You probably don’t need sophisticated analytics to know that most users of CRE services are middle-upper income males 40 or older. Almost the same description could apply to the majority of CRE agents, too. Maybe that’s why most CRE marketing efforts are based on that demographic: successful, older men marketing to other older, successful men.
It really irritates younger and “enlightened” older agents who feel CRE’s marketing approach is way behind the times especially when it comes to social networking. Or the “long tail” clients like the small space user, women or tech savvy start-ups often frustrated by the “one size fits all” CRE marketing plan.
Here’s some of the latest research on marketing, demographics and user behavior with some suggestions for tweaking your marketing approach to target some of these underserved groups – or to do a better job targeting the usual suspects.
There are only 2 factors that influence advertising success: the message and repetition. If your message is boring, useless or badly executed, no one will listen. But any message is more likely to be remembered the more often it’s repeated (for good or bad).
Have you read your website page content lately? Maybe it’s time for a refresh. Not only that, you need to distill the most important points that you want to communicate about your company and use them in other materials and on other channels. Pick a tag line or a few bullet points that succinctly represents the image you want to convey. Repeat these in your social account descriptions, on printed materials and visuals.
Men prefer messages that convey strength, confidence and authority. Women relate to a brand’s authenticity and are turned off by exaggerated claims. They also prefer knowing about the practical aspects and utility of a product or service.
This explains why I always butt heads with some of the companies I work with when it comes to developing site content. I just hate all the bloviating and superlatives – or at least that’s how I take all those passages saying how great the company is. In my mind, I get to decide whether you’re great or not – and that depends on how sincere you seem and what you can do to help me. Looks like you need a bit of both. Point taken…
While men and women search online in similar ways (partly due to the standardized interface offered) men prefer to take the most direct route possible to get the information they’re looking for. Women seem to prefer browsing a site, take in more information on a page and are more tolerant of site errors.
The one click rule still rules but with a majority of male users, make sure the links work! Since women are likely taking more in, designing a little more with them in mind might be productive.
Male users are more likely to watch YouTube videos than women, though only 25% of men admit to watching in the first place.* In general, men respond better to visuals rather than the written word but visuals with an emotional or social (as in people interacting) component appeal more to women than other types of photos.
Maybe there’s something to all those calls for more CRE videos… And while you don’t have to swap out all those sterile stock photos for something warm and fuzzy, adding images representing relationships might be a good idea.
Traditional forms of advertising are trusted more than online advertising. Online, consumer recommendations are trusted more than brand websites, online ads, and just about any other form of advertising.
It’s nice to know people still trust real people so don’t put all your networking in the online basket. Plus there’s evidence that trust of online sources is declining overall. That’s a natural progression as people sort out who and what they can trust online. Notice the word trust because that’s the important factor. Judicious use of recommendations, current tweets, blog posts or other online activity shows visitors there’s someone home and they’re paying attention. And a consistent message and presence helps build trust.
–Women of any age group are more likely to check out a brand’s social media sites than men.*
–Men are more likely to buy online than women and are likely to do so on their phone or tablet.*
–Women respond better to email marketing.*
A grab bag of interesting stats, it could explain some of the resistance to social media by CRE agents. Being the “direct” types, social sites might seem like a waste of time for business or pleasure. But buying online suits the male need for speed compared to in-store shopping which most men typically dislike.
As for the gender difference in email marketing, it’s something to keep in mind if you need to target female users and to explain lower response rates from men.
While under 30’s are the most prevalent group online and use social media sites the most, older users are the fastest growing demographic for social network adoption in the last few years.
I guess there’s hope for the dinosaurs.
And for the latest data on social network demographics, here’s a link to a post I wrote to help businesses decide which ones to concentrate on.