I got a copy of the new Inman real estate report: The State of Real Estate Marketing. It’s based on findings from an online survey, which had a total of 770 respondents. Accordingly, it’s not entirely representative of the US realtor population but it’s very detailed and interesting.
Real estate is an especially interesting local vertical because realtors are often more proactive about marketing than other local businesses and it’s one of the high value classified segments that newspapers have historically dominated. Here are verbatim excerpts representing some of the top-level findings in the report:
Forty percent of respondents said they planned to spend $1,000 to $5,000 on this category (online marketing) in the next year. Approximately 20% planned to spend less than $1,000, and 18% planned to spend more than $10,000.
Search the most popular online ad category:
The most popular category of online advertising was search engine keywords, which 52% of respondents said they planned to buy in the next year. Featured listing ads ran a close second with 48% planned buys. Search engine optimization (SEO) services were a priority as well with 42% planned buys. Dollar amounts budgeted for keyword advertising in the next year ranged from zero to more than $5,000.
Within the online-spend category, search-engine keyword advertising, SEO services and featured listing ads on real estate Web sites trumped both banner advertising and a miscellaneous “Other” category. Almost 52% of respondents said they planned to spend money on keywords; nearly 48% planned to buy featured listing ads, and more than 42% planned to utilize SEO services. Only 19% intended to make use of banner ads. (Percentages total more than 100 due to multiple responses permitted by the survey.)
Approximately 64% of respondents said they planned to spend at least some money on keyword advertising in the next year. Half of these keyword buyers identified themselves as real estate agents, 23% said they were real estate brokers and 11% were broker/agents. The others included some marketing consultants and mortgage brokers.
Almost 38% of respondents who planned to buy keywords had less than five years’ experience in real estate. Some 30% had 5-15 years’ experience and 28% had more than 15 years’ experience. Those figures suggest keyword buyers are slightly more likely to be newcomers to the business.
More than 300 respondents answered a write-in question that asked: “What keywords will you focus on?” By far the most frequent responses were “real estate” or words related to specific locations such as the names of cities, towns or neighborhoods. Properties types such as “foreclosures,” “town homes,” “waterfront,” “commercial” or “equestrian properties” were also mentioned as were “retirement,” “boomer,” “luxury” and “discount” in conjunction with “real estate.”
Experimental online marketing:
Early adopters have experimented with both Web logs (“blogs”) and social networking Web sites. Nearly 22% of respondents said they had a blog while an additional 30% said they planned to create one this year. Approximately 31% reported that they’d used one or more social networking Web sites to advertise their services.
Print ads not dead:
Print advertising doesn’t appear dead. Only 5% of respondents had no budget for print, though 29% planned to spend less than $1,000 and 38% planned to spend $1,000 to $5,000 on this category in the next year. Fewer than 20% of respondents said they employ a full-time or part-time Internet marketing specialist. The other 80% rely on their own initiative, a brokerage company or service provider, or family members.