Portals have fast become a cornerstone of the residential property market, with estate agents almost exclusively using portals to advertise their properties. Portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and OntheMarket are viewed by vast numbers of buyers, and as such estate agents can’t afford to ignore these websites. But should these property portals be seen as a direct threat, or more optimistically as a positive element of agents’ marketing strategies?
We would argue the latter. However, in order to make full use of property portals, agents need to make sure that their marketing also resonates at a local level. It’s crucial that estate agents support their portal presence as one of many marketing opportunities at their disposal. In essence, agents should be thinking national, by listing on portals, but also acting local, to build strong connections with an engaged customer base.
Building a strong local reputation
Over 80% of movers choose to move within their local area. So, it’s easy to see why a solid reputation as the ‘local estate agent’ can be hugely profitable, even if buyers commence their search for a new home through the portals.
However, moving home is much more than searching a Portal; the infrequency with which people move (on average once every 19 years) necessitates the support of a knowledgeable local expert to guide both the buyers and sellers through what has become an increasingly infrequent process.
The marketing strategies that agents need to know about
The portals are today's shop window for the Estate Agents enabling an unprecedented local & national reach, however adopting a unilateral approach to promoting listings is insufficient.
Estate agents should not rely entirely on portals to bring leads to them. There are plenty of proactive steps that agents can take to build an engaged audience in their local area, and establish a solid reputation. These might include digital campaigns such as social media advertising, PPC, SEO strategies and direct newsletter campaigns, as well as more traditional marketing techniques including sponsoring local events and taking part in fundraising for local causes. Agents’ links to local communities give them a real edge over national portals, and it’s this connection that estate agents should be looking to build upon.
A “data first” principle to support any additional marketing is also paramount. Data-driven and actionable insights can be incredibly beneficial in terms of both client retention and lead generation, enabling agents to make contact with prospective vendors and buyers before a property search even begins.
Take TwentyEA’s Prospect platform for example. The platform enables agents to target prospective homemovers effectively, using data to identify vendors likely to instruct or switch agent in the local area. An early engagement with a prospective seller is of paramount importance to deliver a market appraisal and new instruction. The platform also delivers a range of insight to support the Estate Agent; properties sold, price achieved, length of time on the market, all valuable ammunition for persuading a seller to list with your agency. Book a demo to learn more about how this works.
With portals as the cornerstone of the residential property market, the exposure generated should be embraced by Estate Agents. However, successful agencies are the ones that make full use of the potential of portals, backing up their listings with a mix of well thought out marketing strategies that target the audiences they want to reach. By using direct and digital marketing, in conjunction with relevant above the line advertising and sponsorship, estate agents can transform portals from a dangerous threat to a lucrative opportunity.