It’s crucial in today’s climate that estate agents have strong online presences. According to a survey by eMoov, Britain’s largest online estate agent, 67 per cent of homeowners will now research properties online when looking for a new home.
Broken down, 75 per cent of these people were over the age of 50. While younger people also researched online, they were more interested in using mapping tools, such as Google Street View, to learn about the neighbourhood.
Any property agent that hasn’t quite made the jump online is potentially looking at a dismal future, because that’s where their buyers are. Now’s the time to act, which is why we’re focusing here on how homeowners research properties online – all to ensure that you’re tapping into this huge audience.
Real estate portals
Being present on huge property portals, such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket, can mean big business. In 2016 alone, Rightmove listed 973,951 UK properties.
That’s not to say these portals come without their disadvantages: it can be pricey and hard to stand out amongst all the other properties and agencies. Don’t be completely reliant on these portals, but do be part of the crowd.
By having your own website, you will appear in search engine results, thus increasing the chance of people stumbling upon your services.
The key to success is much more than just appearing, though; you need to make sure the searches are useful to your business. By focusing on specific searches in a prospective area, you will be able to ensure that your content answers the questions that people relevant to your business are asking.
As a companion to ‘organic’ search engine visibility, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is incredibly important.
Investing in PPC will ensure that your website appears in the search results you want it to, rather than waiting for it to happen organically. Although it does come with costs, this can help speed up the buyer’s journey to committing to a sale, which can normally take up to 10 weeks.
The popularity of video websites, such as YouTube, has resulted in there being a video for almost everything.
Due to busy schedules, many people will now research a particular property they like the look of before arranging a viewing. Consider putting up video walkthroughs of the property and go that extra step with 360-degree footage – this can only impress potential buyers.
Social media plays a vital role in helping people come across brands and businesses they were previously unaware of.
Share your own content alongside relevant news and information. By being helpful to prospective homeowners, you’ll see that more people come to you for advice and insight. When it comes to looking for properties, these people will know to come to you.
Different platforms will work for different audiences, so it’s important to have a presence on more than just Facebook, for example. Pinterest works for anyone looking for home- or area-specific inspiration; Twitter is useful for dealing with enquiries and sharing content; and Facebook is particularly helpful when sharing content relevant to your geographical area.
Know your audience
When you understand your audience and where they’re looking, you’ll be able to ensure you’re catering to what they’re after.
Keeping up with popular trends and forms of research will mean that you stay ahead of the game and that you don’t miss out on any potential buyers. By having an online strategy in place, you’re likely to reach those using the internet to research properties.
For more information, take a look at PR and creative agency Peppermint Soda’s guide to how home buyers research property online.