How To Market Your Property To UHNWIs & Sell Your Property Faster: An Interview With Agency Mogul Rumble Romagnoli
At Cap Villas, we work with luxury digital marketing agency Relevance to market our properties to an ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) audience. With the high rate of success that we have seen, we wanted to share some insight on the niche strategy of targeting these wealthy individuals, and how Relevance works to help to sell our properties faster. Below, we talk to Relevance CEO Rumble Romagnoli.
How to sell properties faster and market to UHNWIs
Rumble, tell us a bit about your background?
I started Relevance over a decade ago, to market high-value goods and services to ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth-individuals. These people have a lot of money, but this means they also have a lot of choices. They can go anywhere. So, it is a difficult but very interesting niche to work in.
At Relevance, one of our specialist areas is high-value property. Of course, although we have over ten years of experience in the industry, strategies always need to be changed to reflect digital algorithm updates, results of new studies, general client mood, and more - that’s what keeps it interesting!
Currently, what are your key strategies for marketing properties to UHNWIs?
It’s a question I always get - as an owner or a broker of say a €10 million villa in St Tropez, a €10 million apartment in Monaco, a £10 million townhouse in central London, or a €10 million euro ski chalet in Courchevel, how can I market my property for rent and sale to the right audience? How can I sell my property faster?I’ve devised no less than 15 ideas to help answer this question.
1) Virtual tours. These digital tours allow prospective renters/buyers to get a real understanding of the size of an apartment, as well as the views and lifestyle it offers. With pictures, sometimes people can misunderstand what they see, leading to disappointment or confusion further down the line.
This concept has been growing in importance over the last years with everyone going digital, but it is particularly relevant now in the COVID-19 crisis. Many potential clients would prefer to stay in the safety of their homes, but they don't want to lose the experience of a tour. So if you can provide a virtual but realistic experience of your apartment, you’ll win a lot of people over and hopefully will sell your property faster.
We use virtual tours to display Cap Villas’ selection of properties for sale
and rent - and for its sister company St Tropez House. Most recently, we created virtual tours for one €20 million villa and one €6 million villa. Both were rented on the spot - one for €50,000 and the other for €100,000.2) Rendering.
Creating a rendering of a property gives it an extra edge. Instead of providing prospects with flat images of the building, you can instead offer a 3D picture which allows them to better gauge the height and dimensions. Also, it allows them to easily imagine a redesign of the property that perhaps suits their family life more.
Our intended clientele are very busy people, so providing options like this to avoid the need of an in-person showing is much appreciated.
3) Walk-through. These are essentially live, personalised virtual tours where a real estate broker walks a client through the house. This personal edge is where the luxury really comes in - that feeling of ‘I’m here for you, what can I do to help you’ - and this is what is essential when marketing your property to UHNWIs.
These face-to-face tours with a prospect add an element of trust, as clients can see that you aren’t trying to just sell to them, and that you are really trying your best to answer their queries in any way you can. As they warm to you and you become ‘their broker’ instead of ‘a broker’, they feel reassured that you will be working on their behalf to get them the best price.
We more and more find ourselves walking away from selling and going into advising. It is much more about telling the client everything they want to know about the property and how it might fit their lifestyle, instead of forcing anything on them.
Interestingly, we find that when we create the sleek professional corporate videos (which we will talk about next), with a full camera crew and art direction, sometimes the behind-the-scenes videos of the shoot that we post on Instagram actually get the most traction. I think this is because these seem more ‘real’.
4) Corporate videos. These are beautiful, highly shareable staged videos such as this one that we created for Villa Ama Pampelonne in St Tropez. They often feature models or influencers, and are the best way to sell the glamour and lifestyle of a property to UHNWIs, as well as to get viral coverage for a property.
https://youtu.be/kNOjfzjZoh85) Open house.
These would usually be sophisticated events hosted at the property, where a selection of prospects are invited to drop in at a time that suits them, with the owner or broker on hand to answer any questions and give detailed tours. During COVID, we have been operating these virtually instead, with someone going to the property for a few hours and inviting guests to virtually visit and receive tours as they like. 6) Photography.
I would always recommend hiring a professional real estate photographer when marketing your property. You’ll need to consider things such as whether to use a model/influencer, and how you will take both ‘insides’ and ‘outsides’ of the property. It can be difficult to get both of these shots on the same shoot, but there are specialists out there who you can work with. 7) Social media.
Here we have to look at both B2B, which is effectively us marketing to other real estate brokers, B2C, which is us marketing property to prospective buyers.
The best social platforms for marketing B2B are Linkedin and Twitter. LinkedIn is full of property professionals, and you can target specialist groups (go ahead and create your own one if there isn't one that fits your niche) filled with real estate agents in your area. Twitter is great for making B2B connections with journalists, who you can target with your properties in the hope that they will write them up and spread the word amongst their following. Outline the USPs of your property to them, what makes it different from others, and the pricing, and be sure to target journalists who write for publications that high-net-worth-individuals read.
Instagram and Facebook are better for B2C. You can target by particular segment on these platforms, ie 60 year olds who live in Monaco or Luxembourg, or central London business people who work in the banking sector, or people who went to Harvard or Cambridge who love Aston Martin. That's what Relevance specialises in: creating custom audiences by persona to target your property to.
On YouTube, you can do similar targeting: Google (who owns YouTube) offer lots of segmentation, meaning you can get your corporate videos in front of all the right people. It’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn also works for B2C, as you can very easily target corporate CEOs working for specific industries such as finance and manufacturing with a large staff; for example, if you wanted to target the CEO of a steel conglomerate, who you can ascertain probably has €10 million to spend on an apartment.
In terms of what content wins on social, video is number one, with many people watching and engaging with corporate videos and behind the scenes footage. But images, PRs, property specs, infographics and white papers do very well too. 8) Search.
If you're not visible, you're not going to get found. And since 90% of the world are looking for things on search engines, this is the only place that you will find a large audience with intent. You likely won't get an audience with intent on social media, whereas on search, people know they are looking for something: perhaps property for sale in Monaco, or a two bedroom flat for sale in Knightsbridge. This is why you have to be visible in order to sell your property faster.
You can either do this by SEO, PPC, or both - we would always recommend both. Remember though, it’s not all about Google. As well as Bing and other alternative search engines in the Western world, some countries have their own, such as Yandex in Russia or Baidu in China. These countries contain a significant percentage of UHNWIs, meaning you can't afford to miss opportunities on these search sites.
We know where these UHNWIs are and what they are searching for. We have profiles on them; we have studied the Forbes
rich list and can work backwards from there to determine what our target HNW audience are searching for, and serve them our content/products on those keywords. We know they're in Monaco, Knightsbridge, Paris, Frankfurt, etc. We know they may not actually use the word ‘luxury’, with high-value products not seeming like a luxury to them. We know they might be coming in and out of specialist airports and summering and wintering in different places. We know how to target UHNW intent and locations.
You will need to do your research to understand the specific audience for your properties, and to target them using search.9) PR/Digital PR.
Ultra-high-net-worth-individuals read certain magazines and papers. For example, they might have shares or investments that they frequently check on MarketWatch
. They might be out sailing and so checking MarineTraffic
to see which other boats are in the vicinity. They might be reading Forbes
, checking out who their friends are on the rich list. They could be perusing the Financial Times’ How To Spend It
In these publications we can either try to place a classic PR, sending a news update about a property targeted to relevant journalists, or pay to place a digital banner ad or programmatic digital advertising featuring your property. We can also place a piece of content on a chosen publication that will link back to the property on your site, helping to raise the authority of its page on your website - this is known as a digital PR. 10) Word of mouth.
Think of it this way - if one person tells nine people about your advert/content, you save 90% of your budget for marketing your property. You may have to initially spend a little bit more on your creative to make something truly worth talking about, but it will be worth it when you have prospects talking about your brand to all their wealthy friends. We have also seen this online, particularly with our corporate videos, with our followers tagging their friends in certain social posts of ours. 11) Mobile website or app.
The affluent market has double the smartphone penetration of the general population
, and therefore likely uses mobile search even more than other audiences. In this day and age, you really need to have a mobile optimised website to keep customers engaged. However, an app where people can browse your properties is preferable when browsing on mobile, as opening an app is quicker and easier than Googling a site. Many busy UHNWs may not bother browsing your content if you don’t offer an app. 12) WhatsApp.
This global messaging platform is likely something you use amongst friends, but may not currently be using to communicate with clients. However, you definitely should be. Not only does Whatsapp have one billion users around the world, but data shows that using WhatsApp in lieu of a phone call can lead to a 40% increase in responses
. While many businesses find their highest open rates for email to stay at around 35%, the average rate of opening for an SMS is 98%, arguably making Whatsapp the most engaging marketing channel on the planet.
As a real estate agent or owner, you can set up a private account and either share details of how clients/potential clients can add you on Whatsapp, and let people come to you, or ask for client numbers and add them to a group that way. Whatsapp is also currently testing tools to allow users to communicate with businesses and organizations that they want to hear from, allowing businesses to set up professional accounts for a fee. As well as answering questions and generally being available to chat with your clients, you can use this platform to share insight about the property market and properties your client might be interested in, in a similar way that you might use email marketing.13) CRM.
A CRM allows you to keep all your contacts in one place, so that you have a record of all your clients and potential clients and your interactions with them, and can provide a tailored service. HubSpot is perhaps the best known CRM platform, and that’s what we use, but there are plenty of other good platforms out there.
You can categorise your clients to allow you to send the right message to the right people. This will help you from wasting time sending €10m houses in St Tropez to people who are looking for €1m properties in Nice, or from trying to sell a property to someone who has just bought one, for example.
CRM systems often offer the option to automate repetitive, manual tasks to streamline work and improve productivity - for example, sending a follow up email to all clients who have recently visited your store or purchased your products, asking for a review. Use these automations to make your life easier. 14) List the price.
This may seem like a small thing, but I would recommend always listing the property price (unless it is not possible). Most wealthy people haven’t got time to enquire about the price of each property they like, and will simply leave the website if it is not easily accessible, meaning price listing is a surefire way of selling your property faster. 15) Thought Leadership.
Make yourself and your brand an authority in your field by sharing your expert knowledge with fans. Create and share content that provides unique insight on your specialty within the property sector and discusses trends. This content can be presented in written, video or podcast form, and shared over LinkedIn and Twitter to get it in front of the right audience and start a conversation.
Marketing property to an UHNW audience - an elite group of people who can afford anything they want in the world - requires extensive knowledge and dedication. It isn't something that you can do effectively without putting a lot of effort into your marketing strategy. However, the digital space continues to provide more and more opportunities for targeting these wealthy individuals - you just need to know how to make the most of these opportunities. Hopefully, the above list will give you some insight into how to get started - please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions on how to sell or rent your property faster through expert UHNW marketing.