It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Use the functionality, reach and popularity of real estate portals to get your listings to a wider audience quickly and easily.
However, these portals are evolving. Free advertising and marketing were only going to last for so long. With the more popular portals raising their prices and subscription rates – particularly in Australia and New Zealand – agents are taking a hit. If you’ve been too reliant on driving traffic through these portals, it’s a good time for a strategy re-think.
Listings portals used to get great numbers. Advertisers have long faced challenges connecting their ad spend to actual customer purchases, so it made good sense to stick to the old marketing mantra that two shop windows (or three, or four) are better than one.
But portal price hikes have required agents to look at alternative smart advertising methods. The problem with in-portal advertising (such as social media add-ons) is that it directs traffic to the portal listing. Basically, if you’re an agent, you’re not only paying for the property listing to the portal, you’re paying for traffic to go to the portal, too.
Claw back your data
Are you one of the many who have become reliant on portals? You may be finding that information doesn’t flow in real-time, data can be compromised, and third-party tech integration and content uploading can be clunky and time-consuming. In an age where data is king, if your valuable data lives with someone else, you’re running blind, and your sales and marketing campaigns won’t be as effective.
If a portal is your number-one salesperson, you’re missing out on a whole lot of untrackable relevant buyers. Opportunities to re-market, promote advertising opportunities on similar properties in your portfolio, get lost in cyberspace. While ‘Check out similar properties in your area’ buttons will be a positive for customers, these will often link to another agent’s portfolio, which only goes to aid the competition.
The click rabbit-hole
You’re also not in charge of the quality and functionality of another site. Viewers expect to be taken to your (external) home page when they click on a logo or agent’s details or require more info. Often they’ll remain deep in the portal and won’t be redirected. It can also take several clicks to get out of that site, take you further in, or send a potential buyer to another portal entirely.
Your home website is your most important and effective digital asset, and your best lead-generator.Is it time to take a new look at where portals reside in your advertising strategy?
Portals should sit under your home site – never compete against it or be a replacement. With the southern hemisphere summer so close, now is the perfect time to take back control of your listings, your advertising drives your digital footprint and get people back to your home site.
Remember, one click leads to another. The majority of potential buyers and customers don’t click on just one listing and then log off. They’ll see what similar properties you have and explore deeper. Your website also runs at a lower cost than any other platform.
Two ways to win
Take a look at your social channels. Are they working as effectively as you want? Portals rarely, if ever, link back to an agent’s social media. Buyers are so reliant on digital media today that they won’t click on your website if your social channels are lacking, so you need to be ready.
Taking away the reliance on portals is also a great chance to upskill your team on things you may have neglected in the past; including copywriting, advertising and social media campaigns.
Three ways to strategize your marketing efforts beyond portals
Extend the time you load a new listing straight up onto another portal. It’s okay to wait a few days before casting the net wider. Before sharing on external sites, drive traffic to your own website listing page. This also helps leverage your owned resources to drive traffic to your website listing via social media, email marketing, agency newsletters, blogs and so on. Another benefit of this is you’ll be creating a custom audienceto remarket to in the future.
Give your third-party portals an audit. The temptation is always to list on as many portals as possible, but if one just isn’t giving you the numbers you’re looking for, it may be the moment to pull the plug. This will also help your marketing budget – at a time when every digital dollar counts.
Tailor your listings. Check out the numbers. Does one portal get different results depending on the property type? Are you getting more hits on new builds, land, apartments or houses on different portals? Look for patterns in what customers are looking at. This can help you create even more targeted campaigns.
Never forget, your website is the only digital platform you own. It’s also where the cheapest form of lead-generation takes place and the only place online where you’re not competing for attention. There’s never been a better time to take a deep dive into your website and analyse where improvements can be made, always keeping in mind the role third-party portals play in that.
Our clients are telling us that they are greatly reducing the dollar amount they’re spending on the major property portals and other platforms. It’s now all about shifting budgets to generate traffic to their own websites.
Websites respond to the market
Another interesting trend is the rise of off-market sales in some areas. Agents are taking advantage of the fact that they know which properties are about to come on the market or have listings advertising exclusivity on their site, and buyers and sellers are responding positively to this service.
As an agency, you've spent a significant amount of your marketing budget on creating a website. It’s yours, your owned high-value asset. Preferences are evolving around how buyers and vendors look for a property, and website quality should be the cornerstone of your overriding marketing strategy.
So it makes sense to drive traffic to your website, leverage the audience metrics, and generate your own custom audiences to remarket them. This way you are building and growing your digital footprint and reducing the reliance on external portals.
ListingLogic makes it easy to deliver more power to your website, increases your audience reach and appetite to buy and sell, and breathes new life into your digital advertising campaigns while building your own custom audiences - reducing your dependence on property portals at the same time.
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