Estate Agency website performance – David Opie of ETSOS answers our questions:

How important is it, that as an estate / letting agency, you understand how well your website has been performing in 2016?

Most home movers start their search online where the portals are now, in effect, the shop window of estate agency. Recognising this, successful agents have shifted the focus of their website from property listings, to the features and benefits of using them to sell.
Estate Agency has moved on, the performance of the website should not be judged solely on the number of houses sold. Not everyone who visits an agent’s website will be in the right point of the buying/selling cycle to engage their services. As well as providing immediate opportunities to contact the agency, website performance should also be measured on opportunities to capture and improve your client and prospect databases with quality content, downloadable guides, opinion pieces/blogs, value-add tools such as automated valuation software etc.
In doing this, there will naturally be a greater focus on the return on investment from marketing spend.

How fast does your website page load? Is this an important question and does a second too long in opening mean the potential of you loosing clients?

Whilst exact data changes from sector to sector, and website to website, website visits are typically less than 1 minutes, and in more cases than not, under 30 seconds. Slow loading web pages lose a few of those valuable seconds.
That said, the most compelling reason for remaining on a website is that it has provided the answer the searcher was looking for. A fast or slow loading page must engage the reader within a short space of time.

Can we expect to see for 2017 more innovation that will increase performances / engagement of websites, especially that as consumers, we are living in a faster world and we have very high expectations especially during our time spent online?

There are plenty of analytics tools on the market that provide businesses with the ability to track their sources of online traffic and understand how effective their marketing is. Estate agents need to better utilise their website to drive leads and win more listings and valuations.
Social media presents huge opportunities to drive traffic to agent’s websites; new innovation must be effective at capturing traffic driven to agent’s websites via on and offline marketing.
Agents must align themselves with consumer’s growing expectations. Self-service is very much the order of the day; we are a nation of property voyeurs where everybody thinks they are an “armchair expert.” Consumers want to be able to get what they want from a website; the agents who provide them with such an opportunity will be the ones who prosper when it comes to their subsequent need for further advice and support.

Just how often should estate and lettings agents be renewing their website?

Good quality website content will do well on Google; the more changes/refreshes, the less effective that content becomes. Google continues to update its search algorithms with the latest changes aimed solely at improving the user experience when spending time online via a mobile or tablet. 2016 saw, for the first time, more people using their mobile or tablet to browse online than a desktop or laptop computer.
A simple rule when should be to look at the latest updates to Google’s search algorithms and make sure the website complies. Websites which are mobile friendly have been actively promoted since 2015, with further updates in 2016.
Think about your typical home movers search activity; they are likely to be sat at home of an evening on their mobile or tablet browsing for property online and via apps; agent’s website must cater for this.

What piece of property tech would you advise agents to keep a look out for in 2017?

Simple… anything that relates to winning new business. If the portals sell houses, the purpose of the agent’s website is to captures new opportunities to win valuations and listings.
A number of newer prop-tech innovations have launched designed to help agent’s collate and more effectively deal with new business opportunities.
Automated valuation tools are the “in” thing at the moment because they are very cost-effective at;
1) capturing the data of people in the right part of their home-buying/selling cycle making them a hot prospect;
2) capturing the data of people who may not be at quite the right point of their buying/selling cycle, and enables the cultivation of these leads ensuring the agent is the first point of call when they are at the right point in their buying/selling cycle.
There are also a number of innovations which help agents automate much of their lead follow up and cultivation. The property market is on the up but any notion it will return to pre-recession levels is fanciful. It is a more competitive place and agents must focus on their return on investment in marketing spend to stay ahead of their competition.

 

Thank you David for sharing your answers with us. To find out more about ETSOS, the UK’s leading conveyancing technology specialist, visit their website today: http://etsos.co.uk/

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