Longer evenings ahead, more time for people to spend online.

The evenings are getting longer and as the weather starts to really act like Autumn, people will have more time at home and spending what for many is one of their most popular past times (though many may not know it), looking at content online. So, just how prepared are you for this potential increased web traffic – Will you be seen enough and importantly, capture the attention of the web browsers?

The modern internet consumer has many ways to view content online from his desktop to his mobile. Yes, stats say that record amounts of time are spent online with mobiles, though that can said to be down to time spent on social media, but figures for web browsing are increasing all the time and most likely to increase as we draw on towards Christmas.

Maybe, not all websites will show an increase in web traffic during winter months, a close friend of mine runs a national garden centre online and his peak traffic is always mid-Summer with deep Winter months a complete opposite. I would say that property still hits the spot for many consumers out there be it for leisurely viewing of ideas for homes and gardens to their intentions to move in just before Christmas or setting goals for the new year, so being prepared to capture their attention could put you ahead of your competitors.

What I am saying will of course not compete against you finding those important new valuations or your sponsored listings on Rightmove, but nonetheless, a well prepared website and social media campaign could provide you with increased brand awareness this time of the year over Summer months.

Some ideas you could be looking at now include:

  • Winter posts/updates/events should be cheery and targeted in terms of the audience you are attempting to attract. Can you be now networking with other local businesses to create some events towards Christmas that your estate agency can lend its name to / support? Nothing like some tasting events from local producers that can take place in your office once a month – Many of you will have a local vineyard producing English Wines or those making cider and you’ll no doubt even have a micro brewery nearby by, how about a tasting event for them which would be mutually beneficial?
  • If you hold an event then think to keep it ‘themed’.
  • Seasonal giveaways. Build that traffic and brand awareness by offering giveaways leading up to Christmas, especially once again those involving other local businesses, example could be hampers.
  • Make an impact with your website – Is now the time to look at a refreshing re-design? Maybe an analysis to help with SEO, loading times of content, adding blogs or videos?
  • Many do not think to, but change your website to be season, especially during festive period. Possibly the falling snow down the page is a little old hat, but certainly look at sharing seasonal photography, nothing like seeing photos in season such as red colours of Autumn of the snow during lead up the Christmas. We all love the sun, but on that dark evening in we would rather see an open fire roaring away with snow falling outside.
  • Think seasonal also for your social media accounts – You can change the profile header images to suit the seasons we are in.
  • Share expertise and be educational. What common property woes would people be searching for this time of the year? Find out the most popular and look to address them by way of blogs on your website or top tips on social media so that when people search online, they are likely to come past your content.
  • As the colder weather draws in then people start to think towards ‘comfort’ and being ‘cosy’ so, with this in mind, think about updates involving the likes of open fires, inviting interior design, people at home enjoying hot chocolate, great Christmas decorations (closer towards Christmas) etc.
  • The opposite of cosy is also in some people’s minds, so do not forget Winter Sports such as skiing holidays, ice skating, snow boarding and incorporating that theme in your marketing – Depending on the size of your agency, you could always look to get costs for a ‘Winter athlete / sport commentator to head your advertising / be your spokesperson. You may find that you have a local Winter sports athlete (check the likes of Twitter to find out) who may not be well known, but your promotion could be of mutual benefits (many lesser known sport stars on Twitter haven’t many followers and at times, are looking for increased brand awareness – They may have a PR/Agent looking to get free exposure for them).

Some may say ‘how as skiing in winter got anything to do with selling homes‘, but we must remember that marketing, especially social media, needn’t always be direct. Many adverts, especially those on television, will involve subjects that have nothing to do with the product / service being sold, but they have themed the advert to be seasonal or in topic with the latest trends. As winter draws in, you should look at how to theme your current marketing around it, especially if people will be spending just that little bit more time online…

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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