The UK’s top estate agents will want to do more than just survive 2018. They will want to thrive. To do this, agents will aim for a larger local market share and offer more value to their clients than their online, cheaper competitors. But for that to happen, they must understand the best ways to use digital marketing to successfully communicate the benefits of their service with prospective clients – or learn how to put together a clearly defined brief to their marketing agency, clarifying their aims.
THREE WAYS TO DO BETTER THAN EVER IN 2018:
1 Persona marketing – gone are the days when it was enough to define your target audience based on a segment of the population, such as gender, age, marital status or level of income. Consumers today are savvier than ever before and your marketing should be aligned with their values, opinions, interests, aspirations, lifestyle and attitudes. If you know who your ideal client is, it is a lot easier to attract and convert them.
Cross channel marketing and consistency in the messages you send is crucial to your success.
To create your detailed buyer persona, you can use a mixture of real data from existing clients and market research. This will help you to decide where to focus your time and efforts to attract them to your website and convert them into paying customers.
2 Be consumer-centric – customer centricity is about listening to your clients and doing everything possible to make them happy or to solve their problem. But that alone is not enough.
To have long-term success, estate agents must understand their customers’ needs, likes and wants and have in place the right customer-facing strategies, processes and marketing initiatives to satisfy them.
To be customer-centric, focus on the following:
- 1. Experience
Do your customers enjoy the experience of using your service? Is your service a convenience to them, and does it make their life easier? If the answer is in the affirmative, you can expect customers to use your service again.
- 2. Loyalty
Reward and recognise customers in a way that is relevant to how they want to be rewarded. For example, how do you reward landlords for using your service beyond 12 months?
- 3. Communication
Understand how your customers like to communicate with you and adapt your approach. Highly communicative companies provide tailored communications based on customer preferences. Most estate agents stick to telephone and email. However, customers increasingly prefer to use messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook, or online chat, especially those who are based abroad. Always bend to meet the preferences of your customers.
- 4. Price
Is the price that you charge in line with the level of service you provide? If all you do is promote a vendor’s property on a portal, you are no different to an online agent, and therefore charging more than what an online agent charges will not be well-received. Charge prices which are perceived to be in line with what the customer is looking for.
- 5. Feedback
Listen to any customer concerns. The key to positive customer feedback is two-way conversation and forging an emotional connection with your customers. Pay attention to any customer reviews you receive on websites like Google Places or All Agents and address any negative feedback speedily and professionally. Make it company policy to respond to any unfavourable reviews in a conciliatory manner.
3 Connecting all the dots – the scattergun approach may have worked in the past, but in today’s market it will not bring you much success. Boosting the odd article on Facebook, posting on Twitter once a week, or sending flyers through letterboxes three times a year is not going to cut it any longer. Cross-channel marketing and consistency in the messages you send out is crucial to attract and convert new prospects.
To give an example, if you run a campaign on Facebook to attract more vendors looking to sell, don’t just take people to your website and leave it at that. If they do not take action immediately, introduce remarketing on both Facebook and Google Display Network (this is a network of over 2 million websites supporting Google banners) to encourage them to come back and make further enquires. Make sure your website ranks well in the Google search results so that when the vendor is ready to book a property valuation, they can easily find you.
Nelly Berova is Managing Director of digital marketing specialist, Art Division.