The secret to selling property online – TRUST

Trust - the secret to selling property online

The secret to selling property online? Great and authentic content + awesome social media strategy!

Ok ……maybe you won’t actually make the sale online – you will still need to have good salespeople and be able to close, but this is how you generate quality leads online.

The property industry is prolific at generating content. Every project has literally reams of content written for it come launch date. Website content, brochures, sales kits, press releases, realestate.com.au ad’s…. the list goes on and on.

And now all of that same content is going on social media – facebook, twitter and more. And people wonder why this content doesn’t work. Time and time again I am told by property industry professionals that social media doesn’t work. The answer isn’t that it doesn’t work, its just that you are doing it all wrong. Let me tell you why!

Social media, and the crazy amount of content that is constantly being pushed out into the Internet of things, is changing fundamentally how consumers choose suppliers. In the case of property, how consumers find and buy property.

Gen Y’s, Millennials, and an increasing number of Gen X’s are savvy enough to recognise marketing spin when they see it. They are now looking for authentic content they can trust. Even more than this, they are looking for genuine and trusted relationships with the organsiations they buy from.

So when you push out another PR article on Facebook, don’t be surprised when you get no likes and no responses. Consumers can see through the marketing spin and quickly discount it. Yes they are hungry for content, but if they wanted marketing spin and self-aggrandising claims they would visit Buzzfeed – not your site (sorry Buzzfeed!).

I encourage you to read this article in Fast Company, “the only lasting competitive advantage is extreme trust”. Whilst this article talks about trust in the context of e-commerce, it is spot on when it comes to consumer behaviour online. E-commerce is, and will continue to be, the pointy end of selling online. This is a true transaction and companies like Amazon are genuinely recreating the sales and marketing process to build the trust required to get people to part with a lot of money over the internet. We all can watch and learn from what they do right; and wrong of course. Then we need to start applying this to how we do property sales and marketing.

The property industry, and in particular the off-the-plan property industry, has to start changing. Consumers no longer trust your advertisements. They want, and need, more. They want authentic content and ultimately they want a long term and trusting relationship with you. Sound like music to your ears? It should! Imagine a loyal customer base who can’t wait to hear from you, love reading or watching what you send out, is a repeat customer and most importantly of all, happily refers you to their friends and family.

Since I started out providing digital solutions to the property industry 20 years ago this is what we have been striving for. A 1-1 relationship with our customer which – let me repeat –

can’t wait to hear from you, love reading or watching what you send out, is a repeat customer and most importantly of all, happily refers you to their friends and family. 

From a technical perspective, content marketing and social media is the first genuine opportunity for you to create these types of relationships on an industrial scale. You can now genuinely aim to have these types of relationships with hundreds and even thousands of consumers. It is possible and you should be starting on this journey. It won’t be easy, and it certainly will not be fast, but it is the future of project marketing.

The first step, of many, is building an online persona / reputation of authenticity and trust. Just like in the offline world, this takes a lot of time and effort. So it is all a question of getting started – sooner rather than later.

So how can we help?

  1. PropertyMash.com – this is our new off-the-plan property portal that is all about content marketing and trust. We have a team of journalists who create independent and authentic content that property buyers can trust and rely upon when searching for property. We also publish authentic content that you produce that will help you build your online persona / reputation.

    PropertyMash.com is a whole new way for the property industry to communicate with buyers. We will be pushing content through our portal, social media channels and also into key international markets such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore to enable the property industry to reach out and communicate in new ways.

    Ultimately, PropertyMash.com will generate for you enquiries that are from buyers who are highly qualified and genuine.

    So if you have off-the-plan projects for sale, please get in touch.

  2. Social Marketing for you. Brightfox has a whole social marketing team and we can bring to your project that same expertise that is behind PropertyMash.com. We have our own digital marketing experts and content writers inhouse. So whether is it generating quality content, integrated landing pages to optimise conversion, facebook advertising, re-targeting, Weibo or WeChat, Adwords, Instagram….. you get the idea, we do it. Ultimately this means we generate for you quality leads.

Changes to Google Search Algorithm – will it affect real estate

Google have just announced a major change to the way they their search works. Basically the changes are designed to ensure more current information is given priority in search results.

Sounds like a good idea, particularly if they can deliver updates (as they suggest in their article) within minutes of publication on the web.

So what relevance would this have for real estate online?

I immediately thought of Auctions. I wonder is this is smart enough to grab upcoming Auctions only and display the relevant page data.

So I went and did some simply searches a few minutes ago. Below you can see the results from a search on keywords ‘property for auction in bulimba’.

As you can see the first line item is a realestate.com.au link with a heading refering to Sat, 8 October. Not a good start. The link itself works fine. The REA site is smart enough to link me to Auctions coming this Saturday, but that is not the point here. The point is is that the Google Algorithm change was not smart enough to figure out that the data in their data (the heading and summary) was less relevant by date them other data.

Going further down the results we get bettter results though. See the www.domain.com.au record for the auctiopn due on 24th November.

Further down the results though you can see another entry for 18th June.

So all in all what has changed? Hard to say as I did not run this search yesterday before they ran the upgrade but certainly from an Auction search results perspective not great results.

Upload Listings straight to homesales.com.au from foxAdvantage CRM software

After the successes of its various websites including carsales.com.au and bikesales.com.au, the team at the CarSales Network have turned their attention to the property industry with the introduction of homesales.com.au into the mix.

With over a decade of experience and a network of more than 24 classified websites attracting over 14.2 million visits every month, the CarSales Network is sure to make an impact on the property industry with the introduction of this new site.  According to the site, their goal is to lower the cost of real estate advertising in Australia and offer you “an opportunity to extend your buyer and seller reach by listing your properties on homesales.com.au for FREE”.

With the cost of advertising on some real estate portals on the rise, we may soon see many people making the switch to this new rival.

For all foxAdvantage users, uploading to homesales.com.au is 100% free. There are no extra charges for uploading to additional portals.

foxAdvantage to upload straight to realestate1.net.au portal

After great demand from users and agents, realestate1.net.au upgraded to a national search function capability in late 2010.

Along with this improved search function, new site features include improved property short-listing and bigger maps and images in property listings.

As one of Australia’s fastest growing real estate advertising websites, realestate1.net.au provide a user-friendly website with tools and information for buyers, sellers and renters. With the new features, realestate1 aims to provide an alternative real estate website for browsers designed to be simple, quick and easy to use.

As part of a recent update, users are now able to upload listings automatically to realestate1 from foxAdvantage. This improved functionality will support our many clients’ diverse marketing requirements and help them to remain market leaders.

Start Uploading your listings to REIQ Property Search

With the launch of their new look website the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is proud to announce the exciting addition of the REIQ Property Search. A Queensland-based listing portal featuring properties from REIQ accredited agencies.

Available at no extra charge, REIQ members need only subscribe to Property Search to begin taking advantage of this wide reaching internet presence.

After being up and running for only two months, already over 19,000 properties are advertised for sale and over 2,000 for rent.  At this rate of uptake, it looks as though the property industry has already given this particular portal a big thumbs up.

Understanding that our clients need to be able to send both wide reaching and diverse marketing, Brightfox is proud to announce that as of June 17th, 2011 our clients will have the ability to simultaneously upload their listing details to sixteen different real estate portals including REIQ Property Search at the click of a button.

Best of all for foxAdvantage users, uploading to the REIQ Portal is 100% free. There are no extra charges for uploading to additional portals.

Domain.com.au taking private listings

A couple of interesting articles are circulating the web on the announcement that www.domain.com.au (Australia’s second most popular portal) will be accepting the upload of listings from the private seller site www.buymyplace.com.au. In this post a number of agents question why Domain would do this and how it will give a benefit to their major competitor www.realestate.com.au. See here.

I know agents have a vested interest in restricting the level of enquiry a private seller can get, but do they really expect marketing websites such as Domain not to take private listings? After all Fairfax (owner of Domain) have taken and continue to take private advertisements in their Newspapers so why would the website be any different.

It makes sense to have as much content on a Portal as possible so adding private sales, and increasing the depth of listings, can only help.

The real question here is how does a portal such as Domain reward its loyal trade customers i.e real estate agents? In every business model a loyal repeat customer is rewarded with discounted pricing, better service or a better product. If Domain is going to take private sales then they had better make sure they look after their core customer base and reward them appropriately.

I am sure all agents would be happy for Domain to take private listings if they (Domain) offered them (the Agent) something of value that a Private Seller could not obtain direct from Domain.

A few ideas could be:

– customer email alerts restricted to agent listings

– featured listings for just agents

The UAE’s No 1 Property Software now enables Developers and Brokers to spread the NET wider with automated uploading to Dubizzle.com

Press Release

Brightfox UAE, the leading supplier of CRM and property management software to the property industry, has recently announced a major upgrade to its foxEnterprise software that now automatically sends listing data to the leading UAE Website, Dubizzle.com..

 foxEnterprise is the software choice of UAE’s leading property developers, brokers and property owners. Developed specifically for the needs of the property industry, foxEnterprise manages the complete sales and leasing process.

 “As foxEnterprise captures all of the core sales and marketing information for a property company, it is only natural that it would automatically update the websites of our clients. In many parts of the world we already automatically upload properties for sale and lease to a number of leading Portals, and we have now completed integration with Dubizzle.com to provide our UAE customers with this same feature” commented Brightfox’s Regional Manager, Mr Mick Bucknell.

 “As a leading website in the region, Dubizzle.com attracts over 26,000 visitors per day, many of whom are naturally interested in property. Enabling our clients to automatically load their properties for sale or lease onto Dubizzle.com provides another fantastic marketing channel for them.”

 “This opportunity for Brightfox clients is an example of how progressive companies can take advantage of a changing real estate market to ensure their future. In a buyers market such as Dubai, those companies that want to succeed will be investing in quality content across quality portals.” – Sim Whatley

 If you would like to learn more about using foxEnterprise, visit www.brightfox.ae or contact Brightfox on the details listed below.

 

For additional information:

 Mick Bucknell                                       

Regional Manager                     

Phone: +971 50 3970 741                               

info@brightfox.ae                                  

             

About Brightfox:

Brightfox is one of the worlds leading providers of IT solutions exclusively tailored to the property industry.  From high-calibre website design to industry specific sales and marketing software, Brightfox creates personalised solutions designed to improve and increase business.  The company enjoys many long-term relationships with successful, forward-thinking organisations throughout Australia, Asia Pacific, USA, the Middle East and Europe. 

Brightfox’s flagship software is foxEnterprise, a high performance software solution created specifically to manage the complete sales and marketing process for property developers, project marketers and real estate agencies.  Brightfox has also developed foxAdvantage – a sales and marketing software solution for individual real estate agents and small property firms.

Myhome.com.au shutting down!

It was reported on the weekend that myhome.com.au us planning to shut down. You can see the full Fin Review article here: My Home Article

Many people will speculate why myhome.com.au failed. It seemed to having everything a portal needs, serious backers, serious money and serious people – or at least people with experience in the sector.

So why did it fail? Very simple in my view. They simply just did not offer anything different to the existing major players – www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au, and it could be argued that what they offered was actually inferior.

My previous blog on the new portal www.onthehouse.com.au really said it all – to be competitive as a new portal you need to offer the consumer something more, something different to acquire customer share and loyalty. Without it, the portal will just be a money pit – like www.myhome.com.au.

So why did it fail? Extremely poor strategic design of the site and supporting services. They just quite frankly got it wrong from the start.

A new type of real estate portal – www.onthehouse.com.au

If you come protfrom Brisbane or Sydney you may have noticed the launch of a new real estate portal called www.onthehouse.com.au. Over the past three months they have been running a fairly extensive bill board campaign in Brisbane and have recently kicked off a similar campaign in Sydney. I recently spoke to the Chief Operating Office of www.onthehouse.com.au, Luke Ingham-Myers about how the new site was going. He said that the response was overwhelming and the traffic to the site had exceeded their expectations. A few of the stat’s that he shared with me are provided below:

  • Over 1.6 million pageviews for the month of April
  • Average time on site per browser over 9 minutes
  • 80,000 Unique browsers for April to date

The key difference that www.onthehouse.com.au offers to the other portals around is that you can access historical sales data for FREE. So instead of having to purchase property reports from companies such as RP Data or Home Price Guide, you can now get this information for free from their website.

It is a real point of difference, and probably what is required to make a significant impact in the real estate portal business, which is now a quite mature market. Many other portals have come to market with essentially the same offering as realestate.com.au and domain.com.au but have been unable to grab significant market share, even without charging subscription fees. The simple reason is that the major portals attract the vast majority of website visitors, and without a significant number of visitors, even if your portal is free it won’t provide value to the real estate agency and hence will not be successful. A successful portal ultimately needs to attract a significant number of visitors to get advertisers excited. The stats that www.onethehouse.com.au are quoting a very good, and if they continue growing at their present rate then we very well may have another significant player in the real estate portal market in Australia. Something I am sure we would all like to see.