There has never been a better time for estate agents to develop and grow their brands through advertising with more portal advertising platforms at their disposal than ever before.
Increased portal choices provide agents with the opportunity to reach a wider audience both locally and nationally, as well as internationally, according to free-to-list portal Residential People.
Consumer research generally suggests that property sellers prefer to have their home advertised across multiple portals.
This is due to the belief that a greater advertising spread will attract more potential buyers and improve a seller's chances of getting the best possible sale price. The same approach applies to lettings, with many landlords wanting to get their property rented out as quickly as possible.
"Prices normally come down with competition, and to a degree, we have seen this with most property advertising platforms," says Christopher May, Residential People Co-Founder and Director.
"The only exception to the rule here will be stock market listed companies as investors are looking for profits; therefore, prices are more likely to go up."
In the UK portal sector, both Rightmove and OnTheMarket are listed on the stock market, while Zoopla was also a listed company until 2018 when it was purchased by Silver Lake.
The latest figures from Rightmove, released in July, show that its Average Revenue Per Advertiser (ARPA) has reached an all-time high of £1,023 per agency branch each month.
"The cost of listing on Rightmove continues to rise, putting financial pressure on agents. This is why it's really important that there are low-cost alternatives now available," says May.
Despite increased portal choices for agents, some portals and suppliers attempt to control agents' marketing choices by imposing strict or restrictive rules.
"During our onboarding process with various agencies, we have noticed that some Customer Relationship Management (CRM) companies are charging agents more if they market their properties on over two portals," explains May.
"Despite these barriers, there is still room for newcomers like us to come in and add value to an otherwise stagnating market."
Increased portal choice also helps to bring agents' costs down as they are no longer forced to 'suck it up' and give in to the demands of a particular portal.
Residential People's research found that the majority of agents use boards and other traditional marketing techniques to win new business.
On top of this, a high number of agents told the portal that a lot of their completions came from their own database.
"Establishing a database has become a lot tougher due to GDPR but if you are able to build a solid database, not only will you sell and let more properties, you will also win a lot more valuation requests," adds May.
"Creating a brand and building a database is tough and agents need to work smart to be successful."
He says that in order to establish a strong brand on a local, national or international basis, it's very important for agents to 'think outside the box'.
"Many agents rely purely on boards to build their brand and while they do work particularly well in a localized area, they do have their drawbacks. They cost money and these days a lot of vendors don’t want a board outside their home when selling," he explains.
"It then comes back to having more choice. The more choice an agency has when it comes to marketing options, the more inquiries they can generate."
"It also allows them to build a bigger database of potential buyers, sellers, landlords and renters. Potential customers will gravitate to agents that have a big online presence as they realize effective online marketing is one of the most important factors when it comes to selling or letting a property in the modern age," May says.
"If an agency thinks the only way of selling or letting a property is through Rightmove or Zoopla, they need to think again. There are other ways of getting yourself seen online, and free-to-list sites like Residential People can help."
May concludes: "As a well-respected property pundit recently commented, what gives a portal its power is the agents. So, when all is said and done, even the market leaders need to listen to the will of their clients from time-to-time."
SOURCE Residential People
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