Life would be easy if there weren’t any challenges, but it would also be a bit boring, don’t you think?
Many who are into real estate marketing and run and manage different campaigns on a regular basis are faced with different challenges.
You might know them already, but different studies have found the major challenges of marketers.
In this article, I will present you with 6 marketing challenges based on studies and statistics, then put them into the real estate marketing context for you, and two further ones based on my own observations.
6 (Real Estate) Marketing Challenges Marketers Face Today Based on Surveys
1) Tracking the Return on Investment of Marketing Campaigns
According to a survey, only 53.85% of marketers report that they measure their costs per acquisition (CPA) or, in other words, customer acquisition costs (source).
By not knowing about this metric, marketers won’t know how effective a certain marketing campaign is and, therefore, won’t be able to make improvements or know what campaign to get rid of.
The other side of the coin is that you won’t know which marketing campaigns to scale and which one to increase your marketing budget.
By not knowing your CPA, you won’t be able to calculate the return on investment.
But tracking the ROI is easier said than done.
Firstly, some marketing methods are more difficult to track then others and secondly, if your business is already mid-sized or larger, you will need to have really good communication between your sales reps or sales department and your marketing department.
Generally speaking, your link between sales and marketing needs to be quite good.
For instance, let’s say one of your marketing methods is content marketing using video on YouTube and also Google Ads.
A potential customer watches your video on YouTube and clicks on a link leading to your website.
There he looks at some of the new buildings you have for sale as a developer and decides to use a contact form to schedule a showing.
But this same page with the contact form could have come via Google Ads, and a potential customer could have also come from your Google Ads campaign.
Once you receive the lead with the contact information, you don’t know exactly where he or she came from.
Now it depends on your sales team or your own sales and follow-up efforts to find out where the lead came from and note that in your customer relationship management software (CRM).
To prevent this kind of improvisation from happening, you might want to start marketing campaigns with the end in mind.
Meaning that you know right from the get-go where the lead came from.
Use a dedicated landing page for your Google ads campaign (this is a good approach anyway, as discussed in this article of mine), and then another one for your YouTube videos.
This can get a bit more difficult if the potential lead or customer is browsing different pages on your site than the dedicated landing page and contacts you via phone or another contact form.
In this case, the one receiving the phone call should always find out where the respective individual has heard about you.
The same is true for the contact form.
You should also ask the individual where she or he has heard about you.
To get an answer there, you can add some checkboxes that display the marketing channels currently in use, such as in my example, “YouTube” and “Google Ads.”
Together with the use of Google Analytics, you will be able to trace where the different leads came from.
After knowing that, this information should always be included in your customer relationship management software.
So once you have a sale, you already know where the respective customer initially came from.
2) Generating Traffic and Leads
According to a study from 2019, more than 35% of marketers find it challenging to generate traffic and/or leads (source).
This challenge is also confirmed by a study from 2020 (source).
This challenge is understandably happening because there are more marketing channels and options available.
It always comes down to how well you know your potential target customers or target audience.
The better you know them, including their needs, greeds, and pains, the better you know which marketing channels and methods to use and how to communicate (including your copywriting).
It also depends on the real estate market niche (covered in this article) you are catering to.
For example, suppose your niche includes Baby Boomers (as covered in my past article).
In that case, you’ll likely be more lucky by focusing on Google Ads and text-based content marketing to improve search engine rankings than with first time home-buyers that are often Millennials.
If you want to reach Baby Boomers and Millennials equally, YouTube content and paid Youtube video marketing might be your best bet.
3) Your Website
The trend of this challenge is declining, but still, managing a website seems to continuously be challenging for some marketers.
In the same study from 2020, 63% of marketers stated that they were looking to make a website upgrade (source).
One of the major challenges within the context of website management was to increase the performance.
This is not surprising since it is one of the most important elements in your marketing to attract visitors, convert them to leads and then hopefully, to paying customers.
Part of the challenge is often the site speed, writing and optimizing content/copy, and creating converting landing pages.
In the context of creating a real estate website, you might also be interested in my article, “How Much to Spend on a Real Estate Website without Losing Your Camisa”.
4) Managing Your Marketing Budget
I know from the world of media buying that it can get quite challenging to manage the cash flow when you want to scale up winning marketing campaigns.
You need to know what return which campaign is generating to then know which minimum of this revenue needs to be reinvested to further scale the marketing campaign and, thus, make your business grow.
This can be even more challenging if you do inbound marketing when you have your content production outsourced, and where results usually take much longer to show than for paid traffic campaigns, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
In this context, I also invite you to read my article “The Hidden Costs of Inbound Real Estate Marketing” here.
Nevertheless, according to the same survey from above, 64% of marketers report that their marketing budget has increased (source).
The key here is again to be able to track your return on investment for each campaign and, thus, know your cost per acquisition and additionally also your marketing costs in relation to one sale (cost per sale).
5) Expanding to Potential International Customers
One part of horizontal expansion is also targeting similar potential customers that you already have but are located in other geographical areas.
This is the case if you want to reach potential international customers.
In fact, according to the survey from above, 59% of marketers market internationally.
While it’s again a challenge to adapt your marketing messages and marketing channels to potential international customers, it’s not the main one.
If you are interested in which countries prefer which type of content, you might want to take a look at this study (source).
But it’s more challenging to make your website suitable and accessible in other languages and deal with different exchange rates related to marketing channels and property prizes.
6) Hiring the Right People
What is also often reported as challenge is finding the right people to carry out successful marketing campaigns (source).
While these statistics are not directly related to marketing tasks, we can assume that it is also true for them.
Depending on the size of your real estate business, this challenge might not yet be relevant to you.
But at some point, and once you can scale and thus grow your business a bit further, you will want to delegate at least some of your marketing tasks.
Especially when it comes to inbound marketing where a lot of content has to be produced, hiring or outsourcing might become a necessity.
The process of finding and evaluating the right people with the right skills can take a fair amount of time.
In 2020, many employers are looking for marketers with hard technical skills and soft creative skills (source).
So, to find the right candidates to hire or to outsource, you should ideally have already developed and created a winning marketing campaign so you can better define the tasks and results you are expecting.
You don’t want to be in a position where you still have to do experiments with different marketing channels and then need to rely on someone you hire or outsource.
I am not saying that this can’t work, but I think that this would involve a higher risk than already knowing what is working before hiring someone or outsourcing.
This indicates that if you have a very small business, you should have already managed to do this on your own or with your already existing team.
By the way, I have covered parts of this in my article “How to Automate Your Real Estate Business and Win Back Time”.
Two (Real Estate) Marketing Challenges Based on My Own Observations
While I can’t back up this section with surveys and statistics, I can add some further real estate marketing challenges based on my own observations, experiences, and deductions from the above.
Staying Focused and First Mastering Only a Few Marketing Channels & Testing
Due to a large amount of information you can get on the Internet about different marketing methods, you might fall into the trap of the grass is always greener on the other side and jump from one marketing channel to the next, ending up with a large list that you won’t be able to manage all at once, let alone mastering each.
One of the most inspiring books about sales and marketing written by Perry Marshall called, “80/20 Sales and Marketing” (source).
In this book, he mentions that it is better to master firstly one marketing channel before moving on or extending to the next one.
This is easier said than done; I know this from myself.
If results don’t show fast enough, impatience can kick in, and you want to move on and add another marketing channel rather than going deeper and figuring out by testing what is wrong with the one you started to use.
This is also connected to several iterations of testing.
Doing tests within the same marketing channel is very important in this context.
The more you test (including A/B testing), the more you increase your chances of creating a winning campaign.
Unfortunately, you will have to accept that testing means also failing over and over until you win. This in itself can be a huge challenge.
Adapting to Market and Technology Changes
Markets change, not only in the real estate industry. They can switch from buyers markets to sellers markets and vice versa.
And depending on the type of changes that are occuring, you might need to adapt your marketing strategy.
Because with a market change, very often come changes in demand.
Potential customers you could target before via a particular marketing channel, and a particular marketing message might not have the same need as before anymore.
This might result in a lower conversion rate or response rate.
With the market change, other real estate market niches and other types of potential customers could be on the rise or developing.
These customers might not be reached by the same established marketing channels you used before anymore, and you might also need to offer other types of products (e.g., property types) and services.
This situation is also quite similar to new technical developments.
Each marketing channel saturates at some point in time.
Ten years ago, you could still easily generate real estate leads by just starting a Facebook Page and just by publishing posts, regularly reach potential customers organically.
Today, this organic reach is practically gone (including other social media platforms, as discussed in this article).
So, without spending some money, you won’t be able to reach many people on Facebook anymore.
Another example of market changes and user behavior changes in terms of technology is the current Coronavirus situation.
Before the event, having virtual tours on your property listing pages (in the case of realtors) was a nice add on and already had a positive effect on website conversion rates.
Today, more buyers try to avoid doing physical property tours altogether.
So, I assume that real estate professionals who include virtual tours in their online sales funnel could now increase their website conversion rates even more by increasing their use.
You can read more about “Are Virtual Tours Worth It” in this article.
Market and technology changes influence each other and go hand in hand with changes in marketing channels and methods.
This can be quite challenging to adapt to, so you can maintain or even improve past marketing results.
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