The Block’s marketing magic: lessons for real estate agents

There’s a lot more to marketing the high-end properties you find on The Block than simply throwing together a few photos and a quick listing description.

The marketing campaigns are all carefully curated with the goal of creating an emotional connection with as many buyers as possible so that, come auction day, bidders hopefully raise their hands and dig into their pockets.

And Domain National Managing Editor Alice Stolz says there’s plenty of lessons real estate agents can take away from how homes in this season of the hit TV show are marketed, along with a few nuggets of inspiration from previous years. 

“It’s the idea of trying to seduce the buyers into, ‘You have to see this for yourself’ and I think The Block does this really well,” she says.

“The contestants are very good at trying to sell the emotion or the experience of the house through their listing and they put so much heart and soul into the styling, which you can see with Steph and Gian, in House 4, this year.”

Steph and Gian’s master bedroom with their signature Japandi style. Photo: Domain.

Create an emotional connection

Alice says there are numerous other ways to create an emotional connection with potential buyers, and one example on the current season of The Block is in House 5 with contestants Eliza and Liberty.

The sisters featured a painting in their children’s bedroom from a young girl called Novalie, who is a huge fan of the show, who is battling leukaemia.

They also commissioned Brickman to create a cheetah made entirely of Lego.

For real world properties, Alice says agents can look for editorial coverage based around the stories behind the homes, to create a connection with buyers.

“If you follow property coverage on any portal you’ll see that it’s often not the biggest and best listings that are given a lot of coverage,” she says.

“Often it’s the most quirky, the most irreverent or the most, ‘You’ve got to see this to believe it’ home.”

Domain National Managing Editor Alice Stolz on-site at The Block.

Use video and virtual walkthroughs

In addition to two-dimensional listings, Alice says putting buyers inside the home, even when they’re not physically onsite, is something The Block does really well.

She says video enables a buyer to not only see the features of the home but to imagine themselves there.

“Jimmy and Tam in House 5 in Brighton (The Block 2020) went all out with this video,” Alice says.

“It was Tam having a bath with a martini… and it’s just gorgeous in terms of the personality they added to it.

“They went with this kind of Mad Men-style vibe, and I think you’ve got to have a bit of fun.

“Those listings that do a bit to stand out from the crowd often do reap the rewards of that.”

A still frame from Jimmy and Tam’s marketing video for their property on The Block in 2020. Photo: Domain

Another marketing trend The Block has featured that helps properties stand out is via the use of 3D virtual walkthroughs, which Sharon and Ankur, from House 3, did on the show in 2022.

“There’s so much detail in each of the rooms that doesn’t get shown on TV,” Sharon told Elite Agent last year.

“We wanted to give fans and potential bidders the opportunity to see everything that’s gone into creating the spaces we’re revealing on the show.”

Alice says incorporating virtual tours into a high end property’s marketing campaign really took off on The Block during Covid, but the concept was a great one to continue.

“This idea of offering a 3D tour is so convenient for potential buyers,” she notes.

“It’s a great way for them to show their mum, their sister or their kids what a house looks like.

“And I think there’s also nothing better than lying in the comfort of your own bed and literally combing your way through a house and really looking at windows, aspects and orientation.

“That’s how much time people really need when it comes to buying property.”

Make the property memorable

Another key property marketing tip agents can take note of from The Block is the way the homes all photograph beautifully.

Alice says in everyday high-end homes and even those not in the upper price brackets, a key element in property photography that stands out comes down to having a home, or elements within a home, that are memorable.

One example in the current season is Leah and Ash’s House 2.

“Sometimes in property you can see a lot of neutrality, the meat and three veg style listings, which are just a bit ho-hum,” she says.

“I think when you look at House 2 this year, and how much personality and flair Leah and Ash have put into it, and love it or hate it, it’s distinctive.

“And I think the memorability that they’ve managed to create through that really does help.”

Leah and Ash’s living and dining space is memorable. Photo: Domain

Target your audience

Domain Head of Sales and Agent Partnerships Belinda Sinclair says another marketing element that strengthens the campaign for any type of property, high-end or not, is knowing who the target audience or buyer is.

“Marketing any property is all about connecting to an audience and maximising the reach of that audience,” she says.

“When you’re looking at unique or prestige property, you probably need to be more focused on the type of audience you’re going after and, for a prestige or premium price property high intent, high net worth and sometimes even passive rather than active buyers, when you’re searching for that pool of potential buyers to market to.”

Use multi-channel marketing 

Belinda says using multiple avenues to reach your target audience is critical and should potentially include print and digital marketing, social media, photos, video, drone footage and more.

Belinda says it’s also important to target both active and passive local buyers and buyers from further afield.

Using Domain as an example, she says this can be done through a normal listing on the portal, but also through print in the Domain magazine.

“There’s also Dream Homes, which sits on the mastheads of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age,” Belinda says.

“And someone in the morning, going to read the Financial Review, going to read The Sydney Morning Herald online, is going to see these premium properties pop up within their newsfeed.” 

Match the level of marketing to the listing

She says it’s also vital that prestige properties have marketing to match.

“What’s the quality of the listing that you’re able to take to market and how do you make sure the quality of your marketing, and the listing, is reflective of the price point you want to position the property at,” Belinda says.

“If I go back to the days where we did a lot of print, you associated a full page advertisement with a premium price point and, similarly, if it was a quarter page then you were probably setting expectations in the marketplace that this (property) is more modest.”

Pre-market campaigns

Belinda notes that pre-market campaigns are often used for prestige properties as well, which is where it’s advertised through the agents’ database as a ‘sneak peek’ or ‘early exposure’.

“You’re making the potential audience feel that this is a special property and you’re getting a sneak peek because it’s a premium listing,” she says.

Agents can also use a pre-market campaign to get a clearer picture on market expectations and what price point to position the property at.

“The agent wants to establish themselves as an expert,” Belinda notes.

“They also want to show for premium property that they’re going above and beyond what they do for every other listing. 

“And so part of this is how you build that trust and relationship with the vendor throughout the process as you present the marketing, the pre-market and then the ‘for sale’ campaign as well.” 

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.