How’s an agent to build a brand online these days?
Before the rise of online property portals, detractors of newspaper display advertising long echoed the same refrain: It’s expensive! It’s hard to measure! It’s expensive again! But in its heyday, a newspaper’s real estate section served two very important functions: It guaranteed properties advertised within its pages maximum exposure to active buyers, and it also helped establish the brand of leading real estate groups. But as online property advertising continues to erode the need for newspaper ads, it’s also taking with it the capacity to which an agent can leverage his current listings to win more business.
Property portals may be relatively inexpensive and they may also make it easy to measure how many people have viewed a property, but property portals still can’t replicate the impact of opening the real estate section of your local paper, and thumbing through page after page after page of an agent’s listings. And they’re unlikely to ever offer something even remotely close to the print experience — or at least, the Big Two portals aren’t anyway, given they’re owned by newspaper companies, which have a vested interest in keeping their print assets alive for as long as they can.
The internet has disrupted the entire real estate model
But even if newspapers were to close up their print real estate products tomorrow and turn their portals into a quasi digital magazine, replete with beautiful layouts of property advertisements interspersed with real estate editorial, as opposed to serving listings algorithmically, as they do now, it’ll do little to help agents build their brand online.
The internet has fundamentally changed the way people make any kind of decision. In the days of old, if you were buying a TV, you’d go down to your local electronics retailer and have a chat with the sales person; maybe you’d even go to a couple of retailers and get as much information as you could, before making a purchasing decision. Today, that’s no longer the case. The minute a buyer walks in the door of a retailer, they’ve made up their mind. There’s little the salesperson can tell them about that TV that the buyer doesn’t already know.
The same can be said for most homeowners. If they’re really motivated to sell, they’ve been researching the market for a while. By the time they contact an agent (or a couple of agents), they already have a fairly good idea of how much their home is worth, when they want to sell it, and how they want to sell it. They just want to know if you’re the right fit for their already predetermined plan. But we should back up a bit.
Where’s your next listing coming from?
Imagine a world without newspapers, without real estate shopfronts, without signboards and DL cards, because this is increasingly the world we are soon to be living in. As more industries move away from traditional marketing channels, more pressure will be put on the real estate industry to follow suit. A real estate agent sitting in front of a vendor, who also happens to be the CEO of a top blue chip company, is going to have a mighty hard time selling them on the merits of newspaper ads, signboards, and DL cards.
Not that such a scenario is ever likely to happen. A vendor like that would never call the old school agent stuck in 1995. He won’t even know that the agent exists, because without a robust online presence, the agent might as well pack up shop and call it a day. Just think for a moment about that way you look for any professional service, whether it’s a plumber, an accountant, a digital marketing agency.
I’m not even going to bother explaining the process to you, because the mere fact you’re reading this blog post is proof positive enough. We’re a digital marketing agency that specialises in developing online brands, through a combination of online advertising and content marketing. If you’re looking to take your agent marketing into the digital age, then look no further. To kick start your online presence contact our team. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.