Are your marketing plans in tune to the current generations of home buyers?
Understanding customers and their buying habits can be difficult. Sometimes there isn’t enough data to create buyer personas, and, sometimes, the data is too overwhelming to pull together into a specific persona. However, marketers can plan some of their marketing campaigns around the buying habits of a specific generational audience.
Towards which generation of shoppers should realtors currently be catering their marketing efforts?
Generation X & Generation Y Are a Realtor’s Core Audience
Generation X (Gen X) and Generation Y (Millennials) make up 61 percent of active home buyers currently in the market, at 26 percent and 35 percent respectively. Members of Gen X are in their mid-30s to mid-50s, and Millennials are in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Though people in these two generations share some similar communication and buying habits, their motivations
and goals for their home purchases are very different.
Traits of Gen X
Gen X buyers are most likely already homeowners looking to trade up to the next size home because of an expanding family or the desire to find their “forever home.” Family values become a core motivator in their buying habits.
As a group, they are the first generation to experience the internet boom. Most are media savvy and perform their own extensive research before a purchase. So, they don’t like to be sold. They want to be educated and given choices. Buyers in this group want maximum return on time, money and experience, which makes reaching them on mobile devices necessary. Members of Gen X are comfortable with both face-to-face communications and text or email, giving marketers various avenues to use when delivering messages.
Tips for Marketing to Gen X
Based on the general traits of the buyers, realtors can align their marketing efforts to the trends of Gen X. Some tips for marketing success with Generation X are:
- Have a solid, visible online presence. An active presence on websites and social media is essential. Be sure that all digital touch points are optimized for mobile responsiveness.
- Utilize email-marketing campaigns with personalized messages to communicate real estate offerings to clients. E-marketing can also be great for establishing a thought-leader reputation in the industry.
- Develop creative visuals for showing properties. Most of the time, Gen X customers already know the facts and details. Show them the beauty of a property. Invite them in visually to see what research and words cannot show them.
- Do the grunt work for them. Show them multiple listings and explain specifically how the property fits their needs. Giving them a visual tour before showing them a property reduces the chances of wasting their time on a listing that would not work for them.
- Show schools and restaurants on a map, as they base decisions on family values and what is best for their family. This demonstrates an understanding of the family dynamics that are so important to the Gen X audience.
- Be transparent. Members of Gen X can research anything and everything. And, they do. Don’t hide risks. Show them everything.
- Be authentic. Be someone they can trust to help them find what they are looking for without “selling” them.
Traits of Gen Y
Millennials are motivated by the idea of ownership and are seeking their first home. Convenience is a priority. They want to be in a w
ell-kept neighborhood that is close to work. Most are looking for a smaller house and yard that will require very little upkeep.
As a group, they are proficient on the web and with emerging technologies. They can research anything they need on the internet, and they respond positively to influencer marketing. Their minds are made up about what they want. So, they are looking for an agent to help them understand the home-buying process.
In general, they are multi-taskers who constantly want more, faster. Millennials are not comfortable with face-to-face communications, and will sometimes only communicate via digital methods, text or email. As primarily visual learners, this group prefers to receive videos, pictures and infographics over long blocks of text to read.
Tips for Marketing to Millennials
When marketing to Millennials, realtors should keep these tips in mind:
- Embrace influencer marketing by encouraging clients to post reviews and comments across websites and social media. Be sure the reviews are published, whether they are positive or negative. Respond regularly to maintain an active presence. Millennials are most influenced by peers across the web.
- Keep up with and master emerging technologies. Millennials are experts with emerging technologies and look for others who can speak their language and reach them where they spend their time. Beyond just a website and social media presence, be sure to be utilize the latest digital technologies, such as virtual reality and wearable devices.
- Be sure all presence across the web is optimized for mobile responsiveness.
- Visuals are key. Create visuals that capture attention and have a certain “wow” factor to stand out from the crowd. Be willing to take marketing to the next level with interactive visuals by combining visuals and technologies, such as virtual reality tours of homes.
- Master digital forms of communication to reach Millennials. Text and email are the most effective ways to reach this audience. But, be sure to personalize messages as much as possible. Messages have to break through their multi-tasking to grab their attention.
- Promote more than just properties. Show them a keen understanding of the home-buying process and a willingness to walk them through from beginning to end. They can research the homes they want, but they need help understanding the process for acquiring the home.
While there is no magic formula to reaching all potential home buyers, using generational targeting can help narrow down marketing techniques to reach a majority of current real estate shoppers. The key to successfully targeting members of Gen X and Gen Y is to reach them where they are spending their time. Mastering that will maximize return on marketing efforts.