How To Create An Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

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Your real estate agency faces a lot of competition for attention. These days marketing is very much across multi-channel environments, with newer strategies such as social media and mobile becoming dominant.

Traditional marketing methods such as direct marketing and print advertising are still in play too, but many agencies have found that what works in print doesn’t work on social media, or vice versa.

The key to successfully managing marketing campaigns is to create an integrated marketing plan across your different channels. You want consistency in your messaging and you want success from all, so where do you start?

Start With Segmenting Your Audience

Have you truly identified who your target customers are? Besides “people who want to sell their house” or “people looking to buy property,” what other characteristics might define your audience more narrowly?

The idea of narrowing down your audience segments is that it allows you to be more targeted with your messaging. As SproutSocial states:

“Smart marketers constantly tinker with their segmentation strategy, working tediously to ensure that the right message is reaching the right people at the right time. With the rise of so many platforms across the vast social media landscape, this has never been more important—or more challenging.”

This statement is applicable not only to social media, but to every other channel you may be using as part of your marketing mix.

Fiona Veitch, Marketing Director of Portico, reiterates this point and show how they created a property brand based on the audience they defined:

"To create our brand, over 1,000 points of information were gathered through a variety of sources from staff interviews to landlord surveys and team brainstorming sessions. Through the research, we identified our brand values which informed every element of our brand. Internally, a representative from every branch participated in the entire process, and our entire team was surveyed following a launch event."

Here are some possible characteristics that can help define real estate segments:

Demographic  For example: Income, Religion, Family size, Occupation, Gender, Race, Generation

Geographic  For example: School district, Neighborhood, Employer, City

Psychographic  For example: Pet owners, Lifestyle seekers, Friends/family in the neighborhood…

Often when people speak of “market segmentation” in real estate, they’re thinking of residential, commercial or industrial real estate, yet those are just the umbrellas for many smaller segments. It may help to create customer “avatars” which represent each segment you create. This way you can really drill down to the needs and expectations of that representative figure.

Another point of this is that different segments will be found better with different marketing channels. Not everyone is on Facebook, while many people never pick up a newspaper either.


Source: SproutSocial

Learn how you can use ‘Batch Emails’ in Follow Up Boss to send targeted emails to small segments of your database.

What Will Your Key Messages Be?

Now that you’ve identified your segments, it becomes easier to come up with the key messaging that will appeal to each one. This will tie in with the channels you decide to use in the next section as different types of messaging will be more or less effective on each platform.

For example, if text message is a preferred channel, the shorter the message to effectively communicate what you need, the better; whereas you can get away with a longer message in print or in an email.


Choose Your Channels

Once you’ve created some clear customer segments and messages, identify for each one which will be the best channels to use in order to reach them. One of the big mistakes that people often make is trying to target every channel, but spreading themselves too thinly by doing so. Remember it’s about effectively reaching your segment; just because someone else is on Instagram, doesn’t mean that’s the best place for you to be too.

For this reason, be very picky when choosing your channels and examine them from the point of view of their strengths and their weaknesses. For example, algorithm changes with Facebook have meant that followers do not see all of your posts—some will see none. If you’re not prepared to spend some money on Facebook advertising, it may not be the best place for you. (Unless you have significant target audience there—then you should probably reassess that spending requirement!).

[tweetthis]It’s better to do one or two marketing channels very well than several haphazardly[/tweetthis]

Be Consistent

Being consistent means that your brand should translate well across all channels that you use. Someone who receives an email from you shouldn’t think you’re a totally different business on Facebook.

Consistency includes:

  • Your overall look and feel.
  • Style—photography, graphics, logos, fonts, colors.
  • Messaging—while you will need different messaging for each segment, you should have a consistent brand personality and set of values.

So someone who is looking at your newsletter should see a visual connection between it and your website.

Clear and Compelling Too

Usually referred to as the “3 C’s” for marketing messaging, clear, compelling and consistent should be your guideline for creating content that is able to be used across channels. Can your content be adapted and repurposed while still being recognizable as part of your brand?

Make sure your messaging is very clear and speaks to the motivations of your target segment. It may be used in a different way (for example, snippets for Twitter or paragraphs for Facebook), but the overall messaging should remain transparent.

If there is more than one team member who works on your messaging, ensure that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want rogue messaging going out that could confuse potential clients. You could mitigate this by having one person who is in charge of overseeing all efforts and by simply gathering everyone together to compare notes.

Know Your Goals

What is the desired outcome for each message you are putting out? Every element of your campaign should be set up to drive prospects toward that ultimate outcome.

For example, you may want people to:

  • Sign up to your email list.
  • Opt in for a piece of educational content.
  • Follow you on social media.
  • Physically turn up to an event.
  • Give your office a phone call.

Don’t confuse your messaging by having multiple different calls to action. You will find it more effective if people can clearly see one option that your campaign is driving them toward. Present them with too many and they’ll often opt for none.

Track & Refine

There’s a saying “that which gets measured, gets managed” and this certainly applies to any of your marketing efforts. Use analytics and keep a close watch on how well campaigns perform against KPIs which you have identified.

It makes no sense to continue with a channel that is not producing results, but you can always try altering and testing different elements of your campaign to see whether it makes a difference.

Try some basic (or more advanced if you can swing it) split testing of your campaign elements; for example different subject lines for emails, different headlines on print or on Facebook advertising, different images or different elements in your copy. It can take some tweaking and refining to get it right, but in the end you probably just want to know that you are improving your numbers of well-targeted customers who take the action you would like.

Your CRM should also be able to provide strong reporting options to help you evaluate the ROI of your marketing and lead sources.

Final Thoughts

Integrated marketing communications are about not only appropriate messaging for the target segment, but consistent messaging across channels so that your brand remains recognizable to clients.

This means that your marketing campaigns should have some time and thought put behind them to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Identify your audience segments and channels, then keep messaging consistent, clear and compelling. Measure for effectiveness and test out whether changing one or two elements helps drive results. This way your real estate agency can focus on the areas where it is most effective and achieve better success.

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