Experimental digital marketing

Published: 07 August 2015

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Experimental Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has flung open the doors of opportunity for even the smallest estate agency to create a huge online presence, although for many it's still a steep learning curve. Things have moved on considerably from the days of print which had a limited 'reach' compared to the digital possibilities currently available.

Some of the best aspects of digital marketing from an estate agents point of view are its flexibility and the wealth of statistics available, which provide real insight into the performance of campaigns. Nothing is cast in stone when it's in a digital format and can be amended, tweaked or completely re-vamped fairly seamlessly. That means you can play around with your marketing strategy and try different techniques to maximise your results and ultimately your marketing ROI.

With digital marketing, not only is the lead time condensed but the job never really ends. You can always make changes to your ads or listings in real time while they're running and clients are responding to them.

It's important for estate agents to respond quickly in an ever-changing marketing place and the best way is to develop proactive marketing which can be achieved with a little help from A/B testing or experimenting.

Using Metrics to Improve your Marketing Response

It's crucial for estate agents to track results to email campaigns, landing pages or visits to the website because they can be continually optimised and improved.

That means if your marketing idea is not working successfully you can try different things to improve the response. Try this simple experiment to illustrate the value of getting experimental with your marketing:

  • Take a copy of an email you plan to send out to your contacts. Change just one element for example, the subject line so that you have two emails that are identical apart from one small difference.
  • Split your email list in half and send one email to one half and the second to the other.
  • Check the stats on your email program to see which version of your marketing email got the highest opening rates and you've successfully completed your first experiment!

You can run experiments on your campaign and gain good insight to improve your next campaign. Or, you can run your experiment in real time and make changes to your live campaign. To do this, simply:

  • Take a proportion of your email list you plan to send to (maybe 10% or 20%)
  • Split this smaller list in half and then run your experiment as before
  • This time, when you check the results you can send the 'winning' version to the remainder of your email list.

Perhaps you've just sent a listing to potential buyers and simply changed the image of the property's impressive frontage to another showing it's exceptional view over the city. You can assess the responses while they're coming in, determine the more popular email and make changes instantly for the current or next phase of your campaign.

If respondents favoured the frontage shot, you're more likely to be appealing to lifestyle buyers and can adapt your pitch to highlight the property's aesthetic qualities. If the city view garnered the better response, it's likely that you're attracting real estate investors or those seeking a home within a commute of the workplace and you can spin your marketing appropriately.

You can experiment with the subject line of your emails, the Call to Action, where you place the link to a landing page or simply the colour of your click-through button. Subtle changes can have an enormous impact on the success of a digital marketing campaign and all the tools are available to allow you to quantify results and refine your strategy if you need to.

Marketing Software that can Boost Your Business

There is plenty of software available that will automate your digital marketing process and provide detailed analytics and metrics to help you run your marketing experiments. Three notable examples are:

  • MailChimp is a free email broadcast tool that will run your experiments for you. Upgrade to one of their paid-for packages and you can also automate your marketing communications
  • Marketo is one of the biggest and most established marketing automation companies, offering a platform that easily launches and manages marketing campaigns. Marketo offers everything estate agents need including tools for automating lead management, social media marketing, sales management dashboards as well as analytics.
  • HubSpot offers a powerful inbound marketing solution as a personalised and more effective alternative to traditional marketing strategies. It has developed a host of marketing apps which include tools for blogging, social media, lead management and even marketing analytics.

Getting creative with your digital marketing and testing different methods and approaches with your clients can make you much more proactive as an estate agent. When looking to make a significant life-purchase like a property, buyers like to feel their personal needs are being met and their tastes catered for.

Nothing speaks more directly to a prospect than communication that has a bespoke, personalised feel to it particularly in the real estate industry. By embracing the analytics made available to you and applying them in your marketing experiments you can pinpoint more precisely what makes your clients tick and adapt your campaigns accordingly.

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