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Personalization Is The Key To Effective Marketing During A Downturn

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New markets require new approaches and tactics. Experts and industry leaders take the stage at Inman Connect New York in January to help navigate the market shift — and prepare for the next one. Meet the moment and join us. Register here.

Because the market is ebbing and not flowing, agents need to create more ways to prepare for when the latter happens.

Backing away from your marketing spend, or your general commitment to brand outreach and lead-gen, is a surefire tactic for ensuring you succumb to the competition when the tide returns.

I’m reminded of a McKinsey & Company marketing survey that discussed the importance of personalization in corporate marketing. There was a time when this was a tremendous challenge for any industry. They needed readership and subscriber metrics from Madison Avenue research departments to find the best possible medium to reach men older than 35, recent retirees or high school polo players.

Today’s tech has flattened so much of that process. One click on an Instagram ad teleports your identity into an F5 cyclonic algorithm of similar product pitches. They know so well who wants to buy something that we’re convinced our devices are listening to us. (They very well might be.)

Point is, personalization works, and real estate brokerages need to create, train and provide for their agents the marketing mechanisms that deliver it.

The 2021 survey was looking to gauge, among other things, how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted business. It remains relevant, especially now that the real estate market is taking a hit.

According to the study, “Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76 percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.”

It also found that companies outpacing their competitors are doing so because 40 percent of their revenue streams from campaigns that focus on personalization. For the sake of brevity, let’s apply the survey’s top three findings to what real estate brokers and agents can do today.

Invest in your website

Any brokers out there considering cutting back on our website update, or finding excuses for being happy with the one you have, should take special note of the top consumer demand in McKinsey’s survey: 75 percent of respondents said, “Make it easy for me to navigate in-store and online.”

If your parent brokerage allows offices to venture away from their tired, templated drivel, do so. Hire a reputable web development firm to build a website that has engaging consumer search, calls-to-action, CRM integrations and full mobile functionality. It has to overlap with business and be a proactive component of marketing, not a static fallback. Make it about your audience.

Provide relevant products and services

McKinsey found that 67 percent of consumers don’t want to be sold things that aren’t a match for them.

We know that buyers are always moving around in price, location and size. However, with access to the right user data, agents can more accurately predict what a buyer wants to see at the top of the journey, helping reduce the friction months of indecision creates.

Use your website and your general lead qualification tactics to collect as much user preference data as possible. Dig into their personal characteristics, demographics and hobbies, and listen for nuance, for small things they say about each house they visit, like or share from your website. This requires making sure your website has tools for consumers to track interest.

If you can build a social search function, that is, a way for clients to invite others into their activity, do it. You can learn a lot about a person from who it is they seek advice from.

McKinsey & Company

Carefully tailor messaging

Slightly below wanting to be provided the right product and services in popularity is a user desire to be given information that suits them, according to 66 percent of respondents. This makes me think of sellers, and how agents bid for listings.

If you’re entering into every listing presentation with the same slide deck, edited only for name and address, the modern consumer won’t be interested in you.

In the same way you learn as much as you can about a buyer or lead, it’s critical that you go into a listing meeting prepped for the individual, not necessarily the house.

Maybe the individual is the “handshake and a promise” type, not caring about the aesthetics of a dynamic, digital show and tell. Sit down, have coffee and tell them what you can do. Don’t bring up drip campaigns or re-targeting. Talk about price and transparency.

Or, maybe a prospect doesn’t have time to meet in person, preferring to meet online in between their other meetings. Learn to tailor your pitch for brevity, and listen for hot buttons. People like this don’t want excuses or to make decisions. Make it about them and their time, and act before they ask.

Know that “messaging” doesn’t only mean the words you use and the logos they see above or below them. Messaging can also mean the actual delivery method by which you sell yourself.

Today’s market isn’t that bad, historically speaking. But, it is less predictable.

This is a tumultuous time around the world. Things can happen elsewhere in the world — Russia, oil prices and global supply chain issues — that impact our economy.

Don’t sleep on the importance of preparation for a longer downturn, or the importance of personalization in your marketing.

Email Craig Rowe

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