Picture this. You’re at a listing presentation, encouraging vendors to lock in the Gold Package: a full-page newspaper ad, letterbox drop, social media campaign and more. The more money spent on marketing, the greater the chance of finding a buyer… right?
Not exactly. You have to know what you’re doing (and why) in order to hit the bullseye.
Pumping money into marketing without proper education is a bit like blindly throwing darts at the wall and hoping one finds the mark. Unfortunately, for many marketers, it’s the reality.
Investment in training is way, way down
60% of marketers reported that their budgets for 2019 would be higher than in 2018. However, this isn’t being supplemented with digital skills training. Nearly a quarter of employees receive just one day of digital skills training per year, and the majority receive less than five.
This is a significant problem and a clear indication that a shift in focus is needed: from spending money on marketing and technology, to investing in the people who operate that technology.
So, how do you measure up?
Think about the platforms you (or your vendors) are putting ad spend into. Do you know the ins and outs of each? If not, how can you expect to get value from them?
For online ads, as a bare minimum an agency should know:
- Which demographic(s) to target each property to (and how this works in practice)
- Where your digital ads go across the various networks, and why
- How to know when your ads aren’t performing, and what to do about it
Not quite there? You’re not the only one. There’s a gap in education around these platforms and it’s getting wider with every new technology.
You’ve got two options.
- Hire someone to fill the skill gap; or
- Upskill your current staff and leverage tech tools to get the job done.
Here’s what we think.
Hiring is hard
The average cost of replacing a staff member is between 16 and 20% of their salary and it typically takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity. However, just 20% of the current workforce has the skills needed for both their current role and their future career. In fact, technology is changing and creating new ways to market so rapidly that recruiters are no longer able to use past experience as a benchmark.
Even if you strike gold and a potential new hire does know the ins and outs of new marketing tech, it’s changing fast: if your new hire isn’t adaptable and driven to learn, their experience may be out of date within months of coming on board.
What do you do instead? Motivate your existing staff to learn.
Leverage the staff and tools you’ve already got!
If you and your team use your tech tools effectively, you’ll get much more bang for your digital marketing buck and will avoid having to hire anyone new.
Here are a few ways that you can ensure you’re stretching your marketing budget for all its got:
Upskill, upskill, upskill
You don’t have to be an expert with a four-year marketing degree. There’s an array of courses to choose from that don’t require a huge level of commitment. You can even find free courses, called MOOCs, that you can complete at any time. Here’s a handy write-up of courses for real estate agents wanting to stay at the top of their game.
With the knowledge you gain from upskilling, you’ll be able to get the most out of the tools you use.
Use tech tools, and use them well
Start by getting to know the tech tools you have inside out. Once you’ve got that down pat, shaking things up probably won’t be high on your agenda. But who’s to say what best practice marketing will look like next year — or even next month? There are always improvements to be made and new technologies to utilise.
So, you need to keep up to date with any changes or updates to the software, competitors, as well as any shifts in digital marketing trends.
Social media search and other digital marketing algorithms are constantly evolving, as is the audience you’re trying to engage with through your online ads. Heard of ad fatigue and banner blindness? These are very real phenomenon, and they pose a problem for all marketers. No doubt, new hurdles will continue to crop up.
What works now won’t necessarily work in a few years time. That’s why we developed Spoke — a digital marketing platform specifically for real estate agents. We stay on top of the algorithm tweaks, the trends — all of it. Then, we improve your ads again and again.
At Spoke, we’re big believers in upskilling. We invest in training our users, so that everyone can squeeze Spoke for everything it’s got. Through reading our blog posts, and watching our videos and webinars, anyone can be a Spoke expert in no time. And once you know how to set up your campaigns, we take care of the rest.
Instead of upping your digital marketing spend and expecting results, shift your focus to getting the most out of the staff (and the tools) you have.