Like most industries, real estate faced significant disruption from a global pandemic. While it ultimately led to a flurry of residential activity in the suburbs – particularly Fairfield County, Conn. and New York’s Hudson Valley – many industry sectors are faced with restarting their marketing campaigns after pulling back significantly or even going dark.
While you can’t expect to rebuild a full-scale real estate marketing program overnight, there are timely opportunities worth seizing – and creative workarounds for some of the barriers social distancing presents.
Think virtually – tours, town hall meetings and more
COVID-19 didn’t stop leases from expiring and residents from seeking new surroundings. As we saw in many suburban communities neighboring New York City, it actually spurred a sellers’ market. During the peak of lockdown, many realtors embraced virtual open houses to help market their listings. Today, as new multifamily communities come to market and property managers look to secure new commercial tenants, this virtual mindset is a must.
Can you stage a model unit in your new apartment building and film a tour and/or Q&A with the developer from inside the unit? Is there a well-known community member who can give residents tips on the best places to eat, shop and enjoy the outdoors? And, would they will be willing to do an Instagram live for you – or record a short video for your email marketing?
Consumers’ have long demanded experiences as part of the sales process. And, while it may not be realistic to host a large-scale event with many attendees, there is great opportunity to deliver those coveted experiences virtually.
PS – Don’t forget about town halls and community forums. If you’re bracing to break ground on a new project, the community surely has questions. Transparency and relationships are lynchpins of effective marketing, so consider hosting your forums and meetings on Zoom instead of opting to cancel.
Double down on thought leadership
The way people do business has been forever changed by COVID-19 – and there are more changes to come. This is an opportunity for CEOs and other members of the executive leadership team to make their voices heard. When executed strategically and consistently, thought leadership campaigns can give organizations a competitive advantage. Now is the time to be visible, add value, build customer loyalty and assure stakeholders that your brand is here to stay. Webinars, virtual roundtables, expert articles, podcasts…many opportunities await you.
People do business with people, and that has becoming increasingly apparent as everyone has weathered the impact of COVID-19. Let your longtime tenants know how much you appreciate their loyalty. Thank your buyers – and the people who referred them. Acknowledge support the community has given to your redevelopment project. Celebrate the people who have helped you pivot. Silence is far from golden these days. Let your stakeholders know that you are open for business, ready to help and invested in their success.
Scrub your lists
Do you have a new business offering that was born during the pandemic? Are you targeting a new audience with your services? Have you enhanced your offerings, particularly related to health and safety, in response to the pandemic? These are all important things for your stakeholders to know – current clients, prospects, lost bids, strategic partners and so on. And, they all require an up-to-date database.
Understanding the value proposition you bring to businesses in what some are calling the “new normal” is critically important, as is making sure that message gets in front of the right audiences. Take the time to scrub your lists and update your records in order to effectively seize this opportunity.
Understand your clients’ changing needs
Perhaps your tenant has transitioned to a hybrid in-person and remote workforce. Maybe your ground floor restaurant now needs more patio space or an area for a retail marketplace. It could also be time for your former buyer to turn their vacation home into their primary residence.
Understanding how the pandemic has impacted your clients – and how you can better serve them, as a result – is a significant business advantage. “Set it and forget it” marketing has never been a best practice and coming across tone-deaf during these times can be downright damaging to a brand. Take the time to truly understand the value your clients are seeking and craft the right messages to convey what value you can deliver.
While the days of packed elevators and in-person launch parties are behind us for the foreseeable future, the need to communicate with stakeholders remains at the forefront. As you refine your real estate marketing for a COVID – and post-COVID – world, remain mindful of what has changed in the industry, how clients are doing business these days and the best ways to add value – not clutter.