Consumers have always sought out content in order to make that choice. The difference for estate agents today, is where they look for, and how they get this content.
All of these channels are still important and relevant today, however they are underpinned by the continuing growth of digital and mobile mediums that provide access to both local and global content. Digital and mobile content and technology also enables consumers to research estate agents ‘at arm’s length’ allowing a more individual approach to research.
The challenge this poses to estate agents is that the consumer can find out an ever increasing amount of information through research without ever having to pick up the phone or walk in to the estate agent’s branch. This means that agents now need to have content that is more engaging and relevant. It also needs to be delivered through the right channels during the consumers’ research stage so that the estate agent has the best chance of getting that phone call or walk in.
All media should be considered to achieve a good commercial outcome.
With this insight in mind, more estate agents need to ensure that their company website, as a major content platform, provides people with useful information. At Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, for instance, we recently relaunched our website, kfh.co.uk, with a view to delivering better content to consumers. This includes industry leading search functionality, dedicated content hubs for our different customer groups and a complete London area information research platform that incorporates regional and area focused guides, historic property prices from Land Registry, council tax bands, as well as local transport and school information.
Functional content is just as important in the consumer experience as the words themselves. Alongside our property search functionality which provides six different ways to search, we have included a mortgage estimator and a valuation request form to quickly and easily enable users to access the information they need.
We have also rebuilt the website on a responsive technology platform which means our website optimises to all screen sizes – negating the need for additional apps – while enabling consumers to search for properties, branch locations, and other information from their preferred device.
Offline, magazines remain an incredibly powerful medium. We use our own award winning customer magazine, ‘Completely London’ to engage our customers and highlight our experience and expertise, not only in the London property market, but in the city itself.
To ensure this channel is accessible to a wide audience, agents should consider producing both a printed magazine and host an online e-reader version on their website so that it can also be viewed on tablet and mobile devices.
Content is inherently fluid and changing, so it is important to have channels that can support this and maintain relevance. Alongside kfh.co.uk we use our London property market blog to cover current property market news and topics, as well as our ‘Property: inside and out’ section to provide useful advice, information and tips like ‘how to choose an architect.’
All communications are a form of content. Whether it is a tweet, a webpage, press coverage or a conversation between the estate agent and a client, all of these channels should be considered when looking at how a message is delivered and a commercial outcome is achieved.
- Base the channel selection around the message not the message around the channel selection.
- Make your content development process as agile as possible to ensure it is always relevant when it goes to market.
- Do not speak if you do not have something interesting to say – content for content’s sake is unlikely to deliver on any of your objectives and can be detrimental to your brand.
- Understand trending topics – contribute to conversations as they start to gain traction.
- Make sure your content is authoritative and unique – it needs to be authentic to your brand.
Anna Macleod is Head of Marketing and Communications at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward.