Crossing the Generation Gap in Real Estate Marketing

Real estate is any industry where buying decisions truly are made across multiple generations. Fist-time homebuyers often are just out of college and ready to move from their parents’ place or have worked for a few years and can’t wait to get out of that cramped apartment. At the opposite end of the spectrum are seniors. The options for this group range from active adult communities restricted to those “55 years or better” to assisted living to nursing care.

With such an age-diverse client base, how do you reach potential customers cost-effectively? To attract someone’s attention, your marketing efforts must speak to your target audience not only in a tone and manner in which they have become accustomed, but also via media channels that are familiar with.

Recent interviews re-enforced what us marketers already knew…that social media is the most prevalent way to reach young adults. More and more of today’s college grads are finding information on social sites such as Facebook. There are even college courses now designed to teach marketers how to use these sites in a business environment. It stands to reason, then, that a strong social component is essential when reaching out to homebuyers in their 20s.

A busy mom, On the other hand, is probably more likely to hear your ad on the radio or see it on TV. Juggling kids and often times a career leaves them less time to stay in touch via Twitter or MySpace. Radio can reach these homebuyers as they rush to work or drive the children to soccer practice. Cable TV is another good option. HGTV, Lifetime and TLC are stations dominated by women viewers where your message can be heard for a relatively low cost.

These buyers are Internet savvy, however; so don’t overlook that run on websites targeted toward women.

Don’t forget about dad. While women often start the homebuying search, men are definitely instrumental when it comes to inking the deal. To appeal to their senses, talk cents…dollars and cents. The male mind wants to know the facts and wants to get the best deal. So make sure your message has a strong value proposition. And consider advertising on the radio during a sporting event or the morning stock reports.

Trying to attract the 30-something crowd? Try an eblast campaign. Today’s professionals are accustomed to getting their information on the go. Quick snippets of information delivered straight to their inbox is a convenience they’ll appreciate. But make sure to keep the information relevant or risk alienating a potential customer.

Interactive marketing is becoming more commonplace when targeting senior homebuyers, now, too. However, this is one consumer group who still has time to read…the newspaper, magazines, direct mail, etc. Their social media program isn’t an online tribe, it’s getting together to enjoy similar interests. So try hosting an event at your retirement community or senior living campus. Provide activities your guests can participate in and encourage them to invite their families, too.

The first step to successfully marketing to your potential homebuyers – whether they be in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s – is to understand how they receive their information today and deliver your message accordingly. Try it. And see the results.

Want to learn more about real estate marketing? Check out this article here.

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Debbie Szwast
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.