HOW TRADITIONAL ESTATE AGENCIES CAN STAY AHEAD ONLINE

How Estate agents can stay ahead in the digital age

Building Blocks to Success – Estate Agency and the Digital Age

Human interaction between agency, buyer and seller has always been the foundation of any property acquisition, and subsequently High Street presence has been the core of most agencies business objective. But as over 95% of buyers now conduct their initial property research online, there is no doubt that the digital age has provoked a revolution in the property market, which estate agents can no longer ignore.

With the rise of the online agency and the dominance of property portals, who take 61% of the online market share, the prospect of building a digital presence can be daunting. However, the flight to online does not have to be all encompassing. Managing a flexible presence between face to face interaction and utilising digital platforms will all help create brand awareness, solidify relationships which in turn will help drive new sales.

How can traditional estate agencies adapt their approach to stay ahead of the curve in the digital age?

Website:

With the dominance of property portals on the search engine landscape, the role of the estate agent’s website has changed considerably. Content is the key and does not just mean  information on the individual properties . Include a blog section to share opinions and tips on your local community, property market and to promote your latest company news. As well as ensuring fresh, keyword rich content for your website, your blog will help towards enabling your business to emerge as experts in your field.

As a traditional estate agency, people and relationships are still paramount. Ensure you have a team page to professionally showcase your employees, their strengths, characters and most importantly, their contact details.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

Having a slick, design oriented website is appealing to any agency looking to stand out from the crowd, but is fruitless if no one can find your site. Priority needs to be given to SEO so that your target audience can discover your agency’s website amongst the millions of sites already out there.

There are many tactics you can employ to facilitate your websites ranking on searches. Ensure your website content is fresh and relevant, update news and local information regularly and most importantly ensure it is value adding and interesting. People should want to read and share the content, which will provide links back to your website.

When uploading images of properties make sure you name the files as the property address and location. Avoid uploading large image files as this will slow the loading time of your website pages and discourage search engines from sending traffic to your site.

Mobile Optimised:

1 in 3 property searches are conducted on smartphones or tablets. Present day users have become accustomed to accessing company and market information immediately. A website that is not compatible for these mobile devices, is an opportunity missed and users may opt for a competitor who is more technologically savvy.  Always ensure your website is optimised for mobile and tablet screens.

Social Media:

The time taken to participate in social media is an investment that can be tracked and measured to ensure your Return on Investment (ROI) and is one of the most affordable ways to build your brand. It simply takes creativity, passion, and consistency to build your presence.

92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from buyers and sellers.  Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn are powerful tools to help build trust and brand awareness. They will drive traffic to your site and help you learn more about your target market.

Customers’ feedback and your interaction is public and in real time.  The public nature means that when you communicate with an individual, you are also reaching an unlimited audience. Furthermore, it allows you to be transparent about your company details and the culture of your business. You can also showcase your employee backgrounds to reinforce calibre and reputation, which further strengthens the trust your online community will have in you.

Don’t just sell your company and the properties you’re instructed on. Publish content, share local news and get involved in discussions and groups. This also has search engine benefits. Google likes social media, news and shared content. You can leverage this by optimising keywords in your posts, statuses, tweets and news in a way that reflects the search queries.  Posting news and links back to your website can be a major generator of traffic for your agency’s website. Connect your website with your social media pages and share your business updates with a click. The more channels you participate in, the more the traffic to be reached online.

For more information on how to advance your Estate Agency business follow Deverell Smith’s LinkedIn Business Page or visit the website on www.deverellsmith.com

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