WalkTrue Whitepaper - Property Marketing Sucks

The marketing report from WalkTrue with some tips and tricks on how to do it better.

We break down all the latest stats and trends in the property industry and what it means for the future of marketing. Its full of facts, tips, advice and is totally free…our gift to you.

Check it out and win big on your next marketing project!

Marketing Trends

With digital natives like Millennials making up a large portion of current home buyers, it’s no surprise that 92% of people now use the internet to begin their house hunting. Buyers are now browsing social media for property in a way that we have never seen before. Content such as videos, podcasts and immersive experiences remain the key factor in growing brand awareness, sales portfolio and development projects in the digital world.

The property industry is not immune to the consumer desire for regular compelling, relevant and informative content and a website is no longer enough.

Engaging, high quality images are a necessity for both residential and commercial listings. As people get used to higher quality images, even from their phones, the dark, grainy images used by some agents will no longer cut it.

Did they ever?

The property industry must offer beautifully lit, artistic images to stand out. People from every demographic are much more likely to interact with aesthetically pleasing property listings. Creative, cinematic, lifestyle-led shots offer the best way to stand out.

Listings which evoke a sense of place and are created with the customer journey in mind will see the most enquiries and the quickest sales. Upgrading your visuals with interactive overlays or similar is another way to keep your marketing ahead of the game.

We’re seeing a surge in the use of immersive technologies, especially as 82% of companies implementing AR/VR say that the benefits exceeded their expectations.

Architects and developers were quicker to embrace new technologies like CGI and VR. Early adopters have seen the benefits of adding more realistic and easy to understand visuals to their funding and planning pitches, and offering investors more engaging imagery.

Going forward we expect this trend to ripple out through the property industry at large as real estate professionals see the conversion rates and successes of those already leveraging this powerful medium.

Let’s cut to the chase; most property marketing is lacking and real estate is behind the times but we’ve got the facts, figures and know how to help every area of the real estate industry do better.

The future of property marketing infographic

Residential

Ah, Brexit! The promising growth followed by concerning slumps and many contradictory reports has created a lot of uncertainty which has taken its toll on the property industry.

While the large question mark remains as to how the economy will be affected post-Brexit many home-buyers are holding off until they feel more secure in their investments.

In a tough climate, trust building and innovation in marketing are key ways to keep property businesses afloat.

We say: don’t claim to have all the answers

Millennials now make up a large portion of home-buyers and are changing the face of the residential property market.

Contrary to their avocado toast and irresponsiblity image many millennials are not only prepared to renovate their own homes, but also more aware of the costs and work involved in doing so.

This knowledge makes them more open to picking up a bargain property which needs some work. However it may make it harder to sell more complex properties which may have a few red flags.

Successfully target these buyers with new sub-categories such as “bargain buys to make your own” and consider teaming up with DIY-centred businesses to offer advice and ideas specifically for this market.

We say: show millennial buyers that you get them

CGI image of a proposed residential property called Highwood House. Front elevation and garden with aston martin in the driveway

Additionally, this new generation of buyers are undertaking extensive research before even speaking to an agent. This offers an opportunity to begin building brand association and trust through targeted adverts.

The role of agents is also changing, with buyers no longer wanting property suggestions but industry insider knowledge of up and coming neighbourhoods and which properties stand to gain value in the coming years.

Another key role of modern estate agents is offering guidance around negotiations, inspections and other industry specific areas.

To bring in these savvy customers pivot your marketing towards your own expertise, experience and in depth knowledge of the industry. Companies like Savills have been creating in-depth property market reports for years but now need to demonstrate how that information impacts their marketing.

We say: show off your skills

Eco-credentials are the new topic where stats beat chat and with the UK DECC stating that property values can be enhanced by up to 40% by undertaking energy-efficient alterations, eco is definitely not just a fad. With design no longer being compromised for sustainability and the average eco-home cutting energy bills by 30%, many buyers see an eco-friendly home as a long term, worthwhile investment.

Including recommendations for eco-improvements in marketing for older residential properties is a great way to combine the eco-trend with the home-improvements generation we mentioned earlier to maximise profits and sale speed.

We say: planet-saving is profitable

Solutions that don’t suck

Small and freelance estate agents must embrace new technologies and the changing face of our industry.

Accept your new role as an industry expert and adviser to buyers; invest your time in further local research and industry trends to ensure you are indispensable to your clients.

Larger property businesses should consider hiring innovative marketing specialists who can offer tailored solutions for each individual project.

Luxury property, off-plan and large scale developments always benefit from a cohesive marketing strategy which combines traditional marketing with all the benefits that social media, video and VR can bring.

Data driven campaigns that use hard stats to create the most compelling marketing material while directing the customer journey are where it’s at. Think a video which leads to a website which triggers interest in downloading the brochure, which in turn hosts a virtual reality.

Well researched, targeted and perfectly executed marketing like this has maximum impact on buyers from all demographics.

Different pages of the pinnacle real estate development marketing brochure including logo and CGI image

Case study - The Pinnacle

Meadway Homes knew that selling 5 luxury apartments, off-plan, in the heart of Esher needed a creative, modern take on property marketing.

The Pinnacle, just moments from the very centre of town but benefiting from its own landscaped garden and parking, required a full suite of marketing collateral to secure early sales.

The final package was process driven and looks to guide interested parties from initial interest to contacting the developer team. With a full Virtual Reality walk through, floor plans, brochure, website, location video and CGI’s, the project was a huge success and also won ‘Best Apartment’ at The International Property Awards 2018.

Fulham Road London CGI showing three store fronts combined into one in light grey

Commercial

For investors and developers, the trend is towards local storage facilities and large-scale warehouses as the likes of Amazon continue their bid for world domination. With more shopping conducted online than ever before, and those numbers continuing to grow, commercial storage will become increasingly valuable, especially as there remains an extreme supply shortage in the market.

CGI offers an ideal way to sell projects like this to planning departments, allowing them to truly understand scale and design alongside just how it would look in the local landscape.

We say: storage spaces are sexy

Co-working spaces are another key trend for both now and the future. According to projections there will be some 22,400 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of 2019 and the global market value of flexible work-spaces is estimated at an approximate $26 billion. This provides a promising opportunity for developers and investors looking for a guaranteed return.

We say: individualism breeds community

Another key area to consider for commercial property is health care complexes. An ageing population means nursing homes are already unable to meet the demand and, according to the UN, by 2050, the number of people over 60 will grow to 2.1bn.

We say: supply and demand, baby

Solutions that don’t suck

Leveraging cutting edge technology like VR during the design process allows for testing and refining of storage design and workflows within warehouse systems. VRE helps potential investors to understand the efficiency of the design before a brick has been laid.

A VRE pitch enables demonstrations of how employees or machines would navigate the space, move stock, and how long each task would take, offering an incomparable way to sell your plan. This can also be re-purposed nearer to completion to sell the spaces themselves, saving you money while offering an engaging, gold standard marketing experience.

Consider societal trends when deciding on your next project; ageing populations and the growth of online shopping are changing the face of commercial property.

Prioritise making energy-efficient modifications to any development.

While certainly a selling point for residential property, the UK aims to produce net zero carbon emissions by 2050 so commercial property will also need to be sustainable.

Cutting edge technology can help to bring in more investors to projects like this by making plans and ideas tangible. Including VR or CGI in a proposal allows you to target investors who may be passionate about eco-friendly projects but are not experts in property.

CGI image showing the proposed design for the Sofitel Hotel restaurant in Brussels

Case study - Vision

Connaught Investments wanted a hotel refurbishment bringing to life. It was essential to ensure the large and varied stakeholders were on the same page before they started the project.

Due to the presentation being in another country and the many interested parties who would need to review the content in their own time, we advised that 360 stills would work better than a full walk-through.

Viewing photo-real images of the proposed lobby/atrium, bar and restaurant, including all the bespoke furniture, wall murals, signage and finishes allowed the investors to see who the hotel would attract in terms of clientele, why it would appeal to them and, most importantly, understand how that would translate to a great return on their investment.

The finalised images are of such quality that they are also being utilised on the client’s website to promote the new space.

Kuwait Cultural Centre Entrance Lobby

Architects

As with residential and commercial property, including eco-features is becoming an ever more important part of building design but the architects who really stand out are those who use those features as design elements.

The demand for buildings whose main selling point is their sustainability has already created a number of memorable designs and we can’t wait to see how this area of the property industry continues to grow and challenge traditional design concepts.

We say: green is the new black

High rise is still big business, especially in already packed cities, so finding ways to build up while not compromising safety, sustainability or style remains a challenge for modern day architects. Fortunately with continuing advances in both building techniques and design methods architects are given more scope for innovation and creativity and are freer than ever to let their imaginations run wild, bringing more mind-blowing, awe-inspiring buildings into the world.

We say: let’s all get high

Solutions that don’t suck

Continue making the best use of technology both in the planning stages and beyond. The ability to make changes in a virtual environment allows for more freedom and testing at every stage of the design process.

For architects who enjoy pushing boundaries, there is no better way to find where the line is than experiencing your design as you conceive it.

When working with a developer, the 3D models used during the design process can save not only money, but time and complications during construction but can also be adapted for marketing. Adding these virtual experiences to your website, listings or digital brochures and using stills from them across all your marketing materials allows you to sell off-plan and begin recouping your costs even sooner.

Handdrawn design sketch and final CGI image

Case study - Project Hem

The private client behind Project Hem employed Purcell architects to construct an outstanding and unconventional family home in Chelsea. The whole team understood the time and money saving potential of VR and wanted to make the most of the technology.

Turning the myriad of technical drawings into an experiential environment allowed the client to test various design ideas virtually before making a final choice to execute on site.

We also modelled the client’s furniture so the model could be used for the furniture, fixtures, and equipment placement process allowing a smooth removal day.

The innovative and futuristic design also went on to win an award as Best Residential Project in London at the United Kingdom Property Awards and, most importantly, is now home to a fantastic family who were able to turn their wildest dreams into a stunning reality.

Conclusion

Simple questions and innovative solutions are the name of the game. Ask yourself “how do we reach the customers?” and follow the facts to implement marketing strategies that actually work.

Tech, data, and the merging of online and offline worlds will only continue to snowball in the short and long term. Whether the old school property industry accepts it or not, both residential and commercial buyers will gravitate towards those embracing the changing face of the property industry.

Property marketing sucks; let’s bring it into the 21st century