Winter seems to be firmly with us now, if the plunging temperatures are anything to go by. After a ridiculously mild October, the need for winter jackets, gloves and woolly hats has become much more apparent.
Your business, however, needn’t be obstructed by the chilly weather or bitter winds. In fact, now – just before Christmas fever really grips – is as busy a time as any for those of us in the property industry as people seek to move into their new homes before the turkey needs to be carved and the crackers pulled.
As we know, converting vendor and landlord leads into actual, physical results is a crucial part of any agency’s business plan. But lead generation tools are only part of the story. First and foremost, lead generation tools are traffic converters.
ValPal, the largest Automated Valuation Model (AVM) tool with over 4,000 branches, will capture and convert your website traffic into vendor leads but it won't drive traffic to your website in the first place.
The ValPal Network fully understands this and therefore offers webinars and a number of marketing tools to help agents to generate more traffic to their website and subsequently more vendor and landlord leads.
A mixture of traffic drivers – including social media, Google Adwords, direct mail, email marketing, advertising, canvassing, PR and content marketing – integrated with ValPal will help to drive the traffic to your website.
These traffic drivers can be used to supercharge your ability to generate leads. While the traffic converters that are provided to members – including live chat and the online property valuation tool – don’t on their own drive traffic to a site, they help to convert your existing traffic into leads.
You can increase your revenue by helping clients with mortgages and conveyancing, too. You’re surely missing a trick if you capture the data and then don’t capitalise on a vendor or landlord’s various needs. Having a number of sales verticals in place allows you to monetise in a number of effective ways. This Venn diagram explains it better than I ever could...
So no, ValPal and AVMs are not a magic wand to instantly drive traffic to your website, but with the whole package offered by our Network – including the various marketing services we offer – you can turn your business into a very effective lead-generating machine.
It’s Christmasss! (nearly)
Yes, with Halloween and Bonfire Night now done and dusted, the countdown to the festivities begins in earnest. I haven’t heard a Christmas song on the radio as of yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.
Supermarkets and shops are stocking more and more Christmas goods and decking their stores out with the usual decorations.
And, of course, the Christmas adverts are starting to appear on TV. It’s not really Christmas until the Coca-Cola advert shows up on the box, but in recent years the sense of anticipation has surrounded John Lewis and what epic production they can come up with this time out.
That shows the power of the brand, the power of the visual medium and the power of anticipation – that the prospect of a TV ad alone can cause such excitement and such a social media buzz shows you are probably doing something right.
And it’s not just John Lewis. Others – such as Sainsbury’s, M & S, Aldi and Argos – have fought fire with fire and spent big on their own Christmas extravaganzas. Any big company worth their mustard now makes a big deal out of Christmas, eager to produce the advert that everyone remembers.
High production values, a strong narrative, an uplifting message and a moving score seem to be the name of the game. M & S has set the ball rolling with its Paddington-themed ad, but how will the competition size up against it?
Advertising – whether it be print, TV or online – is still an incredibly powerful tool; the exposure a brand or company can receive through advertising almost impossible to replicate. It’s still comfortably the best way of reaching a wide audience in a matter of seconds.
It’s why so many in the property industry – including Zoopla, Rightmove, Savills, Purplebricks, Tepilo and YOPA – have spent so much money on securing prime TV advertising space.
If even one advert can pierce the national consciousness, you’re onto a winner. Like newspapers become tomorrow’s chip paper, most adverts are forgotten almost immediately, but there are always a few that get stuck in your head for days, weeks, months or even years afterwards. That’s when you know the advertising spend has been paid back with interest.
Speaking of Christmas, the public perception of estate agents might be of Scrooges and Grinches trying to make life as difficult as possible for everyone, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As our annual callout for photos of Christmas decorations and agents in ‘colourful’ Christmas jumpers so amply proves, most agents have a warm heart, a sense of fun and a desire to provide the best possible service to anyone who walks through their doors.
This year’s appeal for festive photos will be appearing soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that. With only 45 days to go until the big day, you may also want to get started on the turkey-sourcing and present-shopping!
The importance of keeping your customers happy
Customer service is a key component in a number of industries, none more so than estate agency, where face-to-face interaction and customer satisfaction is still so crucial. How can you keep clients happy and coming back again and again? Four simple steps should cover it: Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.
Obviously it’s not quite as easy as that, but it’s a good mantra to loosely stick to. The Delight part might be in the form of a prize, a treat, a goodie or a follow-up phone call, but that old adage when it comes to customer service still rings as true as ever: the customer is always right and you should do all you can to please them.
On that pearl of wisdom, I’ll leave it there this week. Until next time…
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today. Follow him on Twitter @NatDaniels.