First-time buyers were the largest demographic buying property in the UK in 2022. Despite the cost-of-living crisis, and the rise in mortgage rates being the highest level in 14 years, they represented 53% of all home purchases.
Although the number of first-time buyers is fewer overall than the previous year, this signals that there is still strong demand and a key audience for the property sector to target.
As a first-time buyer, the concept of purchasing your first home and getting a mortgage can be overwhelming at the best of times. However, this has become even more challenging due to the widely publicised economic climate facing the UK, rising interest rates and a continued cost-of-living crisis. It’s no surprise that consumer confidence has been significantly impacted.
With buyer confidence in decline, it is vital that businesses in the sector communicate actionable and educational advice to first-time-buyers to help them navigate this climate of confusion and ultimately build trust. There is a vast array of information available to this audience so it is critical to provide a voice of authority that cuts through this noise.
We take a look at some key tactics to consider when targeting first-time buyers.
Ensure that you are part of the conversation
The property sector is always changing, and the current period of turbulence has meant that the industry is dominating the national news agenda. There is a huge volume of news stories being published daily about the UK property market and these stories present a range of opportunities. This is particularly relevant when targeting first-time buyers who regularly turn to the media for advice on a sector they know little about.
Often, journalists covering breaking news stories will require comments and quotes from industry experts to add context and insight to a developing story. Operating an ‘always on’ mentality and responding quickly to these stories can lead to your organisation being featured as an expert commentator within these articles. This has the potential to open your business up to a wider audience as well as enhancing your reputation as a leading authority on the industry.
To maximise these opportunities, it’s critical to work with a highly proactive agency that possesses the relevant media relationships to ensure that you receive these journalist requests. This is as well as the skillset to draft commentary that is of a national newspaper standard.
Reacting to news stories on a national and regional level was key to our work with Proptech start-up Stepladder, a platform that helps aspiring first-time buyers afford their first house deposit. We positioned the founder Matthew Addison as a property and financial expert in his own right, increasing credibility for the platform.
Promoting advice and building authority
As well as being featured in wider news stories, it is important to also focus on securing longer-form thought leadership opportunities in the media that promote your key messages and consolidate your credibility.
In a time of scepticism and confusion, these articles provide a platform to offer advice and in-depth insight to potential homeowners. Establishing your spokespeople as valuable, educational and trusted resources of information is key to building trust in your organisation. If your business has an authentic and credible leader who is seen as being able to provide tangible advice in the media, this coverage can be used as proof of expertise and consumers will be more likely to be drawn to your business.
It’s important to utilise a multi-channel approach when developing a thought leadership strategy. As well as PR, consider incorporating these pieces into your broader SEO and content marketing strategy. If these longer-form articles are published on your own site, and they provide insightful and helpful information that is optimised for relevant keywords, you will improve your organic visibility online. This will mean that it will be easier for potential customers to find you.
Social Media is also key here and a consistent drumbeat of thought leadership content from your CEO and executive can boost engagement and enhance credibility with potential investors, partners and stakeholders from the industry.
A strong social presence
With an average age of 32, Millennials make up the majority of first time buyers. This is a generation who spend their time on a variety of different social media platforms including Youtube (88%) Facebook (79%) Instagram (71%) and Tik Tok (49%). This demonstrates how important it is to have a strong social media presence spanning across these platforms to engage these potential homeowners.
Engaging with your audience by offering related advice, whether that’s video tips for first time buyers or updates on changes that will affect the sector will not only encourage your audience to interact, but it will position you as a trusted source of information. This is also an opportunity for your company spokespeople to be seen on these channels as well as in the media.
Third party advocacy
The staid nature of the property market has led to the emergence of a vast array of PropTech businesses, disrupting every stage of the home buying process. Buying a house is a huge commitment, so if you are offering an alternative model, consumers will need to see real examples of you delivering on the issues you claim to be solving before they choose to trust you. Case studies provide a great opportunity for you to demonstrate success, build your profile, and drive positive sentiment for the business. A first-person account of how your service has benefitted someone is going to be a lot more convincing for a first-time buyer who is looking for a business that they can rely on.
When working with Stepladder we placed a story in The Guardian about Adebiyi Olusola – a self-employed consultant project manager who received £10,000 through the platform after having previously struggled to save up enough for a deposit. As a result of this, Stepladder recorded a 250% uplift in web traffic and doubled their week-on-week application forms in the 48 hours after the piece went live.
If you would like to discuss how our award-winning PR and social media specialists could help your business communicate its value and build trust with your target audience, get in touch today.