Lead Generation for real estate in India is a big business problem.
“Build and they will come”, the signature line of real estate, is becoming passe.
Gather a bunch of real estate developers into a room or maybe the entire bunch across India in a hall and ask them this question, ” What keeps you awake at night? ”
S A L E S !
I will be surprised if it were any other answer.
That brings us to the subject of this post – L E A D S.
Indian real estate has been lull since the last three years. The change in market sentiment precipitated by a stable Central Government is yet to translate into fundamental demand.
This despite the heavy media spends by real estate companies on print, radio, outdoors, property fairs and even online. Just pick up the newspaper on the weekend or turn up the radio and you would understand.
The real estate sector has been audacious with its marketing and lead generation initiatives, but unfortunately completely ineffective.
So, why is marketing not generating leads for real estate?
Is it the market ? Is it the marketer ?
Or is it the channel ?
Let’s openly discuss some of the marketing channels (offline and online) and their impact on lead generation for real estate.
Here they are, in no particular order.
#1 Newspapers – Do you really read physical ones ?
Print media spends befuddle.
Campaigns by the real estate sector range from the clever to the banal; from the big to the small and from the front page to the classifieds. If only there was a way to track and measure results from them.
When I ask my real estate friends, ” Why do you do print advertisements even when there is no response? ” and they try to say, ” What else can we do? ”
And I show them today’s digital edition of Times of India on my mobile.
Pat comes the question.
“How do I put a full page advertisement there?”
#2 Television – Idiot Box
Don’t you want to see the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia without the ads?
Try putting in a real estate ad after the 49th over in the second innings of an India – Pakistan match.
#3 YouTube Pre-Roll Ads : < Skip Ad >
I am sure you have seen these. They come between you and your chosen video that you are so desperate to see.
A MetrixLab study done two years ago found that 94 percent viewers skipped pre-roll ads, and 52 percent said they did so frequently.
I am now wondering who the 6 percent are. I thought I had found them when a friend recently complained that his 9 year old is always seeing YouTube on the iPad. When I expressed my reservations about seeing any inappropriate YouTube ads, his face lit up.
He says proudly, “My child is smart that way. She almost always taps < Skip Ad >”
#4 Cold Calling – DND list is only increasing
While there are regulatory restrictions on cold calling, interestingly, almost all phones have a red color ‘DISCONNECT’ button.
Besides that, don’t you think cold calling is rude ? And why would anyone who is committed to good business practices like to look rude?
#5 Outdoor Hoardings – Not everyone likes traffic
The last thing I want to do at a traffic crossing is wait. Hey, but not everyone is the same.
#6 Property Fairs – One stop shop for information
A neighbour working for one of the top International Property Consultants (IPC’s) made an interesting remark on property fairs. He said, ” Prospective buyers come for information, but the sellers want to sell “.
#7 SMS Marketing – Is this still happening?
Real estate SMS marketing looks like this.
In countries where even receiving SMS costs subscribers money, SMS marketing is already dead. And in countries where receiving SMS is free, prospect irritation is already killing it.
#8 SMS to WhatsApp – Block this number
The SMS marketing fellows quickly moved over to whatsapp. Why not?
The whole world seems to be moving there.
The good (or bad) news is that WhatsApp does not like SPAM and nor do we.
#9 Cold Emailing – SPAM filters are getting smarter
If you are using google apps and if the spam filter doesn’t catch it, this is how a cold email (from real estate) looks.
Great. The email got in and I saw it.
Hey, but I never asked for it. I politely click the ‘spam’ button.
#10 The Takeover Ads on Times of India Website
For some well known reasons, timesofindia.com receives tremendous traffic, especially from Non Resident Indians (NRI’s).
Unsurprisingly, Times of India monetizes it aggressively. So aggressively that sometimes you wonder if they are content publishers or online advertisement bilboards.
Try typing www.timesofindia.com in the browser’s address bar. An interstitial greets you and it looks like this.
Once you get past the interstitial, you could confront even more promotional ads – shoshkele, framespot, banners, expandable banners and sliders.
Oh by the way, do you remember the reason why I visited the Times of India website in the first place?
#11 Radio – Wish there were only one FM channel !
Only a few radio jingles can be compared to good music. The rest are well, noise.
Radio, also has inherent challenges of the aural nature, especially when an advertiser is giving out a telephone number for lead generation.
MINIMIZE BRAND FRICTION
We could go on and on and I could continue to amuse you or irritate you. That isn’t the intent.
Buyers are smart. They know what they want. Never ever they have had so much high-quality trustworthy information on demand. Don’t you agree? (I invite you warmly to the comments section)
Thus, when buyers are going about their daily life, it is imperative for brands to appear participative and not intrusive. It isn’t easy. But, if the intent is genuine, the market will see it.
There are occasions when lead generation for real estate is done right, but marketers do a really poor job of following up. That will have to be another post, another day.