Differentiating yourself from the competition is a must for every business, but it’s especially crucial in a market as saturated and evolving as real estate. Real estate developers are faced with plenty of unique challenges when it comes to brand differentiation. What do I bring to the table versus my competition? How do I make sure the right home builders and/or homebuyers see my development? How can I get my customer base to see my vision from a simple dirt lot?
Answering these questions effectively sets the foundation for your real estate development marketing campaign, but as you’ve likely already realized, those answers are not straightforward. You can’t answer those questions half-heartedly and expect to stand out from your competitors.
It takes time and effort to develop and implement an effective real estate marketing strategy that proves you are the only developer for the job. From reaching the correct audience to tracking necessary key performance indicators, there are so many pieces of the puzzle that go into a successful marketing campaign.
If you’re looking to improve your existing marketing tactics, or if you want to rebuild your campaign from scratch, this guide to real estate development marketing will help you create a foundation to build your brand on. Let’s get started!
A crucial first step that too many real estate developers miss when constructing a marketing campaign is identifying the correct buyer personas and target audiences. Think about it for a minute — everything you do from a marketing perspective must be tailored to your specific audience if you want results.
You could construct a virtually perfect campaign that accomplishes all of the necessary steps of real estate marketing, but if it’s targeted at the wrong group of people, all of your hard work will be for naught.
Your logo design, mission statement, email communications, content creation, and so much more are all dependent on the people actually buying from you. First-time home buyers, young professionals, and empty nesters are almost certainly looking for different places to live, and it’s your job to identify which real estate target audience fits your development.
Before continuing, it’s important to understand something: personas and target audiences are not the same. While they might complement one another, you must identify both to ensure your scope and messaging are as effective as possible.
- Target audience — A group of people at which your development is aimed at.
- Buyer persona — A specific buyer within that group of people.
Identifying your specific target audience allows your work to be seen by the correct people who will actually purchase from you.
From there, building your buyer personas lets you take a deeper dive into the daily lives of your target audience and understand the exact problems you are trying to solve to make their lives better.
Identifying Real Estate Target Audiences
With that understanding in place, it’s time to identify your specific real estate target audience. Though audiences can bleed into each other, there are typically three real estate target audiences to consider as a developer:
- First-Time Buyers — The youngest of the three target markets, first-time homebuyers are making the jump from renting to buying. Because of this massive life decision, staying on budget is typically one of their highest priorities.
- Move-Up Buyers — After owning a house for at least a few years, these homebuyers are ready to move onto their next house. They’ve come to the realization that they need more space for a growing family, making size and space some of their highest priorities.
- Active Adults — Also referred to as “empty nesters,” these homebuyers are ready to downsize after their kids have moved out of the house. They value living space and sophistication more than the overall size and number of bedrooms.
You can learn more about the importance of identifying your real estate target audience by reading our full article.
With a target audience of specific buyers in place, the next step is building your buyer persona(s). There can be multiple personas within a target audience who are at a similar stage in their life while still facing different challenges.
Relating to each persona individually allows you to adhere to their unique needs. Here are six steps to take to help you identify and create your personas.
- Name and Picture — The first step in building your real estate persona is giving them a name and picture. Because personas are semi-fictional, actually putting a name and face to the people you are selling to makes them more human and places them into a specific target market, i.e. Empty Nester Neil or Millennial Mary.
- Description — Now it’s time to tell a small story about the person’s stage in life, how they got here, and what they are looking for. This can include everything from education and work experience to lifestyle and hobbies, all of which relate to the type of property they are looking to purchase.
3. Needs and Goals — Here is where you start to map out the reasons this person is looking to buy a home, what their specific needs are, and how you solve those needs. When addressing needs and goals, consider the daily lives of your persona — what keeps them up at night? What are some ways that your development can decrease stress in their lives?
4. Demographics — Demographic descriptions put some figures behind the person that is being created. Think about their income, age, family size, current location, and other metrics that make them your perfect buyer.
5. Quote — Just like adding a memorable name to your persona, giving them a quote humanizes them beyond just a fictional character. This quote should include aspects from the previous three points and represent who they are as a person and the role that plays in the homebuying process.
6. Technology Usage and Media Consumption — The final piece to ensuring that you relate to your persona is actually being able to reach them in the most effective way. Different audiences use different forms of technology and media, and it’s crucial to understand what your persona uses to ensure they are seeing your brand.
Buyer personas are a critical part of creating a foundation for your real estate development marketing. To dive into each of the six steps further, read our entire guide to building real estate personas.
Think about some of the most memorable brands you know and we’re willing to bet that their logo is the first thing that comes to mind. Brand logos are often the first thing that your buyers see, and when done correctly, they create lasting impressions that stick in their minds.
From website design to marketing playbooks, this logo serves as the cornerstone for so many things you do throughout a campaign. Add in the fact that it creates brand loyalty and trust with your buyers and it’s easy to see just how important your real estate logo is.
There’s a reason we tell you to lock down your target audience and personas before creating a logo — different audiences can (and should) influence your design.
Whereas millennial and tech-savvy buyers may find modern, striking designs more appealing, empty nesters might remember something more traditional. Identify your buyer, then remember these five components of a memorable real estate logo.
- Unique — Great logos can’t be replicated. If a company tries to build its logo solely off an existing logo, people will notice and immediately discredit it. Make sure your logo stands out from the crowd, introduces your brand, and does things that other developers are not.
- Simple — While you should get creative with your logo design, it’s important to know when that creativity impacts the logo’s effectiveness. Cluttered logos take away from your brand and make you look unprofessional, especially in an industry as sophisticated as real estate development.
- Timeless — Great logos pass the test of time and continue to be the cornerstone of companies throughout various rebrands. Consider opting against overly trendy fonts and designs as those could become overused within a couple of years.
- Relevant — When designing your logo, you want people to understand exactly what you do even if they’re not looking for it. Real estate logos can incorporate designs specific to the industry in a creative way that makes you stand out.
- Versatile — Logos look different in different sizes. While it may be clear to make out a unique background design on a large billboard, that unique element could get lost on smaller prints. Consider this when designing your logo to ensure it is effective in all uses.
Read Milesbrand’s entire guide to real estate development logos here to learn more about how to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.
Embarking on a marketing campaign without understanding the destination is as useful as showing up to the airport without a plane ticket — you aren’t going anywhere, and on the off-chance you do land a ticket, you aren’t prepared for the results.
Constructing a real estate vision statement is a critical component of any successful marketing campaign, as it provides attainable goals you can target as a developer. This vision statement can be used to communicate your goals to customers, partners, investors, and your internal team members.
This combination of internal motivation towards the same long-term goals and external communication about what customers can expect in the future makes vision statements one of the most important aspects of any real estate development marketing strategy.
Here are three tips to remember when creating your unique vision statement:
- Build a list that focuses on long-term priorities and goals
- Investigate competitors’ vision statements to identify how your goals differ
- Consider both internal and external value in terms of messaging
Vision statements should be an authentic representation of where you want to be as a developer at a certain point in the future. Read our article on real estate vision statements for further instruction on each of the three tips and why they matter when creating your vision statement.
Many companies fall into the common misconception that vision and mission statements are one and the same, but that is entirely untrue.
Whereas vision statements show where you see yourself in the future, mission statements outline the steps you are taking to achieve your vision; they’re the process to the promise.
In a market as emotional as real estate, it’s crucial to relate to your buyers on a personal level. Just like vision statements, mission statements have internal and external benefits that you should keep in mind during brainstorming.
While the main benefits of the vision statement and brand promise are evident during external communication, mission statements are more useful internally. The fact of the matter is that many buyers care less about how you achieve your vision statement (and fulfill the promises you made to them) and more about the end result.
Because of this, mission statements often find their value internally. When team members understand not just what the end goal is, but also the individual steps you are taking as a collective unit to achieve those goals, overall alignment and motivation increases.
Mission statements still provide plenty of external value to your buyers by showcasing that you have a plan intact that will help you achieve your goals. Additionally, buyers benefit from aligned and motivated internal team members, further increasing the importance of communicating your mission statement within your organization.
When crafted with the care they deserve, mission statements are a powerful tool that real estate developers can take advantage of while building their marketing foundation. Learn more about real estate mission statements in our full guide today.
Finally, it’s time to connect all these pieces of a sound marketing foundation to create a real estate value proposition that accomplishes our initial goal — differentiating yourself from the competition.
Value propositions are a concise way to convince customers that they should choose you instead of various other competitors vying for their business. In real estate development, an expertly crafted value proposition allows you to relate to your clientele on an emotional level, which can be the difference between winning and losing a deal.
Not only does a good value proposition show your audience and buyers that you relate to them better than any other developer, it also helps further develop your brand voice and create lasting impressions in the public eye.
Among other things, a great value proposition:
- Shows buyers that you intimately understand their specific pain points
- Clearly explains how you answer those pains
- Communicates what separates you from competitors
All of the previous steps must be in place before you can construct an effective real estate value proposition, so use what you have already created to your advantage. To learn more about the specifics of real estate value propositions, read our full article.
TAKE THE NEXT STEPS
Here at Milesbrand, real estate development marketing and brand creation is what we do best. If you’re ready to take your marketing efforts and brand identity to the next level, our team is ready to help! Reach out to us today to get started.