4 Effective Strategies for Managing Your Real Estate Business Amid COVID-19
We live in a digital age where access to the internet is easier than ever before and anyone can go online to find information on just about every topic out there. This, coupled with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, has discouraged many from leaving their homes which has had a sizable impact on all industries, particularly real estate.
With people now looking to find the solution to all their problems online, it is a good time for realtors to adapt to the digital needs of their clientele. In this blog post, we present some effective strategies on how you can manage your real estate business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Build an online presence using the social media
Social media is a great platform for marketing that is used by businesses across all industries. For real estate business owners, social media platforms provide an opportunity to reach out to and engage with large audiences, rather than just sending pictures or videos to individuals who ask for them.
Here is a quick guide on how to build your online presence:
- Find the social networks that your target audience prefers the most and set up your business accounts on those platforms. This depends on various factors such as who your audience is and where they live. A good method of finding out which social networks to target is to take a look at top competitors and see which ones they are most active on.
- Make sure you regularly update your social profiles with the latest listings and news. This is particularly important because amid COVID-19, most people now look to the websites and social pages of realtors to search for properties that they are looking to buy or rent.
- Join Pinterest, the image-centric social network, and create boards with pictures of your property listings. For realtors particularly, the visual element in your listings is important because your customers cannot do property visits during the pandemic and Pinterest helps with that. A lot of people browse through Pinterest when they are looking to purchase something and this makes it a good, free method of marketing your listings. Here’s an example of how Zillow, a real estate marketing company, maintains and showcases its property on Pinterest.
Be sure to use high-quality, professional photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. This is a quote everyone’s heard once in their life but in the real estate business, it makes so much more sense. You can never describe property as well as you can show it and this is the reason high-quality, professional photographs can be the make-or-break factor for your real estate business when you go online. In 2019, a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors concluded that 87% of people found pictures to be the most useful when searching for property online.
But what you need to be careful of is to make sure that you don’t use blurry, low-quality photos that were taken with your phone. You want to leave the impression that you are a professional and since you cannot actually meet-and-greet with your customers, the best way to achieve that is through the photographs you share and use. Customers are much more likely to remember you (and even get in touch with you) after they see a breathtaking picture that you shared of one of your properties than a blurry picture with a bad angle taken from your phone.
Our recommendation is that you either hire a professional photographer to help you out or get yourself a good camera and learn some editing skills to showcase your listings. The goal is to take amazing pictures of your property that answer all the questions that you normally get as a realtor (like how big is the bathroom, are there tiles installed, what is the front view like). Once you have the pictures, share them on your social pages and use them in your digital marketing material for better chances of conversion.
Create beautiful flyers and distribute them online
Distributing flyers online is a proven strategy for advertising real estate listings. The good thing about flyers is that they allow you to show all the relevant information in a compact space which helps you earn the attention of your customers. Think of it like this: what do my customers need to know when they are searching for a property? This can include:
- Where is the property?
- How big is the property? How many rooms/bathrooms?
- Can I see/have a tour of the property?
You can answer all of these questions and do much more with a single flyer which is what makes them a powerful tool for real estate marketing. On top of that, who doesn’t love a beautifully designed flyer that gives you all the information you need at a glance? Not just this, for realtors, it is also a great tool because flyers are remarkably simple and economical to produce as well.
With the help of graphic design tools like PosterMyWall, you can design your own flyer in a few simple steps as described below:
- Choose a design that you like from the wide variety of flyer templates available at PosterMyWall.
- Add in professional photographs and even videos to your flyers using the drag-and-drop interface. Using pictures and videos can help you capture the audience’s attention when they look at the flyer.
- Change the information so that it is relevant to your property listing/real estate business and customize the design in any way that you want. Be sure to add in your contact information and links to your social media so customers can easily find you.
- Save the changes and export your design. That is it, all you need to do now is to share and advertise your flyer on your social media and website.
Offer a virtual tour
Real estate businesses, like many others, heavily rely on customer interactions to generate sales and market what they are selling i.e. property. Open houses, walkthroughs, and one-on-one meetings are all common interaction methods for realtors but most of these are no longer possible. This is partly due to the pandemic and partly because the younger, tech-savvy generations prefer digital means of exploring and consuming content. Because of this, virtual tours have started becoming quite popular among realtors.
Virtual tours are one of the recent developments in the industry and they allow clients to view and explore a site exactly like they would in real life. They can move around in the ‘virtual’ location, see what they want, and decide whether they like the property or not – all without having to leave the sofa at their house. The convenience and appeal to the younger generation coupled with the benefit that customers no longer need to risk exposure to the coronavirus make virtual tours a great addition to any realtor’s arsenal.
Most real estate agents typically avoid virtual tours because they feel that it needs high-end, complicated software and photography equipment to build one. But that is no longer true because technology has advanced so much, you can build your own virtual tour with an online tool and a panoramic/360-degree camera.
Here is a simple guide on how you can get started with your own virtual tours for your real estate properties:
- Plan out how the virtual tour will look like. To do this, make a list of every room and site that you want to include. Think of it like you are giving a physical tour to a client and list down everything that you normally cover would in that tour.
- Stand in the middle of the room or location you want to create a tour of and capture each feature of the room using a camera. Alternatively, take a panorama so that the entire 360-view of the room or location is covered. Make sure that you have adequate lighting when taking the pictures (ideally, take them during the daytime).
- Save the pictures to your computer or laptop and label them adequately so that it is clear which picture belongs to which room. For example, you can label the photographs ‘Bedroom’, ‘Lounge’, and so forth.
- Next, find a virtual tour builder that you can use to easily create the tour. We recommend trying out the tool MatterPort that is quite popular among realtors. If you are looking for a free alternative, then you can check out Google’s Tour Creator.
- Upload pictures to the tool and generate the virtual tour. Once done, you can now share it on your social media, website, or even add it to your flyers in the form of a video.
You can preview an excellent example of a real estate virtual tour from Melbourne Real Estate that was made using Google’s Tour Creator here.
Think of it as an opportunity, not a challenge
The COVID-19 pandemic might have stopped or limited traditional methods of real estate marketing and sales but it has brought rise to the world of digital marketing for realtors. With the strategies that we have shared in this blog post, you can take the edge over your competitors and start reaching out to larger and wider audiences than ever before by taking your real estate business online.