Evaluating ROI in CRE Marketing Expenses: A Surprising Budget Drain that Offers Little Inherent ROI
As a real estate investor and developer, I spent years evaluating ROI across all my projects. For brick and mortar decisions, it seemed the black and red nature of expenditures was somewhat clear cut. But for marketing, evaluating ROI became challenging... especially for the left brained engineer in me. There are so many factors that make evaluating marketing expenditures tough. However, there is one prevalent marketing tool that while necessary for most projects, can easily turn into a drain offering no ROI... the property website.
The reason for this is that there is no inherent value in a site. It is as useless as a blank brochure. A website is merely a container.
There are two factors that impute value into a site.
First, and most important is the means by which traffic (viewers) are directed to the site. When planning a site, your first question should be, “how are we going to get people to the site?” If you cannot answer that with granular detail, the investment into the actual website is pointless.
Second, is the content and ease of the site. Less is more, but less must pack a punch. This means that sites that do not overwhelm a viewer are more likely to engage that viewer beyond the first click, however they must also provide stimulating content. Studies show that video, for example, that has been optimized for quick loading is 80% more likely to keep a person on a site than static images.
Where website investment goes awry in CRE: the bells and whistles! Property marketing IS NOT consumer marketing. Campaigns are (and should be) highly targeted, client specific, and fish within a relatively small pond. Monies spent on SEO (search engine optimization) are wasted within this sphere. While extremely important in consumer marketing, SEO has virtually no effect in CRE property marketing. The same rings true for custom site coding. Clarity and stunning, informative visuals win (period). Investing in elements that make your site “edgy” or “tech” cost more, require more testing to optimize across all devices, and can increase load speeds in low WiFi signal environments. The best advice for property sites is to create a clean message, killer visuals, and do everything you can to drive targeted traffic to your site.
One last note, paying attention to your mobile site is vital. Most people will engage with a mobile site before ever looking at the desktop version, so it is imperative that effective sites load quickly and cleanly on mobile devices. This is why so much value can be leveraged from platforms like Wix (and others) who offer limited customizable features, but pre-engineered optimization for all devices.
Check out our company site built entirely in Wix!