By Hesham El-kheshen
When it comes to marketing, it is important to embrace the current digital era where everything is just a button click away. With computers and mobile applications, online shopping became a true life style and real estate products are not an exception.
Being in the real estate market for more than 30 years now, I can tell that the market has shifted towards utilizing computers and mobile devices for searching real estate opportunities. According to last year researches, 42% of buyers’ first destination is online when looking for a home, and 83% of all home buyers prefer visualizing their desired properties online rather than depending on newspapers, or even hunting ‘FOR SALE’ signs as it was the norm. So in real estate business, we should admit that consumers are shifting towards online searching rather than maintaining traditional display of listings at real estate offices.
It is a real challenge to our sector locally and even on the global level but we cannot practically ignore how digital technology and online media are invading the market. Otherwise, we should work on developing new and invocative communication strategies that integrates all such new aspects.
Nowadays, to advertise a property, new techniques should be adopted such as 3D virtual tours which enable real estate buyers to digitally envision homes and most critically to make the purchase decision. Also, e-Books became a popular tool as they include all the needed details about the property such as photos, title, description, legal documents… etc.
In my humble opinion, contemporary communication trends gave a strong boost to consumers’ expectations and made the competition harder, this in return will be reflected considerably on the real estate taste in the coming years.
A recent research conducted by Nielsen, revealed that visuals and video marketing ranked 2nd in affecting consumers’ minds and preferences which reassures the occurrence of a certain change in the marketing concept. The digital arena has eased a whole interactive world where customers enjoy a blend of image, music, color and a sense of the place. To catch up with the new momentum, we have to keep in mind that we’re not just selling a product anymore; we are rather building lives for people!
In a country like Egypt, with all the previous and upcoming political and economic downturns, that was initially triggered by a tweet/comment on social media, it was quite clear that Egyptians are embracing the new digital life. To keep up with the momentum, we should have a sustainable online presence, optimized via digital marketing communication mix.
Practically speaking, the Egyptian real estate market has a promising growth potential, especially with its increased number of internet users and the high dependency on mobile devices allowing consumers to check instant market updates and match them with their needs.
Undoubtedly, real estate market will face some challenges to fully adapt, however, I think that this digital era can strongly aid in promoting Egypt’s touristic destinations and can play a dynamic role in exporting real estate outside Egyptian borders. Similar models have witnessed success stories in other markets such as Cyprus and UAE.
In this context, real estate developers need to swiftly adapt to lead the change and not merely witness it!