Property Developer Digital Marketing - 12 Most Common Mistakes

There are two types of markets in recent memory for Australian property developers. Before June 2017, there was easy access to credit and high buyer urgency. Properties were appreciating $10,000 a month. In more recent times, prices are declining and property developers need to fight harder to gain warm and efficient leads. The days of simply handing over a chunk of money to RealEstate.com.au and Domain.com.au and sitting back are over. Injecting high performing channels like Google Search Ads, Facebook Ads and Display Retargeting are critical to success.

Here are some of the most common mistakes in this new era of property development marketing.

1) Not Improving the Property Developer Reputation

In recent times, more and more the developer reputation has become an important consideration for people buying “off the plan”. Those flames have been stoked by recently highly publicised events, including the Notorious OPEL development evacuation over Christmas in Homebush, NSW.

Realestate.com.au has released data showing that developer reputation remains the third highest factor buyers consider when buying off the plan apartments, trailing only to price and location.

property developer reputation

“Developer reputation” has climbed dramatically as a buying factor over the last few years.

Many developers over the last few decades have had the approach of simply having a skeleton holding company, with no branding or link between and it’s past and current projects. The most impactful ways to increase property developer reputation are:

  • Have a strong corporate site that lists all past and future developments, and strongly calls out the history of your organisation. It should look forward as well with adequate News and resource sections. Regularly updated fresh content is key to building trust.

property developer news.png

This property developer has not posted a news article in 6 months, despite having lots of developments to write about - a missed opportunity.

  • Maintain one Facebook page for all your developments, rather than having a gamut of Facebook pages that stay live for a short period of time, only to have their lights go out once they become dormant.

  • If budget is there, adequate above the line advertising can also assist with developer reputation, especially sponsorship in the local community.

property developer sponsorship marketing.png

Aqualand Sponsors the Australian Ballet

Even if the budget is just not there for expensive sponsorships, buying some minimal Digital Out Of Home Advertising such as a digital billboard in the local Westfield shopping centre can really help here.

 

2) Short Lived Microsites Are Hurting Your Conversions & SEO

Many property developers choose to have one specific microsite for every single property. This is a common approach, and has many pros and cons. The obvious benefit is that you can completely control the look and feel of the entire site and match it with the properties image and brand. This approach can only be effective if you find ways of communicating the longevity of your property development company, and not leave the buyer feeling like this is a one off project where the property developer could disappear with their money.

This property developer below has many properties but has cleverly chosen to keep their sold out “Discovery Point” property hosted on their corporate site and not a microsite. Further, they have redirected www.discoverypoint.com.au to their corporate site.

 

Many property developers find it almost impossible to rank on the first three pages of Google in organic search results. This is primarily due to the dominance of companies like Domain.com.au, RealEstate.com.au and AllHomes.com.au who dominate and saturate the first three pages. Splitting your battling back link profile across 17 microsites is not going to help either (every back link to your website is a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes). Once a development is sold out, activate 301 redirects from its microsite to your main corporate site. Deep linking them to the appropriate URL in the completed projects section of your site. This will pass on any link benefit to your corporate site, giving you a real chance of ranking, and getting that all important FREE SEO traffic.

 

3) Having 50 “Low Like” Facebook Pages

Besides being a logistical nightmare that will take countless staff hours to manage, there are very good reasons not to have specific Facebook pages for every single one of your property developments.

property developer facebook page.png

This property developer has over 15 properties but is savvy enough to promote them all on one Facebook page

We’ve observed a strong trend towards property developers combining Facebook pages lately, a tedious and risky exercise. Firstly, volume of Facebook likes is a strong measure of your credibility to a prospective buyer. Having under 500 likes is sure to cause trust issues. Why would a buyer who has heard all the horror stories of property developers going bust trust an organisation that can’t even drum up the interest of a few hundred people? What’s more, those first 500 likes can be extremely difficult to obtain, when all you have is a large hole in the ground and a promise of an “live in” date two years from now. A well built granular Facebook Ads likes campaign can be very useful here, often achieving “cost per likes” of under a dollar.

 

4) Not Using Promotions

As a traditionally high margin business, property developers can often afford to offer some killer promotions to help drive buzz, interest and get people over the line. This could be something like entering a competition to win a household item for just registering your interest for a property. It could also be a high value incentive at the time of purchase e.g. paying government fees, deposits, and offering discounts of tens of thousands of dollars for a limited time. Such promotions are particularly important in saturated markets like capital cities where there are a tonne of options for buyers.

landpearl 5% deposit give away.png

A property developer offers to pay 5% of your deposit

 

Turbo charge your online click through rates and conversion rate through the use of strong offers & promotions.

 

5) Not Frequent Enough Sales Agent Feedback

Almost all property developers will use sales agents on the ground to chase down leads, walk people through display suites and close the deal. Regardless of whether these are employees of the property developer or external agents, frequent feedback on the quality of leads you are generating is key to portfolio managing your digital marketing channels.

real estate sales agent feedback on quality of digital marketing leads.jpg

Sales Agents should provide weekly feedback of the quality of leads from your digital marketing activities.

Start with a good CRM, and make sure you are pushing as much data to it as possible. This should not only include using UTM parameters on your digital marketing channels that drive traffic to your website, but even pushing Facebook Lead Form Ad leads frequently to your CRM and Sales Agent’s email address using tools like Zapier.

Common complaints sales agents have about lead quality include:

  • Too many “tire kickers”

  • people living too far from the development area

  • people not understanding exactly where the development is located

 

6) Ignoring “Post Lead” Marketing

So you’ve done a great job of bringing a visitor to your website and getting their details for an agent to call them. Don’t stop there! There’s no guarantee that they will make the time to walk through a display suite, and even if they do, it could take weeks or months for them to decide to buy.

In fact, Domain.com.au has released data which shows the average time taken to complete the purchase of a new home is 14.5 months.

This is where “retargeting” is pivotal to keep up the excitement around your property and stay top of mind where your buyers work and play.

custom kitchen high quality finishes for remarketing.jpg

Retargeting captured leads with inspirational images like high quality kitchen finishes can keep your property top of mind.

Stay in their Instagram and Facebook News feeds with video and image ads. Video testimonials from current residents of communities can be really powerful here. Retarget them on news websites like Sydney Morning Herald by sending them to original blog articles hosted on your website about the property development. This is achieved using content seeding platforms like Outbrain. If you haven’t got the time to write these articles internally, hire an agency with expert property copywriters to assist you. Finally, reach buyers on YouTube with pre-roll video ads - you can even do 6 second unskippable ones, perfect for staying top of mind.

 

7) Thinking Realeastate.com.au Will Take Care Of Everything

Many property developers have not moved on from the peak of the recent property cycle in June 2017 when a spending a decent chunk of change on REA and Domain was sufficient to sell out all stages of a property before construction even began.

The credit crunch has resulted in a shrinking pie, forcing property developers to greatly diversify their digital marketing channels including: Paid Search, SEO, Social Media, Display Ads, Video Ads, Email Marketing, Content, Local Marketing and more.

property developer digital channels.png

Property Developers need a range of digital channels to seriously compete in recent market conditions

Custom property industry publishers like DOMAIN are great from a branding point of view, so some money can be wisely spent there. But don’t fall in the trap of giving them a free pass when it comes to delivering efficient leads. Ultimately, the speed at which you will sell out each stage of a property is directly tied to the volume and efficiency of quality leads you can generate. Running a cost per lead three times as high on Realestate.com.au vs Facebook Lead Form Ads just because it’s Realestate.com.au is pointless and expensive. Be particularly careful of email blasts by these publishers as they can often generate only a handful of leads for thousands of dollars of investment.

 

Want the remaining 5 common digital marketing mistakes of property developers? Fill out the form below and we'll email you the full analysis in PDF.

Name *
Name
 

Looking for a digital agency that truly gets your business? Check out what our property clients are saying and contact us today for a free strategy session.

property developers digital agency testimonial c.png

Google Shopping - Should I Use The Old Campaigns Or New "Goal Optimise" Campaigns?

Google Ads continue to offer users, and sometimes force users, simplified functionality in the interface. It often helps less savvy advertisers get more reach, but it doesn't always help "power users" like agencies squeeze the most out of their campaigns. For example Google just forced all Google Shopping to display in Google Images, whether you like it or not.

google shopping in google images

Google just forced all Google Shopping to display in Google Images, whether you like it or not.

Google Shopping is the most widely used and most effective channel for ecommerce marketers in Australia. Lets explore how simplified setup and functionality have effected performance in the Google Shopping world.

What types of Google Shopping campaigns can I run?

1. Manual Google Shopping Campaigns (the legacy ones):

These are the original ones that require you to import your feed of products from Google Merchant Centre, and then manually break your feed apart, and include or exclude products based on their performance. It gives ultimate control, but is very tedious and time consuming to administer.

Unlike the “Goal Optimise” campaign below, It will also not automatically take care of your dynamic retargeting on Google, again costing you time, but gaining you control over budget.

2. New “Goal Optimise” Google Shopping Campaigns

These will automatically take your feed from Google Merchant Centre, and create one campaign that will contain your Google Shopping and Google Dynamic Retargeting. You can’t exclude any product you want, but only at a BRAND level, which is a real disadvantage. Also, you cannot set individual bid prices per product on this type of campaign. You are putting faith in the Google “machine learning” algorithm to optimise the maximum ROAS. It can be a major time and skill saver, especially if you are not an analytical person.

Watch outs:

  • This campaign is a bit of a black box in the Google Ads interface. You won’t even really be able to see how much of the spend is automatically going to Google Shopping, and how much is going to dynamic retargeting. Use Google Analytics to understand how much spend is going to each.

  • You may even find that Google is running regular display spend (not all to your retargeting audience), something that is unlikely to convert as well as the rest of the traffic.

yd google shopping.png

Google Shopping is the best performing channel for ecommerce marketers

Conclusion:

We actually find that the old style manual Google Shopping campaigns usually beat the new automated "Goal Optimised" Google Shopping campaigns on ROI. Feel free to test both yourself. That being said, if you are time poor or lack access to the ongoing analytical skills, then the new “Goal Optimise” Google Shopping campaigns can be a useful inclusion to your digital marketing program.

Need help with Google Shopping campaigns? Ask Nimbull for a free discovery session today.

Top 10 Things eCommerce Marketers Need for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2018

Don’t hit the sack just yet, there’s so much to do before Black Friday on November 23!

back in black.gif

Black Friday is important because this is the shopping day on which many retailers have traditionally made enough sales to put them in the “black” for the year.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now two of the biggest shopping days worldwide, and there is a lot at stake.

For those in eCommerce, it’s the perfect time to attract shoppers to your door. It’s also an amazing way to grease the wheels for the all important Christmas rush. We’ll explore the top 10 things eCommerce marketers must do to take advantage of the soaring conversion rates and demand.

1) Take a closer look at your stock levels weeks before Black Friday. If you don’t have inventory to sell, your business will have zero chance of leveraging the benefits of even the most cutting-edge Black Friday eCommerce trends. Dropshipping is great, but there are sometimes no guarantees that your suppliers won’t sell out of key products during Black Friday, leaving you with no option but an embarrassing refund.

2) What will be your pricing strategy? eCommerce shoppers are extremely price driven.

Although each individual store varies, it’s not uncommon to see the following discounts:

Travel: 60%.
Office supplies: 50%.
Electronics: 47%.
Clothing: 32%.
Gifts: 31%.

It’s likely that some of your suppliers and distributors themselves have thought about pricing. Ask them what they are discounting, and special bundles and promotions, and reflect it when the time is right.

3) Use Black Friday and Cyber Monday related keywords in your paid search campaigns. For e.g: Electronics Black Friday, Shoes Cyber Monday etc. Look for “interests” and “topics” related to Black Friday or generic gifting periods in your Paid Social and Display Network campaigns.

black friday keywords.png

4) Create the Landing Pages that mention Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This could be as simple as including a site wide banner. Other options including a home page banner, or creating yoursite.com/blackfriday which lists all discounted products. Don’t be afraid to put this live early and gather interest by asking for email subscribers as BigW did very early in 2018.

big w black friday.png

5) Send out Black Friday & Cyber Monday email campaigns leading up to the event. Timing emails for Black Friday requires some prep work, but they are definitely sent earlier and earlier every year. Google Trends now shows that interest in Black Friday starts about 5 weeks before the event. A well crafted email showcasing what will be discounted and driving back to your website will be an important component in activating your existing customers.

black friday google trends.png

6) Coupon codes like BLACKFRIDAY18 are an amazing way to communicate savings to consumers. Decide if you will create a store wide coupon code, or if it will apply to certain products only. If you are using deal sites like Ozbargain, ensure you have all offers drafted and ready to submit. If you are using affiliate networks like Commission Factory or Rakuten, communication will be key as BF/CM banners and offers can really help with CTR during this period. Finally, don’t forget offline marketing like pamphlets, catalogues and flyers. For advertisers who have both online and brick and mortar channels, handing out flyers describing your offer can help drive people into store to redeem your coupon code.

7) Test your websites ability to scale with users and check your site speed. A slow page speed kills your chances at a sale: 46% of shoppers have said they’ll never return to a slow website. No point in all this planning if you can’t convert on game day.

shop.jpg

8) As well as being one of the largest Sale days of the year, you may find that Black Friday and Cyber Monday also deliver records for daily unique visitors. Keep some retargeting strategies in place so you can follow up with people who never checked out online. Also, collecting email addresses or other soft conversion points like dowloading of pdfs or joining your socials is valuable.

9) Focus on the Customer Experience - Staff Appropriately: As traffic increases during Black Friday & Cyber Monday so too does the need for customer support, developers committed to problem-solving, and salespeople ready to answer phone calls.

10) Review last years analytics and lessons learned. Jump into your site side analytics tool and investigate last years numbers, especially traffic sources and product skews purchased. The most important part of this is a forecasting exercise around advertising budgets needed for the day. Be prepared to spend up to 5 times more than your usual daily spend caps on important channels like Google Search Ads and Fscebook Ads.

Farewell Facebook Custom Audiences & Partner Categories

The real world knock-on effects of the Cambridge Analytica situation are about to be felt for savvy Facebook advertisers. Those taking advantage of Custom Audiences and Partner categories will lose the ability to create these campaigns on Aug 15th. Facebook pulls in data from partners like Acxiom and Experian, allowing you to do cool things like target people based on demographics like "Home Ownership" - but this is soon to be a thing of the past.

image (1).png

Also, some advertisers use Custom Audiences, a powerful feature that allows you to tap into your first party data e.g your customer's email addresses from your CRM, to target them specifically on Facebook. You can imagine how powerful something like this can be e.g a home loan vendor targeting people with refinancing ads 3 years after their settlement. This feature also seems to be among those to be deprecated.

Facebook's recent user growth woes and stock market slide have prompted them to look at many facets of their business, and the above changes are reflections of this. They have invested significantly in outdoor advertising, displaying messages like "DATA MISUSE IS NOT OUR FRIEND" and "FAKE ACCOUNTS ARE NOT OUR FRIEND" around Australian capital cities like Sydney. 

Nevertheless, Facebook remains one of the most targeted and efficient forms of marketing available, with hundreds of cool features in their bag of tricks. The full release of changes can be found here.

Australians Wanna Know - What is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day is Amazon’s members-only sale held once a year, historically in July.

So how big is Prime Day? Ariana big! She just took the stage at Prime Day launch.

Amazon has invited 4 more countries to Amazon Prime Day, and Australia is one of them! Amazon Prime Day starts at noon AEST on July 16th in Australia, and will run for 36 hours. Amazon will run deals on not just its own products, but (hopefully) thousands of others. There’s no single bigger day when Amazon signs on new Prime memberships globally.

2018 will be the first time for Australia. To make the most of Prime Day you’ll need to get yourself an Amazon Prime membership. In Australia, it costs $6.99 a month, or $59 a year. Sign up to experience the benefits that millions of Prime Members enjoy. Like in other markets, it comes bundled as part of that Prime subscription service, meaning that superfast free delivery and access to streaming services, e-books and exclusive deals is now on the table for Aussies as part of one service.

 

Save Time With Google Analytics Voice Commands! We Asked 10 Questions, Here's What We Got Back

Google has added a way to mine data for insights with voice-based navigation that’s fueled by artificial intelligence, and it's improving and maturing every day.

Although it will bomb when asking it complicated things like "Does social media drive SEO conversions", it can tackle most straightforward requests (data analysts, your job is safe for now!).

Here's 10 questions we asked GA:

What was my traffic last week?

1.png

How many conversions have I received this month?

2.png

When do my visitors mostly convert?

3.png

What % of my users are female?

4.png

What percentage of my users were on safari last year?

5.png

What are my highest converting GOALS?

6.png

Is tablet traffic growing or shrinking?

7.png

Which social network gets me the most visitors

8.png

Which website referrer gets me the most conversions

9.png

Which landing page had the lowest average session duration last month?

10.png

Conclusion:

The Google Analytics voice commands feature is easy to use, and can retrieve most GA data with your voice. It is part of a broader initiative within Google called Analytics Intelligence, which aims to give customers a better understanding of their Google Analytics data. It can save previous data you recently asked. It allows everyone to ask basic questions for themselves, freeing up data analysts to focus on more complex, strategic issues.

GDPR Launching Late May - Does it Affect Me in AU?

Undoubtedly you’ve heard of GDPR and the many 100’s of articles, opinions and comments written about it in the lead up to the launch in 11 days so we at Nimbull wanted to give you a run down on what you need to know.

What Is GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is Europe’s newest iteration of their existing data protection legislation. The already strict data collection and consumer privacy laws across the biggest economies in Europe are only getting stricter.

What Does It Mean?

Simply put, GDPR changes the way consent is gathered from website visitors for tracking their online activity and allowing third party tech on your site to collect and use this information. In the past, if you visited an EU or UK based website you’d see a simple banner at the bottom of the page requesting you to close the banner as acceptance of the website tracking your online activity. What the websites didn’t tell you was the number of other tracking platforms on their site that were also tracking you and building rich profiles about customers. Moving forward, websites will explicitly need to gain approval from the customer and clearly outline how / what data they are collecting and more importantly guide the user to where they can view/download their data and delete the same.

Does It Affect Me In Australia?

Yes and no, whether you’re a global business or even a small retailer in country NSW, its important to understand the GDPR as even if one of your customers is located in the EU then you need to update your information consent policies. For consent solutions you can visit cookiechoices.org, which has examples of consent language and available third party consent solutions.

Recommended Action

Check your records and if you’ve got any customers from the EU or plan to expand to the EU, think through how you will collect consent from users across your sites and apps. You may wish to use your own consent mechanism or one of the solutions listed at cookiechoices.org. Note it is important that any tech vendor you use needs to comply with the GDPR regulation as well. If you allow their tag on your site its your responsibility to understand what information they collect.

In closing, the GDPR is a step in the right direction in providing control back to the consumer over their data but it is seen as providing more power to the large publishers like Facebook, Google and Amazon as users rarely log out of these platforms and visit them across all their devices (tablets, laptops and phones). For the new laws to be successful, the EU government legal teams need to provide greater clarity to smaller publishers, tech companies and companies (retailers, etc) on how they continue to do business without spending thousands of dollars trying to comply with every nuance of the GDPR.

What’s at stake for FB if the senate rolls out their own industry regulation?

The online privacy debate has reached its most intense point to date, culminating in Zuck‘s speech on the hill. Despite tensions running high, this will hopefully deliver a clearer path to necessary user protections over the long term. A lasting balance between all the economic benefits of the commerce generated by digital advertising (needed for business growth and jobs), and also user privacy, is hopefully on the way. 

But perhaps the most impactful moment of Zuck’s testimony was when one senator old enough to be his grandfather said “If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix the privacy invasions, then we are going to have to, we the Congress.” Zucks face reacted as would a teen’s seeing their parents home one day early in the middle of an unauthorised house party! This was for good reason. 

Any abstraction of user data the Congress would regulate would result in a loss in effectiveness for Facebook Ads, which is the companies primary income source. For example, advertisers can now target holiday makers by the number of weeks left before they leave for their holiday. These sorts of “privacy invasions” would likely be first on the chopping block. Less effective ads means less spend on ads. 

Despite defering “to his team” a lot during questioning, Zuck did unbelievably well to answer clearly and not crack under immense pressure. His comments of “it was my mistake, and I’m sorry, I started Facebook and I run it” are an amazing PR crisis management feat. So perfectly scripted, I can see him in his jammies saying it in the mirror. The real art of that statement is that it gives all concerned parties the avenue of focusing their blame on Zuck personally, but also defuses the situation as no one person could realistically oversee the monster complexity of the Facebook machine. 

The mere hint Zuck made about a paid version of Facebook sent stocks soaring up 4.5 percent, the biggest one day gain in 2 years. Regardless of the pressure FB is now facing, they are part of an elite now realistically “too big to fail” and will whether the storm. With social now too important to simply “delete” from our lives, let’s hope the day after the storm looks good for users and businesses alike. 

 

Honey, It Happened Again... DON'T Mess Up Digital These Holidays

With many industries pulling in over 30% of their yearly revenue during the holiday season, it's time to get serious about digital marketing.

 
  • Everything dies off on Dec 18 when shipping won’t get it there by Xmas. Front load your media budgets to Nov and early Dec!

  • Seasonal Industry data! - hit your agency, platforms, tech providers and search engines for relevant tips and market data that can make you shine at Christmas time.

light up digital.gif
  • Who’s covering? Let's face it, there WILL be a shitfight about who’s working on Xmas eve, Christmas day and especially NYE and NYD. The earlier you rope in that recently joined unsuspecting junior the better. He may feel better about waking up on a random couch on new year’s day faced with reactivating campaigns from his blurry iPhone.

  • Hard to reach account managers get even harder to reach. That Search Engine rep who takes 4 days getting back to you at the best of times has probably already told you to get in all your questions by Dec 8 when he’s flying home to London or Delhi. It’s now or nineteenth of Jan!

xmas digital am.jpg

 

  • Fight the lure of generic Xmas strategies like buying high volume keywords like “Christmas gift”. If it hasn’t worked 5 Christmases in a row what makes you think this one's gonna be any different.

  • Christmas skin? We’re not talking about that tasty layer of fat you only eat on Dec 25th every year (right?).

digital cooking.gif

Put a touch of Christmas on all your landing pages and promotions. You don’t need to skin your whole website with reindeer and frolicking elves. Something as simple as a little Santa hat on the corner of a website frame will demonstrate credibility, brand tone and can boost average session duration and conversion rates. A silly Santa meme on Dec 24th sent via Hootsuite could make that unrealistic LIKES target your boss set last January a reality. You may even get a Xma$$$ bonus. Better than a 1 year membership to the jelly of the month club!

digital bonus

 

  • “Last 30 days” data ain’t gonna cut it. Get proactive about Device and ad scheduling to meet the “out and about” nature of the holidays. This will vary by industry but you can count on conversion rates spiking in retail and mobile being key between Xmas and NYE. Mobile bid multipliers or routing all your budget to “mobile only” can help you crush competitors on platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Shopping, Bing Ads and Adroll.

  • Shake off that hangover and have a look at what actually happened. Looking at y/y data 11 months from now will not be as effective as doing some custom reporting to assess wins and loses of this years Xmas campaign. Set a calendar invite on Oct 15 to look at the data again and kick-start Xmas planning once again.

Don’t be a Griswold these holidays! Your jolly Nimbull digital marketer is here to help!