Archive for December, 2008

What response rate should I get from my web listing?

This was the question posed to me yesterday in an email from an agent concerning their listing that had received over 2,500 viewings but only 4 emails. Naturally such a question prompts me to share my thoughts and observations with the industry at large as well as the agent concerned.

There are many ways to look at this question:

  • How many enquiries would you expect to get from that listing in say a newspaper?
  • How does that property compare to other properties on the market at the moment?
  • Are you getting a lot of enquiries generally at the moment?
  • Is the presentation of that property appealing to the right audience?

Let’s look at these questions and in so doing let me share my thoughts.

The web is an incredibly efficient medium – post a property on a website and potentially within seconds it can be viewed by the entire audience of web-connected computers – somewhere around 1,800,000,000 people! You can then analyse who looks at it, where they are when they look at it, where they came from (previous website), how long they look at it for and where they go afterwards (next web page or website).

This richness of information would be the envy of newspapers (surely!) – the reality is that all this information sets a high expectation which sometimes can be a double edged sword. The reality is that a listing may only be looked at 10 times on the web, may be looked at 3 times in a newspaper (if you could record how many people actually looked at the listing) – and yet it sold in 10 days. On the other hand it could have been looked at 5,000 times on the web and 30 times in the newspaper and yet nobody made an offer.

We had a great example recently of a featured listing which within 1 month had over 4,500 viewings, there were 23 emails sent to the agent, the property went to auction and with such extensive marketing through the web the auction attracted a handful of serious buyers who bid – however the property was passed in – no sale / no commission! Every property is different and response rates varies – there is no absolute conversion factor.

The reality as we all know is that there never are hundreds of people looking buy a property – there may be 10 – there may be only one. The key thing is to make sure that your listing is disruptive enough to be seen by the right people – not all 1.8 billion people.

The interest in a property is always related to the unique appeal of the property and its marketing. So the important question to ask yourself of every listing is – Is this presentation – headline, photos, description, information presented in the best way to ensure that the people I want to attract to see the property listings and be interested? The bottom line of this is quality counts (images and facts) and richness is rewarded (lots of relevant facts, information and reasons to come and see the property).

As to how many enquiries – in addition to how appealing the property is, is also what the market is like and how engaging the presentation is. The property market over the past few months has been very subdued and not surprisingly the level of genuine enquiry of emails sent from our site to agents has fallen on a seasonal adjusted basis – people are just plain wary of the market and are reticent to step into the market – so enquiries are low and so are sales.

A final important point made a while ago is not to judge website effectiveness purely by the number of emails as cited in the blog post “Who do you credit when that phone call generates a lead?” the facts from the UK website of Rightmove show that for every 20 emails a website sends an agent 40 telephone calls are generated.

And when that email does land in your inbox the key thing is to treat it as the lead you have been waiting for – to be responsed to quickly and professionally… more on this shortly

December 10 2008 | Online marketing | 1 Comment »

New online marketing resource for real estate agents

A new online publication has been set up by Simon Baker who was previously the CEO of the REA Group ( and – Property Ad Guru.

Simon has a passion for this industry and a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding of online marketing in the context of real estate – after all it was his skills that grew the business from a marginal $3m business in Australia in 2002 to the powerhouse international real estate business of over $150m today.

The website looks to be able to aggregate valuable information and services designed to help real estate agents and property developers around the world to guide them through this maze of information, whilst providing rich and valuable services. All for no charge.

As the online marketing of real estate becomes ever more important so the need to have trusted places to better understand the options and opportunities on the web – check it out.

December 05 2008 | Online marketing | 1 Comment »

More traffic than ever directs to

I was speaking to an office yesterday that was keen to explain to vendors the “reach”  of the website. I explained that we were building a very powerful referral network of major websites both here in NZ and overseas that linked to our site and therefore would drive traffic to and therefore to your listings.

It got me thinking that it would be useful if I produced a flyer detailing the extent of this valuable referral traffic – not least because excluding Google this traffic amounts to over 3.4 million unique web visitors within NZ alone in a month.

The flyer which you can download here can help you demonstrate this fact to your vendors and help you reinforce the power of web advertising (and don’t forget the even greater power of featured listings). Below I have added some key information to share with your clients and help you answer any questions that they may have.

  1. It is always worth reinforcing that over 80% of all real estate searches start on the web these days with dedicated searchers spending over two and a half hours per week viewing listings on specialist real estate websites (source: Nielsen Online survey May 2008)
  2. We are exclusive partners with the top 2 news media websites in NZ – Yahoo!Xtra and MSN. These 2 sites between then have a total of 3.4 million unique visitors per month (2.1m for Yahoo!Xtra and 1.3m for MSN). The partnership sees both site have a “channel” section of their site which is called Real Estate and takes visitors to unique co-branded sites: Yahoo!Xtra realestate and MSN realestate
  3. With the marketing partnership with the REA Group we are identified on the REA Group websites around the world collectively these 9 websites attract an audience of 9.7 million unique visitors per month. Just click on the NZ map of the #1 real estate website in Australia and you will land on The other countries comprise the UK, Italy, Dubai, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. On any of these sites just click on the NZ link and you will come through to
  4. Probably though the most important part of this network is the king of search Google. The fact is that more and more people turn to Google everyday to answer questions and when it comes to real estate they are doing it in their thousands every hour of every day. They don’t just type in Property for Sale, they tend to be very specific typing in 4 bedroom house for sale in Winton or Lifestyle property in Kumeu – they want Google to tell them the answer and it is far more likely that all of the property related searches on Google will have as the top link, that way your listings reach the audience you want to find and review those listings

All of this network of linked sites ensures that whilst may not be the largest real estate website in NZ in terms of unique visitors, it is more likely that the serious property searchers will be on

December 03 2008 | Online marketing | No Comments »

Which real estate website to use? – analyse the property listings numbers

With the online landscape markedly changed today (1st December) with the exit of (now directing visitors to this website) the “head to head” analysis of as compared to trade me property becomes ever more important. The key determination of value for this industry has always been as proposed by this company comprehensive content.

The most valuable website is more likely to be the website with the largest number of listings – people keen to look for property will always gravitate towards the site that acts as a “one-stop-shop”. Some detailed analysis provides some insight important for all real estate offices to consider.

We have accurately tracked the listings of residential property on and trade me property over the past 2 years maintaining a detailed record on a like-for-like basis. The summary of this analysis is presented in the graph below.

The numbers are pretty clear – has maintained over 20,000 more properties for sale as featured on the website than as featured on trade me property website over the past 2 years

The data is directly comparable as each data set of listings comprises the estimate of just licensed real estate office listings on each website. How have we done this?

We have on a frequent basis undertaken a sample of around 6 suburbs across the country every 2 months and worked out how many of trade me property listings are “private” and how many are from licensed agents. We have then also applied a factor to the listing stock to estimate the number of properties that are marketed as general listings. The net result of this is the graph above.

The graph shows that the differential of content has remained in excess of 20,000 properties for all of the 2 years, expect for the month of June 2007.

At the peak in February of this year (prior to the decision by Barfoot & Thompson to list on Trade me) the differential stood at 34,000. Following the addition of the 7,000 listings from Barfoot & Thompson the differential came back to 26,000 and then by September has slipped to 23,000.

The past 2 months has seen an increase again with the latest listing comparison showing a differential of 25,000 – with 67,000 residential properties on as compared to 42,000 on trade me on a like-for-like estimated basis of licensed real estate marketed properties.

December 01 2008 | Market stats | 2 Comments »