Most experienced real estate agents know that luxury home marketing requires a different mindset than the marketing of homes at a lower price point. Unfortunately, many agents make the mistake of using different tactics rather than different strategies when marketing exclusive homes.
A change in tactics will often require employing more expensive advertising and marketing materials, yet a change in strategy requires big picture thinking and analysis before tactics are employed. Here are a few areas in which I see agents making big mistakes in the process:
Attracting the wrong attention
Agents can spend huge amounts of marketing dollars on videos with orchestras and ballerinas without any clear return on their investment or reduction in market time. While this type of attention can get you large numbers of internet hits and media coverage, it often brings the wrong types of people into a home and can have a damaging impact on its image. These types of bells and whistles, if not done tastefully, can send a message that a carnival atmosphere is needed to sell a home, when exclusive buyers know it is the thoughtfully designed home, along with its history, cutting-edge features and sought-after neighborhood that attracts the next serious buyer.
Creative events that show off the house and are consistent with the era a home was built, like a small classical concert, fund-raiser, or a poetry reading and cocktail hour can be far more effective in creating the right exposure, compared to sensational videos posted for mass public consumption.
Failing to target the pre-buyer
Many buyers of exclusive homes are currently luxury bi-coastal and global sellers who are downsizing or up-sizing; as well as luxury second-home renters. Targeting these sellers and renters, who have not yet decided where they are moving, is an effective strategy for creating buyers that are not yet in the market.
Missing the comparative/competitive marketing opportunity
Many agents make a good effort to learn the unique features of a home. What they often miss is how to position the home among other similar homes in a price range. Determining the shortcomings of other competitive homes is as important as knowing the benefits of the home you are marketing.
Overlooking the story behind the details
Every exclusive home is unique, so after a thorough interview and tour with my homeowners, I also walk through a home with the architect who designed it and the contractor who built it or renovated it. They often can point out details that even homeowners have forgotten and help positon the home well among more recently constructed homes. Also, since luxury buyers are typically coming from other states, counties and countries it should never be assumed that all buyers fully understand why a particular building material or feature of a home is important. Such items can be important due to weather considerations, innovation in design, maintenance and environmental concerns, historical precedent, scarcity and cost. These considerations should always be fully communicated to each buyer.
Inadequately leveraging direct mail
I often see agents create beautiful, glossy marketing pieces to leave inside exclusive homes and mail to target neighborhoods. While such pieces are nice to have inside the home, they are of better use outside of the home. Mailing these pieces to pre-buyers, other agents and places where the luxury buyer frequents, such as private clubs and spas, is an important part of marketing. Adding incentives to spread the word and pass along these materials is also effective for maximum exposure.