Digital Marketing is the buzz word for getting more website visitors, getting more clicks on your website and basically getting more customers but sometimes it seems that you just participate because the experts tell you to!
In some cases it is important to stake your place or get your own URL at websites like YouTube or Facebook but the purpose for many sites has most small business owners baffled.
Instagram serves one very obvious purpose to me – it helps you get images from your smartphone onto your website. This means that your staff or contractors can do some of the work that you’d normally pay a digital marketer for.
If you advertising on Facebook or you want to, then you’ll be interested to learn that they are changing the way they demonstrate insights.
The key changes relate to the removal of these metrics:
- Offers Saved and Cost Per Offers Saved
- Relevance Score
- Messaging Replies and Cost per Messaging Reply
The important ones to consider are your relevance score and what that will be replaced by and you can learn more about that here on Facebook.
If your ads take Facebook users to a page that is not relevant or doesn’t keep their interest you may find the cost of your ads will increase. Google do something similar but in their quest to outsmart Google Facebook are now offering insights and metrics on Quality Ranking, Engagement Rate Ranking, and Conversion Rate Ranking.
In the end what you really want is a sale or a lead and there are ways of measuring the success of these campaigns. Not sure where to start? Get a FREE Digital Marketing Strategy consultation.
Writing blogs, creating content, video
Content is what your customers see in your ads and on your website and landing pages. Combine the content with a Lead Capture strategy to turn strangers into identifiable humans (ie. getting email addresses and phone numbers) and you understand the value of digital marketing in the whole sales and revenue process.
Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have managed to turn the tables of marketing and advertising to something that is now massively slanted towards digital and online (and mobile) so good digital marketing skills and experience will give you an edge in almost EVERY organisation.
The key measuring points for digital marketing roles are:
- Returning visitors
- Pages per visit
- Lead capture conversion rate
- Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Cost per click
- Cost per thousand impressions
- Cost per lead
- Value of each sale
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Ways to get regular installation work
BUNNINGS HAS, FOR A LOT OF HOMEOWNERS, become the default place to get their home renovated — and not just the DIY renovators, either. Bunnings, very wisely, realised that a lot of the people who came to look at their kitchens and bathrooms were going to have a tradesperson install them.
Bunnings made the smart move of partnering with local tradies — cabinet makers, builders, plumbers, and so on — to also offer an installation service, like other kitchen and bathroom companies.
Partner with big business
Just as every good tradesman or tradeswoman will partner with other local tradespeople so they can refer business to each other, it’s wise to partner with bigger business — like Bunnings or Mitre 10, and so forth — which can refer work to you when they have customers in need of your services.
Every good tradesman or tradeswoman will partner with other local tradespeople so they can refer business to each other.
Use online marketplaces
Lots of online marketplaces like Airtasker and Hipages partner with retailers to offer installation services to their customers. Airtasker, for example, partnered with the Good Guys, so customers could find someone to install their new TV or Bose system.
Likewise, Hipages partnered with IKEA, Ray White and the Housing Industry Association (HIA) to provide them with top quality tradespeople who can provide installation and other types of work.
Big business provides security
Working with a business like the Good Guys, IKEA or Bunnings provides better payment security for your business. In the case of Bunnings, they will typically measure and quote for a job at a set price. This just leaves it up to you to complete the job, and then get paid.
You’re not only reducing the amount of time you spend measuring and quoting for jobs, you also cut out all the follow-up you need to do to get your quotes accepted.
You’ll want to keep up your online marketing and advertising, so you’re getting your own jobs, with the potential to earn more money. The jobs you get through Bunnings or the Good Guys just help to keep the home-fires burning when you’re waiting for your other jobs to get approved.
For help creating sales and marketing messages that will deliver more leads to your business or determining the right places to advertise your business online, contact the team at Virion for more information about our content marketing services.
Established brands are fighting the Internet and the agents who used to work for them
Recently some very high profile McGrath real estate agents and executives have left the brand, including Steven Chen (Projects Division), Richard Shalhoub (Millers Point, Sydney agent), Matt Lahood (Head of Sales), Geoff Lucas (John McGrath’s long time Lieutenant). Our own showcase Cammeray real estate agent Derek Farmer has also now left McGrath and can assist vendors in finding a good real estate agent in their area.
But it’s not just real estate agents leaving a brand like McGrath, it’s also about individual real estate agents who work running their own business within an agency who are discovering that it’s important to focus on their own personal brand to help vendors learn a bit more about them. We’ve spoken to many agents from Marshall Rushford’s Melbourne city patch in Caulfield, Esternwick and St Kilda to regional areas like Orange and Lismore in New South Wales and they are all realising the shift in the real estate industry because of the Internet and the growing power of the property portals (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au).
Real estate agents share commissions with their agency
Anyone in sales understands that the financial rewards are excellent if you can sell and good real estate agents spend half their time selling themselves to people ready to sell their homes as well as selling the listings they currently have. This is why it’s important to be trustworthy when speaking to buyers because one day these buyers will end up being sellers – or know someone who is selling their home.
Many good real estate sales agents work on a commission basis because their commission split with their agency is higher and this is why good agents are attracted to real estate agency brands like McGrath and Belle but this is the market space that is changing rapidly.
A strong brand like McGrath uses their brand in negotiations with agents and will often give the agent between 30-40% of the commission they earn when a property is sold. The very best McGrath agents may earn up to 50% of the commission and this is a big issue that causes good agents to leave a brand and go out on their own – after all a good real estate agent is fully licensed to operate their own agency! With very little need to rent office space and the ability to work from a home office with a part time employee (or husband/wife) as a property assistant many good real estate agents are signing up with seemingly unknown brands like Dot Com in Newcastle.
Most franchisers charge about 20%
If you look at other industries where joining a franchise is a popular way to start a business you’d be aware that they charge an ongoing franchise fee of between 8-30% and for most professional services this percentage settles at around 20% so it’s little wonder that good real estate agents get dissolutioned when they have to pay over 50% of what they earn to use a brand name. To make matters slightly worse, these real estate agents still have to pay for their office space, their staff, their own marketing and advertising and all the other costs of running their own business.
Websites, social media Facebook pages and sign trailers are replacing the shopfront
I was speaking with a property management business owner recently and she confessed the only reason she went to the office is to photocopy some documents and get the receptionist to witness something, the rest of the time she was out and about seeing customers and inspecting properties and this is a sign of the times for most professions. Website and Social media marketing give real estate agents the opportunity to be discovered by sellers and sign trailers can be parked in busy areas (as well as at properties for sale) to stay front of mind in the local area.
We help good real estate agents create their own website and manage the content marketing for their social media profiles and most of my time is spent with our content marketing team to generate interesting articles about real estate and other industries we work in. Subscribe for some free guides on how to manage your digital marketing yourself.
Is your preferred agent who they say they are?
If you’ve been following this blog of late (if you haven’t, then you can subscribe here), then you may recall that in a couple of our recent posts we talked about the different tools that are available online to help homeowners find a reputable and trustworthy real estate agent. In one post we talked about the darling of lead generators and comparison websites, OpenAgent; in another, we talked about rating sites like RateMyAgent; and we’ve also discussed looking up an agent’s license using licensing databases in your state or territory.
However, we realise that, if you’ve never sold property before or it’s been a long time since you’ve had to go through the process of finding a real estate agent to sell your home, the process can be a little daunting. So we put together this roundup of the five steps you should take to ensure that you’re selecting the most reputable and trustworthy real estate agent to represent you.
Before we dive right in, we should point out that this list assumes that you’ve already done some rudimentary market research of your local area, and you have a couple of agents names in mind already:
1. Check the licensing register in your State
This is an important first step. Although it’s unlikely you’ll turn up anything untoward, on the off chance that you do, this will help you to discount that agent right away. This is especially important for people who are selling holiday homes or investment properties in areas they’re not very familiar with. You might even like to search for that agent in other states and territories apart from your own, just to make sure they didn’t get into any strife elsewhere before setting up shop in another state. The registers for each state are listed below:
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Regulated Industries, Licensing and Legislation Register Queensland
Department of Commerce WA
Agents Licensing Board NT
Consumer and Business Services SA
Property Agents Board Tasmania
Business and Industry Licensing Public Register ACT
2. Visit the agents’ websites
Do a search of each agent and see if they have their own website that’s separate from their agency’s corporate website. Have a look at the kind of information they provide on their website. Do they publish regular market updates? Do they provide any information about how they work? Have they answered a question or provided information about the sales process or current trends in the market that you found useful?
Give priority to the agents who see the value in providing buyers and sellers with helpful information based on their experience in the industry over the agents only interested in self promotion.
3. Check the agents’ social media accounts
Most agents have some social media presence, so don’t forget to check what they’re doing on Facebook and Twitter and so on, before appointing them as your agent. Look at their feeds to see how they’re interacting with other users online — are they responding to the inquires and comments that have been left for them there? What kinds of comments have people been leaving on their Facebook pages and tweeting to them?
Social media is usually the first port of call for people who are either really satisfied with the experience they’ve had with a business, or really dissatisfied. How an agent deals with both forms of feedback reveals a lot about their character and how they conduct themselves.
4. Read the reviews left on ratings websites
You’d check out the reviews left for a restaurant or hotel on Yelp or TripAdvisor, wouldn’t you? So why wouldn’t you visit a real estate ratings site, like RateMyAgent or RealSatisfied, to see what kinds of reviews have been left for agents there? Keep in mind that for both RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied, agents can pay the platform a monthly fee to manage their profile and the reviews left for them there. What control that gives agents over how they deal with negative reviews is unclear. You might also like to check TrustPilot, which is another ratings websites, though one that doesn’t specifically cater to the real estate industry.
5. Interview the agent in person
Once you’ve done all the online checks you can, it’s time to line up a meeting with your preferred agent (or agents), to see if they’re as impressive IRL (that’s in real life, for those of you playing along at home) as they are online. Don’t be afraid to tell the agent you’re still considering other agents — how they handle this comment will tell you a lot about the sort of person he or she is.
Quiz each agent about recent changes to legislation or real estate practices that might affect the sale of your home. The way they answer these questions should reveal to you how closely they monitor changes in their industry, and, in turn, how committed they are to CPD. This is the final step in deciding which agent is best suited to sell your property. You should also spend some time discussing commission, marketing options, sales methods, and other areas that will affect the sale of your home.
By the time you’ve worked your way through this checklist, you should be ready to appoint a real estate agent to sell your home — congratulations!
If you would still like to learn more about the real estate sales process, including how to manage inspections, offers and following up with buyers, you can download our free educational guide. Alternatively, for more real estate news, insights and analysis, subscribe to our blog.
What ‘data’ makes Facebook so valuable?
As the most successful and most widely-used social media platform in the world, Facebook has amassed a lot of data over its 12 years of existence. That data is what makes Facebook so valuable, but it’s also what guides its business decisions. Facebook knows what emerging trends will be the next big thing, before you could even conceivably call them emerging trends. It’s how they knew to acquire Instagram; to introduce online advertising; expand into news publishing, by developing its Instant Articles service. Facebook is also a major platform for businesses, because of its emphasis on building communities, with whom you can share and discuss information that’s important to you. And all that data Facebook has under its belt, makes it easy to target people not already a part of your community.
Indeed, Facebook is also a major focus of nearly every real estate agent we speak to when we’re discussing their digital marketing strategy. Every agent wants to be on Facebook, and given that it’s more popular than… well, to borrow a phrase from John Lennon, Jesus, it makes a lot of sense to be using Facebook as part of your content marketing strategy. But there are a lot of real estate services using Facebook in ways that have the potential to disrupt the real estate model even further than it already has been.
Using Facebook as a directory for real estate agents
All that data Facebook has under its belt, in addition to the sheer volume of people who use Facebook on a daily – if not, multiple times per day — basis, has made it a very useful platform for real estate businesses to create online directory resources that connect buyers and vendors with real estate agents. The American-based HomeASAP service is the number-one real estate agent directory on Facebook, with over 457,000 members in its directory. As a directory that also connects buyers with real estate listings, it has the power to change the way people look for and buy real estate.
Although real estate agent directories aren’t new — there are plenty similar services, like followit, Local Agent Finder, Agent Select, etc — HomeASAP is unique because it’s directory is hosted entirely on Facebook. Only buyers, vendors and agents with a Facebook account can access the directory, further evidence that Facebook has, itself, become a search engine in its own right. And because the service is hosted on Facebook, you’re able to capture more data than if a person were to anonymously visit your a website.
Could Facebook topple the Big Two property portals?
Facebook allows agents to monitor who’s visiting their page, and it also provides them with a casual way of engaging with potential buyers and sellers who may not be ready to speak on the phone yet. This isn’t possible on a property portal — whether it’s an app or website. Sure, you can track them by inserting a line of code into your website, but they’re still anonymous until they give your their contact information.
With Facebook, you know who’s visited your Facebook page, and you can make contact with them by making a friend request. Because Facebook also makes it easy to share and disseminate information right from the platform itself, it has the potential to topple the property portals, which currently provides agents with little promotional or marketing opportunities, and likewise provides only very rudimentary statistics about who has viewed their listings.
Considering that, second only to Google, Facebook is the world’s most used website and is responsible for generating a quarter of all web traffic, it certainly has the potential to become a powerful player in real estate. If Facebook isn’t already a part of your content marketing strategy, you’re missing out on valuable lead generation opportunities, not to mention potential buyers who may be looking for their next home.
Success on Facebook begins with a successful strategy
Facebook is the ultimate social media platform, and even though it’s an effective platform to build your online profile and market your services to potential buyers and sellers, your success is still entirely dependent on whether you’re using Facebook in the spirit in which it is intended — a social network to connect with people and share information that matters to you, with the emphasis being on the word ‘social’.
To be social means to have a free flow of information that people will engage with, comment on and share within their own, wider social network. If you want to keep people engaging with the information you share with them, you need to create a strategy that starts a conversation and encourages others to continue that conversation.
Learn Digital Marketing or get our help
To use Facebook to begin building your online brand and find out which digital marketing tools will suit you and your digital marketing goals get a free digital marketing consultation.
Alternatively, learn about digital marketing in our online Digital Marketing Training Courses or read about technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.
Could Facebook topple realestate.com.au?
I was recently speaking with a real estate agent about the different ways of advertising both their properties for sale AND their own services as a real estate agent and they couldn’t stop talking about Facebook!
The agent mentioned Facebook over a dozen times and talked about getting a Facebook page to promote themselves locally. In all of this, what stood out the most about this conversation was that we were talking about the future of online property marketing – and this person didn’t mention the major property portals once!
What’s so special about Facebook for real estate?
This individual had just attended a marketing conference and spoken with others about the demographic and geo-targeting capabilities of the social media giant – about how by using Facebook, the agent could target ONLY people living in the suburb. To top it off they thought that if they jumped in now they could own the suburb, so to speak!
Facebook advertising is the service that we ended up talking about and we went on to reflect on what we’d do after we attracted all of those locals to our website or Facebook page. Was it Likes we were after? Shares? Were we getting people to do anything in particular once they got to our Facebook page? When you drill down even further you have to understand the value of one of these actions and match it to your own goals.
Without focus, Facebook advertising could flop
We decided that the focus for the real estate agent’s Facebook advertising campaign would be to reach existing clients, people who the agent had done business with, or at least met, at an open home sometime in the past, and share with them some information and selling tips.
There are several types of Facebook advertising campaigns you can run and the analytics information you get from each will be different. Therefore our campaign was focussed on not only reaching existing contacts, but sharing information about how the local property market is performing (by providing a market report), as well as some solid tips and advice for selling property. The reason we created blogs, featuring genuinely helpful, relevant advice, is because we didn’t want to turn our Facebook audience away from our own website. Furthermore, the information is useful and reveals more about who we are and our helpful selling style.
Facebook ads keep you front of mind
In the end, our real estate agent’s Facebook ads campaign was aimed at getting his image in front of existing clients using a custom audience and sharing useful information that they could share with their friends and colleagues looking to sell their homes. It was partly to offset, as well as test and measure, the performance of their DL mailing card campaign that they sent regularly in the past.
We view Facebook and social media advertising as part of a bigger picture in your digital strategy to build brand awareness. Most importantly, however, it should bring potential customers into your sphere of influence and encourage them to recommend you based on the quality content that you create.
Read more about how we manage the Facebook advertising campaigns for real estate agents for no extra charge as part of our digital strategy.