By Mike Flynn
A property marketing plan incorporates similar fundamentals and structure whether it is a plan for a land, townhouse, apartment or a retirement living project. A great marketing plan will have buy-in and contain insights from the entire project team with the marketer ultimately creating and driving it.
The plan documents how the marketer, with the assistance of the project team, will create a project brand and generate, nurture and qualify leads for the sales team to convert.
What makes a property marketing plan?
Regardless of the scale or type of project, the structure of a property marketing plan will incorporate:
- Research and insights
- Objectives and reporting
- Lead generation, nurture and qualification initiatives
- Conversion initiatives
- Post sales marketing initiatives.
The deliverables of each may vary depending on the project size, budget, resource allocation or timing. Here are seven best practices that can assist with creating a comprehensive property marketing plan.
1. Research your market
Invest the time to conduct market research to have a clear understanding of:
- Who the market is
- What product, price and amenities they are looking for
- Who the competitors are, what they are marketing and how they are communicating it.
Data on buyer segments can be researched from census reports, council websites, statistical sites and property listing and data sites.
- Market breadth and depth
- Local property market
- Competitor analysis
- Buyer segments – First home buyers, upgraders, down-sizers, retirees or investors
- Demographic and family profiles
- Potential influencers – Family and friends
- Financial budgets.
Qualitative research is advantageous. It can assist with understanding market acceptance of product and pricing and provide clues to market segments. Visit competitor events, mystery shop projects, audit external signage, review competitor social networks and conduct buyer focus groups.
- Number of competitors within a radius to the project
- Product and price points
- Recent sales
- Project features
- Market segments
- Project positioning
- Marketing and sales channels.
2. Project branding
A project’s brand represents the essence or vision of what is being developed both conceptually and creatively.
The project brand communicates:
- Type and scale of the project
- Positioning to competitors
- Key proposition
- How it will resonate emotionally and rationally with purchasers
- The type of residents and their lifestyle
- The project as an extension to the developer brand
- The legacy and contribution to urban design.
Invest in a brand vision workshop. Encourage the project team to participate and use an external or neutral marketing or creative resource to facilitate. The workshop will help focus the creative process and highlight the targeted buyers, positioning, key proposition and segmented messaging.
3. Property marketing plan objectives
Setting clear and measurable property marketing objectives provides focus for the project team and highlights areas where the team can assist marketing to achieve these results. Consider setting monthly, quarterly and life of project objectives.
- Projected leads and conversion rates
- Projected leads for each market segment
- Projected referral and loyalty leads and sales
- Projected cost per lead and sales
- Projected leads and sales through each channel and campaign type.
4. Lead generation
Successful lead generation strategies have a clear understanding of:
- Problems buyers are trying to solve i.e. Location, product, price and lifestyle
- Channels buyers use to search and engage with
- Buyer’s influencers i.e. Family and friends
- Expected number of leads from campaign and maintenance periods.
Marketing a project launch
Break a project launch into 3 simple phases:
- Pre-launch – Expression of interest
- Launch – Go to market
- Post launch – Ongoing campaign and maintenance periods.
Set lead targets, time frames and key activities for each phase.
- What key activities are needed to attract both primary and secondary markets?
- What brand, location, lifestyle and retail messages will resonate with each market segment?
- What information can be supplied to support purchase triggers and counteract purchase barriers?
Marketing channels for property projects
Projects will have multiple buyer profiles living in diverse locations and who search and consume information differently. Tailor marketing channels and messaging to these profiles. Remember, one approach does not fit all.
Use a combination of bought and owned channels to communicate brand, retail and lifestyle messaging and make it relevant for earned media type channels to distribute.
- Bought media – Print, digital, radio, television and signage
- Owned media – Websites, email, CRM, blogs and social networks
- Earned media – PR and social media.
Have a clear understanding of the primary and secondary enquiry sources. Tailor budgets and strategies around these insights and continue optimising.
Tracking and measuring leads
Analytics and marketing automation CRM plug-ins can track and rank leads created through digital campaigns.
The use of multiple phone numbers, email addresses and URLs can be effective in tracking leads from traditional channels such as project signage or advertising.
5. Lead qualifying and nurturing to ensure a successful property marketing plan
Maximise return on investment with database strategies targeted to each market segment.
A great way to start is by facilitating a customer journey workshop with the project team and map out the purchasing journey for each buyer profile:
- What problems are buyers solving throughout the purchase journey?
- What purchase triggers do they have and what can support these triggers?
- What purchase barriers do they have and what can help overcome these issues?
- How do buyers want to receive brand, retail and campaign communications and when?
- Who does the purchaser trust to provide the information? Marketing, sales or fellow purchasers?
Customer Relationship Management system
A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is the project’s hub.
As well as being a record of enquiries and purchases, for the marketer, it creates sales and marketing insights for reporting, strategy and database communications.
The key to a great CRM is capturing the right information:
- Catchment areas
- Purchase triggers and barriers
- Budget, product and timing requirements
- Buyer profiles – First home buyer, investor, upgrader, downsizer, retiree
- Demographic profiles – Family structure, and cultural background
- Influencers – Family and friends
- Lifestyle requirements
- Capturing enquiry sources and tracking database communications, a CRM can highlight the effectiveness of database strategies and help optimises future marketing initiatives.
Creating a great CRM takes time, effort and money. If possible, own it and control it. If a third party manages it, ensure there is complete visibility and access.
Marketing can support the Sales team with conversion strategies that provide purchasers with extra layers of confidence in their decision-making, reasons for repeat visitation or provide answers to final queries.
Specific strategies to assist conversion could be a mixture of:
- Testimonies from purchasers and residents
- Customer experience and product survey results
- Tailored events – i.e. Finance workshops or residents meet and greet
- Tailored retail campaigns – i.e. Stamp duty or landscaping rebates.
7. Post purchase
The objectives to a successful post purchase strategy is to maximise opportunities for:
- Repeat and referral sales
- Future project leads
- Insights for future projects.
To achieve these, buyers must remain satisfied and happy with their purchase, sales process and customer service experience. A happy purchaser will become your best marketer and maybe your cheapest cost per lead and sale for future projects. A successful post purchase strategy is about communication and engagement.
- Project and product construction updates
- Tailored events
- Community news
- Community building events
- Project inspections and tours
- New project updates
- Welcome gifts
- Local area information packs
- These 7 best practices will provide focus in developing, reviewing and optimising property marketing plans.
Remember that the plan should naturally evolve throughout the life of the project with a better understanding of market insights and product and price acceptance.
Mike Flynn is the Principal and Property Marketing Consultant for Matisse Communications. He has spent 18 years in marketing leadership, communications
and consultancy within the property industry. Throughout a career from national developers to smaller private businesses, he has launched and marketed retail, land, housing, apartment and retirement living projects across Australia.