Consumer behaviour has shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and real estate agents should be pivoting their marketing strategies to meet that shift. Now is the time to focus on empathy, availability, education, and building a plan for when certainty returns to the market.
Though it may feel like trying to hit a moving target, adjusting strategy to address your clients’ needs is crucial to success both during and after uncertain times. Take a look at these five ideas and consider working them into your marketing plan.
1. Give your Clients More Options
During times of uncertainty, significant changes take place. Not just in the real estate market, but at every level. Media consumption, spending habits, and communication methods adapt as individuals become more cautious. We’re sure you can relate to these changes on a personal level, as you’re probably watching more Netflix, tightening your belt, and participating in more video calls.
One of the most important aspects of your business to consider amidst uncertain times is your retention strategy. Your CRM should be full and you should be managing it now more than ever. Market changes are the only guarantee in real estate, and you need to be top of mind when times take a turn for the better.
When looking at your CRM, it’s important to remember that contact methods are also changing. People are communicating through more than just audio and text messages. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and even Instagram are all potential messaging platforms being used more and more during times of uncertainty. Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram all allow you to create business profiles, be sure to set yours up and be available to receive messages however your clients want to send them.
Another major change you should be addressing is the move towards video communication. Homebuyers are leaning on tools like virtual tours to view properties, and agents should be using video to stay connected with their potential clients. Give market updates on social media, host live Q&A sessions, and schedule one on one meetings with clients to learn more about their specific needs and concerns.
2. Become a Resource
It makes sense that certainty is what people crave the most during times of uncertainty. With this in mind, you should make a concerted effort to focus on providing educational content to your clients, shifting away from entertainment-based marketing materials.
Given the current environment, entertainment-based content can feel tone-deaf if not done extremely well. It’s also not typically what people need during times of uncertainty. Educational content, on the other hand, is exactly what people are searching for, both offline and online.
Educational blog posts about navigating new changes, informative social media posts that provide research and insight, and videos with expert opinions on where things are headed should make up a large portion of your marketing efforts. This is the type of content that is going to best resonate with your audience right now, helping you stay top of mind when uncertainty subsides.
3. Focus on a Positive Niche
There’s always a promising market somewhere, and consumers will look to savvy agents to help them find it. During times of uncertainty, it’s important to identify any and all positive aspects of the market. Know the numbers and data and be ready to present it at any given time.
When someone inquires about potential opportunities, you need to be prepared to show prospects that you do your homework. Even if your potential clients aren’t ready to buy or sell, you’ll be building a track record of knowing where the best opportunities are in the market. Doing this consistently will help establish you as the local expert.
4. Invest in Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is a concept you should be familiar with when it comes to your marketing strategy. Simply put, evergreen content is any of your owned media (blogs, social media posts, videos, or anything else that lives on the internet) that doesn’t date itself. Think about the kinds of questions that people ask you every year or things that potential buyers and sellers search for no matter what the market is doing.
An article titled, "Questions You Need to Ask Before Making an Offer" for example, is a piece of evergreen content. This is an article that you can write today, that will be just as relevant five years from now. On the flip side, a market update video about current conditions is not evergreen. No matter where it’s posted online, it will likely get no viewers just a few months from now.
A good piece of evergreen content can pay for itself for years to come, especially if it starts to rank in search engines. Make sure you pivot your marketing strategy during COVID-19 to include the creation of evergreen articles and videos so that you can grow your online presence.
5. Soften your Calls to Action
Now more than ever it’s important to stay at the top of your clients’ minds. While we spoke about using your CRM and the different tools you can use to do this in point number one, let’s cover how overall messaging should change during times of uncertainty.
It’s important to soften your prospecting tone and limit hard sales pushes. Instead of direct sales pushes, try showing off your involvement in the community. Recommend local charities, do a live video about local businesses that offer discounts to first responders, or give out information on mortgage payment delays, tax return delays, and small business loan opportunities.
Make an effort during this time to grow your lead sources as opposed to your actual leads. Try to grow your Facebook and social media following, get more subscribers on your newsletter and YouTube channel, and to move more people into your CRM and remarketing funnels. By growing these channels, you’ll be creating more opportunities for hard sells in the future when certainty in the market returns.
The most successful agents prepare for potential market shifts and pivot their marketing strategy during uncertain times to best serve their clients. Focus on your clients’ needs and remember that while it can seem never-ending, times of uncertainty don’t last.