Very recently I was having a conversation with an entrepreneur who is in the Real Estate Business in India. He has started a property consulting business and has been active in the offline space for last few years. He was inquiring if I can help in real estate digital marketing by ranking his website on the first page of Google for all properties that he intends to market (and sell).
So lets say his website URL is realestate.com and he intends to sell property of “ABC Developers”, his website URL will be realestate.com/abcdevelopers.
The entrepreneur wanted to know if an SEO campaign can help him get the leads for all those searching for ABC Developers on Google.
His second question was, if he were to be the first one to know of a property, and he creates a microsite on his website related to that property, will his site rank in page 1 for searches related to that property?
I had consulted a property consulting firm earlier and have encountered few challenges in the real estate market in India and how one can create a strategy. This post is intended to help all real estate consultants and builders
and serve as a strategy for real estate digital marketing in India to generate leads
Rule 1: Build your Brand
Big Real Estate Developers never have issues selling properties. This is a feedback I received on a one-one converstaion with the Marketing Head of one of the top Real Estate companies in Bangalore. This means, people are still buying properties. Real Estate rating companies grade builders based on their quality and reputation. Then why are smaller builders sitting on unsold inventory in India. This is because, smaller builders are only focussing on selling their projects as opposed to developing their own brand. Here I list down three things that you can do to develop your brand.
Step 1: Educate your customers
Most people who are planning to buy a property are not aware of the legal aspects and what they should be aware of. This is one of the biggest concern for buyers. As a developer, you should focus on educating your customers and making them aware of all aspects they should know when buying a property. You can use a combination of blogs, videos, whitepapers, webinars and so on to communicate and educate them.
Step 2: Stories of past customers
People like to listen to stories of other people. Because storytelling inspires trust and confidence. Create interesting content of your past customers and their views and lives after they have moved into your property. Do a video with the security of one of the apartment complexes. By creating stories you will connect to people at a more emotional level
Step 3: Associate with your Buyer even before they are in the buying mode
You know the properties that you are selling. Identify your target demography and their lifestyle. For example, if you are selling apartments at 50 lakhs, you know your typical buyer would be an IT employee. You know their lifestyle. You can go ahead and associate with gyms, supermarkets, malls and every other touchpoint of your target buyer. By being present, you help in brand recall.
Rule 2: Use templates for developing microsites
As a property consultant, you will likely be marketing several real estate projects. So, you will need to create microsites for each of those projects. Therefore it is best if you create a template for all microsites. A template will give your site a consistent look and feel. It will help you reduce your development cost and time and your users will identify with your brand over time if it is consistent throughout. A good template can support all necessary on-page SEO features.
Rule 3: You cannot get on page 1 of Google quickly
Google with its new algorithm changes have made it very difficult for new websites to come to first page of Google. Typically it can take anywhere between 4-6 months for a new website to come to first page, depending on competition. SEO efforts cannot guarantee page 1 of Google in a certain time frame. If your niche is competitive and there are too many authority sites, then it will take longer for you to beat them. In the property space, the likes of Magicbricks, CommonFloor and others dominate. Google prefers age of a domain, quality of link pointing to that domain and the information in the domain to judge whether the site is authoritative or not.
Rule 4: SEO cannot get you results in 1 month
The entrepreneur has about 1 month to generate leads per project, when the project is launched. He wanted to know how can SEO help him. Short answer, SEO cannot produce results in 1 month. Firstly the main domain (in this case realestate.com) needs to come to the first page of Google. Google should treat it as an authority website. This is precisely the reason when you search for a new real estate project specific keyword, usually the subpages of authority sites like MagicBricks and Common floor show up. You need to invest time to do SEO for your website properly. And for any new website it will take up to 6 months.
Rule 5: SEO is not a campaign
SEO is a long term effort on your website. It is not a campaign. When you want to sell your tickets for a concert next month, or want to generate leads for your real estate project that is launching this week, you need to create campaigns on Google (Adwords) or Facebook (Ads). These are paid campaigns. SEO cannot work on such a short notice, unless your own domain is an authority domain which has been around for several years. SEO is a long term strategy aimed at targeting the right keywords and ranking high in Google for those keywords.
Rule 6: Adwords is Costly, Use Facebook As Well
Property is a “hot” space in India. As such it has lot of competition. Therefore the average bids for transaction keywords have shot up (around INR 100 per click). Therefore only the bigger players with deep pockets can bid aggressively, which will drive up the bid price even more.
This leaves little room for younger players in the Adwords space. One can easily spend upto 1 lakh in a month in Adwords with the hope that it would generate enough leads to give him ROI.
However, one of the unexplored avenues of Real Estate marketing is Facebook. Facebook ads are relatively cheaper. One can create campaigns targeting the right demography. Facebook is not about page Likes. You can create Facebook ads which will help you bring visitors directly to your site. Facebook also gives you pixels (a sort of a tracking code), which you can place on your website to understand which visitors are converting to leads. More about Facebook ad generation will be detailed in a separate post.
Takeaways for Real Estate Digital Marketing:
1. Create microsites that are templates and can be replicated easily for every property
2. Do not focus on SEO if you want to sell quickly
3. Adwords is costly, but may get you good leads
4. Explore Facebook Ads. They are cheaper and can get you good leads
5. and invest in building your brand
I hope that this information will help you in your digital marketing efforts. If you would like to get in touch with us about creating a digital marketing plan for your real estate business, do give us a call at +91 9008 639 690 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org