Technology has transformed the real estate industry, with a dizzying array of digital tools, from online listings and 360° virtual tours to property mobile apps. But real estate has always been based on relationships, so tools that make buying and selling property easier – and more accessible while still fostering good relationships – are favoured by the industry.
For today’s residential property firms, a strong online presence is a vital part of their marketing strategy. However, online presence is about more than having an effective website – it also includes online visibility and social media engagement.
ONLINE VISIBILITY: KEY TO GROWTH
Nick Dunning Associates recognised the importance of managing its online presence, but with 27 branches, managing each branch’s business listings across 50+ online platforms was labour intensive.
Incorrect business listings can send potential clients to a branch that’s moved, or a location listed as open until 7pm when it closed at 6pm. Inaccurate and online data is frustrating, potential clients lose trust and interest in a business if listings are wrong.
Digital Marketing Manager, Warren Wilson, has experience with managing location data and business listings and knew the company needed a streamlined system, “We just don’t have the time to effectively manage our online listings and even if we did have a dedicated resource, we wouldn’t be able to reach all the directories.”
Consequently, Nick Dunning partnered with location marketing tech specialist, Uberall, to manage its listings from one platform, the Location Marketing Cloud.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Location Marketing Cloud allows Nick Dunning to manage all location data and more from one dashboard, functioning like a car’s, but instead reporting vehicle information, it reports data about business listings, social media, and reviews.
40% of new business is via recommendation so it’s vital to actively manage online reviews.
Nick Dunning can now monitor profiles and sync updates across 54 platforms – including Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Maps, and Yelp – all at once. While it may not seem important to prioritise listings on less commonly used directories, incorrect business listings on these platforms still impact overall search engine rankings.
Even small inconsistencies matter. Google and other search engines continually cross-reference different directories to verify their results. Any inaccuracy negatively impacts overall search results, causing a fall in search engine rankings. Since HubSpot’s research shows that 75 per cent of users never look past the first page of search results, it’s crucial to keep business listings accurate to stay at the top of search results.
TECH ENABLES ENGAGEMENT
In addition to listings management, Nick Dunning also wanted a simple, structured way to manage its online reviews. Forbes reports that 84 per cent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and, as Wilson added, “Within real estate, 40 per cent of new real estate business comes via recommendation, so it’s vital that online reviews are actively managed.”
Responding to customer reviews enables a business to directly address local questions and concerns, as well as see what’s working well across the business. Managing reviews one-by-one across numerous platforms was unworkable – with the Location Marketing Cloud, Nick Dunning now has one platform that pulls together all online customer reviews in one place, allowing it to respond directly and comprehensively.
In addition, they gain customer insights through online performance reporting and can review enhanced performance metrics from Google My Business and Facebook on its Location Marketing dashboard, and see a detailed breakdown of all clicks and impressions its business locations receive in Google and Facebook, making it easier to see trends between the two platforms.
It can also create customised reports for all its locations. As Warren says, “Reporting is so much easier now, and removes the manual element of gaining Google My Business insights at a local level.” Using the platform, Nick Dunning is able to evaluate the analytics on a local level from one place and can quickly and easily see how its various branches are performing.
Technology has changed the real estate industry tremendously over the past ten years, touching every part of the business, from the start of the property search to the closing of the deal. Property businesses now have access to almost limitless amounts of data, but it is technology that cuts through all of the data ‘noise’ and helps property firms better serve their clients that will ultimately win the day.