N5R has had the opportunity to help a huge variety of real estate projects all over the world improve their marketing and drive their sales. Today we’re taking a look back at one such successful project and sharing the marketing lessons that we learned.
When N5R was asked to help improve the sales of a resort in the Caribbean’s St Maarten, we were surprised to learn that the sales department wasn’t part of the problem. In fact their sales staff was amazing. They were professional, well trained, and they knew how to close. The issue with this project was the marketing.
If this resort destination was going to start selling fast we had to sort out where exactly their marketing was failing and fix the issues. By analyzing this project’s current marketing we were able to come away with 3 key aspects of the campaign that were causing it to fail.
1. Past Buyers
If this marketing campaign was going to become a success, we needed to know where the customers were coming from. According to the resort, their customers were everywhere, but we decided to dig a little deeper.
We asked for a list of past purchasers and broke it down by region to find out where their prospects were from. New York had by far the most past buyers with 25%. The next highest states were New Jersey with 15% followed by Massachusetts’ 10%.
That meant that, although it was true that buyers were coming from all over the world, half of them were coming from one relatively small region in the North Eastern United States. We were now able to focus our marketing to target one specific region that we knew the bulk of our customers had come from in the past and were therefore more likely to come from in the future.
2. Customer’s Travel Plans
Vacation resort destinations like this one are generally being purchased as second homes. They’re a vacation get away and a buyer like that usually wants their travel to be as hassle free as possible. That’s why, on top of looking at where past customers were coming from, we analyzed how they were coming.
These buyers want to get to their vacation home quickly and efficiently—that means direct flights. We took a look at the flight paths and sure enough, New York City, our biggest market for past buyers, had a direct to St Maarten. Finding the direct flights allowed us to target our marketing even more effectively.
3. The Advertising
We studied this resort’s current advertising campaign and came up with 3 issues that had to be fixed.
Their current campaign seemed to focus heavily on promoting a “fractional ownership” buying structure. The problem with this message is that most buyers simply don’t know what it means. Most customers would actually associate this buying structure with time-sharing, which many view in a negative light.
No advertising campaign is going to be a success if the target doesn’t understand it. We simplified the message to make it clear for the buyer.
The Phone Number
This might seem simple, but it can make an enormous difference. The resort’s promotional materials all used a 7 digit local St Maarten phone number. This might be fine if your customers are coming from St Maarten, but this resort’s prospects were in America. Switching to a toll free number without a local area code made it much easier for customers to get a hold of the sales office.
The resort was using some very beautiful imagery in their advertisements—sandy beaches, deck chairs in the sun, and serene seascapes. The problem was that the photos didn’t have any people in them.
By changing the photos to include people enjoying themselves, we gave potential customers a visualization of what they can aspire to.
Another problem with the imagery was that the only product photos being used were complex floor plans. These can difficult for potential buyers to comprehend. We switched the floor plans out for 3D renderings and gave customers an image they could easily understand.
By making these simple changes we were able to turn this marketing campaign completely around. On top of that we took away some great lessons for marketing Caribbean resort real estate.
1. Always Analyze Your Data
A strong understanding of your past buyers or past prospects will give you valuable insights into your future prospects. Use every piece of data you have to find out where your target is coming from and you’ll be able to target your marketing techniques more effectively.
2. Look At The Flight Patterns
If your prospects are going to be flying in to their resort destinations they want to be able to do it easily. A great way to help further target your most qualified prospects is to find out where the direct flights are coming from. Make sure you’re also looking at the frequency of flights, as a city that has direct flights only during certain times of the year, likely isn’t a good candidate for a target market. Buyers need access to their vacation home all year round in order to make their purchase.
3. Simplify Your Advertising
Your advertising campaign needs to make everything as easy for your customers as possible. Easy changes like, simplifying your message, using a toll free number and using images that give customers something to aspire to will make a huge difference to your marketing success.
If you want to learn more about how to increase your real estate project’s sales, apply to our exclusive one-day Condo Mastery seminar.
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