Working in a luxury market like ours in Southwest Florida offers some unique challenges. Selling high-end properties, especially when the housing market cools off, requires strict adherence to carefully designed online marketing strategies. To succeed, we’ve had to market our listings and ourselves with precision.
Our team has learned that most high-net-worth individuals will not overlook the evaluation of our expertise. They have to be this way. The last thing they want is an amateur putting their interests at risk. The simple reality is that a misstep on a multi-million-dollar deal can get complicated and expensive very quickly. Luxury buyers and sellers must insist on working with experts.
To ensure that they’ve found an expert, they won’t be shy when it comes to interrogating us on our experience. “What’s the most expensive home you’ve sold this year?” Often we get, “Do you live on Marco Island?” Customers ask us this for two reasons. It corroborates or validates our statements about our town and it confirms that we’re at least successful enough to buy a home here.
We teach new team members to prepare to be grilled by luxury customers. In fact, we include personal questions like this in our script practice. Beyond direct questioning, our agents also know that their customers will look for any information they can find online to gain insight into their capabilities. This means that our LinkedIn pages, our Facebook pages, our Tweets, all must be carefully considered.
We’ve had to tell more than one agent to take down an “unsavory” photo. That photo of you drunk at your cousin’s wedding will not inspire confidence and will probably take a serious toll on your production. It’s essential that every effort we make conveys competence and skill. Today we will browse through a few ways our team ensures that our online personas deliver the appropriate message. We’ll also share how we make sure our listings get maximum exposure and engagement online.
When we decided to leave the comfort of the sub-million dollar market and try to compete in the high-end, we knew we had to bring our A-game. Actually, we needed to find our A-game. We weren’t ready for the competition which consisted of very experienced, expert sales professionals. Anybody that’s ever tried to crack a code to get to the next level can attest that those on that level would prefer that you stay where you are. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We needed to find an equalizer.
Facebook became a tool for all kinds of Realtors® years ago, but not for us. Our page was in pretty sorry shape. We rarely posted anything. Our cover image was blank. If a potential luxury buyer looked for us on Facebook, they would have had to assume that we were amateurs. Our page conveyed an image of sloppiness and carelessness – precisely the opposite of what we needed it to do.
Facebook and Instagram are like little TV commercials for our brand. They’re extremely
powerful. Handled correctly, we realized we could make ourselves appear to be more
experienced and more professional than the top agents in our market. We realized Social Media could be the equalizer we needed. Even better, we can focus our Social Media campaigns on our intended targets inexpensively.
We can target luxury buyers and sellers for peanuts. On the contrary, a single ad in a luxury magazine in our area can top $5000. In terms of ROI, Facebook is hard to beat. Facebook and Instagram have changed life as we know it. They are highly visual and extremely popular, even among luxury buyers. Some Realtors® argue that a good Facebook page is more important today than a website. Facebook pages rank well for agent’s names, and they’re free!
Customers that run a Google search for a Realtors® name will invariably end up snooping
around their Facebook or Instagram page. It’s a perfect opportunity to capture them and
engage. To gain followers and engage them, we developed a Social Media plan emphasizes the creation of engaging content. It’s easy than it sounds. We have an inventory of luxury home photos that make for very clickable posts. If you don’t have any eye-catching luxury images, buy a few from Shutterstock.com to get started.
High-end houses attract everyone’s eyeballs. Using photographs, videos, articles and stories, we have found that we can build the relationships that are necessary to close the deal. We can engage customers on Social Media directly or drive them to our website. Using both broaden our possibilities and provides us with plenty of tools grab market share. Besides the increased level of exposure, here are some other reasons that may convince you to start a serious social media campaign:
- It’s easier to rank higher in search engines if you’re using an Instagram hashtag
- The engagement is often higher on social networks than on most agent’s site
- Increased brand visibility (seven in ten Americans use social media)
- Access to more home buyers
- The possibility to create well-targeted ad campaigns based on location and demographic
The secret behind our social media success in the luxury market is an original combination of professionalism and personality. Buyers don’t want to see only houses; they want to know they’ve chosen the right person to represent their needs. To win, we must make sure to create content that emanates warmth and has a personal touch (the secret ingredient that will make your content more attractive and distinctive).
I’ll say it again. The luxury segment is extremely competitive. The quality of our connection with our clients is critical to success. Neglect the relationship or shortchange a customer with regard to quality information or due diligence and your client will find another agent. To remain competitive in luxury real estate, we know it’s imperative to remain “top-of-mind.” To do this, we take full advantage of our ability to continuously update potential customers with new listings, prices, pictures, changes in the neighborhood, and more.
Alerts can be as simple as an email newsletter designed to educate about a specific area. We use this technique but have found that combining it with targeted listing updates generates far more engagement. For our team, this has been the most crucial aspect of growing our business. By making sure our luxury clients get hyper-specific email updates regarding new listings and price reductions, we enjoy a chain-reaction of good things.
The updates keep our leads coming back to our website which is essential for a few reasons. First, it helps our website rankings. Google watches user engagement, and a return visitors make our site look good. Second, it prompts more “window shopping” and leads to inquiries and more interaction, solidifying our relationship. Third, using our social engagement buttons, users tell their friends about us and our listings. It’s leverage at its finest.
Thanks to our listing updates, it’s not unusual to find that our luxury buyers have visited our website over 100 times before buying. In fact, we track visit volume and intensity to uncover highly motivated buyers.
If a luxury buyer’s use of our website is increasing, it’s a good indication that their motivation is reaching critical mass. The next step for us is a phone call to set an appointment. Most real estate websites these days can easily handle automated listing updates. Unfortunately, most agents aren’t using the tool effectively.
Tell a Story
In a way, all of this “PR” starts at our blog. When it comes to Marco Island real estate news, we want to be the source. We talk about new listings, recent sales, market conditions and fun activities. It’s funny sometimes – people will comment on something they’ve read on the blog. It may be an article we wrote years ago, yet it is still connecting with customers.
Like social media and listing alerts, our blog allows us to maximize leverage.
They say, if you get a question three times, write a blog post about the subject. We use our blog to educate buyers and sellers. In fact, we often send out links to old articles to answer common email inquiries.
The art and science of breaking into the luxury market is challenging, but it’s fun. With the right tools, we’ve found that we can capture new customers and keep in touch with your current ones. By keeping up with the latest technology and refining our systems, we have been able to capture market share in the highly competitive Southwest Florida luxury segment.
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