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Thought Leadership

A place to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends

Customer Experience, Lead Nurture, Strategy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, having an exceptional customer experience is the best way to stay ahead of the competition, not only during market downturns, but all year round.

 

With customer expectations constantly changing, evolving and increasing, property businesses must continue to place the customer experience at the heart of all strategies in order to experience consistent success.

“The only truth is that if we follow the needs of our consumers – in content creation and in research and development – we should still have a place in the market in 2021.”

Jessica Best, Vice President – Data-driven Marketing Barkley


Here are three customer experience trends and must-knows to think about in 2021:

With customer expectations constantly changing, evolving and increasing, property businesses must continue to place the customer experience at the heart of all strategies in order to experience consistent success.

“The only truth is that if we follow the needs of our consumers – in content creation and in research and development – we should still have a place in the market in 2021.”

Jessica Best, Vice President – Data-driven Marketing Barkley


Here are three customer experience trends and must-knows to think about in 2021:

 

1. Place your customers’ needs at the heart of your activities
One of our most favourite insights that we like to communicate to all our clients goes a little like this: If businesses continuously placed the customer (and their needs) at the centre of all strategies, it wouldn’t be so hard to make sales during market downturns.

 

This is because by having a comprehensive understanding of who your customer is, what their pain points are, what needs they have and how these needs can evolve and shift, you have the ability to create strategies and products that respond to them.

 

If 2020 was the year where brands had to adapt their services and marketing activities to respond to customer needs and behaviours in a COVID world, 2021 will be the year where businesses will need to have a clear plan in action to monitor and respond to their customers’ evolving needs and expectations in a world where anything seems possible.

 

2. Respond to new consumer behaviours, expectations and priorities
In a world where homebuyers have hundreds of options at their fingertips, property businesses need to deliver an experience (and a product!) that customers genuinely desire or risk missing out. Customers expect to receive a personalised experience that’s tailored to their needs and makes them feel listened to and valued.

 

“Customers ultimately wish to do business with companies that demonstrate care and respect for their needs: having a well-considered customer journey will help set your business apart by approaching your product and service delivery in a way that always puts the customer first.”
Anne Baker, Director – Two Crowns Marketing

 

Consumers have shorter attention spans, higher expectations and different priorities after experiencing a range of difficulties throughout 2020, and property businesses need to be ready to respond to these shifts by placing the customer and their changing needs at the core of every strategy.

 

 

3. Improve mobile and user experience
It’s no secret that the modern buyer explores a range of property websites on their phones and laptops for weeks (or months) before entering a sales office. This means that your brand’s digital experience needs to be optimised and prioritised. Make your value proposition clear, navigation easy and information readily available for those who want to learn more.

 

A great way to determine the effectiveness and identify potential downfalls of your digital experience is through mystery shopping, and the Property Republic team are experts at this. We conduct online, telephone and in-person enquiries, monitor all communication with sales representatives and visit the sales centre. We then audit any follow-up and provide a comprehensive report with recommendations. Our methodology lets you hear from our shoppers and feel the emotion soon after their shopping experience.

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

 

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Customer Experience, Lead Nurture

We spoke with industry leaders to get their insight on what shifts will occur in property throughout 2021. It’s clear that with enhanced expectations from purchasers and a booming FHB market, property professionals must be prepared to deliver on their promise and exceed expectations to stay ahead of the competition.

 

Here’s what the experts had to say:

 

1. Changing expectations of products and services

People’s expectations of property products will shift as they re-evaluate what’s really important to them. With months spent in isolation throughout 2020, home buyers have a clear idea of what they want their new home and location to offer:

 

– More space and bigger backyards
– Additional rooms for at-home work and study
– Local parks and walking tracks
– Local facilities and amenities that provide convenience and enhance lifestyles
– Genuine quality

 

“We need to be prepared to reshape the types of products and services that we offer. As we return to some sense of normal in 2021, it’s timely to take an honest look at the way we go about our business, our customers’ changing needs and new resources available to us to better shape how we can stay a step ahead and thrive in a post COVID environment.”
 Anne Baker, Director – Two Crowns Marketing

 

What this means is developers and builders alike need to clearly communicate how their products deliver on quality and enhance the lives of homeowners, or risk losing out to the competition. After a year of uncertainty, purchasers want to be certain about their future purchase decisions and property businesses need to be prepared to deliver on their promise and exceed expectations.

 

“There will continue to be a flight to quality with so much uncertainty…in markets like this, people move away from smaller developers and towards more trusted brands that they believe will retain more long-term value.”
Anne Jolic, Head of Development – Retirement Living Lendlease

 

2. A booming First Home Buyer (FHB) market

2020 would have been a difficult year for renters and house-sharers whose homes didn’t accommodate for their lifestyle needs during isolation. This means we’re likely to see more renters opt to buy or build their own home – one that effectively responds to their needs and delivers a great living experience. Intensifying this strong First Home Buyer presence are low interest rates, grants and incentives offered by developers and builders to mobilise the market.

 

“I think we are going to see the first home buyer being stronger than ever…I also think that the downsizer market will be equally strong as they reprioritise what’s important and what’s not. Plus, they are still seeing strong prices and short selling times for their existing homes as first homebuyers snap them up.
James Kelly, Managing Director – Lifestyle Communities

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

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Strategy

The Property Republic team spoke with industry leaders to get their insight on what shifts will occur in property throughout 2021. Here’s what the experts had to say:

 

1. The online sales process in property will continue to be a focus
It’s fair to say that the online sales process is here to stay. The lack of face-to-face contact experienced during the 2020 lockdown periods and the increased emphasis of social distancing practices were the push many property businesses needed to transform and improve their online customer experience. Being able to deliver a completely digital customer journey, from initial enquiry all the way to sale and beyond is not only an expectation, it’s essential.

 

“I’m confident the sales process will remain online. Due to COVID we needed to change our sales process to a full online experience. Now that the restrictions have eased, we are still seeing that the majority of enquiry (90%) would still prefer to buy a property this way.”
 Matt Dean, Project Director – Woodlea

 

Home buyers – especially the younger generation of home buyers – will continue to opt for digital experiences over in-person ones and this means property businesses need to make this a priority. Delivering multiple online touchpoints, virtual meetings and walkthroughs, digital nurture sequences and a seamless experience is becoming the status quo, so now property businesses must ask themselves “what more can we do to stand out from the competition?”

 

“I think there will be greater expectations and market acceptance for a digital marketing and sales experience post COVID-19 lockdowns. Like with a lot of things, COVID-19 has fast tracked digitisation which has been slowly happening for years. The days of driving around to 10 different land sales offices to shop around are officially over!”
Ryan Beer, Senior Development Manager – Woodlea

 

2. Audiences will be more engaged and interested

It’s possible that developers will experience higher qualified leads this year, as people are only engaging with the property sector online and in-person when they are seriously considering a purchase. But with a more switched-on audience who have higher expectations, property businesses need to be prepared to differentiate themselves from competitors by prioritising the customer lifecycle and delivering an exceptional experience.

 

Traditionally, the majority of marketing attention and budget gets thrown at the awareness and lead generation stage of the customer journey, with little consideration for how these leads will then be nurtured. This approach needs to change. Property businesses need to place a greater emphasis on the later stages of the customer lifecycle: the interest-intent phase, the decision phase and the loyalty phase. This means refining and perfecting the follow-up call, posting regular and relevant blogs and social media content that serve to educate and inspire and creating an email nurture sequence that delivers real value.


“I believe leads will be more qualified, as I expect people aren’t engaging in the property sector unless they want to transact. And as a result, better conversion rates are expected.”

 Anne Jolic, Head of Development – Retirement Living Lendlease

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

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Strategy

The Property Republic team spoke with industry leaders to get their insight on what shifts will occur in property throughout 2021. From how we purchase property, to how we work, to people’s expectations of the product, there’s a lot to consider. Here are 2 important takeaways:

 

1. Connecting office-based and remote teams
Flexibility within the workplace will continue to be an expectation, and as a result, a focus will need to be placed on technology to create better connections and seamless communication between in-house and external teams. Businesses of all types must be prepared to accommodate an increased mix between working from home and working from the office, as people’s preference for how and where they choose to work changes. A big part of this involves investing in effective technologies and spaces.

 

“If there is to be an increased mix between working from an office and remotely, there will need to be a greater focus on the technology platforms used to deliver a useful meeting experience whilst accommodating the two.”
Sean Pinan, Director – Catalyst Development Services

 

2. The shifting balance between home and work
Priorities have and will continue to shift within people’s ideas of work-life balance. With people continuing to work from home, and companies realising work can get done without employees being in the office, more people will reconsider where they live – desiring a location they love over a location that’s close to their office.

 

“One word comes to mind: duality. I think a key impact of 2020 (and COVID) on the property industry was being forced to contemplate and reimagine the spaces we live in; the locations we live in; the values we live by or how we’ve been prioritising them and the investments we make.”

Lisa Thompson, Principal Solution Provider – ThinkSolve

 

It’s likely that we’ll continue to see the following shifts well into 2021:


– Regional and coastal locations will boom as individuals continue to work from home most days a week
– Families will opt to live in a more remote location for a better lifestyle
– Increased interest in new master planned communities because they have better open spaces and facilities
– Rising expectations that a new home will have flexible spaces
– Parents choosing to drop off or pick up their kids from school
– A greater likelihood of people purchasing a holiday home over inner city properties so they can enjoy their investments or plan for a “sea or tree change”

“2020 forced people to slow down and rediscover an appreciation for what we have at or near home, and I think this will increase the focus on decentralising Melbourne to establish the proposed 20-minute cities – which has implications for all sorts of industries and offerings.”
Anthony Battista, Marketing Manager – MAB Corporation

 

For more key insights, read our PRX Magazine: The 2021 Trends Edition.

 

 

 

 

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Project Marketing

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to re-assess and re-align your internal teams and strategies to ensure you’re on your way to achieving your sales and marketing goals. The Property Republic team are passionate about developing effective strategies and we’ve got some tips to help you ensure you’re setting your brand or project up for success in 2021 and beyond!

1. Know your numbers

Re-visit and develop a deep understanding of the profit and sales targets, and how your marketing efforts are going to help achieve them.

2. Have a documented customer experience (CX) strategy

Ensure your CX strategy delivers on the value proposition, demonstrates a clear understanding of your customer and how they move through the project lifecycle. The development of your strategy needs to involve the marketing, sales, design, development, customer relations and community teams.

3. Take a moment to review the customer journey

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – from online enquiry, to sales office visit and follow up, what is the customer experience like? What tweaks can you make to ensure a positive brand experience? How can you stand out from your competition?

4. Get savvy on social media

The members of your sales, marketing and development teams are holding epic content-creating weapons in their hands – their smartphone! Two minutes, a steady hand, a smart phone and a willing sales representative is all you need to create a short and informative video to post across your social pages.

 

5. Developers – re-engage your builders

You can do this by inviting them to site and providing an engaging presentation informing them on all the benefits of your project – such as simple building guidelines. This will help to keep your project top-of-mind and could result in increased builder referrals.

 

6. Refresh your digital listings

Are your images up-to-date? Are your listings up-to-date? Is the available stock accurately represented? Are your USPs outlined? What call to action do you have on the page?

 

 

For more insights and information, we have an entire library of free resources for you to explore.

 

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Content Marketing, Strategy

What is it?

Recently, Instagram rolled out their newest feature called ‘Guides.’ It allows users to create more scrollable content by collecting and curating posts, making it easier than ever to share information in an easy-to-digest format.

 

You can choose three different formats for your Guides:

 

  • Places

  • Products

  • Posts

 

Guides can be found on your profile between the feed and IGTV icons. They can be displayed on your profile, in your feed, on the Guides page and in the Explore page, which means they have a high visibility rate.

 

Should you be using Instagram Guides for your project or property business?

It’s recommended that you have a diverse and multi-platform social media presence. However, if your team is lacking the budget, time or resources to commit to integrating guides into your Instagram strategy in a meaningful and consistent way, don’t feel like you need to jump on the guides bandwagon just because it’s new and shiny. It may be something you come back to in a few months.

 

How to get started

If you’ve decided that Instagram guides fits within your strategy and capabilities, the best way to get started is by repurposing and re-sharing content that you’ve already posted to Instagram, to create comprehensive and step-by-step ‘how-to’ guides.

 

For example, if you’ve published multiple posts about finance options for FHB, compile these into one Instagram guide titled ‘5 finance tips for FHB’ (or something to that effect). The same can be done for posts about your project, the local area, benefits of building a brand-new home and so on.

 

For a break-down of all of Instagram’s best practices, read this handbook from our content specialist brand, Content Republic.

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Project Diagnostics, Project Marketing

Ultimately, your project is going to be more than bricks and mortar – it’s going to be a community and a place for people to call home. Therefore, you need to make it feel like one. You and the community team (if you have one) will know better than anyone what’s required to respond to the needs of your community.

 

So, during the planning stages of the project, get yourself a seat at the table to make sure you can influence discussions about infrastructure, community building, landscaping and events.

 

Here are some things to consider:

 

1. Community development

Effective community development strategies align project resources with community needs to deliver sustainable solutions that enhance liveability for residents. Implementing an effective community development strategy will offer an array of benefits, including increased sales conversions, increased referrals and brand loyalty, as well as a greater competitive edge.

 

Get involved in the planning stages of the project to ensure its infrastructure responds to the community’s needs for connection, movement, safety and belonging.

 

2. Sales suite infrastructure

Consider what features your sales and display office will require to effectively respond to your community’s needs. Your sales suite will be a hub of activity throughout the development of your project, so how can you make it beneficial for the community? Perhaps it will include a space for a mother’s group and other community groups to host meetings. Perhaps it will have a café attached to it, or a community veggie patch.

 

3. Landscape influence for future events

We all know community events are a great way to build relationships, encourage connections and foster a sense of belonging for residents. When the planning of your project’s communal areas, parks, overall layout and infrastructure takes place, ensure these spaces offer the resources you need to host community events such as accessibility, electricity, shelter, bins and water supply.

 

For more important considerations, insights and tips for setting up a new project, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

 

 

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Project Marketing, Strategy

Project marketing involves liaising with an array of consultants, agencies and professionals; content agencies, photographers and videographers, community managers, renderers, copywriters, builders and landscapers just to name a few.

 

To make your job (and their job) easier, it’s essential that you’re a good briefer. In fact, we can’t emphasise the importance of good briefing enough!

 

Briefing is your opportunity to provide your consultants with clear expectations, allowing you to really set the tone of the assets you want created.

 

Here are some things you’ll need to consider when you brief.

 

1. Be a clear briefer. One of the best ways to clearly outline your expectation is by filling out a briefing template. In your brief, be clear about what you want and what you don’t want. You may even like to provide examples. And always set realistic timeframes and provide budget expectations.

 

2. Provide solution-based feedback. Always start your feedback with what you liked. Then voice your ideas and criticisms in a constructive way that will help the professionals to understand your expectations. And be prepared to listen to suggestions from your consultants – after all, they’re the experts!

 

3. Be thorough. Provide the consultants with all the necessary information and assets at the same time to reduce inefficient ‘back and forth’ communication.

 

For more useful project marketing insights and tips, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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Content Marketing, Strategy

Given Sunday’s disappointing announcement from Dan Andrews about the extended lockdown for Melburnians, your community is craving digital interaction and entertainment more than ever!

 

Use this time to engage and amuse your audience by creating content that they can relate to and enjoy.

 

To help you get started, here are 27 different content ideas you can implement, starting today.

 

8 September 2020 – International Literacy Day  

Blog idea: X must-read books about (topic)

Community engagement idea: Ask your homeowners to post a photo of their favourite book and write why they love it (and tag your handle!) to your social media page.

Competition idea: Host a competition where members of your Facebook community write a poem or short story and post it to your page. At the end of the day, pick a winner and offer a prize.

 

9 September 2020 – Teddy Bear Day  

Blog idea: DIY backyard teddy bear picnic set-up / X best local parks to enjoy a teddy bear picnic

Event idea: Host a virtual teddy bear picnic on Zoom that your community can tune into. During the picnic you can read books and play songs for the kids to listen to. This is an excellent activity at any point of the month – your invitation could be sent on Teddy Bear Day for a date later in the month!

Community engagement idea: Ask your social media community to post a photo of their childhood teddy, or their children’s current favourite teddy, and a short caption about why it matters to them. Make sure you ask them tag your social handle in the caption!

 

10 September 2020 – R U OK? Day

Blog idea: X ways to show your friends and family you care

Communication idea: Show your community and staff members that you care about their mental health and well-being by asking them the simple question – are you okay? Make a social post, send out an email or text, give someone a call. It doesn’t matter how you do it – even the smallest gesture can have a big impact.

Spotify idea: Compile a playlist of uplifting and positive songs to share with your community, and bring a smile to their faces.

 

10 September 2020 – Swap Ideas Day  

Blog idea: Partner up with another brand or individual (such as an interior designer) and share ideas about a relevant topic in a casual interview setting. Top and tail the transcript with an intro and outro to make an interesting read for your customers. You could also film or record this interview and create a compelling video or podcast episode.

Social media idea 1: Use this day to shout out a word of appreciation to other brands or individuals who you have collaborated and shared ideas with.

Social media idea 2: Use your Instagram stories to host an idea sharing session. Ask your followers to send through ideas or suggestions for the community, and respond to them in a short stories video.

 

13 September 2020 – Positive Thinking Day  

Blog idea: X positive affirmations to tell yourself every day

Video idea: Get your sales team to record themselves saying their favourite positive quote, mantra or affirmation using their smart phone. Compile the clips into one montage and share to your socials.

Community engagement idea: Ask your social media community to post their favourite positive quote, mantra or affirmation and tag your brand. Or, host an Instagram stories session where your followers send you their favourite positive sayings and you read them aloud in a video – be sure to give a shout out to each person whose submission you read!

 

16 September 2020 – Working Parents Day  

Blog idea: X confessions of a working parent in iso

Community engagement idea: Ask the working parents in your community to post a video of a funny ‘truth’ or ‘confession’ about being a working parent in iso to your socials (and tag your handle!). You can add incentive by offering a prize for the funniest video.

Social media idea: Post something motivating to your social media today, to acknowledge the hard work of the working parents in your community – especially those working from home with kids!

 

20 September 2020 – National Women’s Friendship Day 

Blog idea: X ways to show your friend you care

Community engagement idea: Encourage your female followers to have a virtual date (or in-person if restrictions allow) with their close female friends and post photos of their catch up, tagging your brand.

Spotify idea: At least one week prior, ask your followers to send through their favourite songs about girl power and friendship. Compile the suggested songs into a Spotify playlist and share with your social media community.

 

21 September 2020 – World Gratitude Day  

Social media idea: Post an inspirational quote or thought to your social media today that encourages your followers identify the things they’re thankful for.

Video idea: Ask your sales team to use their smartphones to video themselves saying something they’re grateful for. Compile the clips into one video and post to social.
Community engagement idea:
Ask your community to post about what they’re grateful for in their home or their estate (in a caption or in a video) and tag your brand. Or, host an Instagram stories session where your followers send you the things they’re grateful for and you read them aloud in a video – be sure to give a shout out to each person whose submission you read!

 

22 September 2020 – Hobbit Day

Blog idea: X inspirational quotes from The Hobbit or X important lessons in The Hobbit

Competition idea: Throughout the day, post a range of quotes from The Hobbit to social media. The first person to guess who says the quote correctly wins a prize chosen by you!

Quiz idea: Host a virtual quiz on Zoom. Participants must write down their answers and email or direct message you afterwards with their answers. The person who gets the most questions right wins a prize chosen by you.

 

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Customer Experience, Project Marketing, Strategy

When launching a project, development teams take a no-expenses spared approach to branding, creating brochures and installing the biggest billboard council will permit along the freeway. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on creating impactful first impressions. And while this is very important – you never get a second chance to make a first impression – what happens after you establish that initial contact and try to build a relationship?

 

All too often we see project teams leaving little budget consideration for lead nurture and content marketing activities. While branding initiatives are important, so too are the actions involved in nurturing your leads from initial enquiry to final sale and beyond.

 

Here’s a list of the items your budget will need to cover:

 

[ ] Brand identity development
[ ] Content and copywriting
[ ] Project website
[ ] Collateral
[ ] Lead generation
[ ] Lead nurture
[ ] Landing page/pages
[ ] Maps
[ ] Print media
[ ] Digital media
[ ] Project movie
[ ] SEM
[ ] Photography
[ ] Renders
[ ] Floorplans
[ ] Signage
[ ] Asset development eg photography, drone, videos
[ ] Display suite
[ ] Model and/or touch screen
[ ] Social media (posts and campaigns)
[ ] Press
[ ] Builder engagement
[ ] Launch event/ongoing events

 

For more insights on how to set up your new project for success, download our free Project Marketer’s Handbook.

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