Keeping up with digital trends and solutions is for many people even less enjoyable than keeping up with the antics of the Kardashians. It’s a never-ending task that requires commitment.
As follows are a few trends we’ve identified which those in the property industry should in some cases definitely adopt if they’ve not done so and in other cases some clever ideas.
1). Everyone needs a responsive (mobile friendly) website
Given that 60% of Google searches for estate agents are online it’s essential that property websites are optimised for Google. Due to algorithms that were set by the search engine last year, non-responsive websites are no longer favoured in search results, meaning that those with mobile friendly sites will appear above you in Google.
A mobile-friendly website will increase conversion rates and makes for happy customers.
2). Use of high quality images and videos
In general across the web we saw a big trend in 2015 for websites to include large images and videos throughout web pages but the world of estate agents has been slow on the uptake until this year. Visitors to your site will want to see good quality images of your properties and perhaps even videos. It’s important to stand out in this competitive space – professionally taken photographs across your website can help differentiate, but moreover, small low quality images will make you stand out for the wrong reasons.
3). Emphasis on calls-to-action
The goal of your website should be to convert visitors into doing certain actions. In the estate agency space this will mainly be to arrange a viewing, arrange a valuation or to just capture details for alerts. User experience (UX) is an art and a science – aesthetics play a big role in encouraging a visitor to react to a call-to-action (CTA) whilst logical placement on a page depending on their journey through the website will catch their attention at the right time and increase conversion rates. A/B testing allows you to work out the most successful way to word and place your CTA’s on site.
4). The rise of Online Agents
Over the last couple years we’ve seen the emergence of online estate agents who offer fixed fees rather than a % commission on the value of the property. Take a look at SellMyHome as an example of a growing online estate agent.
5). Virtual walk-throughs
Technology innovations have allowed estate agents to offer some pretty cool ways for potential home buyers to pre-determine whether or not a house is worth viewing. One of these is a virtual walk-through using a 360 degree camera. This allows the video viewer to control where they want to look in the room they’re viewing by moving the arrows on the screen.
6). Virtual Reality house viewings
Even more advanced are virtual reality house viewings using headsets. Okay, so it’s not mass market, but it’s cool and something we should adopt if we can. Foxtons estate agency have just introduced virtual reality home viewings (which we think makes perfect sense!).
7). More blogging
Providing engaging and compelling content is essential across all industries in order to attract, convert, close and delight audiences. SEO is no longer about adding keywords to your website but instead has become much more of an organic process. The more compelling and engaging your content, the higher you’ll rank on Google and the more likely you’ll attract your customers and place yourself ahead of the competition.
8). Video marketing
Apps like Vine, Instagram and YouTube only continue to grow in popularity, and video is proving to be a growing trend for estate agents this year. Be it video tutorials, house walk-throughs or client testimonials, video is engaging content and should be utilised by any estate agent looking to attract new clients.
So what should you be doing?
It’s not necessary to tap into each and every trend mentioned above, but the more the better. Estate Agency is a competitive space and one which requires innovative approaches to stand out and place your business ahead of the competition. Feel free to get in touch to share ideas.