Market for the market

With a clientele of high-profile major builders, well-known real estate agencies, and even mortgage brokers, digital marketing expert Sabri Suby is helping the building and property industry navigate marketing post-COVID-19.

Author

Sarah O'Donovan 

Sabri Suby cut his teeth on search engine optimisation (SEO), a perplexing aspect of digital marketing for many, after a client asked the then 22-year-old digital ad sales employee if he could get their website ‘on the left-hand side of the page’ in Google’s search results (otherwise known as organic ranking). 

Setting out to investigate every possible way to influence the ranking of search results, two things became clear: SEO was a largely unfamiliar and untapped opportunity to better advertise online, and few, if any, digital marketing agencies in Australia were willing to talk about definitive, measurable return on investment (ROI).

‘I decided it was time to shake the trees and call out the digital cowboys by starting the first full-service digital agency in Australia that focused on ROI and guaranteed results,’ Sabri says.

This vision has seen his agency King Kong, which services a number of Australia’s large residential builders, grow to enjoy an annual revenue of more than $20 million just five years after its inception. 

HOUSING sat down with Sabri to ask how home builders can use digital marketing and how online advertising is changing in the climate of COVID-19. 

 
Sabri
Sabri Suby
Photo courtesy Sabri Suby

Q: How does marketing in the building industry differ to other sectors? 

SS: Marketing a home builder is dramatically different to marketing an e-commerce company or retailer. Purchasing or remodelling a home is arguably the biggest purchase an individual or household will make, so clients typically conduct a huge amount of research before they are ready to engage a builder. 

The sales cycle for homes is far longer than your average retailer. This means a builder’s digital marketing strategy should focus on lead generation: it’s all about opening up a dialogue with potential clients and proving to them you are going to be the best provider to help them create a place they can call home. 

 

Q: How should builders adapt their messaging in the midst of the COVID climate?

SS: Home builders need to think about the specific benefits for someone deciding to buy a home right now. Inform people on the facts and explain the clear advantages of building a home in the current climate. 

Simply writing ‘we’re still open for business’ on your website isn’t enough. It’s better than nothing, but you need to provide extra information. Make sure the entire sales funnel is redesigned to answer any questions a prospect might have: how are you maintaining a COVID-safe building environment? What are some of the successful builds you’re tackling right now? 

Q: How important is adaptation to the market for home builders?

SS: The home building market is one where things change from quarter to quarter, depending on changes to government policy, available land, the economy and so many more factors.

In order to adapt, home builders need to be fluid, learning and informing clients about grants and other offers as soon as they become available. If the government decides to offer a new grant, you need to ensure that you have the details clients want to know front and centre of your marketing messaging because it’s going to pull a lot more buyers in. 

This goes beyond COVID-19: you should always stay up-to-date on the shifts in the market and adapt your messaging to reflect them. Whether it’s a deposit scheme, a new grant or a pandemic, your messaging should always be both attractive and relevant to the marketplace.

 
digital

It’s never a bad time to be occupying the most valuable real estate in the world – on the first page of google results

 

Q: How should builders adapt their messaging in the midst of the COVID climate?

SS: Home builders need to think about the specific benefits for someone deciding to buy a home right now. Inform people on the facts and explain the clear advantages of building a home in the current climate. 

Simply writing ‘we’re still open for business’ on your website isn’t enough. It’s better than nothing, but you need to provide extra information. Make sure the entire sales funnel is redesigned to answer any questions a prospect might have: how are you maintaining a COVID-safe building environment? What are some of the successful builds you’re tackling right now? 

Q: How important is adaptation to the market for home builders?

SS: The home building market is one where things change from quarter to quarter, depending on changes to government policy, available land, the economy and so many more factors.

In order to adapt, home builders need to be fluid, learning and informing clients about grants and other offers as soon as they become available. If the government decides to offer a new grant, you need to ensure that you have the details clients want to know front and centre of your marketing messaging because it’s going to pull a lot more buyers in. 

This goes beyond COVID-19: you should always stay up-to-date on the shifts in the market and adapt your messaging to reflect them. Whether it’s a deposit scheme, a new grant or a pandemic, your messaging should always be both attractive and relevant to the marketplace.

 
digital

Home builders need to be fluid, learning and informing clients about grants and other offers

 

Q: How can home builders balance a proactive approach to planned marketing while remaining flexible enough to react to changes in the market?

SS: There are certain strategies that should always be in place, regardless of market activity.

First of all, it’s never a bad time to be occupying the most valuable real estate in the world – on the first page of Google results for your chosen search terms – so that is an evergreen strategy.

Then it’s a good idea to look at upcoming industry changes and plan ahead for the next few months, or even years, so you’re aware of what revenue drivers and incentives will be coming into the market. If you prepare ahead of time, you’ll be putting yourself way ahead of the competition. This is where Facebook ads come in, which can also be easily adapted to suit certain changing market conditions.

 

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