Digital marketing in China is subject to many of the same pressures as the Australian digital marketing landscape but there are some extra considerations that are unique to China.
This introduction to learning about marketing and selling property in China should get you well underway to understanding what you need to plan and guide your choice of channels to engage for success in this lucrative market.
Some considerations for marketing in China
When planning to enter the Chinese market look out for how the following factors that will impact your plans.
- Government regulation and restrictions
- Cultural differences and localisation of content
- Advertising and marketing platform policy
- Chinese consumer behaviour
Integrate these considerations into your strategy to help ensure your marketing efforts are sustainable (avoiding any ownership or regulatory issues) and hit their mark with your Chinese audience.
Due to China’s political environment some advertising channels (especially social) often have restrictions, processes and minimum costs for operating as a foreign business in China. Property industry specific restrictions may also apply due to some history of exploitation of Chinese consumers by property schemes and unsavoury sales tactics. Te bottom line?
Do your research ahead of time and engage an experienced provider if you are planning on outsourcing your marketing efforts.
A local website or landing page Is necessary for brand reputation and lead research of your product. But consider how you will register it. If you want to setup a .cn domain (officially will need to be CBL (Chinese local licence). If you do not plan on applying for a Chinese Local License opt for HK or Singapore registrations for your website.
Native Speaking Sales Agents
Do you have internal Mandarin and/or Cantonese speaking sales staff?
While agencies can provide full service and management of your chinese pages and community, native speaking internal staff will always give you an advantage and full control over the prospect engagement and sales conversion process. If you do not native speaking sales staff, plan ahead!
The Communist Party of China (CPC) exercises total control over industry, business and the internet in China. Changes in policy, fees and process are common and generally swifty implemented. While all strategies we recommend are based on a comprehensive knowledge of the Chinese market and operating environment, it is helpful to know that things can and change quickly based on CPC party decisions from time to time.
Once you’re comfortable with the above factors and how they influence your strategy you start planning which channels to use and your content and creative strategies for each.
In the next section I’ll introduce recommended channels for selling property to the Chinese market.
Once you have considered the above factors you can start to decide what channels will work for you. I recommend engaging with potential prospects via a multichannel approach that includes carefully establishing your business reputation, ensuring customers can find you and ensuring you have a way of receiving and responding to enquiries.
Engaging with investor communities and social media is a great way to establish your reputation. Presence in key forums and social platforms is often more important than paid advertising in attracting qualified leads. With this in mind, when selling property in China we recommend strategies that include a mix of the following base elements.
WeChat – Apart from the fact that Chinese consumers are not likely take a company seriously without a WeChat presence. This platform provides a face for your company to take enquiry and engage with prospects.
While WeChat is an excellent way of engaging with prospects who will likely use it as a channel of seeking more information we recommend a website to support your WeChat activity. WeChat is essential, but driving traffic to your account requires use of other channels.
Note on WeChat for Property Sales: It is worth noting that property developers and realestate agents are on a watch list with Tencent (who own WeChat) and business accounts are assessed on a case by case basis. Due to this, using an agency knowledgeable in engaging Tencent is highly recommended for this industry.
Property investment forums – Advertising, articles and influencer engagement via property investment forums is an effective key strategy for reaching more qualified audiences.
Search engine PPC – Similar to Google, Baidu is China’s largest search engine paid advertising along with links to a landing page or website helps your prospects find you.
Property Listings – Juwai is China’s leading platform for Chinese buyers and investors looking for foreign property. Not unlike Australian equivalents the fees are quite high, but for a larger development this is an important part of your arsenal. Ensure you have your own translators before engaging a property listing website for the best results.
Localised landing page or website – A Hong Kong, Chinese or Singapore based website built for chinese consumers and compatible with Baidu SEO is an essential element to any campaign.
Here’s a list of channels to consider for selling property in China. I don’t just recommend these channels, we use them as part of our strategies. Start by planning with a selection of these channels and you will be well on your way to your first sale.
I hope this introduction to selling property in China has helped you on your path to profiting from this lucrative market. Here are some key points to take away:
- Do you research into factors that may effect you ability to advertise and operate in China;
- Pick your channels and investigate lead times, minimum costs and any property marketing specific requirements, opportunities or restrictions;
- Pick quality providers and translators, hiring a translator is like hiring a business partner. Make sure you trust them!; and finally
- Start early. Application processes, creative and copy writing can take months. We recommend planning well in advance. Planning in advance by 6 months is recommended.
If you have any questions about the ins and outs of different channels and strategies or would like help implementing your property marketing feel free to start a conversation with us.