Agents who stand out online will succeed in a slowing… – Estate Agent Today

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CEO and Founder, Focal Agent
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After two years of extraordinary activity in the housing market there are signs that the clouds are gathering as RICS reports the third month in a row of declining new homebuyer enquiries and Rightmove’s data shows a 1.3% fall in asking prices in August. But it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. Tight supply continues to support prices and despite recent interest rate rises, mortgage borrowing remains historically cheap. But more importantly, after two years of  enquiries flooding in as soon as a property hits the portals, the next 12 months may not be as frenetic. Instead, it will present a clear opportunity for quality agents to separate themselves from the competition and build their market share. We’re no longer seeing 20 to 30 buyers for every property so that presents a chance for agents who understand marketing to think about how they can differentiate their offer and seize the opportunity presented by shifting conditions.
Looking good online
As the market cools sellers will be looking for an agent who understands the market, is willing to go the extra mile to ensure their property stands out and can help them achieve a sale at the best possible price. Eye-catching listings with professional marketing packs make a statement to potential clients that a particular estate agency brand is serious about what it does and will showcase their property to its best advantage.
Getting the basics right
Professional photography is the single most important digital marketing asset for any agent, as buyers primarily search for property on the portals via mobile devices. It’s so important to get the basics right. High quality photography and clear, professionally designed floor plans help you stand out from the crowd, tell sellers that you care about their property, helping you win listings – and of course attract more buyers, so agents can secure a sale more quickly and for a higher price.
Reaching new audiences with video
Research shows that 97% of all searches start online and over 70% of those are on a mobile device or tablet. Once you’ve won that first click and have the customer looking at the property listing, the content type and quality presents the next opportunity to stand out. Professional video really wins with consumers, providing rich, immersive content that drives dwell time. Short video trailers with information on the local area as well as a walk-through of the property and 360 content with doll’s house style floor plans look better, feel better and offer the consumer a superior quality viewing experience.
Going social
Estate agents are increasingly recognising the power of social media and its effectiveness in reaching new audiences and creating competition for homes, but having high quality visual content, particularly photography and video, is critical to success. The reality is that today, most people won’t pick up the phone to an unknown number, so ‘hitting the phones’ is probably a less effective marketing technique than it once was. A video trailer or local market update straight to camera could reach thousands of people instantly on social media, elevate your brand and give you a chance to showcase your market knowledge.
Maximising virtual tours
Virtual tours proved their worth during the pandemic and we’re now seeing them grow as a marketing tool across the board, including for lower value properties. That’s partly down to demand from vendors and the changing expectations of buyers and tenants, who now expect to see this kind of immersive content, but also because the value they bring is becoming increasingly clear. Virtual tours capture customers’ imagination and as every agent knows, the longer you can keep a potential customer looking and considering that property, the more likely they are to click on the Call to Action.
Hosted virtual viewings enable agents to build valuable relationships with potential buyers, as well as saving huge amounts of staff time and fuel costs by not having to carry out an in person viewing first. Now agents can vet buyers online to ensure they’re both committed and able to proceed before attending a physical viewing.
Growing market share
Not all agents have grasped the nettle of change, so making sure your customers know how your agency differs from the competition is important. Reinforcing your professional approach across all your marketing collateral, from your website to door drop flyers and social media content, will set you apart and get people talking positively about you. And that’s the surest way to grow your market share.
*Lee Wainwright is CEO of FocalAgent, the visual content partner for estate agents.
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