Real Estate Marketing Ideas: 7 Tips to Grow Your Agency
Reading time: 9 minutes
I don’t need to tell you that driving a beat-up little Hyundai Excel to meet homeowners will give you little hope of securing the right to sell their house.
What you may not appreciate is that your online presence may be preventing you from getting the meeting in the first place.
In a digital age, there are so many opportunities to attract and convert vendors and buyers for your real estate business.
But where to start?
The ideas or suggestions I want to share with you should by no means form your entire online marketing plan or should they be all that you do. They are ideas to help you plan your real estate marketing strategy.
They are not hacks. They are not short-term wins. But they are rock-solid tactics to help your agency project an innovative image, improve user experience and drive more website traffic.
1. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
By now you’re fully aware that internet usage on mobile devices has surpassed that on a desktop. But how important is a great mobile browsing experience for your real estate website?
Buying or selling a home is a significant moment in one’s life, and the decision-making process is lengthy. It involves a great deal of research conducted – much of it on a mobile phone. So it makes sense to not only present users with the content but to do so in a friendly manner.
There are a couple of options here if you’re looking at a mobile website including an alternative version hosted at m.yoursite.com.au or the same version that responds to the size of a screen.
The launch of Google’s mobile-first indexing does make the decision all the more important and confirms responsive web design as our preference.
Further Reading: Check out Yoast’s post ‘How to optimize your real estate site‘.
2. Build A Strong Reputation Online
Unfortunately real estate agents in general don’t perform too well in the Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey, where just 5% of respondents people rate real estate agents ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for their ‘ethics and honesty’. But they are considered more trustworthy than advertising professionals and car salesmen.
So you need to be proactive about your agent’s reputations and that of your agency. If you’e not proactively demonstrating how you’re different than traditional agents, then the consumer will revert to the default expectation.
Your online reputation is a snapshot of what people can expect from you and your agents. If you didn’t appreciate that before, I’m sure the success of RateMyAgent,etc has convinced you now.
Your first step should be to do an audit of your online reputation, and this begins by searching Google, etc. for your agency name and each of your agents. How do you fare? Do the same for your competitors. Understand how this search will influence potential clients and their research.
A simple search on Google for ‘Thornbury real estate agents’ produced the following local pack.
There are two clear standouts obviously. With Love & Co and Collings Real Estate both having 90+ reviews at an average of 4.4 and 4.7 respectively, the user will be confident in either. However, Woodards with 41 reviews with an average of just 2.2 has little chance – They need to invest in their online reputation.
Your strategy moving forward should include:
– Addressing any negative feedback online that may negatively impact.
– Implementing a feedback system and encouraging online reviews. Give them a couple of options to leave a review, and you should choose these strategically. RateMyAgent is one of those. Your Google My Business should be another.
– Monitoring online mentions of your agency and your agents. This will ensure that you can address any issues promptly before they gain traction and hurt your reputation. It may also identify some other positive mentions that are not being leveraged yet.
3. Be Strategic About Your Search Engine Optimisation
The websites realestate.com.au and domain.com.au dominate search results for buyer-related search terms. This does make it incredibly hard for individual agencies, yet there are still opportunities to attract buyers and vendors from search engines.
A content marketing strategy will help you to attract and engage home buyers during their initial research. More on this below.
Potential vendors are a more traditional target in search engines for the real estate agent.
Here are a few basic results from keyword research (Australian search volume per month):
– ‘Real Estate Agents’ (6,600)
– ‘Real Estate Agent’ (9,900)
– ‘Real Estate Agents Melbourne’ (1,300)
– ‘Real Estate Agents Sydney’ (1,000)
They’re the high-volume, high-quality search terms of course. But it gives you an idea of the volume of searches out there. You will want to target the more local searches, while also aiming to compete for searches involving the words ‘best’, ‘reviews’ and ‘trusted’.
From the same ‘Thornbury real estate agents’ search from earlier, here are the next four organic listings placed under the local pack.
At least in the Australian marketplace, realestate.com.au will dominate search results and never far behind will be domain.com and ratemyagent.com.au. For Love & Co to feature this prominently is a great sign for them.
4. A Content Marketing Strategy May Be Your Smoking Gun
A content marketing strategy identifies your audience, their needs and wants, what obstacles they have to buy or selling, what information they’re searching for online, where they usually turn to find it, and much more.
As noted, content marketing presents an opportunity for you to attract potential buyers. In fact, this might be your most significant search engine opportunity. Perhaps they’re looking for a tree-change or a sea-change – Where are they getting the info?
Here’s a perfect opportunity.
Provide the most valuable resource (blog post) on the web for people considering moving to your area. The competition will be a lot less competitive than for the typical ‘real estate agent Geelong’ search for example. By engaging with them early, you can nurture them along their journey, and this will put you in the best position to convert.
Other content ideas might include:
– Property hotspots in your area
– The ultimate guide to the local schools
Each piece of content strategically created to fulfil the needs of a specific target audience, which you should then nurture into serious leads.
I should also note that your audience will enjoy and consume visual content, so it’s important to complement your blog with infographics and videos.
Further to this, a blog provides you with the content that people share on social media and this can then help promote your business. Still not sold on content marketing? I’d encourage you to check out the latest content marketing statistics.
5. Site Retargeting Is Likely Your Best PPC Bet
Retargeting provides significantly higher ROI than traditional banner advertising.
Here is an example:
A visitor comes to ABCRealEstate.com.au has a look at a couple of property listings and then leaves (to cook dinner maybe).
That visitor is then served your display advertising when they’re looking at other websites for the next 30 or 45 days for example. For real estate, this is a fantastic opportunity to advertise a new and relevant property listing to a person who visited your website two weeks earlier.
6. Affiliate Marketing Is A Genuine Left-Field Opportunity
Has been around for ages but it seems for many industries, particularly in Australia, it is under-utilised. From a real estate agent’s perspective, you’re not going to sell advertising space on your website, but you can create an affiliate program to serve your advertising.
Let me explain.
Affiliate Marketing will help you serve your display advertising around the web and to the people that matter to you. While it’s not Adwords and being able to advertise to someone actively searching for a relevant term, you can still target a demographic and it helps to build your brand.
Create a suite of display ads promoting your agency and sign up with an affiliate platform that allows you to create your affiliate program or affiliate marketing campaign. Offer websites that serve your ads an incentive, based on impressions, clicks or registrations of your email newsletter for example. You can review applications from publishers, so your ads are not serving on sites you do not approve and are serving only on sites that will see your target audience.
It is an affordable method of driving traffic and leads if you get the incentive right.
7. Get Ahead Of The Trends And Investigate ChatBots
Chatbots are gaining a lot of publicity as experts see the opportunity to provide more interaction and a better experience for users browsing a website.
How can you apply a chatbot to your website and why?
Mobile Monkey is one chatbot tool that is winning a lot of fans and for good reason. I would encourage you to check out their post ‘ABC Guide to Chatbots For Real Estate Pros‘. It goes into great detail on how you can get, nurture and qualify your leads.
Chatbots can quite literally have a conversation with your user. Asking them questions and responding based on either pre-determined answers you’ve fed it or on previous discussions it has had with other users. That’s right. If your chatbot is utilising machine learning, it will get smarter with every interaction.
What sort of conversation do you ask?
Let’s look at the standard real estate website experience, from a buyer’s perspective. I search the suburbs I want and add the filters. There might only be five search results, or it could be 100. If it’s on the larger side, I’m going to be browsing through pages.
Now, this is where the Chatbot can improve user experience and set you apart from your competition. Here’s a hypothetical conversation:
Chatbot: Hi. Can I ask your name and email address? And where are you looking to buy?
Me: Sure. I’m looking to buy on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria.
Chatbot: Nice. There are some wineries, and of course, you’ve got access to the bay and the ocean. The most recent sales report has many suburbs showing strong growth.
Me: Really. What suburbs have shown growth?
Chatbot: Soffolk Park had a 44.1 percent change with the median house price now $1.625 million. You might want to check out this article on Nine.com.au.
Me: OK great. Can you show me some properties for sale in Clifton Springs?
Chatbot: Of course. Did you have a budget in mind? How many bedrooms?
I cut that hypothetical conversation short, but you can see where it was going. As a user, I could chat with the bot during or after office hours and immediately receive valuable info. The user experience is infinitely better.
There will likely be a point at which every conversation will need human interaction, and when it does, the chatbot will know which member of your team is best qualified to answer and redirect the query to them.
Of course, you can have a live chat functionality, and while we encourage you to do so with your website, it is hard to scale as it will always rely on someone being on the other end, only ever being able to chat 1:1.
Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He has a specific focus on local and mobile SEO, content strategy, and marketing automation. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so. Pick his brain on Clarity.fm.