5 May 2022
The reputation of the real estate profession and the opportunities for development attract new applicants to work in real estate offices every year. According to REGON, more than 250 000 people work in the sector, 55 000 of whom are self-employed. The fierce competition requires special tools and measures in order to stand out from others. In this blog post, you will learn how an estate agency can develop an online presence.
Every investment has a clearly defined purpose, and the same is true of building an online presence and developing a website. Without a clearly defined need and function for your virtual business card, it will be difficult to realise its full potential. Unfortunately, from our observations, many real estate offices have a website just to add credibility. Yes, this is an important aspect of communicating your brand, but in our opinion it is also a waste of resources and a failure to exploit the potential that is your own website.
In our view, the estate agency website has several tasks to fulfil. Firstly, it serves as a differentiator so that the address is remembered among vast number of similar websites. Secondly, it aggregates traffic and directs it into the right paths of the purchase funnel, showing the offers it has or collecting data on the sellers of its properties. Thirdly and finally, your own website allows you to apply internet marketing and search engine positioning thereby increasing your exposure to new customers.
Let’s start with the fact that the hundreds of websites used by real estate agencies are confusingly similar to each other, both in terms of the graphic tone and the design itself. Often, the scheme of a business card format page with a heavily exposed search engine for listings is replicated. Such a layout not only does not look good, but also often catches the eye, so that the user, instead of remembering the name of the office and its assets, will have the appearance of the search engine in mind.
In real estate brokerage, interpersonal relationships and the people behind them are valuable assets. A fruitful sale starts with a close-knit team and a personal touch, which is why we suggest introducing your employees on your website.
The bios and aesthetically pleasing photos add a human dimension to online communication with the customer. Additional tip: when designing your website, it is worth considering an easy way to add new bios, the number of which will increase as your business grows.
In addition to the personal communication with users and the unique aesthetics of the site, it is worth paying attention to the additional benefits to be had by visitors to our site. In addition to today’s standard offer search engine, this could include an interesting blog, templates of necessary documents, a Q&A section, or perhaps even a podcast or video feature. All of these elements can make the visitor stay on the site longer and remember it better. This will not only have a positive impact on sales, but also on the site’s search engine positioning.
The clients of real estate agencies are divided into those who want to sell a property (the supply side) and those who want to buy a property (the demand side). Each of these groups has different needs and expectations when communicating with a real estate agency. Therefore, in the process of designing the website, it is worth thinking about the path of a particular customer’s journey through the sales process. It is also an excellent time to think about your sales strategy and select a specific group of customers to focus your marketing efforts on.
For demand customers, an important element of the website is an integrated search engine, which allows you to set the expected parameters of a property and view the offers. However, for the investment in a search engine to make economic sense you need many listings and a large number of visitors to the site. A search engine alone does not result in an increase in users, but only improves their conversion into potential warm sales leads.
Prospective property buyers are usually attracted by the high number of (current!) offers. Therefore, in order to manage them efficiently, it is advisable to use a listing management tool – CRM. There are a number of CRM systems available on the market that meet the needs of real estate agencies to varying degrees; we recommend testing various solutions and choosing the most advantageous one. In our opinion, a very solid tool is the CRM from Asari, whose operation is very intuitive and the system itself is subject to regular updates. We have also developed a proprietary plug-in for Asari that integrates the system with any website.
Managing the supply side online is more challenging than dealing with the expectations of the demand side. A client wishing to sell a property wants a professional service and a good price from the sale. Therefore, when communicating with this group, it is worth betting on showing your successes: successful realisations, interesting projects or extensive experience. It is with this group in mind that you should present your strengths and team, as well as highlight your specialisation and knowledge of market niches.
With supply-side customers in mind, you can use tools to aggregate contact data, forms, chatbots (or live chat) or integration with instant messaging. Keep in mind, however, that the more complex and advanced the data collection system, the lower the final conversion, so it is sometimes not worth overdoing the number of questions or points to be filled in.
There are more than 900 real estate agents in Warsaw alone, and they position themselves for specific keywords, such as the type of real estate – “domy warszawa”, districts – “mieszkanie ursynów”, or other distinguishing features. The high competition in the industry, mentioned at the beginning of the post, makes organic search engine positioning of a website a very difficult and lengthy process. The specifics of this industry preclude quick ad hoc actions aimed at optimising website visibility.
Unfortunately, we know of many cases where SEO companies do not take into account the specifics of the real estate market and sell the same services as for other businesses. The increase in rankings they generate usually does not, unfortunately, translate into more real visits to the web address. Therefore, in our opinion, these are often pointless activities without any significant impact on the sales and business of the real estate agency. Of course taking care of SEO is highly recommended, however, this is a larger investment than a basic monthly subscription.
For this reason, we suggest considering paid search activities; in our opinion, with a specific monthly budget, they are much more effective than SEO alone. SEM activities, i.e. investing in search engine advertising, work especially well in industries where the demand for services is year-round and the volume of keyword searches is high. The effects of investment in SEM are far more measurable.
A website is an indispensable attribute of an estate agency, just like a business card or a charged smartphone. In our opinion, it is therefore worth ensuring that the virtual business card presents itself with dignity and generates profit, which is why we recommend treating its operation as an investment. In our experience, the better the website is matched to the business profile of the office, the better the results of its implementation.
We would therefore like to invite you to a free 45-minute consultation, during which we would be happy to talk about your estate agency’s online presence. We will be happy to share our experience and suggest what can be improved. Feel free to contact us!