5 ways Property Developers can use technology to sell more off-plan
Websites and apps like Rightmove and Zoopla really dominate the property market and have a near-oligopoly on the property buying audience online. Although it’s almost impossible for estate agents and property developers to cut these market movers out completely, it’s important not to become over-dependent on them. Developers must continue to grow their own audience, build a database and differentiate their properties through their own marketing efforts.
Here are 5 ways property developers can use technology to sell more off-plan properties:
1. Promoted Tweets are a powerful tool to reach a very specific audience.
Tweets can be targeted by location, device, gender, interests, or even by the accounts a specific user follows. So, for example, if you’re looking to target female users browsing Twitter on an iPad, in London, who also follow one of your competitors on Twitter – you can now do that.
Twitter has recently introduced “cards” which enable advertisers to create more sophisticate promoted tweets, for example the Gallery card enables you to show four images in one tweet, and the lead generation card means that users can give you their email address to receive more information from within Twitter.
2. Augmented reality and holograms can bring your development to life.
Buying a property off-plan is a huge leap of faith, and your marketing suite is a key touchpoint in giving potential customers a real sense of what your development will be like when it is completed.
Modelling technology has come a long way in the last few years, and while traditional 3D models, floor plans and CGI renders are useful ways of giving prospects more information, they lack the rich multi-sensory experience that only real life can afford.
However, Augmented Reality and Hologram technology are increasingly being used, particularly in the automotive industry, to give customers a more realistic way to experience something before it is actually created.
Augmented Reality can help prospective buyers to get a real understanding of how the space will look, how the light will fall, and how rooms will interconnect, and Holograms can be an impressive way of showcasing depth and scale in a way that models struggle to express. This amazing video from Conran shows the impact Holograms can have. The property industry should embrace these new technologies and use them to differentiate themselves and their developments from the competition.
3. Give potential buyers all the data they need to make the right decision.
Most property developers are natural salespeople, but the pitch they make to buyers often plays very heavily on psychological cues and buyer emotions. Marketing suites and websites are often designed to encourage the buyer to image what it would feel like to live in a given property, but for many buyers, particularly in London, Asia and the Middle East, a property purchase is also, or perhaps even primarily, an investment.
If you can distinguish the buyer’s key motives, then technology can help to give users the data they need in order to make a purchase decision. Companies such as Hometrack (which powers Upmystreet.co.uk and Propertyfinder.com), can provide real-time insight into property sales, volumes, price changes by city over time, and rental yields for different property types in different sectors. Packaging and interpreting this data for prospective buyers can help to close a sale.
4. Make it easy for prospective buyers to get more information.
Websites for new developments naturally have a limited shelf life, but that doesn’t mean that they should be an afterthought. Your website is another important touch point, and it’s important that the quality of your development is also reflected in your web presence. Developers should ensure that their web presence is optimised for the full range of desktop, laptop, mobile and tablet devices that buyers are likely to be using. Lengthy contact forms with multiple compulsory fields to fill in are likely to put prospective buyers off. Instead, why not use a tool such as Olark to enable to customers to begin chatting with a member of your team right away via the website? Site chat can also help to decrease bounce rate, as if users can’t find what they are looking for, you can direct them towards the relevant information.
5. Track what works
Many developers will happily confess that they just want to close a sale, and that it doesn’t matter too much how they find their buyers. But it is only by understanding where quality prospects originated from and how they first became aware of a development that developers can create an effective, scalable marketing plan which can be replicated for future developments. There are a plethora of tools and tricks available to enable you to do this and we’d be more than happy to tell you more.