Emerging technologies largely dictate how the digital marketing landscape changes – and this landscape is changing all the time. Estate and lettings agents must be prepared to embrace new marketing innovations if they are to remain a competitive force in their field.
In a challenging property market, adaptability is a vital attribute. It’s necessary for many estate agents, especially those with a traditional model, to re-evaluate and restructure their service offering if they are to thrive in these conditions. In this, marketing is indispensable.
So where is the world of marketing headed in 2019? And what does it mean for estate agents? These are our top predictions:
How do your clients like to communicate? For a growing number of people online, their preferred method of communication with a business is via a chatbot, at least in the first instance. These people will expect businesses to communicate with them in a way they like. So, make it happen.
Estate agents can use messenger apps like Facebook Messenger to create a chatbot to engage with and capture potential leads. Facebook Messenger has a huge reach, as it taps into a platform with over 2 billion active monthly users. According to Facebook, around one in two people say they’re more likely to buy from a business they can message, while 65 per cent expect to be able to communicate via message more over the next two years.
A while ago, all you needed to attract clients was a high street office – that won’t pass muster now.
Chatbots allow you to provide a responsive service 24/7, answering enquiries and providing information as and when required. You can filter conversations, allowing the chatbot to establish the user’s pain point quickly, which should improve your chances of turning the lead into a client.
However, Chatbots go far beyond chatting, and there are many options available to estate agents. From scheduling a viewing to negotiating the lease on a property, a lot can be done through the Facebook Messenger chatbot.
For example, you can set up a remarketing campaign on Facebook for people who visited a certain page on your website but left without converting. When they click the remarketing ad, it can open Facebook Messenger where your chatbot will be ready to help them along the marketing funnel, bringing you one step closer to a sale.
Linking remarketing campaigns with chatbot activity is something we expect to see more of in 2019.
LIVE VIDEO GOES MAINSTREAM
Some agents have already explored the opportunities for engaging with new and existing audiences via video, but others are still to catch on. Live video takes things one step further, giving agencies a means of connecting with prospects in a more immediate, authentic, and intimate way.
In 2019, we expect to see more businesses broadcast updates to their audience using streaming services like Facebook Live. Facebook Live can be used for video walkthroughs of the properties you have for sale, allowing viewers to see more of the property than through photographs. It can also be used to give updates to landlords, or simply to provide information about your local property market to potential buyers and tenants.
Video (and video ads) will keep growing like live video, traditional video will keep growing too. By 2019 it’s expected that video will account for 85 per cent of total internet traffic. The internet users who watch video online is also expected to grow. Video ads are also growing. Instagram has re-posted that 65 per cent of their ad impressions came from video content, and that number will grow even further. Agents should consider adding video for their 2019 social media strategy. From market appraisals, to property tours, from expert advice to local updates, agents can gain massive advantage by jumping on the video bandwagon.
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU…
There is too much noise to the tune of ‘we offer this’ and ‘we only charge 0.02 per cent for our services’. Whether it’s the text on your website or the words your team uses when they speak with potential clients, it’s not about you, the estate agency, it’s about the potential client and their specific needs. If you keep this front-of-mind and remain true to it across all your marketing endeavours, this will help your business going forward. In an industry where low commission rates are the norm, customer service value is key.
There was a time when all an estate agent needed to attract potential sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants was a branch office in a prominent position on the high street. As we’ve seen, this won’t pass muster anymore. To prevail in the year ahead, estate agents need to demonstrate adaptability and a willingness to adopt the latest trends and new approaches in marketing.