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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Phil Spencer: A Website is Your Message to Customers

I know there’s always been something of a love-hate relationship between agents and the portals.

The ‘love’ comes because the portals are so successful at becoming household names and usually the first port of call for buyers. ‘Hate’ because the agents do the hard work securing the instructions, and then must pay the portals a not so insigicant fee to list them!

The better news in recent times is that there’s more competition between portals than for many years with huge new investment into OnTheMarket to give Rightmove and Zoopla a run for their money. As a result, they’re all offering agents a lot of extras - typically lead-generating software, marketing material and hard-core PropTech to make routine client management activities far less time-consuming.

Yet while portal rivalry might be getting fiercer, I’d plead with agents not to regard their own websites as less important. In fact, quite the reverse.

As just about every property on the open market appears on one, two or three portals now, an agent’s own website can do a great deal more than simply repeat the process and list homes for sale or to let. Agents’ websites can also give a glimpse of something the portals can’t even contemplate - lifestyle.

Websites With a Difference

Many agents are using more and more video on their websites and looking quite different as a result. I’ve seen some that are changing language by not using ‘renters’ and ‘landlords’ and using different titles, this strikes a bell with the youthful, fashionable and affluent demographics who form their client base. 

Another example I’ve seen is where an agent makes a point of emphasising the lifestyle aspirations of vendors and buyers. Promoting property styling much more than most sales companies. 

In doing so you can see the appreciation that most sellers believe their homes are special because they’ve put a lot of work and investment into them. Therefore, they deserve special treatment when on the market, too, which is quite a savvy approach.

Some agents take a very distinctive approach to virtual property – I’ve seen an example where for example, you can use search categories such as “Cosy Fires” “Clever Space and Smart Interiors” and “Waggy Tails” (the latter for people with dogs, if you didn’t get that!).

The website also gives unusual and personalised descriptions of agents in different areas. It gives the concept of selling a refreshing makeover. 

Of course, these ideas won’t work for every agent or every consumer, and if your target client base is relatively homogenous homes at modest budgets, then the traditional website is a highly successful template to follow. 

But if you want to be different, take things further than simply saying so - make yourself look that way, too.

And I have a little expertise in helping agents enhance listings on their sites by adding video content - for example, 360-degree virtual tours and create guided walkthroughs where agents highlight key features of the property. 

Videos that showcase neighbourhood amenities, schools, and community features help potential buyers understand the local area better, and Move iQ Pro is a video marketing solution that I've set up with just this in mind, to position agents as the knowledgeable experts they are!

Add Substance to The Style 

Style is only part of the best websites, though. For many, content is king, and as I’ve said in past columns it’s important to emphasise several characteristics.

Firstly, that your agency is authoritative - it knows the patch, can tell people how the market varies street to street, and can be an ‘honest broker’ saying things how they are and not always talking up the market. Secondly, get the basics across - of course sellers in particular want to know that their homes will get the exposure that only the big portals can offer. And thirdly, if it suits your marketing approach, use the new tools of auto-valuation.

But remember that the public are increasingly tech-savvy and have higher-than-ever online expectations. People routinely use QR codes, apps and instant messaging - yes, even older people!  

They want the base information that have existed on agents’ websites for over two decades now…but they probably want more. 

And the good news is, the portals have millions of users so can’t become too personal in their approach. But you can!

Phil Spencer is founder of Move iQ. Move iQ now create bespoke video content for estate and letting agents sharing local insight and personally introduced by Phil – to secure your exclusive postcode speak to Alex Wilson alex@moveiQ.co.uk 

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