In this interview, Celestine Mmadueke, the Chief Executive Officer of RealandFine Investment Limited, a Lagos-based Real Estate Company, emphasized the need for businessmen who ply their trade in Real Estate to embrace the Internet, which he describes as the most effective tool for the business. He spoke with Ranti Adedeji
Why do you think the Internet is good for business?
The world currently has over 7.6 billion people as population. According to current statistics, over 4.3 billion people have access to the Internet globally and over 5.1 billion people are using mobile devices. According to Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, over 113.8 million Nigerians have access to the Internet.
These statistics show that audience attention has shifted from traditional means of communication such as Television, Radio, Newspapers, and Billboards to Online. People now consume information on Social Media than offline. There are currently over 3.4 billion people on Social Media.
With this continued explosion of people going online daily, businesses need to maximally utilize the Internet to reach their target audience, attract more sales, and grow their business. Any business which fails to adopt digital technology to automate their operations and marketing strategies stands the chance of performing below desired results.
The Internet has helped millions of small and medium businesses globally to grow. This will remain so for a long time, due to how cheap it is to market online compared to traditional means of marketing.
As a matter of fact, you can actually market online for free by posting your products and services on Social Media Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and online classified Websites.
Why is it important for people in Real Estate business to embrace the Internet for their business?
Real Estate, just like any other business, needs to have consistent inflow of paying-customers for one to remain in business. And the Internet has made the process of acquiring and retaining customers easier.
The Internet remains the fastest way for those in Real Estate business to reach their ideal prospects and close more deals. With the number of people on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Youtube; one can literally reach millions of people within few days.
Online classified and property listing Websites have also made it possible to reach a hungry audience who wants to acquire properties. The Internet is also the fastest means to reach Nigerians in the Diaspora, as well as foreigners, who are interested in investing in the Nigerian Real Estate market.
Any Real Estate businessman that is interested in attracting more customers and growing his business needs to embrace the Internet and start utilizing digital tools to achieve the purpose. It is the most effective tool for the business.
What are the most effective Internet tools for Real Estate business?
Every serious real estate businessman needs a Website. This is the first point of contact for your prospective customers who are interested in your properties. You can also start by designing a free website with www.wordpress.com.
As a real estate company, you also need to keep in touch with your customers and prospects consistently. I highly recommend email newsletters due to how effective it has been for my business. You can start using www.mailchimp.com or www.madmimi.com to send email newsletters to your prospects and customers.
You need to utilize online classified Websites like www.jiji.ng and www.olx.com.ng to promote your properties. You also need to utilize online property listing Websites like www.nigeriapropertycentre.com, www.hutbay.com and www.propertypro.ng to promote your properties. These Websites are targeted at Nigerian audience. Real estate business can also utilize www.canva.com to design varieties of images for their properties.
What is the future of real estate business with the use of the Internet?
According to recent statistics, Nigeria has over 20 million housing deficit and this keep increasing annually. This means that there are over 20 million housing shortage in Nigeria.
With the proper use of the Internet, Real Estate business can solve Nigeria housing deficit to a great extent. The Internet will be very useful in reaching out to a large number of audience that is interested in acquiring properties and by so doing, reduce Nigeria’s housing deficit.
Digital technology has greatly contributed to the tremendous growth of businesses globally and the Real Estate industry is not an exception.
What would you consider as the limitations of the Internet in Real Estate business?
Just like every other sector in Nigeria, we still have a large number of Nigerians who are not accessing the Internet yet. That means Real Estate business still need to use traditional means of marketing such as radio, flyers, word of mouth, and other forms of offline marketing to reach those audience they could not reach online.
We also have a problem of unstable Internet connectivity in Nigeria. Most urban and rural areas experience poor Internet connectivity and this has resulted in poor Internet user-experience in the affected areas.
So, the limitations of the Internet in Real Estate business, has to do with Internet penetration and the stability of Internet connectivity.
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