How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around
- 27 August, 2019 07:51
A culture of experimentation has made all the difference to property management software company, Rockend.
The company has been at the forefront of real estate management systems for 40 years - in fact, 60 per cent of all Australian rental properties and 40 per cent of strata lots are managed on Rockend software. However, after such a long history, the brand had become fragmented and needed a facelift to become data-driven, and customer-centric. The acquisition of Rockend by MRI Software in July also meant things needed to change.
Head of marketing at Rockend, Catherine Vissiere, joined the company 18 months ago and set about examining its marketing strategy to make things more effective and cohesive. She previously worked with Microsoft and had used social marketing agency, Digivizer.
As the majority of Rockend’s customers are on social, a new social strategy and metrics were vital, as was a more content-led strategy to offer value and support to real estate agents.
“I looked at our different systems, people in team, and our partners. We needed to position the brand and focus on customers, as well as refining performance, so I brought in Digivizer to help us on all those fronts,” Vissiere told CMO.
“The brand had to undergo a facelift as we were fragmented. However, within six months of joining, we had transformed into a branded house. We also had a disparate digital experience, but our customer lives online and on social, those are our core channels. Digivizer helps us with that engagement on social, and measuring performance and engagements.”
The resulting strategy is based on content aligned to customer needs, preferences and requirements. Rockend uses Digivizer’s analytics platform to manage the performance of its digital marketing programs, and works with its services team on content development and paid media management.
The plan is built on a balanced mix of organic and paid media activity. Integral to both is identifying and working with advocates, communicating product updates, understanding and acting on feedback, and being clear about the content required to delight users and customers, Vissiere said. Across community management, new business development and brand building programs, Rockend uses data to manage its digital marketing program.
“This data allows us to plan and manage engagement from the first contact with Rockend through to post-sales relationship development," Vissiere continued. "The insights feed into our strategy development. We’re creating content based on data, not instinct or assumptions. We get more from our digital investment, and it’s supporting our business and our brand.
“Our content strategy was a move away from push marketing, to tap into an audience and be more focused on inbound."
In the first 12 months, Rockend has grown its organic social following by 39 per cent overall across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, to 10,761 followers. The company can now compare performance across all these platforms, as well as organic performance with paid.
Clickthrough rates on Google Ads have peaked at over 7 per cent, well above double the industry average for real estate, while its CPM on Facebook is at 13 per cent, below the industry average, and continues to fall.
Vissiere attributed the more than doubling of social engagement to its content-led approach, as well as ability to measure and optimise.
“Video as well has been quite successful for us, as has measuring level of performance in real time. There is a paid element as well, we use Digivizer for not just organic, but also via paid, and we are able to do a lot of A/B testing and adjust on the fly," she continued. "This has tripled our paid leads over a 12 month period.
“We use metrics looking at growth, such as engagement, as well as efficiency with this paid investment. We are also watching our cost per lead, and Digivizer is helping us refine that. We also measure share of voice, which currently sits as 75 per cent."
With data at its fingertips, Rockend also now boasts of the agility to do A/B testing across social ads, content and ad design, and manage performance on the fly.
Another part of the transformation has been moving to more digital CMS for the website, based on Hubspot.
"This allows us to quite specific and personalised in serving content relevant to customers. This is the culture of experimentation we have now," Vissiere said.
A cultural role
The platform improvements are also helping Rockend to respond to wider cultural issues affecting the real estate sector. Shockingly, Vissiere explained the rate of suicide among real estate agents is double that of the police force, and Rockend is aiming to offer their customers support via content.
“We listened in social groups, and found there was issue around wellness in the industry, and significant mental health issues," she said. "Most of the property managers go to homes for inspections, and with that comes with violence, abuse, people die in the homes, there’s drug use, and domestic violence. We realised that’s a real issue, so we developed a series of content to help with that, which has been our most successful content series to date.
“We’re not going to solve the issue, but we are providing some support and assisting agents to help each other.
“We want to own new debates in an increasingly complex and competitive space, and share these discussions in context with our customers. They increasingly rely on us for expertise and insights. We need to understand who they are, where they are, and form meaningful and sustainable relationships with them.”
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