In the fields of real estate, architecture, and interior design, appearances and aesthetics play a big part in the final product. Whether it's an entire building or just one room, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression.
The same goes for digital marketing!
Putting a digital marketing strategy in place is one way to enhance and share the appearance of yourself or your firm in the minds of your next clients.
By producing content that speaks to specific audiences, bringing in visual media that represents the unique view of your firm, and building an engaging website, real estate agents, architects, and interior designers can use digital marketing to secure leads and demonstrate their professional finesse.
Ready to build your brand’s digital home – and reach your next batch of paying clients? Here’s what home professionals need to know:
1.) Handcraft a Dynamic Website
As a designer or builder, you construct one-of-a-kind spaces for a living. While it may take a different skillset, you should take the same approach online. That is to say: skip the free template, and develop your own site. Doing so will allow you to customize your website for your specific needs, and help you stand out against any competition.
There are a few golden rules of website design that we ascribe to here at Geek. Above all, we believe that functionality is key. If your site isn’t intuitively laid out, easy to use, and quick to load, users will be quick to back out and head over to your competitors instead. In fact, one study revealed that 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or fewer, and a full 40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
A fleet, responsive site will also help improve your customer retention! According to that same study, 52% of online shoppers say that quick loading is “important” to their site loyalty, and 79% of shoppers who are “dissatisfied” with website performance say they’re unlikely to buy from the same site again.
Another thing to keep in mind? Just like you may spend a lot of your workday on the road, showing houses or jumping between job sites, web users aren’t tied to computers anymore. Mobile users matter, so be sure to test out the appearance of the site on mobile and desktop devices, especially since the majority of users will now come to your site through a smartphone or tablet.
2.) Build Out Your Blog With Unique Content
Design. Architecture. Realty. All three of these industries change according to trends, policies, and leadership. With this in mind, it's important to prepare timely content that tells a story and makes complicated, field-specific ideas accessible.
The best way to share this content with interested clients is to start a blog! Blogging is a great way to develop your business' voice, demonstrate expertise. Even more important, blogging is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies ever devised. With solid SEO practices in place, you’ll see your blog pages climb up in search results. In our experience, website traffic will begin to grow geometrically as a result - particularly as your blog posts get into the seven and eight articles per month territory.
That said, updating your blog with fresh marketing content twice a month is far better than not at all. Consistency is key when it comes to digital marketing – and not all blog-content needs to be primed for SEO! Content creation is a versatile tool, with plenty of uses.
For example, when it comes to the specifics of real estate, architecture, and interior design, blogging can be a great way to give your leads sneak peaks of what to expect from your business. A real estate agent, for instance, could post articles that guide first-time homebuyers to the different financial resources available to them, while an interior designer could draft up a piece about fall color schemes. In either case, you’re establishing your credibility, building a relationship with your reader, and subtly navigating them down your conversion funnel.
Ready to get writing? The best way to truly find your business's voice is to read what others are putting out onto the web. Find a few other sources of content from your field that you enjoy and build your strategy from there. Ask yourself what they're writing and why. Who would enjoy this article? What's missing? Think about your audience. What do they need? What are they already consuming?
One bonus tip: Successfully creating a working content plan starts with streamlined communication and task organization. Try adopting a free task management tool like Asana, or a workplace messenger such as Slack. With tools like these, you can more easily map out your digital marketing strategy month by month. You can keep ideas at bay for later dates using these apps, too.
3.) Create Connections With Social Media and Email Marketing
Social media is one of the most effective marketing tools ever created, particularly for professionals in real estate, architecture, and interior design.
For one thing, working in homes gives you access to some amazing chances to snap and share videos and pictures, which work wonders on social networks (more on that in a minute). For another thing, these fields are all closely tied to networking. And, at their core, that’s what platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all about!
Every platform has something to offer. LinkedIn, for instance, is a powerful tool because folks in real estate, architecture, and interior design tend to work with other experts in fields like mortgage and construction. Using LinkedIn, brokers and other home pros may find it helpful to build a working list of dependable referrals and connections. Today’s partner could mean tomorrow’s client, and this form of virtual networking could result in an expanded web presence, great testimonials, and stable, meaningful relationships with other companies.
Similarly, Facebook and Twitter are great ways to retain your existing customers, by keeping your business top of mind with fresh content, contests, discounts, or interesting conversations. And, finally, social media platforms today offer some incredibly sophisticated paid advertising tools, allowing you to hone in on your ideal audience with targeting, flexible budgeting, and “remarketing” capabilities.
And while many people count it out, email is also still a powerful tool for reaching and retaining your audience! The people on your email list have already expressed an interest in your realty or design firm, so you should be reaching out to them on a regular basis (once or twice a month is our standard). Build a newsletter that features a recent project or a few blog posts. Respond to an issue in current events that related to your field. Think of this of storytelling, and you’ll never stop intriguing and engaging your clients.
4.) Amp Up Your Visual Content
Real estate, architecture, and interior design all deal with visual concepts, so it's probably easy to come up with original photos and videos highlighting your work. These multimedia elements can be remarkably useful for use across all of your digital marketing channels. Add them to your blogs, share them as social media posts, embed them in your emails, and brainstorm how you can put them to work on even more platforms.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Feeling limited? You can recycle and repackage older visual content by making a social video. Want to put your client base to work? Ask your clients to take selfies in their home to demonstrate your work, then encourage them to share these snaps on social media. Audiences will love this user-generated content – and you’ll get an endless source of unique, shareable pictures.
The options are limitless, particularly with modern social media outlets like Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram, which offer remarkable potential for designers and other home professionals. Our friends over at Real Group RE, a Chicago-based realty team, have a few great posts on using visual marketing online to sell a home. Check them out if you’re looking for even more inspiration:
- How to Use Pinterest for Your Real Estate Search
- How Real Estate Photography Makes All the Difference for the Sale of Your Home
5.) Remember Your Reputation
Referrals are a vital part of any real estate, architecture, or design business. In person word of mouth is a vital tool for gaining new clients and keeping old ones, and always will be; the same concept applies to your digital presence, as well, but it goes by a different name – reputation management.
Reputation management refers to the process of controlling what is said and shared about your brand online. Having a reputation management plan in place comes down to several interrelated parts, including maintaining solid SEO and social media strategies, as we discussed above. That is to say that when you can guide what searchers and social users find about your brand on ranking pages, you help control the narrative about yourself – and can direct it in your favor!
But there’s another vital aspect of reputation management that too many brands leave completely to chance. You see, today’s savvy online consumers are also likely to research you or your firm on review and listing sites, which range from Facebook to Yelp to HomeAdvisor.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of solutions you can put in place to optimize these review pages to work for you. With Geek’s help, for instance, you can set up an automated workflow that lets you reach out to your customers via text or email; establishing this contact will help you encourage your happiest customers to post glowing reviews on these all-important sites, and may give less-satisfied clients a chance to vent, preventing them from posting a negative review in the first place.
Sound a Little Complicated?
If your team is looking to implement a comprehensive digital marketing campaign but would like extra support, Geek Chicago would love to step in! We specialize in producing content marketing strategies that meet the evolving needs of businesses of all sizes Don’t hesitate to drop us a line or sign up for our newsletter when you're ready to begin the process!