25/03/2020 To weather this crisis, your marketing needs to pivot and re-focus. You need to acknowledge the reality, focus on marketing to your database then futureproof your business by putting plans in place so you can hit the ground running when we get to the otherside. Here’s how.
1. Acknowledge the Reality
These are interesting times. All of a sudden, everyone has time on their hands. Your advertising is much more likely to get noticed so don’t stop BUT a big word of caution:
Your advertising message and tone needs to be carefully crafted to acknowledge the gravity of the current crisis and to show empathy and understanding. To continue with the hard sell may appear as you taking advantage of a bad situation.
A key marketing principle we always implement for our real estate clients is to “enter the conversation already in their heads”. This means, when marketing to homeowners, we always start by talking about what everyone else is talking about before steering the narrative towards, “Are you selling?”
This approach helps you remain relevant and likeable even to the 95% of homeowners who have no interest in selling right now. It’s all about futureproofing your business—building a large community of people who know, like and trust you, then call you when it does come time to sell.
During the Covid-19 crisis, “entering the conversation already in their heads” is even more important than usual.
2. Love Your List
Now is the time to focus on your database – your past vendors, buyers, and all those people for whom you’ve done an appraisal but haven’t yet sold. Is your list up-to-date? Have you added everyone you know?
Have you been staying in touch with this list? When doing marketing reviews with real estate agents I’ve been surprised to learn that some are only farming an area but entirely neglected their database. This is a huge missed opportunity.
(I know this because a family member purchased their house through an agent I know but sold it through a different agent because she hadn’t heard from them! We are now in the process of helping this agent setup an email newsletter to her database.)
People who know, like and trust you ie your past clients, are your best source of repeat sales and referrals. You need to help them remember your name, demonstrate you are still successful and that you care enough to stay in touch.
3. Futureproof Your Business
Although the world is at a standstill and the future feels uncertain, the interesting thing is that this isn’t entirely new (there’s nothing new under the sun, right?)
During 9-11, the world also came to a standstill, planes were grounded, no one was flying. People wandered around in a daze, anxious about what was next. Americans particularly felt the effect of this. The advice given to business owners at that time was:
With Covid-19, my best advice right now is to take this time to prepare for the future. Get marketing-fit. Prepare your future marketing campaigns now. When the time is right you can hit the ground running and carry on.
My clients who have been through several property market cycles tell me: there are always people who need to buy and sell houses. During a down-turn, to beat your competition to the available listings you have to carry on with frequent, consistent advertising, and perhaps consider reaching a bigger crowd.
The agents who carry on advertising rain, hail or shine, 9-11, Covid-19 or economic boom, continue to get the listings.
Buyers and sellers have put their plans on hold due to this pandemic, but it will only be for a season. In two or three months, once we have our new “normal”, they will come out of hibernation, hungry to move on. With the Official Cash Rate now at the lowest ever, interest rates are likely to drop even further. There could, arguably, never be a better time to buy a house.
While in hibernation, would-be sellers will be gathering information. What improvements will get me the best price? Who is the best agent to sell my house? It’s your job to make sure they have all the information they need to take the next step when they’re ready.
So prepare to carry on. The best thing you can do to help yourself, your family and New Zealand right now is to prepare to carry on.
There will always be people who need to buy and sell a house. Keep marketing. Be there to get that first wave of listings when sellers come out of hibernation. If you don’t, your competitor will.