We are planning to hold a one-day industry conference in Auckland on Friday the 3rd September.
The workshop will be a very demanding, yet fulfilling, full day (8.30 to 5.30) – we have lined up a programme that will encompass keynote speakers from NZ, Australia and USA, workshop sessions to hone skills and share experiences with the best in the business around day to day application of new online tools. We also want to add into this mix some challenging and stimulating panel discussions, which will debate big issues of the day. The theme of the workshop will be “How technology changes are influencing the real estate industry in NZ”
The workshop will look at social media, search marketing, technology applications, as well as, very practically show how people in this industry here in NZ are making a success of all this opportunity enabled by the web.
At this stage what we would really like is an indication of the level of interest. We see this event being hopefully an annual event. We propose to charge around $200 to $400 for the day to include all food and drink (as well as some after workshop drinks!). We will not be having any exhibition areas as this is about you and how you can network, learn and grow your skills.
We will then be sending out more information as well as a programme in the coming weeks as well as posting details here on the “On Target” blog.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for content please leave a comment below.
As a guide here is a taster to the agenda:
Agenda – How technology is influencing the future of real estate in NZ
8.00 – 8.30 Registration / coffee
8.30 – 9.00 Introduction / outline
9.00 – 9.30 Keynote address #1:
9.30 – 10.15 Workshop session
10.15 – 10.45 Coffee / tea break
10.45 – 11.30 Discussion session #1
11.30 – 12.15 Workshop session
12.15 – 12.45 Keynote address #2:
12.45 – 1.30 Lunch
1.30 – 2.15 Discussion session #2
2.15 – 3.00 Workshop session
3.00 – 3.30 Keynote address #4:
3.30 – 4.00 Coffee / tea break
4.00 – 4.45 Workshop session
4.45 – 5.30 Discussion session #3
5.30 Wrap up and drinks
We have invited to join us a key group of leaders from all parts of the globe. Leaders in their field who are specialists, who can provide insight and thought leadership to the key topics that affect this industry.
1. Emerging trends for technology’s influence in the world of real estate
A detailed overview of what are the key developments and trends involving the use of technology of all sorts around the world – technology involving both hardware and software, client facing and business systems.
2. The future developments for real estate listings
What is the landscape for listings’ marketing in the coming years. Is Google going to be the winner? Will classified websites rise or fall and will specialist portals remain dominant – and what more can they provide?
3. Search – the final frontier?
Is search marketing the simple solution or the complex pandora’s box? What has yet to emerge from Google and is Google under threat as search becomes siloed behind killer applications?
4. Social Media – snake oil or profitable business development?
Is social media here to stay or will web 2.0 be the next dot bomb? – how can an agent justify the time to make status updates, twitter profound thoughts and craft rich blogs – does it pay
As a follow on from the keynote presentations there will be panel discussions, which will pick up on the some of the themes of the presentations and invite leaders in their field to challenge and debate the rights and wrongs of various opinions. These sessions will be interactive and participative – that includes very much the audience themselves who are key to a valuable debate and discussion.
1. Real estate listings – who owns the listing? Should they be syndicated to any and every website that offers to showcase them? Does this provide the right marketing and the best service to clients?
2. Personal profile – it has got to the stage now where if you do not have one you are more than likely to be ignored by sector of prospective clients. However what needs to be a part of a profile, where should it be hosted and how do you measure its performance?
3. What is the next big thing in technology to impact the real estate industry? – be it hardware in the form of the iPad or software in property stats, technology is key and differing opinions will be on hand to challenge, discuss and stimulate
A key part of the conference is practical discussion around using systems and sharing experiences with colleagues. The agenda features 4 breakouts sessions of 45 minutes each during which attendees will select from amongst the 5 subjects allowing attendees to rotate around the sessions and select the one to suit their interest. Topics for workshops will comprise:
I am sure by now you have heard of Twitter – you may not be using it now or understand it. To help I have shared some insight on the Unconditional blog. Additionally if you want a crash course in Twitter this YouTube video by Common Craft is excellent.
In my view, Twitter is worth considering as a means of raising your profile and demonstrating your subject matter expertise. Many people see Twitter as irrelevant ramblings about the minutiae of people’s lives, “I am going to work now”, “I am bored”, “I fed the cat”!! – but think of it differently for a minute as a way to share observations, information (as in great online stories) and also listings.
Twitter is a medium of communication – it is an email type short message that goes to people who follow you.
You can use Twitter to follow people who have useful things to share which may interest you – news service, both general and real estate specific, companies offering special deals. Here at realestate.co.nz we have our own Twitter account and we would encourage you to follow us.
We use Twitter to share insight, information, news stories, statistics and just about anything real estate – it is a single place, where a couple of times a day, we can share what we think is interesting and worth a read. The great thing about Twitter is you decide if you want to read – no spam email, no signing up, no pushing!
We have 115 followers after 1 week – I would like to get to 1,000 in the next 2 months, so come and follow us – and we will follow you back!
It seems so obvious, but in real estate today you need to have an online profile – a webpage / a place on the web which people will go to when they Google your name. It does not need to be a flash website, it can be a single page, just as long as it can tell people about you – what you do, what your great at and how to contact you.
Here are some simple ways to get a profile:
1. We offer everybody in this industry a free web page for their profile – just check out any of your listings on realestate.co.nz and see the link to “My Profile” – that is your profile online – that page is very likely to be a page that Google will direct people to when they search on your name – try and see!
If you want to write some details to add to this page then login to the AgentPro part of the site and write up whatever you want – more details and background to where you work and how you can help. As a guide have a look at other people’s profiles.
2. Facebook can be a great place to build your profile – it also allows you to connect with friends and colleagues and make new friends and acquaintances. I have noticed a significant rise in the use by real estate agents on recent months (masses of invites!) – the key with Facebook is presenting a professional impression and not mixing too much of your personal life with your business life.
3. How about a simple website? – here is a brand new service I found last week Flavors.me offers you an instant page to which you can link your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – a place you can encourage people to go to to see what you have to say. I built this site as a test in less than 5 minutes!
Over the past months we have witnessed a growing trend of images being sent through which have been “over-written” with text. An example is shown below of the addition of the word “video” to the image.
This image is the #1 image and is therefore the one seen in all searches and in this case a feature listing. We judge that this activity is not conducive to the high standards of presentation of the website. The websites is viewed by thousands of people everyday looking for property and the image is a key component of search – whilst the addition of a keyword draws attention on an isolated picture the encroachment of this across more and more listings would damage the value of the site.
For this reason from today I have instructed our support team to delete such photos.
This is an intervention by Realestate.co.nz into the presentation of listings, however it is done with the best of intentions to ensure the website remains impartial and most important of all, valuable for property seekers.
Our overriding concern is that should this trend continue, we could see all forms of text overlays on photos endeavoring to promote one listing over another. This would ultimately devalue the website and this is why this decision has been taken.
For many 2009 has been a challenging year. As compared to 2008 it has been a lot brighter.
In the last 12 months there were a total of 67,197 residential sales as compared 60,981 in the period to October 2008 – a 10% increase. The good news is there is great scope to see sales rise even more in 2010 – based on a 10 year average of sales as a ratio to the number of houses across the country we should be seeing sales averaging 96,000 a year! – so there is upside growth in sales to come, hopefully we will see some of this in 2010.
(To get a fuller picture of these facts please read this analysis as presented on the Unconditional blog).
As far as activity online is concerned, this year has been nothing short of staggering. Over the past 12 months close to 50 million visitor sessions were undertaken across the 7 leading real estate websites (as monitored by Nielsen Online).
As the chart shows this growth has been unstoppable as each year more and more buyers turn to the web to search for property – so many in fact that total user numbers have doubled over the past 3 years.
For realestate.co.nz our rate of growth has been even faster, not only have we more than doubled since 2006 we are now seeing the number of individual visitor sessions per week up over 46% in a year; with now an average week seeing the website provide over 145,000 users with the most comprehensive real estate listings source of any website in NZ.
This is great news for the industry in general, especially when you remember that realestate.co.nz is your website – owned by the industry, your industry, protecting your long term interests.
That was last year now let’s think about the coming months. The first 3 months of the year are tradtionally the most active during which viewing and enquiry levels peak. The chart below clearly demonstrates this. The shaded area indicates the quiet Christmas break, with the top solid blue line showing the weekly traffic across all these websites to date. The dashed blue line then goes on to estimate the level of visitors traffic we can expect to see in January and February – potentially well over 1,100,000 visitors per week.
To take advantage of this anticipated peak in viewing and searching it is so important to use these next few weeks to prepare to get the most out of the next 3 months:
1. Get those listings right
It seems so simple but too often the basics get forgotten:
(a) Photos – get the best collection of the best images. Make sure the #1 photo (the first photo in the sequence) is the best representation of the property. Remember the more photos a listing has the more the number of visitors, it is a fact
(b) Address – showing an address generates a map which buyers love so they can get a perspective of where the property is and what the area around it is like – they want to use Google Street View or Zoodle – so be their friend and help them
(c) Description – provide rich information that enables a buyer to make an informed assesment on the property. Describe the key benefits of the property and the local community – be seen as an expert who is keen to share valuable insight into living in the area – an area or neighbourhood you know so well
2. Promote those listings
To have a listing on the web is just the starting point. You need to recognise that with more people search online nowadays than in print publications you need to look to focus vendor paid marketing online.
The “Featured Listings” on realestate.co.nz are used widely by so many agents who see the value of the $250 per 2 week investment in promoting their client’s listings and see the results in the greater exposure and increase in viewing numbers.
Get in quick to grab your chosen suburb for the summer perod – we often sell out as there are only ever 3 properties featured in each suburb at any one time.
3. Get out and promote yourself
Recognising that buyers searching online for new homes are more than likely to be thinking of selling their home means that advertising your services on realestate.co.nz is so logical.
The Featured Agent adverts which allow you to promote yourself as one of just 3 agents per suburb is so effective. We still have spots available from now until the end of March and from just $15 per month, there is no better way to solicit enquiries from the massive audience on the site.
To buy a personal profile advert for your chosen suburb all you need to do is login to our Agent Pro website at www.agentpro.co.nz (don’t forget this link is at the bottom of every page on the website) – sign up if you have not already done so, then choose your desired suburb, check that the month you want is available and then buy online with a valid credit card.
It certainly feels like every month there is another record broken for the number of internet searches for property – that is just the reality of the choice the consumer is actively making in assessing what is the most useful form of media to choose for property search.
In the month of October as reported by Nielsen online there were over 1.6 million unique visits to NZ real estate websites. This represented a year on year growth of 24% – that is an additional 300,000 unique visits this year as compared to last year.
By way of comparison the print media for real estate have not faired so well. The Property Press readership figures just published by both Nielsen and Roy Morgan show that weekly readership fell by 11% over the past year in the case of the Nielsen survey and by 13% in the case of the Roy Morgan survey.Along with this massive swing to online, the two websites of realestate.co.nz and Trade me property both surpassed key milestones.
For Realestate.co.nz it was just the second month of 400,000+ unique browsers (up 54% on a year ago) and for Trade me property 1 million+ unique browsers in the month (up 40% on a year ago).The data for all the websites tracked by Nielsen is presented in this document.
To assit you in sharing these key pieces of information with your clients and prospective clients we have produced a new set of key fact sheets to highlight these trends. Click here to download these pages.
With ever more people turning everyday to the web for information on all real estate matters it is not surprising that the smarter agents are focusing more and more of their marketing dollars to online campaigns.
The feedback we are constantly getting is something we want to share to help you build your real estate career and business:
“I absolutely believe in the benefits of your feature listings and have brought that to the attention of all sales people at Harcourts Takapuna at our last 2 sales meetings” – Chris Baker, Harcourts Takapuna
“The feature property option will be something we will be gradually building into our standard budgets …. I know with the growth of internet (approx 30% of our open home attendees see the property first on a website) it will eventually become the most important medium for our advertising dollar” – Diana Buczkowski – Barfoot & Thompson Epsom
Featured Listings are being used more and more as a tried and tested means of profiling a property in the lead up to a tender, auction or deadline treaty. These 2 week bursts of high profiling advertising certainly hit the spot with vendors – visitors to these listings see a 500% plus lift often exceeding 10 times the normal traffic.
For just $250 (inc GST) your listing will be featured exclusively as one of 3 per suburb for 14 days during which time it will also be featured on the home and region pages of the site in rotation. To order your featured listing on behalf of your client give our Auckland based team a call on 0800 732 536 or email us at email@example.com.
To assist in presenting this great offer to your clients as vendor paid marketing this sales leaflet helps present and communicate the benefits – download a copy and try it at your next listing presentation.
Featured Agent Advertising
The next series of featured agent advertising months have now been opened up so you can go online and purchase the featured agent advertising for your selected suburbs for the next 4 months – December / January / February / March.
These adverts are proving incredibly popular, with close to 800 indiviudal agents across the country with many suburbs fully subscribed and many agents encouraged by the response these adverts bring in raising their profile in the local market and soliciting new enquiries for property listings.
The price for these advert remains at the current rate across the different categories of business we feature on the website.
To buy a personal profile advert for your chosen suburb all you need to do is login to our Agent Pro website at http://www.realestate.co.nz/pro (don’t forget this link is at the bottom of every page on the website) – sign up if you have not already done so, then choose your desired suburb, check that the month you want is available and then buy online with a valid credit card.
The website attracts over 25,000 unique visitors every day and this is a great opportunity to promote yourself to this audience who could be looking to list with an agent like you!
There are two new features added to the Agent Pro website.
We now provide statistics on the number of visitors to your profile page and your featured agent advert. These charts which you will see on your dashboard when you sign in show you how many times your profile page has been viewed and also how many times your featured agent advert has been displayed and how many people have viewed your profile as a result.
When you now book a Featured Agent advert you will see a new button marked “view map”. This new feature allows you to see exactly the boundary for every suburb in our database. This dynamic and unique feature is going to be presented as part of the new website and will undoubtedly be of great assistance to help people better appreciate the boundaries of individual suburbs.
Today is a great day to increase your profile on the web – get your name in front of thousands of active buyers.
These buyers, as is well known are more than likely to be looking to list their property for sale in the coming weeks – Featured Agent adverts are an excellent and very cost effective advertising medium for you to build your awareness and profile. Starting at just $15 per suburb per month where else can you get that kind of value for money in advertising these days?
Today you can go online and buy an advert for the months of October & November.
The reason that we are only releasing these 2 months is that we are undergoing a major re-development and re-design of the website. As part of this project we are upgrading the featured agent service to improve on its ability to put you in front of prospective clients. This development work is underway and will be completed in November.
The service for the next 2 months of October and November remains as previously, with the same individual suburbs able to be purchased as one of only 3 featured agents at the top of each of the search pages for that suburb. The costs have not changed nor the category of suburb.
Just as a reminder. In the case of residential searches the most highly viewed suburbs “Gold” are charged at $150 per month, the next tier of suburbs “Silver” are charged at $75 per month and all of the remainder, which is actually 80% of the 1,700+ suburbs across the country are charged at just $15 per suburb. All costs are inclusive of GST.
To advertise in rental search results the prices are $50 / $25 / $10; for commercial property, the prices are $100 / $25 / $10 and to advertise in searches farms the prices are $25 / $15 / $10.
To help identify the costs for your particular suburb these documents downloadable below will make it easy to find out the costs for each suburb for each category:
All bookings for this Featured Agent service must be booked online through the Agent pro website. There you will need to login and purchase with a valid credit card. To purchase a Featured Agent advert for an individual agent requires logging in under that agent’s name.
The age of the internet is typified by a whole new vocabulary – Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, podcasts, YouTube. How many of these words are now in everyday use, whereas barely a couple of years ago they were unknown?
The online world is transforming our lives and in the context of real estate has already transformed the lives of buyers / investors – remember that those starting out on the property ladder today can’t really understand the need for a fax machine. They also had an email address and mobile number long before they were allowed out at night on their own!
Into this new brave world every real estate professional needs to tread – carefully, methodically and with due caution, but also with a sense of Carpe Diem!
Let me strip down some of the components and look specifically at this fairly new phenomenon of social media – the world of blogs, profiles and social networking.
The important thing to keep in mind in terms of social media is that it is just a form of conversation. Conversations are an everyday part of the real estate process and that is why social media is so natural for this industry to embrace.
Every person in the real estate business relies upon and sets out to build a network – a group of people through whom they can seek new business opportunities to secure the chance to act on behalf of a client to sell a property. The judgement people make of your ability will be based on your experience, your expertise and your personality – matched naturally to the professional reputation of your company. All of these 3 facets are something that you build and develop over time. The big challenge is how to share with potential clients your experience, your expertise and your personality as sadly in today’s world, attention spans and free time is a scarce resource. How can you, as people become more and more cynical of traditional advertising communicate with the right audience to make an impression and convey your message with sincerity and honesty?
The first rule is going to come as a shock to some – don’t get “in their face”! Today, people trust people who they find and who they are referred to. They tend to trust less those people who try and get “in their face”. This is not to say that face-to-face contact is not relevant – far from it, in this industry it is critical, but only when you have been “invited” to meet.
So how can the web and the power of social media help you to establish trust and get referred?
First of all the greatest power of the web is that everyone and every business on the web is effectively treated equally – that is because your single web page can be read as easily as any single web page from IBM or Britney Spears! The only thing that actually differentiates you from IBM and Britney is how easy is it to find your page and whether you have something worth reading?
I believe every person in real estate has something worth reading about – local knowledge of the property market, local knowledge of the community, local insight into who is doing what and where. Local information about developments and improvements to your community – schools, parks, shops, transport; as well as valuable facts about what is selling, who is buying. This is the kind of information that you will in past have shared – maybe in a weekly printed newsletter sent to your database, a piece in the local community paper or a regular email newsletter. The weakness of this form of communication; or thinking about it another way, the missed opportunity, is that these communications only reach a limited number of people and end up disappearing within a week as a deleted emails or that newspaper in the bin. How much better it would be to have those words, that insight stored, accessible, read and reviewed by people everyday anywhere in the world.
Imagine for a minute how more credible you would be seen by a prospective client if they could read and review a series of articles on the local community, rather than just this week’s one. They would certainly form a stronger appreciation of your experience, knowledge and credibility and most importantly of all a sense of your true personality.
So given you have this local knowledge and insight what should you do to establish through it trust and credibility? – the ultimate way is to write a blog. Now some people run a mile when a blog is mentioned – fears about what to write, fears of technology, fears of being attacked (verbally)! The fact is that when writing a blog on the web, whilst potentially it could be read by hundreds of millions of people – it won’t be, after all how many people want to read about your local community? Not many; but every one of them could be future client that is the key thing.
Just for clarification a blog is a webpage. It is just a type of webpage that allows you easily (with no great computer skills) to add articles and stories and allow anyone to write a reply or comment to you about what you wrote which can be read by anyone as part of a conversation. To help real estate professionals realestate.co.nz offers a free blog service. It is called “Voices” – real estate voices, you will find the logo for it on the home page of the website – click on it and start to read how to set up a blog – it is free and you can join over 130 other agents from around the country who sense an opportunity to build their profile and generate new business.
There are some key pieces of advice in relation to blogging – be regular and be open. It is best to write something on your blog each week, it does not need to be an essay, more it can be a point of interest or more commonly an answer to a question posed to you over the past few days. The answer you gave at the time was valuable and therefore will be of value to others. Being open speaks to answering comments and also open to commenting on other people’s blogs – these comments are great for getting people back to your blog to read more about you.
Now blogging may not be for everyone – if you feel that you have neither the written skills or your don’t have the time then there is one thing every person in this industry must have. They must have a web page that can very simply provide a “picture” of what they do and who they are. That page needs to be “indexed” or put another way need to be seen on a Google search page. So imagine the situation – someone this week will search your name – they will search on Google looking to find out about you; because they will be meeting you this week for that appraisal meeting. You need to have a page that they find that provides them with a clear, open and professional view of who you, what skills you have and why they should be considering you in helping them sell their house.
That page could be your blog, it could be a page on your company website, it could be on Facebook. The only issue with your Facebook page is that it probably is more likely to be about your family and friends – what this person wants to find out about if the real estate professional. Again in an effort to help this industry build online profiles we have built on the realestate.co.nz website a place where you can have your own profile page – a place where you can write about who you are, what you do and what your expertise is. Because this new profile page is on the realestate.co.nz website it is then clear that this profile is about you and your role in real estate – it is also right next to your listings as well.
To build this page – just sign in to the Agent Pro page – you will find a link at the foot of every page on the website. All of course for free to help you build your profile.
The key message is to think of the web as a vital means for you to be advertising your skills 24 hours a day to as wide an audience as possible with a clear message that you are the most experienced, authoritative local expert – good luck and get online now to build your profile.