Marketing and Real Estate – What Sellers Need to Know
by Janet Blanton, Vice President, Marketing/Founding Partner, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
The combination of today’s economy and technology advances allow for many opportunities and challenges in marketing real estate for sale. Most homes, especially in today’s market, can’t “sell themselves” and that is true now more than ever. Pervasive marketing, along with a home priced well for today’s market, are keys to success.
New technologies = casting a wider net
Now more than ever we at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty are sometimes surprised at the source of the buyer and/or the buyer profile. We have started casting our marketing net out to a wider audience. Through the Sotheby’s International Realty eBlast system, we are able to communicate to a large audience in a timely manner. Emails from listing agents are sent to clients and customers regarding homes for sale, price reductions and open houses. Our lists are opt-in and opt-out, so we are confident that those who want to receive the emails are receiving them and others that do not can remove themselves from the list.
From the company’s marketing department, we send eBlasts to thousands of agents in metro Atlanta inviting them to special parties and broker open houses. The result? Our attendance has increased enormously – sometimes to more than 400 REALTORS® at an event. An eBlast invitation resulted in the sale of the most expensive penthouse sold in Atlanta. The buyer’s agent would not have known to show it had it not been for the eBlast invitation to an event earlier that year.
In 2000, Google.com recorded 100 million searches per day. In 2008, the average was 2 billion per day. Over 40 percent of consumers check at least four Web sites in their search for a home, so having your home on as many Web sites as possible is integral in getting the word out. We “launch” properties to dozens of Web sites including Google.com, The Wall Street Journal at wsj.com, the International Herald Tribune at iht.com, AOL.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com and many more.
Another growth area on the Internet is blogging. A blog allows the special features of the home to be described further and then found more easily on search engines. For example, if your property was designed by a noted architect like Philip Shutze, and that is mentioned in the post, then the listing will appear in search results if someone is searching for that particular architect. We feature homes on our blog regularly and several individual homes always come up in the search results.
A new addition to our firm’s Web site is a 3D search feature that allows the user to “fly in” to a property, see 3D views from all angles, fly around the property, see parcel maps and access tax information.
Tried and True
Let us not underestimate the power of the real estate agent and their personal sales, negotiation and marketing efforts. The National Association of REALTORS® tells us that more than 60 percent of people found out about their home either through the Internet or an agent.
A solid agent’s network will pave the way for more agents to become interested in previewing the home. Broker open houses, public open houses and our new idea of Thursday evening open houses for agents and/or customers (including wine and cheese) have gained popularity. There are so many homes to preview on the market that this allows yet another option.
Finally, traditional methods of marketing a property like networking, direct mail and brochures have not necessarily gone to the wayside. Earlier this year, our firm sold the most expensive home in Atlanta’s history…and the conversation between the agent and the client began as a result of the agent’s personal handwritten note along with a professionally-printed Sotheby’s International Realty brochure delivered to the client’s home address.