Archive for October, 2008

Smart marketing with

The real estate industry is facing a challenging environment – the scale of business being transacted is down significantly and the immediate outlook is not bright. However the industry as a whole will be around next week, next month and next year – it provides a service that the public value.

The key element of success for long term thinkers in this industry at this time is investing wisely – whether that is time or money. I want to reinforce to this industry some really important points about marketing – because marketing is so much of what this industry does. Lets look at the facts:

  1. FACT – over 80% of all real estate searches start on the web – that number grows everyday

  2. FACT – the web is the most important media for marketing your listings, it is not a nice to have – it is a necessity

  3. FACT – people looking for real estate use search engines – thousands of searches everyday

  4. FACT – Google is the home of search in NZ used by over 90% of people

  5. FACT – Google loves, whatever you search for you will find links to – try some of these searches:

  6. farms for sale in waikato

    farms for sale in hawkes bay

    lifestyle property for sale in Northland

    Try a random search for yourself – just go to Google

  7. FACT – is the most comprehensive website in NZ, currently 111,000 listings as compared to Trade me with 89,000

  8. Have a look at the breakdown within the important Rural category – the appeal to the buyers of a single source of the most comprehensive content is compelling that is why over 20,000 visitors per month just look at farms and agricultural land

  9. FACT – attracts more international visitors than Trade Me.

    Whilst Trade Me Property has on average 690,000 unique browsers per month looking at their listings, only 67,000 of these in a month were from overseas. Over the same period the visitors to from overseas was 91,000. That is a 1/3 more visitors looking at your listings

  10. FACT – is focused on real estate

    It may sound strange but this sole focus ensures that the visitor to the site gets quickly to what they want with rich information. That is why we have a dedicated Farms and Agricultural Land section of the site separate from Homes. That is why we provide rich information of Google maps with Terrain perspective valuable to analyse topography of property. That is why we provide dynamic traffic reporting graphed by property. That is why we uniquely offer video presentation for any listing

  11. FACT – is the best value marketing on the web for real estate

    The cost of using the website, profiling your listings to an audience of over 270,000 unique visitors per month costs $200 per office – the same price now as when we launched 2½ years ago – in that time Trade Me Property has increased per listing fees from $49.95 to $99 (June 2006), from $99 to $149 (May 2007) and from $149 to $199 (Jan 2008). A 298% increase in 2½ years.

  12. FACT – is industry owned

    It is established and run with a business model to first and foremost protect the online interests of this industry from the profit aspirations of media companies. The commitment of the industry to the website has enabled it to grow and challenge all other websites for the attention of the buyer – it is very clearly the strong #2 player with a clear view of objective of being the #1 website for real estate.

October 30 2008 | Online marketing and Web facts | No Comments »

Real Estate Trends Report 2009 – Early bird special

As part of the recent presentations round the country I have been sharing insight into the Real Estate Trends report of 2008 authored by Stefan Swanepoel. As you will recall we hosted a visit by Stefan back in July and had the opportunity to share the fantastic knowledge and presentation skills of Stefan with a good number of people in this industry.

At the time I highlighted that Stefan has had a tremendous pedigree in observing and foreshadowing trends in this industry as he has been writing his annual report since 1997.

Well now is the time for the 2009 report (well actually in February when it is shipped) – here is a great offer – order by the end of November and you get US$50 off the price (Usually US$149, yours for $99).

I cannot speak highly enough of this book – the 2008 book was for me a clear perspective on the challenges which are being faced by the industry globally – trends that go far deeper than the surface crisises and cyclical nature of the industry – trends that will re-shape this industry. To be informed is to be forearmed, and this has to be the best way to be forearmed.

To order the book visit the RealtyU bookstore and pre-order a copy of Real Estate Trends 2009.

October 24 2008 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Search engine optimisation – keywords for real estate

Over the past few weeks I have been undertaking a number of presentations around the country – sharing insight into the online marketing of listings and additionally the importance of building an online personal profile.

These presentations provide a great opportunity to discuss trends and answer questions from the industry. One  question which has sprung up recently is the use of keywords to try and ensure that listings are “found in searching for property”. On the website we monitor and record all the activity of keyword searches. This is how we have been reporting on mortgagee sales on the Unconditional blog – the keyword of mortgagee is still the #1 search term.

Now I am delighted to see the extent to which this industry recognises keyword usage and keyword density in online marketing – but I do want to apply a note of a caution.

One of the key facts in real estate is that every property is unique by default of its location and unique description. There may be a temptation to populate listings with the top keyword search terms in your listing  in the hope / belief that you will more likely be “found” on the results of people searching for that term as a form of “interruption marketing”. The fact is that may be the case, but let me share with you the fact that it may damage your reputation.

Just because the 2nd most searched term is “furnished” will not help you if you are selling a house or a section to through into the description the word “furnished”. The important thing is to use the right terms and words that you think people will use to search for the property – not just any property but your client’s property. What I am can tell you is that we will keep a close eye on the the use of “keyword seeding” of listing descriptions and other methods to try and “game” the system. Such activity is counter – productive and has the potential to damage the site and at the very least make the site look messy and lose credibility with the public.

October 23 2008 | Online marketing | 4 Comments »

Dominate your marketplace with a featured listing

This is a tough market with as likely-as-not, a lot of very demanding vendors and a scarcity of buyers. What you need is help to sell those listings – what you need is a competitive advantage to get more prospective buyers to see your listings and really consider buying that property – we are here to help you.
We have featured listings – as we have said in the past these high profile adverts drive over 10 times the traffic as compared to a standard listing. But you may not know that they also enable you to completely dominate the local suburb search. Look at this example to see how this works.

This property was listed at the start of September with a 4 week campaign leading up to the auction on the 1st October.

For the 2 weeks in the middle of the month the property was bought as a featured listing on this website by the agent. The result was an enormous spike in visitors the listing! – during the month of September total viewings amounted to over 4,400 with 4,250 of those viewings during the period of the promotion, on one day total views exceeded 900 – so in this situation featured listing drove traffic not 10 times – but over 28 times!
Not only that but during the weeks when this property was advertised as a featured listing it completely dominated the suburb viewings. At that time there were 18 properties in the same price range in the same suburb. In each of the 2 weeks of the featured listing campaign on the website this property had over 70% of all the viewings of that suburb for that price range! – 7 out of every 10 people looking at Cashmere Hills property with a budget of between $700k and $1.3m looked at this listing.

So – you may well ask – what happened at the auction last week – did it sell?

Well it did not sell. But the fact is is a marketing tool – it does not sell properties – that requires your skill and expertise matched to the market, and just as magazines don’t sell properties, what we do is provide a very powerful marketing tool for your listing. You may also be interested to know that this property received over 28 emails from this website during the campaign, many from overseas.

Featured listings work! – every week more and more agents are choosing them over traditional newspaper ads and reaping the rewards. Normally priced at $795 for 14 days – we have a special promotion until the end of the year – just $295 or for $395 with a free “Website Telly” video presentation. Give us a call on 0800 732 536 to check out the availability in your suburb!

Check out the quality of these Website Telly videos by viewing the video on this listing – the professional voice over and music enhance the existing photos to really sell this property – this video has been viewed over 900 times so far – how would you like a 30 second TV-like commercial for one of your property listing??

October 07 2008 | Market stats and New feature and Special offers and Video | 2 Comments »

Google is ready to launch StreetView in NZ – do you know what this is?

StreetView will be launched in the next month or so; and will bring to NZ the most intrusive or the most valuable tool to the real estate industry (depending on your perspective).

You need to understand what it is and how it works.

Have a look at this screen shot and then go to Google Maps and type in the address of any property in Australia – if you don’t know one then use this address (40 Reynolds Street, Cremorne, NSW) in Sydney. Click on the Streetview link in the pop up window in the centre of the map, then move around the image just like in a 360 degree virtual tour.

StreetView is an add-in to the enormously popular Google maps that will shows almost every property in NZ from outside in the street – every property! (there may be a few that are not photographed). The content was created late last year through the massive investment by Google in having cars drive the length and breadth of the country photographing in high resolution every street. This service when launched will allow the viewer to zoom in and out and then turn around and view the property across the street, next door or down the street – all without leaving your desk.

I wrote this blog post on Unconditional when it launched in Australia last month which shows how rich the presentation is on these Australian real estate websites. NZ will be only the 4th country to be activated – USA and Japan were ahead of the Australian launch.

The service will be added to the Google maps on when it goes live. It is a part of an ever growing richness of data from a variety of sources on the web. To better understand this trend come along to one of the presentations we are currentlt holding around the country. We want to help this industry better understand these important trends and not get left behind.

October 07 2008 | New feature | 11 Comments »

The continuing demise of classified print publications

We are all aware of it by our own behaviours – classifieds are marching ever more speedily to the web. This industry understands it as over 80% of all real estate searches start on line and keen buyers now spend nearly 3 hours per week reviewing real estate websites. It is simple and intuitive – see all of what is on offer anywhere, anytime – always up to date!

So it is no surprise then the see that the first of the major classified print publications has folded – Auto Trader ceases to be after this week – go grab a copy as it is the last. Launched in 1981 the publication was an instant hit and dealt a blow to the newspapers who at the time dominated all car advertising. It made its owners and founders wealthy, it has made it’s current owners very good returns, but clearly it now recognises that it cannot continue to compete against the web.

However whilst the logical strategy would have been 5 years ago to plan for this by building and promoting a website to become the Autotrader on the web – the website that attempted to succeed the magazine has failed to establish or hold a position of relevance as compared to Trade Me Motors which is a better site for cars. 4 years ago Autotrader online drew around 100,000 UB per month, today that has grown to around 120,000 UB per month – Trade Me in the same period has leapt from 700,000 to over 1,300,000. Game over!

This is a warning sign for the real estate industry – don’t let a single operator dominate the media for your product or service or you will forever be beholden to their rate card!

October 07 2008 | News | No Comments »

Web traffic for real estate – September 2008

September turned out to be a record month for online real estate in NZ. Excluding international traffic a new high of 1,034,181 NZ unique browsers visited at least one real estate website in September.

A key to this growth (+13% vs. Sep 2007) was the traffic generated by QV’s free property valuation offer – that site alone attracted 161,478 unique browsers (there average per month is of the order of 50,000). This clearly showed the fascination people have in this country to know the value of their property – never more true at this time with uncertainty of future values.

For the month of September received 188,837 unique browser visits up 3% on the same month last year and 4% up on the August month – that as shown by the daily chart on the right results in an average daily unique visit of 12,211 placing the site firmly as the #2 in the market.

October 07 2008 | Market stats and Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Rental property inventory growth is matched by visitor traffic growth

The level of stock of rental listings has grown markedly over the first half of the year, peaking at close to 6,500 listings before falling back slightly over the past few months – potentially a large part of this could have been as a consequence of properties being withdrawn from sale for lack of buyer interest and thereby being placed on the rental market through property managers. This was the subject of a recent post on the Unconditional blog titled “Home owners opt to rent out properties that are struggling to find buyers

The graph below shows the movement of inventory (blue bars) over the past 18 months as well as the level of web traffic (red line) to rental listings over the same period.

It is very clear from the graph the extent to which the website has grown in relevance and appeal for rental properties in NZ – from an average a year ago of around 35,000 unique browsers per month to the current level of 50,000 per month.

The website of truly delivers a comprehensive audience looking for a comprehensive presentation of available listings be that rental properties, properties for sale, commercial properties, businesses for sale, lifestyle property as well as farms and agricultural land.

October 07 2008 | Market stats and Web facts | No Comments »