Digital versus traditional marketing. Which one wins?

— Weichert Franchise


In this corner, coming in with a lean character count and high-impact imagery, is digital marketing. In the other corner, with decades’ worth of marketing muscle under its belt, is traditional marketing. It’s the battle of the prospect marketing strategies—which one wins? Before you place bets, Weichert® has some expert guidance to consider. 

First, let’s take a look at the fundamentals of both digital and traditional marketing, specifically for prospecting. Here are some of the most widely used strategies and tactics along with their respective pros and cons:

Digital prospecting 

  • Social media 
  • SEM/SEO (e.g., Google ads, Facebook ads)
  • Emails
  • Content/posts
  • Videos
  • Downloads (e.g., newsletters, guides)

Pros: Cost-effective; easy to execute; easy to track results; real-time results allow you to pivot/refine as you go; allows for segmentation; fosters customer interaction (i.e., follow/like our page).

Cons: A sea of online competition and clutter; audience may be experiencing online overload.

And here’s a little extra guidance from our friends at the National Association of REALTORS®. “Online marketing encompasses search engine optimization, content, sponsored content, social media outlets, targeted email campaigns, and more. Learn about the basics, and how to reach buyers and sellers using optimum video, pictorial, and text content. Understand that not all content is effective on just any social media outlet. With so many options for online ads, it’s important to be aware of legal and ethical pitfalls. Find out what mistakes are most common and how to steer clear of problem areas.”

Traditional prospecting

  • Door knocking
  • Open houses
  • Cold calls
  • Postcards and mailers
  • Print (e.g., newspapers, magazines)
  • Outdoor/billboards
  • Local business partnerships 
  • Prospecting letters (The Close covers the different types in greater detail, plus offers sample prospecting letters to inspire you.)

Pros: Reaches an audience that may not be as active on social media; can make you stand out (everyone is doing digital these days); less day-to-day management (fewer things to write, execute); in many cases the engagement time with the consumer is longer and perhaps deeper. 

Cons: May miss opportunities for segmentation; can be expensive; may be harder to track/analyze results and measure success.

Regarding high tech vs high touch

Regardless of which methods you use for prospecting, digital or traditional, always be thinking about the unique benefits of both.

For example, with high tech you get automation. Weichert broker-owners rely on our smart customer relationship management (CRM) platform to make their marketing hum like a well-oiled machine. When you build automation into anything, it frees up time that you can now spend on other things. In short, it’s key to scalability. myWeichert® powered by kvCORE technology platform is the heavyweight champion of real estate CRMs. If you’re curious to see how it works, ask us for a demo.

“For any real estate [professional] looking to optimize their lead generation” says a LinkedIn article, “CRM software is crucial. … It can help you manage leads, track interactions, and automate follow-up processes, ensuring that potential clients receive timely and personalized communication. This can help nurture leads and keep them engaged … increasing the likelihood that they will turn to you when ready to buy or sell a property.”

And with high touch you get that human connection that makes a lasting impression. People these days get less direct mail than email. They may keep a postcard mailer on their desk for weeks with the intention of contacting you, while an email can very easily get missed or deleted. Talking with someone, face to face, at an event is way more personal than a social post that speaks to the masses. Even a phone call where two people can respond to each other in real-time is an often-welcome form of communication.

Putting it all in the “ring”

Now, let’s plug all that information into a few real-life prospecting scenarios, so you can see where digital and traditional methods might come to life.

Scenario 1: You just hosted an open house

Assuming that you captured the names and contact information of everyone who attended your open house (traditional marketing), they are now in your CRM. (If you don’t have a CRM, manually import them into your database—and then contact Weichert!) Now you can start the process of staying connected. These leads may not be ready to buy tomorrow, but real estate is a series of steps within a process. Emailing (digital marketing) after the open house is a great next step. It can showcase your professionalism, provide all your follow-up details (contact info, website link, etc.), and place you top of mind for the prospect while the event is still fresh in their minds.

You can then continue with an ongoing communication stream that includes a postcard mailer and a personalized prospecting letter sent via email or left in the mailbox with a link to your website for a free download about a topic of choice. (Digital and traditional marketing combo.)

Scenario 2: You just sold a listing

Your buyers are thrilled! And so are the sellers. They loved living in the community for the last three decades, and they’re so happy that there’s the next generation coming in to keep the community strong. This sale can become the spark for your circle prospecting strategy (digital and/or traditional) that gets in super tight on the area where the home was just sold. You can also make cold calls (traditional) to the families on the same block to provide relevant information, such as if the house sold over asking price or that it sold in less than a week. Drive them to your website (digital) for more information. 

Over time, you can continue to nurture this highly targeted audience with a personal invite to an open house that gets mailed and emailed. (Traditional and digital combo.)

Scenario 3: You just received a lead through your website contact form

Your website (digital) is a thing of beauty. You’ve loaded it up with everything a prospect would be looking for, including customer reviews, richly detailed listings with great photos, easy-to-find contact information, and compelling blogs. (All digital.) No wonder you just received a new lead from your contact form! (digital) Now, take that lead and run with it. Send an instant follow-up email (digital) to thank them for their interest. Depending on the scenario, such as the timing of the year, keep the connection going with a personal letter (traditional) or even a phone call (traditional). As you nurture the relationship over time, you can leave an inexpensive holiday gift bag on their doorstep (traditional) or send a musical e-card wishing them a great season (digital)—or even both. (Traditional and digital combo.)

Who wins the battle? 

As you may be picking up on by now, Weichert believes that neither digital nor traditional marketing is a clear winner. Just like you wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket for any other aspect of your business, prospecting strategies need to work the same way. That’s why we recommend that you leverage both digital and traditional marketing strategies for real estate prospecting. While most people are online nowadays, traditional marketing still has a place in the marketing world, and real estate is still a people-business. Remember, when people are not online, they’re offline. 

It’s also important to remember that both mediums offer different results, depending on the product being marketed. To generate the best, most effective results, online and offline approaches working in tandem will help you attract and convert more people. 

By leveraging both digital and traditional marketing methods, you can create a comprehensive marketing plan that reaches a wider audience and maximizes your lead generation efforts. Weichert is here for you, ready to be in your corner to keep the wins coming your way. Let’s talk. 

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