Estate agents face increasing competition as the number of online and hybrid agencies continue to grow. Gone are the days when consumers had just a handful of high-street agencies to choose from.
An effective digital marketing strategy is essential for success in today’s market. After a year of lockdowns and orders to “stay at home”, more people than ever before are searching for properties online. Check out our top tips for estate agents who want to boost their online presence in 2021.
1. Make Your Website Stand Out
Think of your website as your shop window. Most sellers and buyers start their property search online, be it looking for a new home to buy or gauging how much to market their house for. Make sure your website stands out and gives you a competitive advantage.
An estate agency’s website should look professional, but the most important aspect is the user experience or UX. Is your site easy to navigate? Can people find what they’re looking for without endless searching? Have you provided the most relevant information? Do people know how to get in touch with you? A poor UX is the quickest way to send potential customers to your competitors.
Don’t focus entirely on making the sale. Add content that helps your customers — a blog that is regularly updated is one of the most powerful ways to build trust and enhance your brand.
2. Improve Your Social Media Presence
Over 53% of the world’s population uses social media, and each person spends an average of almost 2.5 hours a day on social networks. These figures rise dramatically for millennials and Gen Z in the UK. If you’re not making the most out of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you’re missing out on a huge market of potential customers.
There’s no need to join every platform — creating an account you never use is worse than not having one at all because an inactive account tells customers that you don’t care. Find out where your target audience spends their time online and focus your efforts there. Use social media to speak directly to your customers and amplify on-site content such as blogs and company news. Sharing photographs of staff events, such as birthdays and fundraising activities, will make your customers feel part of the business and help potential customers to see the agency as trustworthy. Another great way to boost your credibility is to post customer reviews and case studies. And make sure that you engage with anyone who interacts with your posts; this requires little effort and could make all the difference.
3. Get SEO Savvy
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a strategy for increasing the volume and quality of the “traffic” (internet users) who visit your website. According to recent research, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. By using carefully selected keywords in your on-site copy and content, you can drive potential customers to your website when they search for related terms. For example, if you effectively optimise your site for the keywords “sell my house” and someone enters these words into Google, your website should appear near the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
SEO is not a quick fix. It can take many months to achieve results. But it is the most effective way to build your online presence and beat the competition. Optimising your estate agency’s website means that you will be a potential customer’s first port of call. If you’re not experienced in SEO, it’s worth investing in professional advice and support — you’ll be amazed by the return on investment (ROI).
4. Flaunt Your USPs
Do you offer a service that few of your competitors provide? Has your estate agency won awards or earned an impressive rating on independent customer review sites? Showcase your unique selling points (USPs) prominently on the agency website and across social media.
Offering a five-star customer experience by making the house buying and selling process as easy and stress-free as possible is a sure-fire way to win new customers. For example, if you provide a professional chain repair service that helps people sell their home fast and move into their dream home, shout about it!
5. Invest in Paid Ads
Paid online ads deliver much faster results than SEO. It’s not a low-budget option, but Google AdWords — the most popular pay per click (PPC) platform — is fairly user-friendly and allows you to keep close control of your spending. PPC means that you only pay when someone clicks on one of your ads. Even if someone chooses not to click on your ad, they will still see it, which means a free brand awareness boost!
Just as your website should be designed with the user in mind, the most effective PPC campaigns are the ones that are created to meet the specific needs of potential customers by targeting relevant keywords. You should also ensure that your ads take people to a relevant landing page on the agency website. If a user clicks on your ad only to be taken to a web page with no logical connection to the ad’s content, they will quickly leave or “bounce”. Setting up an AdWords account and getting started is relatively simple, but managing a campaign effectively requires extensive skills and knowledge, so hiring a professional is a wise investment.
No matter how many rival estate agencies crop up, there will always be people looking to buy and sell properties. This means that with the right marketing strategy, you can continue to increase your share of the market.
Developing a powerful online presence is our top tip for estate agents looking to grow their business in 2021. If you want to enhance your offering and stand out from the competition, we can help. HBB Solutions works with estate agents throughout the UK. We can help you to attract new business and avoid property-chain problems with our chain repair and part-exchange schemes.