Friday, 04 November 2016 04:00

The virtual way of searching for a home


Imagine you are in the market to buy a house in Dubai Marina. What’s the first thing you would do?

Under most circumstances, you would just Google “Buy house in Dubai Marina”, after which you would look at the search results and open up the first few in different tabs. Or you would go to a property portal and type in your preferences in the advanced search bar and look at options.

After you’ve narrowed it down to a few places you like, you would email or call the contact mentioned on the page to arrange a viewing. That is what the digital world has done; it has inverted the process of property search.

You make the first contact with a broker only after having looked at what you want online.

Digital marketing in real estate, like most other industries has revolutionised the way we conduct business. Unlike mass media, digital allows us to create personalised, targeted campaigns for our customers through an intuitive understanding of their preferences and what they have been looking for.


Through methods such as re-marketing and re-targeting, we are able to aid the customers’ decision-making process. Furthermore, through SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), we can target customers based on their search behaviour and direct them to our website. Not only that, through digital we can increase our catchment area to anywhere in the world.

This ability to geo-target consumers especially comes in handy for a market like Dubai, where over 150 different nationalities invest in the real estate sector.

In addition to paid advertising on digital, there is another important aspect that is not intended to make sales, but if used well, creates revenue for companies.

When you throw social media into the mix, the right strategy is to have meaningful, useful conversations with your audience. To humanise the digital space, it is important to create or curate content that educates, entertains and aids decision-making.

If we simply push marketing messages constantly and just talk about ourselves all the time, the consumers’ attention will go elsewhere. The idea is to simplify by becoming a one-stop shop for all things real estate so the consumer doesn’t have to go from one place to another to gather information.

This in turn creates brand loyalists and a string of referrals through word of mouth, which no marketing dollars can buy.

I believe if content is king, presentation is queen. This, in digital terms, translates to user experience. Most digital experiences today are on a mobile platform; a small screen where the usability should be seamless, intuitive and most importantly easy for the time-poor, overexposed consumer.

This means applying design-thinking to all aspects of your online touch-points: be it the website/app, interactive content on social media or wow factors such as augmented reality. There are limitless possibilities with digital.

Digital is a big databank of a feedback loop, which constantly plugs in consumer preferences, tracks their behaviour patterns, and assists you in optimising your campaign to serve adverts which make sense and are relevant.

Digital is also a highly cost-effective tool, which when compared to other mass media vehicles delivers staggeringly high returns on investment numbers.

Without a shadow of doubt, digital has rewritten the rules of marketing real estate. Long gone are the days, where ‘For Sale, For Rent’ signs hung outside fences, directories listed brokers of an area, and hunting for properties took a whole lot of planning and coordination. Today, ‘digital’ provides instant gratification.

A consumer sitting at her home can look at the street view of a building in Downtown, Dubai. She can understand what is the average price of that area, what kind of rental returns she can expect; she can get inside the house, decide what kind of decor this house can have, what are the restaurants, schools or hospitals located nearby or how far the airport is, among several other things.

Digital is no more a choice or a good-to-have. Quite frankly, if you are not online, in the consumers’ mind, you simply don’t exist.

Source : gulfnews


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