The digital world is limitless and has transformed the way purchasing decisions are made. As a property developer, the digital landscape presents countless opportunities to engage with the right target audience.

Up until two decades ago, people thought of properties as a luxury investment. The elite and the rich could afford to pay the high prices stamped on several housing projects. The process of purchasing a property was quite a hassle. Home seekers had to go through the rigmarole of collecting and signing an endless string of documents.

The good news is, this trend has changed drastically. A majority of home buyers now research online and compare and shortlist apartments virtually before physically visiting the site. Statistics show that 92% find their dream home from online searches. Also, 82% of real estate market investors rely on online agents as a credible source of information. And 42% have even moved to the Internet and made it their first search medium.

Current data shows that there are 450 million active users on the Internet, in India alone. Future projections indicate that 635.8 million Indians will be online by 2021.

How Can Real Estate Developers Engage India’s Next Billion Internet Users?
On every major digital platform, Indian users have a significant presence. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with around 240 million Indian audiences who mostly access the platform on their mobile devices. This indicates that the online space can determine to be a goldmine for developers to engage with their buyer personas in the most effective manner. The analytic information shared by every Social Media platform can help property developers understand their buyers better and create audience-specific campaigns.

What Brought About This Growth?
The rising internet usage in India has played an important role. Two main catalysts led to this expansion: the increased distribution of low-cost smartphones and most importantly, the launch of Reliance Jio. Jio came to the market in September 2016 with a great promise by offering its users free data. The cost of data plans for Jio remained much lower in comparison to other network providers even after the free plan ended. This development led to India having the highest volume of data consumption in the world. Of the 150 crores, GB consumed what’s fascinating is that Internet penetration in the country is only 27 percent. This clearly shows that the number of Indians online is going to grow exponentially.

How can property developers efficiently use digital marketing for real estate in India to attract consumers?
With India’s Internet audience rising by the minute, the stage is set for property developers to drill into this vast market and leverage digital marketing for real estate. Consumer engagement demands developers to realign their preferences from solely revenue-generation to adding value to their consumers. In India, property developers can achieve this in many ways:

Understand audiences to personalize marketing strategies
To create engaging content that homeowners will find valuable, real estate developers need to identify whom they’re speaking to. By 2020, around 40 percent of all Internet users in India will be women. This points towards the growing influence of creating content that women will find relevant. Doing so will also include challenging long-held assumptions with regards to interest and gender areas. For example, 60 percent of those who purchased sporting goods and watched related videos on YouTube were not men, but women.
Additionally, 60% of those who searched online for car-related information online were also women. Having a better understanding of audiences can help developers Generate Content That Their Users Will Find Valuable. This is a fundamental step in building a relationship with audiences.

Create campaigns accurately for mobile
One of the most striking characteristics of India’s Internet usage is that most Indians haven’t grasped the general model of Internet adoption. While globally, most people initially used a computer and then migrated to mobile phones, Indians seem to have hopped the computer stage entirely. According to a recent survey by Statcounter, Indians use their phones to access the Internet, almost 80 percent of the time. This means that property developers should be creating content specifically intended for mobile phones if they want to engage with the ensuing billion Internet consumers.

Use regional languages to reach a broader audience
While the total number of English-speaking Internet users in India is mostly static, the number of regional language users is increasing at a breakneck pace. One of the principal reasons for this growth is Internet penetration in tier II and III cities, along with villages. Google figures that about 30% of users in India belong from rural areas. If property builders plan to develop a personal relationship with potential homeowners, then a robust regional language real estate digital marketing strategy is essential. Tamil is a leading regional language used among Internet users in India, around 42 percent, while 39 percent of users are Hindi-speaking.

Optimize brands for voice search
Voice search usage in India might be in the initial stage at the moment, but it is increasing at a steady pace. Google estimates that 28 percent of online searches are voice searches. Even more encouraging is the fact that there has been a 400 percent growth in Hindi voice search. Voice search is crucial for SEO also because traditional keywords aren’t used when speaking naturally.

Utilize the AdWords ‘missed call’ extension
Using call extensions in your ads can significantly improve click-through and conversion rates. However, a sizeable number of mobile users in India, especially in smaller cities and towns, use prepaid connections. So, the cost of making a call might prevent them from contacting your business. This is why AdWords has recently introduced a ‘Missed Call’ feature, which can help resolve this concern. When a user chooses the Missed Call option on an ad, a call is made and then immediately cut. After this, the user will get an automated call advising them to stay on the line while their call is joined to the business. At the same time, the business will also get a call from Google. Once the user and the business are on the same call, they will be joined to each other. This feature can assist real estate developers engage with potential homeowners in a better way and pursue conversions more effectively.

Encourage a two-way conversation
Digital Marketing and real estate go hand-in-hand. Digital marketing for real estate enables developers to not just speak to their consumers, but also to listen to them. This unparalleled opportunity for a two-way conversation is essential for drive consumer engagement. To guarantee a meaningful conversation, developers need to know precisely who their audience is, where their interests lie and what their concerns are. As per prevailing Indian audience trends, real estate developers can only reach the next billion Internet users if they look beyond the urban metros.

While an absolute shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing for real estate won’t happen in the immediate future, real estate developers have distinctly increased their digital marketing budget over the past years. In 2015, statistics revealed a 25 percent increase in marketing contributes across the property sector, with an estimate of around 600 crores spent on digital marketing for real estate. Factor that influenced the budget increase is consumer behavior, and with improved numbers indicating for the forthcoming year, this boost in marketing budget will only go up.

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