Marketing for Estate Agents

marketing for estate agents

Marketing for Estate Agents

Marketing For Estate Agents

 

2015 is the year of mobile… mobile search, mobile apps, mobile strategy and of course the anticipated Google mobile algorithm update due to be unleashed on 21st April commonly known as #Mobilegeddon.

 

As the most trusted and reliable sources of promotion for businesses in this industry are Rightmove, Zoopla and print media to a degree, why would any person marketing for estate agents be worried about whether their website was penalised for not being mobile browser friendly?

 

Marketing for Estate AgentsMarketing for Estate Agents     Marketing for Estate Agents     Marketing for Estate Agents

 

Well, the answer is quite simple really, as marketers know that it’s likely that a potential vendor or landlord searching for their ideal property management agent or property sales agent, will definitely do some research on your business before they approach you. So be assured when your business hinges on ensuring you are amongst the top ranking websites for searches on your business type, being demoted for a standard desktop optimised website simply won’t do. Also, it’s about perceived business representation, if your estate agency business takes itself seriously and in turn takes my business for them seriously, then surely they will ensure that they can be found on all media effectively!

 

Marketing for Estate Agents

What Can Estate Agents do then?

 

Marketing for estate agents is often stale, out of date and reluctant to change. We’ve been a long while educating our clients around the benefits of a clear content-based marketing strategy that actively pursues the ideal client that business is seeking online and through social media.

 

As more and more long-tail keywords are used in browser searches, websites and website content need to clear, educational, fresh and able to answer the pain points the landlord, vendor or buyer is searching for answers to.

 

Many estate agents utilise the standard industry CRM suppliers such as Vebra, Acquaint, Expert Agent and EstateCRM but there are downsides, like when they go down, your business goes down with it until they rectify their server issues.

 

However, platforms like WordPress have suitable replacement modules such as WP-Property which when loaded with all the premium features most certainly gives these platforms a run for their money. But what I like most is the WP-Property integration to Facebook feature so you can leverage the social media platform to your business’s needs.

 

Marketing Strategy for Estate Agents

 

So let’s look at how Estate Agents can improve their marketing strategy away from the big property search engines.

 

  1. Content Creation: Blog and Blog some more, write relevant and engaging content focusing on the kind of topics that a landlord a vendor or prospective buyers or rental applicants would like to read about or ask questions about.
  2. Review websites: Get feedback of the positive kind and ask your happy landlords and vendors and even happy purchasers to leave those all-important reviews on sites like Feefo and Trustpilot. Also, ask them to leave positive feedback on your Facebook page and social media channels.
  3. Facebook and Twitter: The social media giant has multi-millions of followers and loading your properties to your page and linking that page to Twitter could provide a fruitful lead generating service for your estate agency marketing strategy.
  4. Email: Segregate your mailing lists, your potential and current customers want to see the topics relevant to their needs, get past the days of a one-for-all email campaign and really drive value out of the data you have and that you collect.
  5. Mobile Web: Ensure that you have a mobile ready website, Google will penalise you for not having one and as that’s the platform where your blog should reside, get your website optimised or get a responsive or adaptive design by a local web design agency.

Marketing for Estate AgentsWhen marketing for estate agents go for broader exposure, build your estate agency business profile as the authority in your local area. Build your digital strategy up around a mobile strategy and optimise the content you share around the pain points of your landlords, vendors and the buyers of course.

 

This should, of course, lead to greater profits and a greater return on your time and cash investment into your marketing activities.

 

 

Why your real estate website needs a blog, now!

 

The overall purpose of a real estate website is to advertise properties and encourage would-be buyers to get in touch. Ultimately you want the website to act as a lead generation machine, convincing potential clients to arrange a viewing, or to list their properties with you.

 

Which is great – but it only works once the prospect has actually landed on your website. So you need a way to attract their attention in the first place – which is where blogging can help.

 

Attracting the attention of search engines. And home buyers

 

A company blog is a great way to add new, relevant content to your website on a regular basis. Adding new content is important for gaining the attention of search engine spiders (which add your web pages to their search results), and gives you something to hook readers with as you promote your blog posts across social media too.

 

Google, Bing and other search engines define the ranking of search results based on the quality of content you produce. The more high-quality articles you can publish, the better your eventual rankings will be.

 

Giving buyers the local knowledge they need

 

When searching for a property, homebuyers are also keen to learn about the surrounding area. A company blog is a perfect place to cover other information they may be looking for – local schools, restaurants, amenities – anything at all that buyers typically ask about.

 

These subject-related blog posts are also ideal for attracting the attention of buyers who are interested in a particular area. Better still, once they have landed on your site and read some useful content about their target area, they are also much more likely to check whether you have any suitable properties available.

 

The value of blogging

 

Creating blog content takes time and effort, and the results will take a while to become apparent. Even if you outsource blog creation and inbound marketing, there will be a slight uptick in your own workload.

 

But the extra work will definitely pay off – businesses who maintain a blog generate an average of 67% more leads than their competitors who don’t. And 95% of marketers believe that blogging is an effective tool for increasing exposure for their business.

 

Maximising the value of real estate blogging

 

Despite these encouraging figures, however, blogging is just one (very important) part of a successful online presence. Each of your blog articles needs to be tailored to and shared with, your target audience, using social media and/or paid ads.

 

Your blog will also need to be augmented by more in-depth content, like a buyer’s guide to your area, in return for their contact details. This then provides opportunities to re-engage prospects at any point.

 

Ultimately, blogging is actually an essential tool for raising the profile of your agency online.

 

Whilst researching this piece I looked at a number of Estate Agent focused marketing agencies and the content around this subject that they produced. The quality of copy varied from site to site but I’ll share some links at the end of this article so you can compare how we talk about Social Media for Estate Agents.

 

When focusing on your marketing activities for your agency or for yourself if you are a one-man band, it’s important to first gage how much time you can effectively assign to this. One mistake to make is to over-commit and then under deliver which will not only interrupt your content flow but will also leave you frustrated.

 

Social media when utilised effectively can go a long way to helping establish your estate agency as the authority in its locality with the education it provides in its content on its website.

 

5 Great ideas about social media for estate agents

 

  1. The first thing you need to do (if you don’t already have them) is to set your brand guidelines for your agency. This will enable you to clearly define what can be said and the tone of the content you will produce. You should also define your company mission statement at this point.

 

  1. The next thing you need to do is work out how much time you can afford to apply to social media activity. The best way to plan is to put together a calendar so you can effectively start to plan when you will release your content to coincide with the peaks and troughs in your business cycle. Typically in the UK, property sales and rental sales tend to fall back over the winter period and then kick start in the new year when people are looking for a “fresh new year” or “new year new start”. So look at content that talks to Finding that perfect home, or Buying an investment property or The art of negotiation: How to secure your first property. These are all topics close to making a property purchase.

 

  1. Identify who you want to target. An estate agent will have multiple targets of acquisition, you will want more vendors, more landlords, more tenants and of course more potential buyers. Already you have identified 4 target groups all with their own questions and all in need of different content that will support you in defining your agency from the rest of your local competition. Content will form the basis of your social media strategy providing you with the very essence of what information will represent your agency in the social stratosphere. The same type of content mentioned in point 2 can be applied to the types of buyers I’ve just spoken about.

 

  1. Identify where your potential customers will operate their social media use. Older vendors and landlords may predominantly use Facebook and Twitter, those in their thirties may also use those platforms but also be open to Instagram and Pinterest. Those in their twenties will possibly use all of those platforms or variations of those, but what you need to do is clearly define where they are. But don’t forget Linkedin when looking at your strategy, with a platform full of professionals surely your idea tenants and buyers are lurking here somewhere. There are simple ways to establish this, you can either research this via search engines such as Google (see results) or ask your mailing list using a survey such as Survey Monkey.

 

  1. Learn the free social media automation software that is available in the market. I am a fan of Hootsuite but there are a number of other platforms such as Sprout Social, Meet Edgar and Buffer App to name but a few.

Here are some great tips on posting to social media.

 

These platforms enable you to schedule your social media posts in advance so you can effectively spend an hour or so, one day per week and prepare your updates for a release. They also offer functionality to ensure that your posts are delivered to the social media platforms at the time that they are likely to get optimal engagement. All of the platforms have help guides to aid you in this process and you would be wise to employ this to help you kick off.

 

These platforms enable you to schedule your social media posts in advance so you can effectively spend an hour or so, one day per week and prepare your updates for a release. They also offer functionality to ensure that your posts are delivered to the social media platforms at the time that they are likely to get optimal engagement. All of the platforms have help guides to aid you in this process and you would be wise to employ this to help you kick off.

 

Failing all of the above, which can seem daunting and time-consuming, you can always look for a local marketing partner to help you with this but ensure you establish the requirements of point one above in order for you to maximise your content and minimise negative exposure.

 

In short, when planning to execute social media for estate agents there is a simple and effective format to follow and if you choose to use the guide in this post you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

 

Links:

 

www.zoopla.co.uk/property-power-100/

www.homeflow.co.uk/resources/the-importance-of-social-media

How to Market your Estate Agency Business on Facebook isn’t as difficult or complex as most would have you believe. There are no quick win formulas and like all of your marketing, there should be a long-term strategy and within that short-term plans. You should also accept that as the networking Goliath applies plans to increase its own revenue, you will also need to partake in paid marketing activities to really maximise your return.

 

Facebook Pages for Estate Agents

 

If your Estate agency does not have a Facebook page, then you are not marketing well at all. The world’s largest social media platform with over 936 million individual users daily in March 2015 (a 17% increase year on year) is where your potential landlords, buyers and tenants will be liking, posting and commenting.

 

Like all business owners, I’m sure your first point of call after you set your page up will be to invite all of your friends to like your page, this always good to start your following but remember, how many of your friends will be buying or renting property on a regular basis, and almost as likely most will like your page as a matter of courtesy and won’t really engage. Continually sending messages or content to these people is NOT Facebook marketing.

 

Should I link my Estate Agency Twitter to my Facebook Page

 

I used to be an advocate of doing this, it saves time, you only need to post once and in the beginning, it seems the logical solution.

 

It isn’t!!!

 

Facebook and Twitter are two different animals, Facebook you can type lengthy texts in your posts, Twitter allows 140 characters in its tweets. If you are using a link-shrinking software like Bitly to shrink your blog URL’s and you have a lengthy text, you simply lose the message on Twitter with two links. One will be your bitly link, the other a Facebook link (see below)

 

 

To maximise your social media message use these platforms separately!

How do I use Facebook Boosts and Facebook Ads for my Estate Agency Business

 

Facebook advertising isn’t cheap and nor should you expect it to be. The general consensus amongst paid search experts is that it’s one of the more expensive paid search mediums. However, they own the platform and whilst you have taken the time to build your following, ultimately they also own the data so you have to use it.

 

The good thing about Facebook paid ads or boosts is that you can see what to promote from your natural feed. You do not necessarily have to take risks as good posts will be prompted to be boosted by the Facebook algorithm.

 

 

 

As you can see, the post had a 261 engagement so Facebook prompts to boost

 

 

 

You can set your budget (total budget), decide who receives it (audience) and for how long the boost should run (Duration).

 

What should I post to my Estate Agency Facebook Page

 

You should post good informative content specific to your industry, your buyer types (buyer personas) and also industry related news such as mortgage news, changes in property law, good examples of interior design and local news which is always as important.

 

You should also post links to your properties you have on for sale and rent, get your customers to write testimonials to the big sites so you can post those links to your estate agent Facebook page, further enhancing your reputation as a local property expert.

 

  1. Don’t just post offers and deals to your Facebook page or profile, educate your followers around your product and services so you become an authority
  2. Break down the information into bite-size handy bits to read so you can post 2/3 articles per week and keep the topic of conversation going
  3. Always add relevant images to support your text content
  4. Do share images of your sold properties, rented properties, renovated properties. Try and be there when the keys are handed over and take pictures if you can, happy customers are the best customers.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use images sourced from the internet to help support your conversation but make sure that you give the correct credit at the end of your post to the author or photographer of images or links you use.
  6. Learn when to post your articles by researching on Google for each channel
  7. Look at your peers, follow their pages and their Twitter accounts and watch what type of posts get the best response, this is a learning curve and education for you and your followers is key
  8. Look at the calendar for the current year, see if you can tie your content into the seasons or particular relevant public events

 

Always be prepared to do more

As more and more independent estate agency businesses appear in a massively booming property market in England, we have taken a look at what you can do to market your estate agency business offline.

As an independent estate agency business in an infant or fledgling stage of development it is essential that you are always prepared to do more. This doesn’t mean simply putting in more hours or more phone calls or sign more prospective tenants. This means ensuring that your service is more personal, more hands on and more caring.

The top 5 things to do offline to market your estate agency business

 

market your estate agency

Remain open and honest

No matter what line of business you are in when you open your estate agency, sales lettings and management or both, you need to remain as transparent as possible. Remember that you are the business, your face, your presentation and your openness will all count as part of your offline marketing activity for your estate agency. People want to believe in you, so when you have refined your pitch, on-boarded your landlord, vendor buyer or tenant it is imperative that you remain open and honest as is feasibly possible. Remember, if you ask yourself what the conversation is that is said about you and your business, these are two words that would rank highly amongst them.

market your estate agency

 

Be Reliable

Most people would tell an estate agent that the best way to market offline will be either to put adverts in local newspapers and magazines or by way of flyers. Most people forget that the fundamentals are what really matter to people. And people are the source of the income right?

So being reliable is of the utmost importance, if a buyer or tenant books a viewing after your work hours attend it, never assume it’s okay to ask the property owner or landlord if they are happy to take the viewing themselves, you are being paid a fee to handle this, so handle it. Be reliable! If you are running late for a viewing or appointment, call ahead, even if you are running 2-3 minutes behind, let your customer know that they are the most important part of this transaction, not your fee. Be reliable!

Whatever it is you do in your business just be reliable, it will pay you dividends in the long run.

market your estate agency

 

Communicate

Communication is key to the agencies survival, the better the communication with parties with ongoing business or transactions, the better the referral marketing will become. Sales and lettings are two sided transactions either one vendor and one buyer or one landlord and one tenant. Whichever of these the agent finds themselves managing, communication is going to be key.

Clear lines of communication build trust, generate good opinion, calm nerves and stop tempers becoming frayed in difficult situations. Once an estate agent masters this the customers will tell others and they will also become potential customers. So, if the agent or the agency hasn’t got this one polished to a tee, then it’s time to up the game.

market your estate agency

 

Be enthusiastic

There is nothing worse than tardiness and or a moody demeanour. Clients will want you to be enthusiastic at all times, even when handling difficult or stressful situations. Be enthusiastic to sign vendors or landlords as well as your tenants, make every person you deal with feel like your service was built specifically for them.

A warm smile, firm handshake even follow up with a personalised email for whomever the agent has been dealing with. Enthusiasm can be contagious, so the more upbeat an agent is at a viewing, signing a tenant or landlord or completing a sale, the more that reflects on the agent and people love to buy people so you can only further enhance your reputation.

market your estate agency

 

Remember that you are your business

When looking at what you can do offline to market an estate agency business, look no further than yourself. Small or independent agents or brokers should always pride themselves on the personal touch. If the agent is selling a £400,000 property and the viewing is at 8 pm, then be there be enthusiastic and be prepared to communicate well about it.

market your estate agency

 

On average Estate Agents earn the most money for their time, if you are selling a £400k property with a 1.6% commission, you earn £6,400.00, so be prepared to work those odd hours, as a 30 minute viewing could earn as much in half hour as some people earn in a year!

 

Inbound Marketing Call to Action

 

 

 

Paul Sullivan
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