When the going gets tough – by Ant Bray.

17th December, 2018

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three months, you will have noticed the property market has suffered a significant downturn. Off the plan apartments, the land market and existing residential stock have all been affected. Whenever I encounter situations like this, I tend to start asking myself a lot of questions. Naturally the first one is usually “what are we going to do?” As a business owner, it is imperative to ensure that you have the right strategies in place to deal with a downturn as livelihoods depend on it. In this article I will discuss my thoughts regarding the reasons for the downturn and then the one percenters agents, developers and agencies should be implementing to combat it.

So, why are sales in decline?
Well, there are a several reasons, with the most pertinent being:
– The removal of stamp duty for investors on off the plan apartments
– A general tightening of lending by the banks, especially to offshore buyers
– A level of uncertainty amongst consumers with a fear of prices dropping further

While these factors are leading directly to a drop in sales, we are still seeing consistently high website visitation numbers across our active campaigns, however, registrations on these sites has fallen by around 50%. This behaviour can be attributed to the fact that in an uncertain market where sales are slow and property prices are expected to continue falling, prospective purchasers simply do not have as much reason to enquire. It is a Buyer’s Market. They are the ones in a position of power, meaning marketers need to think more creatively about how they can entice registrations.

Analysing your website is always going to be the first port of call. Is the user experience clear and engaging? What is your point of difference and is that being conveyed effectively through the site? Understanding that the people viewing your website have likely already viewed countless others, really highlights the importance of ensuring you are presenting your development as something fresh and engaging.

It is also key to understand that in a tough market, you have to give a little, to get a little. Simply asking for a registration is not going to generate results. Instead you need to incentivise people to leave their details by offering them something in return. It could be a digital copy of the brochure, priority access to a new release or even a purchaser gift like an appliance upgrade.

There is also a lot to be said for trying to cater to the prospective purchaser’s needs. Rather than a simple registration form featuring name, email and phone number, consider adding a field where the registrar can nominate their preferred method of contact (phone, SMS, email) so they can feel assured that they won’t be hounded with phone calls.

There are many other ways that you can improve your chances of capturing those elusive registrations.

Critically analyse the campaign data provided by your media agency. The average monthly campaign spend on an off the plan apartment development in Victoria is approximately $16,000. Work out where all of your marketing dollars are being spent and assess your return on investment. You should be receiving detailed monthly reports from your media agency. If you’re not, then it’s time to think about a change.

Track every lead that is generated and ask your agent for a report on every one. Leads are likely costing around $500 each, so it’s critical that every one is treated as important. Your agent should be able to tell you about each potential buyer and whether they are a hot or cold lead, what type of product they are looking for and their anticipated buying timeframe.

Work your database. These people have opted in to receive your communications, so it is imperative to make the most of that opening. Send out tailored messages with the aim to resonagte with particular market segments. That could be an eDM directed to First home buyers offering advice on how to break into the property market, or perhaps an investor targeted communication, highlighting potential bonuses they could access by purchasing by a particular date. Whatever message you decide to put out there, the key is being as targeted as possible. The last thing you want during tough times is a scattergun approach.

Don’t be afraid to deal. Whether it is accepting a lower deposit, offering upgrades or even something completely left field, like a holiday or car (depending on how dire the situation is), the cost is always going to be worthwhile if you can generate a sale.

In summary, in tough times, complacency is your worst enemy. Doing nothing or pausing your campaign will only make the situation worse. Developers, agents and agencies need to collectively work harder and smarter to not only generate leads, but also ensure they make the most of every one.

If you have a campaign that isn’t performing and would like to chat about ways to improve it, please call or text me on 0407 850 603 or email me at anthony@tomorrowagency.com.au.