Nowadays, estate agents can't solely rely on customers who just so happen to walk into your local branch or look you up in the yellow pages. Unfortunately, things aren't that simple anymore. Instead, you'll find that most of your customers will come from those users who are looking for estate agents in their local area or in an area where they're considering relocating to.
If you want to ensure that your business shows up as soon as customers look for estate agents in your area, then we’re here to help and to show you exactly how you can achieve that, with our guide to digital marketing and SEO for estate agents.
Use Local SEO
Local SEO is essential for most businesses, but especially estate agents. So, if you’re considering using only one strategy from this list, then you may want to consider this one.
Local SEO doesn't differ that much from standard SEO, except with local SEO, you aim to work your way up in the SERPs by optimising your website for local results and keywords.
If you want to ensure that your agents are one of the first to appear when a potential customer types in ‘estate agents London’ or ‘estate agents near me’, then local SEO is the best digital marketing practice for you. If you want to know how to be featured in the local pack on Google and rank for keywords that have local intent, we’ve got the information you need to get there.
Optimise your content for local intent keywords
If you want to rank for those keywords that have local search intent then you’ll need to optimise your content for those keywords by proving that your content and your business is relevant to those keywords by doing the following:
- Incorporating keywords into your content and creating pages targeting specific keywords.
- Include keywords and your location in your titles, metadata, website copy and URLs.
For more information on how to optimise your content for keywords, we've created a guide on keyword targeting for further reading.
Create a location-specific ‘About us' page
If you want to rank for local keywords within your area, then an excellent way for you to do this is to create a location-based ‘About us' page and include the areas in which you are involved in, and it can be as broad or as specific as you like. For instance, if you specialise in property in a few locations in the westerly region of Essex, then you can explain how you specialise ‘in finding properties in West Essex' or ‘Saffron Walden' and tailor-make your content to be more location-based.
Create a GMB
By claiming your Google My Business account, you boost your chances of finding yourself within the local pack in search engines as well as helping potential customers to find out more about your business before they consider visiting, such as:
- Business name
- Telephone number
- Opening days and times
- Questions about your business
Interestingly enough, it's estimated that around 88% of customers who search for a company locally will end up visiting that business in person within 24 hours. Which is why you must fill out your GMB application with as much of relevant data as you can provide which a customer would need to know before visiting your business. For instance, if you get your opening times wrong and someone turns up to visit your business when your closed, this is bad as not only have you lost trade but you could also receive a bad review.
For more information on how to improve your local SEO, you can take a look at Google's advice page.
Encourage reviews and testimonials from clients
Leading on from our previous point, reviews and testimonials are extremely important for any business. 90% of all consumers will read the reviews of a company before they consider using them. If you're a little short on reviews, then this could be affecting your custom, as many customers are reluctant to take a chance on a business, especially when it comes to buying a property.
In addition to this, reviews can also help you to improve your local SEO efforts. This is because search engines such as Google aim to provide customers with the best results they can, meaning that they’re more likely to recommend businesses and companies in the local pack that have outstanding reviews, as opposed to those who don’t.
Now that you understand why reviews are valuable, your next question may be to ask ‘How do encourage my customers to leave a positive review?'. Well, although you can encourage your customers to leave you a review by giving them an incentive such as being entered for a prize draw for a £50 amazon voucher, you can't encourage reviewers to leave a positive review. Instead, you have to ensure that you provide everyone who steps foot into your estate agents receives the best service that you can afford.
Unfortunately, however, we do understand that sometimes even the greatest of businesses can receive poor and unfavourable reviews. Don’t to be disappointed with reviews left from unhappy customers, as this is with most companies. Instead, try to resist the urge to ignore or request to remove these negative comment (unless they are fabricated and untrue then you can go ahead and apply to remove these reviews) and try to address the reviewer and their experience with your business outright.
Respond to their review with a reply such as:
Hello [Customer Name],
We are sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with us.
Would you mind getting in contact with us at: [Company email address] so we can discuss this issue further with you to ensure that we don't make this mistake again in the future, it would be much appreciated.
Apologies once again and kind regards,
[Your name] [Your Position] at [Your business name]
This shows unhappy customers and potential customers that you accept responsibility for the experience that customers received while at your establishment and seek to resolve disputes. This presents a responsible and trustworthy image of your business and can even encourage negative reviewers to change their rating once the issue has been rectified.
Add sharing buttons to listings
Many customers who are looking for a property will want to get their friend's, family's or significant other's opinions are on the property; therefore one great way to improve your online visibility and brand awareness is to add social media sharing buttons on each of your listings. Include an image of the property, a link to the listing and a link to your homepage. This will not only help your clients to share listings easily but will also entice others to click on your page and view your other listings if maybe the property wasn't exactly their cup of tea.
Be active on social media
Social media is excellent for businesses, and especially for those who are in the property industry. Social media allows you not only to promote different the variety of separate listing of properties that your business has to offer but also to connect with your clients and find out what their requirements are and what they think of your business.
For you to be successful on social media and increase awareness of your business, you can do the following:
- Post high-quality content regularly – For you to increase your brand's awareness and ensure that your current customers don't forget about you, it is essential that you post high-content periodically and at times which your target market is using social media. For more information on when to post on social media, you can read our guide to posting on social media for better engagement.
- Monitor your social mentions – Want to know what your customers think of you? Monitor your social mentions with software such as Hootsuite. This will allow you to find exactly who is saying what about your business for you to understand what areas you need to improve in and areas of your business that you are working well. You can read more in our article on tracking social mentions.
- Engage with your customers – Did someone mention your business in a positive light after they sold a proper with you? Or did they have an issue with something that happened in the viewing process? Engage with them! Whether it’s a like or a comment, interacting with your customers can help to build lasting relationships and help to repair fractured ones, so don’t underestimate how much a little engagement can go.
Hire a professional to take your photos
Although most smartphones are capable of taking some beautiful, high-quality photographs, when it comes to taking images of properties, it helps to hire a professional on this one to get all the best angles. This is because one of the most critical elements of real estate is attractive imagery, and if you can't provide just that then you can forget about booking any viewings, getting any shares on social media or even increasing your customer footfall. So ensure that you spend a good portion of your marketing budget investing a professional photographer.
Consider doing virtual tours
Nowadays the majority of people who can afford to rent or buy a property are working professionals or families who may not have the time to drop everything and make time for viewings. However, this doesn't mean that you should forget about these individuals; instead, it can be extremely beneficial for your business for you to accommodate these individuals instead of by offering virtual tours of properties.
This won't eliminate the need for people to view properties in person, as generally if they are interested in the property after seeing the virtual tour, they will consider viewing the property in person. Primarily this has two main benefits as not only will it save your staff from taking customers around properties that they're not entirely sure that they want. But will also help you to gain more customers by accommodating for those of which who may not be able to do traditional viewings.
Hire yourself a copywriter and write some great descriptions
In addition to hiring yourself a professional photographer, you may also want to add a professional copywriter to your hiring list as well. As the most excellent listings don't only have great imagery but also exceptional descriptions as well. By hiring yourself a professional copywriter, freelance or otherwise, you're ensuring that just a few words could persuade your potential customers to make a booking for a viewing.
Put your business on online directory pages
Back in the day if you wanted to find a company in a specific area then you'd pick up the yellow pages and have a flick through, nowadays that's changed. Today, directories have all gone digital, which is why you should too, to ensure that customers who are looking for estate agents in your area can find you.
But before you go about submitting your website to every online directory page, ensure you consider the following steps for you to reap the best benefits from these online directories.
- Make sure the directory is up to date, and submissions go through a screening process – Online directories which aren't up to date or don't go through a screening process should be avoided. Lists that aren't up to date and submissions that aren't approved first can appear spammy, so you'll want to avoid having links from these directories.
- Ensure that the businesses on the site are reputable – You'll want to present your business in the best light along with likewise businesses, which is why you should ensure that you check the directory beforehand to see what the other companies featured on the directory are like. If they've received poor reviews or are regarded as unreputable businesses, you'll want to avoid also being featured on the site.
- Make sure that the directory is related to your industry – There are many directories which are specific to the real estate world or have categories especially for the property industry; therefore there's no reason for you to put yourself on a directory which isn't related to your industry. Besides, if you're not submitting your website to sites in your industry, then how is your target market ever going to find you?
Contact newspapers or journalists about unusual listings
Every once in awhile, you'll be able to have the opportunity to list a property which is somewhat spectacular or different, so how do you make the most of this? Well, contact newspapers and journalists and see if they're interested in featuring the property, whether it's got unusual décor, belonged to someone famous or has an exciting story to tell, see if a newspaper would be interested in featuring the listing.
Sponsor events in your local area
Another great way for you to gain some recognition in your local area is to sponsor some local events within your community. Look through a list of events that are happening in your areas, such as a children's sports day or a local fête and see whether they need a sponsor to buy any equipment or supplies that they may need. In return for your donation, you’ll be featured as a sponsor which anyone who goes to the event or becomes aware of the event will see. This will not only increase your brand’s awareness but will also help you to build a positive brand reputation.
All in all, we here at Dojono understand that it can be difficult for estate agents to pull off a successful digital marketing campaign if you don't know-how. Nevertheless, it can still require a lot of time, effort and persistence to achieve the results that you want, and if you don't have a marketing team or the time to carry out your strategy yourself, then you may struggle to see the results.
If you want to maximise your online presence and improve your business but don't have the time, then that's where we can step in to help. For more information, you can take a look at our SEO services pages for more details.