue being able to generate leads and close deals. Amid the Shelter in Place and Stay at Home policies prevalent in most states, real estate digital marketing is naturally taking over the industry. We’ve put together a list of the 11 best online real estate marketing techniques for agents to deploy during the Coronavirus and even after.
1. Create Virtual Tours
A couple of weeks ago, we talked to real estate agents in a number of US housing markets. The most popular tactic to which the majority of them resort at the moment in order to continue buying and selling real estate in the time of COVID-19 is using virtual reality. The real estate industry was already getting disrupted with the advancement and spread of technology, and the pandemic is simply accelerating the pace of disruption.
When real estate investors and home buyers cannot visit properties for sale in person, the second best alternative they have is to watch virtual tours of them. Photos and descriptions are not enough to market listings, so creating virtual tours is the first real estate digital marketing strategy which agents need to adopt immediately.
The good news is that there are plenty of reasonably priced and easy to use online real estate marketing tools which agents can use for this purpose. Websites like Matterport allow even beginners to develop 3D tours of homes for sale, which means that real estate agents don’t need to hire a professional and inflate their operating costs during these tough times.
2. Organize Virtual Open Houses
Another top idea for online marketing for real estate agents amid the Coronavirus pandemic is also related to virtual reality. Listing agents can easily and efficiently organize and host virtual open houses to show their houses for sale. Virtual open houses are essentially the same as live open houses, but interested property buyers do not come to the property in person. Instead, the real estate agent holds an online meeting through Zoom, Skype, Facebook, or another communication platform to show the listing to real estate investors and home buyers and answer all their questions.
An important benefit of this digital real estate marketing technique over virtual tours is that leads can ask the agent to highlight any specific features of the property. Moreover, buyers can ask questions in direct communication with the seller’s agent.
The key to success with this strategy is to advertise your online open houses well. Make sure to schedule them for a least a few days ahead and to share the time and (virtual) place with all your real estate leads as well as any other potential property buyers.
3. Develop Video Content
Creating video content should also be on your digital marketing plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most digital marketers expected videos to become the dominant form of online marketing in 2020 not only in the real estate business but across industries. The Coronavirus outbreak is making this shift happen faster.
As the majority of your leads are sitting at home with limited entertainment opportunities, they have plenty of time on their hands. Naturally, they resort to YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms with various sorts of videos. That’s why now is the perfect time to enhance your real estate digital marketing strategy with video content.
There are many different types of real estate videos which you can create. First of all, since you cannot have in-person property showings, you can have videos of your listings. This will make you stand out from the rest of agents who are relying on more traditional real estate marketing strategies such as images and written descriptions. In your video listings, highlight the most important features of the property for sale and also show that you are an expert on the local housing market and the most trustworthy agent in the area.
Another way to deploy video digital marketing tactics is to create educational videos. Even if people are not ready to buy or sell real estate at the moment, this will change once the pandemic subsides and things start going back to normal. Home buyers and sellers as well as real estate investors might be looking for the best agent to hire in a couple of months. Real estate leads are more likely to choose a real estate agent with extensive experience in the business and wide knowledge of the local housing market. Use these educational videos as a real estate digital marketing technique to highlight your expertise. The efforts you invest now will pay off in a few short months when the US real estate market normalizes.
In terms of the best digital marketing channels for your real estate videos, use a mix. Post your videos on your real estate website or the website of your brokerage. Meanwhile, publish them on your YouTube channel, and share them across different social media platforms.
4. Start a Real Estate Webinar
Another way to optimize digital marketing for real estate agents amid the COVID-19 outbreak is to launch a webinar. That’s another excellent opportunity to highlight your knowledge and expertise in the real estate business and in the local US housing market 2020. As most real estate agents are not thinking about this technique, having a webinar will make you really stand out from the competition.
You can have a quick survey among your leads to see what topics they are most interested in. After that, you can organize a webinar where you discuss these issues and answer any questions that your real estate clients have.
A webinar is a particularly good real estate digital marketing idea for agents who work with real estate investors, rather than homeowners. Investors need in-depth knowledge of real estate and are in constant search for high-quality educational resources. Even if they are not buying rental properties for sale at the moment, they will definitely join your webinar and remember you when they are ready to buy an investment property in a couple of months.
5. Host a Real Estate Podcast
Another one of the top digital marketing tactics for real estate agents during the COVID-19 outbreak is starting a podcast. Hosting a podcast requires relatively little technical preparation but can bring you lots of fame in the real estate world.
As a real estate digital marketing strategy, having a podcast is easier than making videos as you only have to worry about the voice and not the visuals. However, unlike a webinar, a real estate podcast is a long-term commitment. Most podcasts run at least once a week, frequently up to three times a week. You can’t just broadcast one episode and expect to succeed with your online real estate marketing plan.
6. Publish a Real Estate Blog
Content marketing remains one of the best digital marketing strategies, both at times of crisis and at normal times, and running a blog constitutes one of the top digital marketing channels. Through a real estate blog, you can show your experience and expertise. Moreover, you can create digital content which highlights the benefits of living or investing in your neighborhood so that you attract more real estate leads interested in buying a property in the local housing market.
In order to succeed with a blog as an integral part of your real estate digital marketing strategy, you have to research diligently the right keywords in your niche and location. It is important to use relevant keywords with a high search volume on online search engines in each one of your blog posts. Moreover, you should publish new content on a regular basis, at least a couple of times per week.
Writing blogs is a relatively easy task as the language should be relaxed and the style – informal. However, if you have poor writing skills, it is worth considering hiring a part-time content writer to provide some real estate digital marketing services. If you opt for this, just make sure that all content sounds natural, as if written by a real estate agent and not by a professional content marketer.
7. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Many real estate agents underestimate the importance of LinkedIn and focus their real estate social media marketing efforts on other channels only. Nevertheless, LinkedIn is particularly important for agents as it is a professional platform which demonstrates your credibility and trustworthiness as a real estate expert. And these characteristics are crucial at times of uncertainty such as the current Coronavirus pandemic.
First of all, you should fill in your LinkedIn profile completely and add a professional photo, preferably with your brokerage’s logo. You should list your skills and contact people you know (including other agents and brokers as well as past clients and others in the industry) to endorse you for your skills. Many real estate investors and home buyers and sellers go to this section of an agent’s LinkedIn profile to verify his/her expertise.
Once you have an optimized profile, you should get active on LinkedIn. Make sure to share all content that you create for your website and blog as well as for social media on this platform as well. Furthermore, check out the notifications at least once a day and interact with what people from your network are posting. This is the only way to get exposure and generate real estate leads with this real estate digital marketing strategy.
8. Design Real Estate Infographics
Visual content is gaining more and more importance in digital marketing, and this is specifically true at the moment. You must have seen the dozens of new Coronavirus pandemic related infographics filling the internet each and every day. Real estate is no exception.
As part of your real estate digital marketing strategy amid COVID-19, you should start making real estate infographics too if that’s not already a part of your strategy. The best kind of content to include in an infographic right now includes changes and trends in the local housing market as well as tips on how to buy and sell real estate during the pandemic. You can create an infographic and update it once a month to include the median property price in your area, the average price per square foot, the number of listings, the average days on market, and many other indicators. If you work with real estate agents, make sure to also include some metrics of return on investment such as average rental income, occupancy rate, cash on cash return, and cap rate.
With regards to distribution, publish infographics on your website, include them in your blog posts, share them on social media, and send them in email campaigns.
9. Master Social Media Marketing
Locked down at home, people spend significantly more time on social media. This means that you should also pay attention to your real estate social media marketing techniques.
First of all, make sure to be present on all different social media channels as each one of them generates a different type of real estate leads. Second, study well the best type and format of content for each one and create unique posts for each platform. While you can definitely repurpose digital content across different social media channels, publishing the exact same content on all of them would not suffice to help you succeed.
In addition, real estate agents need to include appropriate hashtags with each postson social media as this will help them get the expected results from their real estate digital marketing efforts. Using both generic hashtags such as #realestate, #housingmarket, and #homesforsale as well as specific ones like #Californiarealestate, #LosAngelesrealestate, and #condos will help you expand your outreach and achieve the maximum amount of exposure to property buyers and property sellers.
10. Make Your Real Estate Website Mobile Friendly
According to real estate data in the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report, last year 76% of home buyers found their home on a mobile device. This means that more than three quarters of real estate properties for sale were first found on a mobile device before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We can only expert this proportion to go up with the stay at home and shelter in place policies. This emphasizes the major importance of mobile marketing in the real estate digital marketing strategy of any agent or broker who wants to continue buying and selling homes and investment properties under the current circumstances.
What this means practically is that real estate websites need to be optimized for mobile users. This is a very technical issue which requires hiring a professional software developer unless a real estate agent happens to have a software development background. In most cases, an agent can hire a consultant to set up his/her website in a mobile friendly manner. After that, the agent can continue posting new digital content and updating existing content on his/her own, and the content will remain optimized for mobile devices.
Integrating mobile optimization in online marketing for real estate agents will make sure that your website’s content shows up higher on searches on mobile devices in addition to desktops. This will help you generate more real estate leads not only during the pandemic but also after this as the world is generally moving in this direction.
11. Use Mashvisor’s Real Estate Tools
The final real estate digital marketing strategy which you can employ during the Coronavirus pandemic is to resort to using real estate software tools. Mashvisor can help you out in this regard in a few different ways.
First of all, you can claim your free Mashvisor real estate agent profile by searching for your name in your housing market. In the profile, agents can enter their name, contact information, real estate website, real estate license number, real estate experience, specialties, markets served, active MLS listings, and off market properties. Moreover, they can post blog articles on topics related to their experience, trends in the US housing market, or any other subject of interest to their clients. A filled in real estate agent profile on an independent website like Mashvisor will give an agent more exposure to potential leads doing online searches for the top-performing real estate agents in a market. Furthermore, it will help boost an agent’s reputation and trustworthiness.
In addition, on Mashvisor’s real estate investment software platform an agent can list his/her off market properties to market them to real estate investors. Our rental property calculator will provide readily available investment property analysis to these off market properties. The rental property analysis will include all crucial metrics for real estate investing such as property price, one-time startup costs, traditional and Airbnb rental income, traditional and Airbnb occupancy rate, recurring monthly expenses, cash flow, and rate of return. In terms of rate of return on a rental property, the analysis will provide estimates of the traditional and Airbnb cash on cash return and cap rate. Focusing your real estate digital marketing strategy on investors rather than home buyers during the pandemic is a smart move. Generally speaking, investors have more stable and reliable financial resources, so they are more likely to buy a property now if they find a good opportunity.
Last but not least, with professional and expert subscription to Mashvisor, agents can access homeowners data through a feature called Mashboard. The expert level plan also provides agents with a collaborative CRM platform from which they can send email campaigns to property owners and potential buyer leads and seller leads. Each homeowner listed on the Mashboard is accompanied with a likelihood score of how likely he/she is to buy a property in the near future. Thus, Mashvisor also works as a real estate lead qualification platform for agents.
Sign up for Mashvisor now with a 15% discount with promo code BLOG15 to enhance your online real estate marketing approach.
The COVID-19 pandemic proves the need for agents to move away from traditional marketing modules and towards real estate digital marketing strategies. With the 11 ideas above, you are guaranteed to position yourself ahead of the competition and to be able to buy and sell real estate properties to those looking to sell and buy even in these trying times.
To keep up to date with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US housing market as well as to get access to practical tips on how to help your business survive the crisis, read our Coronavirus real estate trends blogs.