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    The Challenges Property Developers Face in 2018 — Part I: Selling Off-Plan

    815 1024 Jason McMahon

    Despite the significant changes that have taken place in the marketing landscape over the past two decades, a high percentage of Australian property developers are still advertising properties using traditional advertising techniques like billboards, radio and television.

    While once highly effective advertising techniques that comprised the entire marketing arsenal available to developers, traditional mass media has been overtaken by digital marketing tactics such as social media and pay-per-click advertising like Google Ads.

    The move toward digital marketing reflects the way we search for information in an increasingly digitised world, but it also reflects the need of developers to precisely target the people most likely to buy property and accurately measure their marketing spend.

    Traditional media is increasingly viewed by developers as ‘unmeasurable media’ since there’s no way to measure how much of each marketing dollar actually results in a lead or sale.

    While some traditional advertising methods, like brochures and billboards, are still useful as supplementary materials, leveraging digital marketing’s ability to target particular demographics and accurately identify where leads and sales are coming from, enables developers to improve both their cost per lead and cost per sale.

    As the NAR/Google ‘Digital House Hunt’ Survey found, “TV, outdoor, and print channels play a minimal role in the research and decision-making process for homebuyers.”

    The shift towards digital media is undeniable and it’s easy to see why — developers can now target people who actually have an interest in buying property rather than everyone who happened to turn on the TV or radio at a particular time.

    That may be a broad way of looking at things, but it really is that black and white. Your new billboard may clock up 10,000 impressions per day due to the number of people passing it by on the way to and from work, but how many of those people are actually looking to buy property?

    The thing is, you’ll never know. Just as you’ll never know exactly how many people actually saw it — you’re 100% reliant on estimates.

    Whereas traditional media can only provide estimates at best, digital tactics can tell you exactly how many people saw your ads, who clicked them, how long they stayed on your website and deliver a wealth of additional data that you can leverage to make better marketing decisions.

    Targeting the right people and marketing property developments cost-effectively is important, but reaching people interested in buying property and improving marketing budgets are easily overcomable in comparison to the more pressing challenges property developers face in 2018.

    Selling off-plan is the #1 challenge for property developers in 2018

    According to developers and other industry experts, the #1 challenge in 2018 is selling off-plan.

    There’s no market equivalent to off-plan property sales, it’s a lot like asking someone to buy a car without having taken it for a test drive so, essentially, developers are selling a promise. And considering the price tag on that promise, it’s easy to see why it represents such a challenge.

    In the current property development climate, marketing apartments off-plan is inevitable as developers rarely achieve adequate presales to start high-density investments without extensive marketing campaigns that generate the finance needed for construction to begin.

    This challenge is further compounded by the lack of confidence in the market which makes potential buyers cautious to commit to a new purchase and is brought about, in part, by the ongoing negative background conversation around the post-GFC economy, fears of future unemployment and the housing affordability crisis.  

    Additionally, there’s also the challenge developers face in setting up display units, especially when the development is a large-scale apartment block and the display won’t be sold. ‘Experiential marketing’ — marketing that enables clients to experience the product — plays an important role here, as successful property marketing involves getting potential buyers to the property so they can experience it in person.

    Without that experience — where homebuyers and investors get a feel for the design and build quality — it becomes even more challenging to overcome the lack of trust and confidence in the property market and economy. And in a property developer buyers have zero experience with.

    Consequently, developers must use the right mix of creativity and technology to overcome buyers’ lack of confidence and trust, and successfully compete with other developers.  

    Homebuyers and investors want to see a successful track record of property developments and know that they’ll be kept informed of the progress of their purchase/investment, both of which boil down to trust — how can property developers build trust with potential buyers?

    One of Australia’s most successful property development groups, Crown Group, has harnessed the power of content marketing to stimulate buyer interest in its off-the-plan developments. Through social media and its outstanding blog, Crown effectively generated a conversation with potential buyers, creating interest in its projects and building an extensive list of warm sales.

    This conversation and the added value it delivered through its informative blog saw Crown achieve more than $120 million in sales for its highly-anticipated Waterfall by Crown Group development in the first hour and reach $300 million in sales by the end of the first day.

    This smashed the previous Australian off-the-plan sales record of $100 million — for Infinity, another Crown Group development —  in 2015.

    Naturally, the strong demand for high-quality apartments in a desirable location and Crown’s excellent reputation had much to do with Waterfall’s record-breaking presales. But don’t overlook the role that content marketing played in generating hype around the development.

    Property development successes like the Waterfall by Crown Group development should motivate developers to leverage content marketing to build trust, add value and create a conversation with potential buyers around developments long before presales are offered.

    Over 2,000 people attended the unveiling of Waterfall months before off-the-plan sales were available — isn’t that the kind of reception you’re looking for with your next development?

    Image Credits — Olivier ColletRicardo Gomez Angel

    Bambrick Media is a direct response digital marketing agency in Brisbane providing SEO, PPC, Social Media and Website Design services. We help local and national property developers, home builders, construction companies and other industry professionals get more qualified, ready-to-convert leads.

    Ready to have a chat about your lead generation goals? Contact Bambrick Media here

    AUTHOR

    Jason McMahon

    Marketing @bambrickmedia, lover of Lucy, the ocean & caramel popcorn.

    All stories by: Jason McMahon
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