The way real estate brokerages, teams, and agents do digital marketing is in the middle of significant change. A slew of new privacy laws coming online at the state level will make tracking consumers online and targeting them through advertising much more difficult. As such, real estate practitioners will have to adapt.
A crop of new legislation has arisen to address increased consumer concerns around digital privacy. The European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, which deeply changed how companies can gather and use consumer data for marketing. Similar changes are coming to the U.S. For example, in 2021 alone, 23 states introduced data privacy bills, according to an International Association of Privacy Professionals report. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, and Utah already have signed legislation.
In April 2021, Apple rolled out iOS privacy updates that gave users the easy ability to block apps from tracking and recording their online behaviors. And in June 2022, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) changed its ad delivery system that targeted users with housing ads based on characteristics protected under the Fair Housing Act. This resulted in ads being delivered to a broader audience based on interests rather than a tightly narrowed persona which had become one of the platform's most attractive features.
The existing tactical toolboxes of real estate technology and marketing professionals will become increasingly ineffective and expensive once these state laws come into effect.
What to do about it
The lure of new business, and the value that agents place in it, tends to attract brokerages to spend outsized money on technology related to supporting their top-of-funnel business. However, a smart technology investment for brokerages in 2023 involves focusing on providing tools to agents and in-house systems that help firms capture even more business out of the contacts they and their agents already have.
In response to the impending privacy laws, brokerages and agents should double down on database marketing and invest in technology stack tools such as modern CRMs and email marketing platforms that propel these strategies to success. This involves building and executing a comprehensive sphere marketing strategy to encourage repeat-and-referral business.
A straightforward way to apply this involves:
- Deploying a CRM tool to power audience segmentation
- Loading segmented audiences into targeted email campaigns integrated with the CRM and triggered by user inputs or behavioral triggers based on online behaviors
- Delivering a consistent diet of compelling content via email
The digital marketing playbook brokerages and agents have been applying for years will soon become more effective. Now is the time to double down on sphere and content marketing to attract, engage and retain clients and contacts, and focus on developing repeat-and-referral business.