Successful property developers understand that project marketing is as important as any stage of the build. You might have the most incredible site, or have developed the perfect project, but unless you market it well, it was all for nothing.
Here we’ll discuss the considerations that are necessary to deliver the best return.
Building a dedicated website for your project not only provides buyers with a resource, but it also builds a brand. The power of brands should never be underestimated, it’s the reason someone will pay $50 more for the same t-shirt if it has a Nike ‘swoosh’ on the tag.
Many property developers will go to market with the same specs, inclusions and presentation. Your brand can be the tool that differentiates your project and draws people in.
As Dave Ansett, from branding agency Truly Deeply, notes, “those developers who can more evocatively connect their customers with a sense of place will have a powerful unfair advantage over their competitors.”
Lisa McCutchion, marketing director of Frasers Property Australia, says that “display homes give people a sense of credibility, quality and value from the moment they walk in the front door.”
Being quite an expensive venture, a true cost/benefit analysis should be performed before proceeding with any display suite. Brett Ayles, of 1 Village Project Marketing, believes that more often than not they “find it is a better spend for the client to steer away from that (display suites) and give an extra 20 (thousand dollars) back to Domain, REA (realesate.com.au) or a retail focused channel.”
When cost is an issue, digital marketing can be just as effective.
The digital world is growing in every industry and property is experiencing this in a big way. Buyers want to see visuals and experience the plan, not just rely on their own imagination from a set of documents.
“It’s got to a point where people expect 3D visuals – they want to be able to walk through the property and get a sense of the environment that exists within,” says Stefan Mielewski marketing manager at Australand.
Traditional advertising, print ads, billboards, direct mail flyers all are still recognised as effective, but as Catherine Maude, the national manager of marketing and communications at Colliers, notes “(they) are increasingly viewed as supplementary to digital marketing.”
You need to consider how you are going to present your plans to potential buyers. A website is a good start, but how you drive traffic to that website is just as important. Search engine optimisation (SEO) can do wonders in pulling people in from search engines.
Third party listing sites
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but listing your project/site on a third-party retailer significantly boosts your chances of a sale.
In our interview with Brett Ayles, he makes the point that Development Ready is the “primary place we (they) choose to advertise” their development sites.
Strategic PR, when executed well, has long standing benefits beyond the life of the current project. Damian Coad of Noel Jones appreciates how much it has done for his agency “developers are coming back for their second and third purchase… they’re driven by the relationship.”
As part of the Central Park development in Sydney, Frasers Property Australia found the local community was heavily engaged with the arts and other cultural pursuits. They decided to gift them a four-year arts centre run in conjunction with a local not-for-profit group.
McCutchion says that this helped to build “the personality” of the development early on and that the flow on benefits from the publicity “were enormous”.
Networking and relationships
These flow on effects experienced from positive PR are similarly felt in the networks and relationships you build. Robert Dunne of Savills in Brisbane sees that “the sales we’re working on now, lead to the next transactions."
This only comes with time and good ethics. A strong, trusted network may result in off market sales that dramatically reduce all costs associated with advertising and publicity.
Don’t be invisible
Marketing is a serious subject that can mean the difference between success or not. Without a well-executed, strategic plan, you may as well be waving to a friend in the dark - you might know what you’re doing, but no one else does.