We recently caught up with Servon Design who have written an excellent guest post which we felt could be very useful for many of our clients:
Recently I’ve been thinking about the impact the Coronavirus is having on some of our clients in the estate agency sector. We’ve been working with estate agents and house builders for the last 20 years, and COVID-19 poses one of the greatest threats to this industry that I have ever seen. I’ve come up with five points that I think if estate agencies implement, will really position them in a great position when we come out of this current business climate that we’re in.
The first thing I’d like to talk about is video tours. You need to give people a really clear view of the house that they’re going to go and visit. This is something that photographs really just can’t do. Wide angle photos taken from one corner of a room is all too common and they can be incredibly deceptive, making the size of the room incredibly hard to gauge. Video tours would remove this problem.
Make sure you have a structure to your videos. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you go there so you know what rooms you’re going to go and film in. You might go and film in the kitchen or you might go and film in the lounge first. You might film from the outside. If you keep the structure consistent it makes it easier for potential buyers to compare houses – keeping them happy.
You should also have a presenter. They can explain in greater detail than a text description can about the features of each room, the size of the house, etc. So make these notes before you go so you know exactly what you’re going to be saying. Don’t be too nervous in doing it. It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. In today’s environment, done is better than perfect. People just want to see what you’ve got before they make a decision to go and see it.
This should be something you should do for all your types of houses, not just your high end houses. In my experience, this would be a great and relatively simple way to modernise your brand.
The second point I want to make is about regaining control of your marketing. Quite often estate agents are very reliant on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla for their leads. Going forward you should aim to get leads from different sources.
If you can get people on a database, you can market specifically to those people. Personalised marketing has proven to have a much higher success rate than blind marketing. If you deploy this more personal approach, you are going to see the benefits in the long run. It takes time to do it. It takes time to build up that database, but it’s really, really important that you do so.
One of the ways we can do that is by looking at your marketing funnel. Have a look at who you’re trying to market to specifically. Don’t try and market to everyone to begin with. Trial it on small sections of your demographic or people that you’re trying to attract. Maybe you could target people who you think they’ll buy one or two-bed apartments and try to build that database up of those people first. This is a good way to start to take back control of your own marketing so it isn’t owned by someone else.
Social media is really, really powerful and has a huge reach. With the recent lockdown, we can expect social media to be extremely busy, as people have more free time to kill. What I’m seeing, and what I’ve seen before, is when estate agents use social media, it’s very me-centric. It’s basically just a lot of noise. I’m seeing so many people posting irrelevant posts that just fly by in the timeline and so on.
Be really specific about what you do. And if you have an amazing house, tell people about the amazing house! You don’t need to tell everyone about who’s negotiator of the month and things like that. People are probably not that bothered in reality.
It also takes a huge amount of time to post useless content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Cut your posts down to just the content that can attract leads on sites that your market uses.
My next tip is all about automation and personalisation. What a lot of people have not done in the past is personalise a user journey. This is basically taking note of what people are looking for. We’re taking note of their situation and we’re trying to personalise messages to them in an automated fashion. It’s about segmenting your audience, and passing on messages to the right people. So if we’re looking at renters, sellers, buyers of a two bed house, buyers of a country house etc, personalise their messages to those exact people.
Use their names. Use the knowledge that you have about them. You need to build up this knowledge going forward, but have that as a specific goal so that in a year’s time you are in a really good position to put your message out to the right people at the right time about the right thing.
My last point is about reevaluating your marketing strategy. Look at what you’re currently doing, list it down. Everything you do in the sales process, every little advert you do, every little social media post you do. If you do Pay Per Click marketing, if you do marketing funnels, list everything down that you’re doing at this moment in time and reevaluate what you’re doing.
All those things are effectively tactics. What tactics are working well? What tactics are outdated? Are you continuing to use certain tactics just because you always have? Step back a bit and think about what your overall strategy is. Where do you want to be and how do you want to be operating from a marketing point of view after a set amount of time. They’re two very, very different things. Implement the tactics to work with your strategy.
If you want to discuss your estate agency’s tactics going forward in this uncertain time, please get in touch.
Written by Kevin Williams. As one of the founders of Servon Design, Kevin has more than two decades of web and digital marketing experience in the property sector. He focuses on helping Landlords, Property Managers and Letting Agents not only generate leads through digital marketing but also helps improve their online brand and presence.
Written by Kevin Williams [Director at Servon Design Limited]