For many, the holidays are a time to slow down, take a few days off work, and reconnect with your loved ones. Unfortunately, for many businesses, this slowdown during the holiday season could mean a loss in revenue. But does this apply to the real estate industry?
Most years, Q4 tends to bring fewer home sales. However, this year, real estate agents will have dual obstacles to hurdle: harsh winter weather conditions and COVID-19 precautions.It’s not all bad though. What you might lose in engagement and accessibility, you gain in time. By treating this slow down as an opportunity, you can generate leads, draw your pre-existing ones further down the sales funnel, and reshape the paradigm of conventional holiday real estate marketing. This holiday survival guide will show you how.
When the Weather Outside is Frightful—Your Marketing Should Be Delightful
‘Tis always the season for lead generation. But with a global pandemic still impacting the way potential clients view and browse homes for sale, the ways to generate and connect with leads have changed. Letting others know that you’re still active is step one to gaining attention when others are taking a break. Why? It’s a way to build relationships and keep your sphere engaged, so when potential leads are ready to buy, you will be top of mind.
Once you have their attention, it’s time to hold onto it. Here are a few ways to do just that this holiday season:
- Holiday Themed Posts – Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, the holidays are a great reason to reach out to clients, share your appreciation for their business, and have a little fun doing it. Themed emails, social media posts, holiday cards, and video greetings are all effective ways to keep in touch virtually while also spreading some holiday joy.
- Festive Freebies – One idea could be to share or mail out holiday recipes. Compile a holiday playlist and make it available on social media or through email. Hold an online contest for referrals or mentions with a holiday gift basket or champagne as the prize. The only limit when it comes to grabbing that holiday attention is your imagination. You know your local community and your clientele better than anyone—what will resonate with them?
- Merry Market Facts – Even when you’re having fun, don’t forget the insights that will inspire people to take action. Use your holiday marketing ideas as an opportunity to educate your community about the season when it comes to real estate trends and help them navigate the home buying or buying process.
For example, most people won’t know that although the market is slow, interest rates have dropped to an impressive low. Also remind them that fewer buyers mean less competition for purchasing. If your clients are trying to sell, late fall and winter are perfect for targeting motivated buyers ready to pay the offer price and move in quickly.
A Great Holiday Gift: User Generated Content!
Across all age groups, 55% of consumers said they trust user-generated content (UGC) over other forms of marketing, according to builderboost.com. And among Millennials, a big chunk of the buying market now, 84% say UGC has some influence on their decisions. That’s a big deal!
But what exactly is user-generated content? It’s just what it sounds like—content that is made by your followers rather than yourself. Think reviews, recommendations, reply posts, images, videos, anything someone else posts or shares on your platform or with your hashtags. It’s word-of-mouth in the digital world. And, according to a recent survey, more than half of consumers preferred UGC over branded content.
People trust their peers—simple as that.
If you’re ready to jump into the world of UGC, the holidays offer a great time to start. Festive themes are a great way to build excitement and the holiday spirit will inspire people to participate. And, it has the added bonus of being low cost (even free).
Here are a few ideas to get more UGC and to properly leverage it:
- Hashtags – Hashtags are a fun and low-budget way to build engagement and gain attention on social media. A great example of the power of hashtags is Explore Georgia’s #ExploreGeorgiaPup campaign.
After learning that most Millennial travelers bring their pets on the road, the Explore Georgia team decided to have some fun. They began by posting pics of their own pups around Georgia and encouraging others to share theirs as well. Reaching 1.1 million Facebook impressions, 14,000 website visits from social media, and an elevated engagement rate, the campaign was considered an enormous success and is still revived from time to time.
The holidays provide the perfect setting to try out a few hashtags of your own. Think of ways to grab your audience’s attention and spread some joy. Maybe you can challenge them to post their best holiday decoration display in their homes with the hashtag #Decorations4Days. Or keep it jovial and light-hearted with the hashtag #DecorationsDisaster, where users can send a picture and a funny tale about their decorating mishaps!
When others post using this hashtag, don’t be afraid to reach out through the comment section or through direct messages and ask if you can repost their picture!
- Recommendations – There’s a reason why people love reviews. Recommendations by real people hold persuasive power that other marketing methods just don’t. In fact, according to a BrightLocal consumer survey from 2019, 91% of consumers said positive reviews make them more likely to visit a business. Take advantage of that for your home listings!
Use the holidays as a time to reach out to past clients. Offer them something worthwhile (like that cookie recipe you’ve been hanging onto!) in exchange for a quick recommendation in return. Include a link directly to your Nextdoor Business Page with simple instructions for how to post. This will make the ordeal far less intimidating and has the added bonus of reminding clients that you’re still working and looking for leads.
Once you have a nice and shiny review on your page, screenshot it and share it across all your channels.
- Polls – You want to make it clear that your UGC is for building a community, not just a following. Invite your network to participate in polls and engage with content rather than just consume it. If you want to learn how to attract customers, conducting polls and offering engaging content is a great idea to start with.
Some ideas include running photo-caption contests or asking which shared image is a favorite. You can create a collage, number each image, and have people comment on which number is their favorite, or assign each image an emoji or name. And don’t stop there. Consider small prizes for winning images or best captions.
Don’t forget to follow-up and repost poll results or winning captions. Not only is this more UGC, but it can create high-quality engagement with those who participated.
Don’t Forget to Nurture Those Leads
Once you have your holiday lead generation down, you’ll want to nurture the ones you get. To keep them engaged, consider what kind of messages and promotions you’re sending out. In most cases, people want value in exchange for clicking on anything promotional. So, how can you provide value to your leads?
Remember, not every communication needs to be about making a sale or gaining their signature. Try sending out holiday offers and content that focuses on them and their enjoyment of the season. There are several ways to do this.
Newsletter recipients want value in exchange for opening your message. Fill your newsletter or emails with seasonal tips, how-tos, and value-add facts that they’ll enjoy learning. Whatever you decide to send them, give your recipients the courtesy of only one call to action (at the bottom of the email). It may work better than you expect.
In fact, when Wordstream tested CTAs and their efficiency, they found that emails with only a single CTA had 371% more clicks and 1617% more sales from those clicks.
Also consider sharing an end-of-the-year recap with videos or images collected from your sales throughout the year. These should feature buyers and sellers, beautiful homes, and lots of smiles. This idea is sure to get people into the holiday spirit!
Nurturing leads isn’t just about posting and forgetting—it’s about participating with your community. That means replying to comments, liking comments and shares, and even starting conversations with customers.
Once you’ve established yourself, it’ll be easier to maintain over the rest of the seasons. You might actually enjoy engaging with your leads this way, and you may make some friends (and loyal clients) as well.
Go Local with Nextdoor
Some of the best marketing you can ask for is word-of-mouth from those that live in your neighborhood. One way to gain that word-of-mouth is to have real conversations and interactions with your neighbors.
Not sure where to begin? Create your Business Page on Nextdoor to develop an online presence in your neighborhood. Nextdoor is where the neighborhood happens—it’s hyperlocal, meaning it’s full of neighbors and businesses that are nearby. Making yourself a known and trusted member of your neighborhood is a smart way to earn referrals and remain top-of-mind when neighbors need your services.
For real estate agents, this time of year can be overwhelming with hectic schedules and holiday stress. But if you seize the spirit of the season and use this time to connect with your community, you’ll enjoy the benefits now and throughout the new year.
Wordstream. 6 Mind-Blowing Digital Marketing Stats from Unbounce’s Conversion Road Trip. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/06/10/digital-marketing-stats
Hubspot. 19 Lead Nurturing Email Examples You'll Want to Steal. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/lead-nurturing-email-examples
WebFX. 13 Clever Marketing Strategies for 2020. https://www.webfx.com/internet-marketing/holiday-marketing-strategy.html
Visual Objects. User Generated Content Trends and Statistics. https://visualobjects.com/advertising/user-generated-content-trends-statistics
Rivet Works. User Generated Content: What, Why, and How to do it Right. https://www.rivet.works/user-generated-content/
Builder Boost. Key Benefits of User Generated Content for Real Estate Agents. https://www.builderboost.com/real-estate-agents-ugc/
Bright Local. Local Consumer Review Survey. https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/#influence-of-reviews
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