Archive for the 'Online marketing' Category

Featured listings – Special offer for Christmas

Great news there is only 133 days to Christmas! With that in mind we thought we would beat everybody by offering you an early Christmas present!

We want you to get on board and offer your clients the most cost effective vendor paid marketing on the market today – Featured listings

For just $250 (inc GST) you can be one of only 3 exclusive listings featured on each suburb, additionally these feature properties are showcased on the home page. As we have reported in the past these featured listings generate over a 10 fold increase in viewings. So if you normally get 9 views a day – be ready to see over 90 people per day viewing your property. As the examples show in this sales leaflet performance can be of the order of 17 times the traffic – over 4,000 viewings over a 2 week period.

So to help you and encourage you we are offering a “free” Apple iPod shuffle to any agent that purchases and pays for 5 featured listings between now and Christmas. In addition a further draw will be made for a special prize from amongst those that receive their iPod. So I suggest that you get busy and get those featured listings booked up now. To order just call our support team on 0800 732 536.

August 14 2009 | Online marketing and Special offers | No Comments »

Profile – how can make sure you are going to get that phone call to appraise a new listing?

At this very moment someone may be Googling your name – checking out your details before they meet you next week for an appraisal you organised – you need to be on that shortlist and you want to make sure that what they read about you is the best representation of your skills and experience.

You have to make sure you have at least a page on the web which you can use to profile yourself – it may be your own website or blog, it may be a page on your company website. It could be a free profile page we have introduced for everyone in this industry to profile themselves to prospective clients. We launched this service 2 weeks ago and the take up has been excellent – take a look at what some of your colleagues are doing – then ask yourself – how would like to be seen by prospective clients:

Another opportunity that these agents and many other have cottoned onto is the Featured Agent advertising on individual suburbs – these cost effective advert which are priced from just $15 per month (more popular and larger suburbs are charged at $75 and $150 per month). We all ready have many hundreds of committed agents who see this as the tool to ensure that they get the enquiry call to come and do an appraisal.

To access both of these great services log on now to our new Agent Pro website and build you client base and business ready for the spring.

July 20 2009 | New feature and Online marketing and Social Networking | No Comments »

Impactful property advertising

Often we are asked to provide examples of the performance of our featured listings service – and each time we take people through the case studies they are blown away that we can achieve such massive quality visitor traffic.

Our original “side by side” comparison from January still holds true – 17 times the traffic.

How about this example of a multiple listing situation. Think how you can demonstrate to an owner that you are the best agent to have a sole agency – use a featured listing as below:

This property was listed on the website on the same day by 4 different agents.

Only one of them chose to market with a featured listing – they have had 2,522 views to date with a 14 day period with the bulk of the views.

The other agents have had between 83 and 360 views – an average of just 185 views. That is over 13 times the number of views by featuring.

Don’t forget that an advert of this effectiveness costs only $250 (inc GST) for a 14 day period – on the home page and suburb page of the website – to order your “vendor paid marketing” call the team on 0800 732 536. Click here to download a sales leaflet to assist in securing vendor paid marketing.

July 20 2009 | Online marketing and Special offers | No Comments »

Google Maps new real estate search facility

Google announced on the 6th July that they were offering NZ a new search feature – “search real estate listings on Google maps” – this service can be found as a part of Google maps as opposed to the standard Google search.

Google takes feeds from real estate websites and portals to provide a comprehensive overview of property in an area of the country – here is a view of Hamilton

The search results only show a few properties on the left hand side – otherwise you have to click on each red dot to see the property details and photos.

We took the decision on day 1 to feed all of the listings we have from our 1,160 customers representing 93% of all licensed offices to Google for the benefit of all customers. This amounted to some 100,000 listings (we do not feed business listings). Google is incredibly popular search engine with around 85% of all searches in NZ done on Google. We provide this service free for all subscribing offices meaning that your listings can be seen by an enormous worldwide audience – all for free. We are currently the only website outside of company sites feeding such content to Google – we want to help you gain greatest exposure for your client’s listings.

One very important fact to remember with any of your listings is that if you do not provide an address or allow an address to be shown on a listing then it will not show on any mapping – be that a map on so please display the address for your listing.

We currently have around 60% of all listings with a display address – in today’s world with Google maps, satellite imagery and Google StreetView – the question has to be asked as to why would you not display the address?

Just so that you know that I am not alone on this matter – this recent post by Paul Middleditch from Harcourts in Christchurch makes a genuine plea “C’mon fellow consultants – do the basics, please!

July 20 2009 | Online marketing | 5 Comments »

Professional respect in regard to marketing material

If I get 3 calls on the same subject in a week – I judge that this is something worth highlighting.

The issue I have experienced this week is in relation to photos of properties for sale. When a property for sale switches between one agent / salesperson and another agent / salesperson should the photos be able to be used by the new agent?

We received a call and a couple of emails from salespeople who wanted to know if we could in some way block others copying photos from our site without their permission. They were incensed that another salesperson would “steal” their photos to use on a new listing for that property.

There are a couple of ways of looking at this issue – technical, legal and professional.


The web is an open platform – in almost all scenarios you can “right click” on an photo and save it. You can then use it wherever you like – that is from a technical standpoint.


Images in the form of photos are intellectual property (I should point out I am not a lawyer – this piece should not be taken as legal advice, just observations!). Someone paid someone to take photos of a property for sale – or the selling agent took the photos. Those photos are the legal property of someone. Unless that person informs people in general that those photos are freely available then it should be assumed that they are not freely available to download and copy.

As an instance the content of this blog as with all photos on this blog is accessible under what is becoming a very common structure for the web called Creative Commons – simply put – I am happy for the content of this blog including all facts, words and images to be freely used and copied as long as (a) statements are not presented out of context, and (b) appropriate attribution is given – just tell people where you got the content by referencing the source – through a web link.

Despite this many people believe that as content on the web is accessed for free that somehow that makes it free of any copyright, and they can do what they like with it – that is not the case.


Whilst it may be very easy to copy photos from one listing to another and in so doing save time and money, the key question that should be asked is “what message does that send to the vendor” irrespective of who owns the photos – even if the rights to the photos have been granted by the property owner.

When a listing transfers from one listing agent to another – it should signal the establishment of a new marketing approach for that property on the market. This process should seek to review all components of marketing for that property – price, description, photos and marketing material. To do anything less would be dereliction of duty of the part of the new listing agent.

To “just” take the the listing and not try and add personality and a new marketing focus would seem to speak to a lack of professionalism on the part of the new agent, and would in my mind awaken the question in the mind of the vendor as to what value this new agent really brings to the process if they are prepared to “re-cycle” somebody else’s marketing campaign.

July 19 2009 | Online marketing and Photos | 1 Comment »

Enhancements to Featured Agent

The web is the most important and effective way for you to promote yourself to prospective clients. To make it easy for you, we are creating simple ways to get started and promote yourself to win clients.

We launched Featured Agents adverts on the website back in April. We were blown away with the response from this industry – within hours agents were signing up and securing these key advertising spots – in some cases the 3 slots per suburb were sold within hours.

Now we are back to release the next 3 months of Featured Agents (July / August / September). In addition we have added an even better offer for all salespeople in the industry. How about a free webpage for every single salesperson? – this is a great opportunity to create a personal profile online to highlight your unique skills and experience and explain how you can best serve your clients.

So what have we done and what will this mean to you.

  1. Firstly we have redesigned your exclusive page on which shows your listings.
    This page is now called “Your profile” and can easily be found via a link on every one of your listing pages on the website.This profile page is now customisable, so it can now become your own web page – all provided for free.
    You can add your own photo and write your own profile as well as providing links to your other profile pages on the web – be it your blog on Voices (or any other platform), your LinkedIn or Twitter account or your own webpage. You have complete and secure ability to make this your own web page.
  2. We have listened to your feedback and created separate Featured Agent adverts for each category of real estate business.You can now sign up to buy a featured agent profile for your chosen suburb and decide if you want to be profiled as a residential agent on the residential listings, or do you want to be profiled as a commercial agent only on the commercial listings; or maybe you want to profile yourself just on farms and agricultural land. We also have a profile opportunity for property managers.
  3. We have redesigned the login page and sign up page. Once logged in you are taken to your private Agent Pro page – on this page you can edit and build your profile, you can buy featured agent profiles and you can check your account with us. All managed online 24 hours a day from any computer anywhere.
  4. We have also listened to your feedback over the past 3 months in regard to the pricing of particular suburbs – more particular those suburbs which classically sit just on the threshold of the pricing bands of Gold, Silver and Bronze.
    Overall the response to the current pricing has been great, we did want to show that we do listen and we have revised the cost of some suburbs, so check out your favourite suburb or suburbs as you may be pleasantly surprised. Even better news we have revised the cost for the bulk of residential suburbs (bronze category) previously we charged these at $25 per month.We have decided that in order to encourage you to try and capture a wider profile across this range of smaller suburbs we have dropped the price to just $15 per month.
  5. We have introduced new prices for the new categories of commercial / business, property management and farms and agricultural land. These prices are detailed below:

    You can now go in and book up for your chosen suburb(s) for the months of July / August / September – be quick get in quick because there are only 3 spots available each month for each suburb.
  6. We think we have taken the time to make the process of registering, logging in, editing your profile and buying featured agents adverts as simple as possible. If at any stage you have a problem or can’t seem to do what you want to do, then I would ask that you call our team in Auckland and they can help you.
    We recognise that it can be difficult, but rather than email back it is best to pick up the phone and call 0800 732 536 and speak to one of the team; they will be pleased to help you get established online quickly.

What you see released today is just the start of how we see Agent Pro evolving in the coming months as it becomes a great place for us to offer you tools and services to enable you to better manage your online profile as well as market yourself and your listings online.

Coming up in the next few months we will introduce a dashboard which will detail live information on the number of viewings you are getting to your profile page as well as the performance and viewing of your featured agent profile. We hope you will start to see the Agent Pro site as a place you visit on a regular place where we can communicate with you on a personal basis and we can help you to build your real estate business.

July 02 2009 | Online marketing | 1 Comment »

Little by little, bit by bit we are transforming real estate!

This may seem a somewhat arrogant statement, but the serendipitous experience of two communications today give me confidence that at last the NZ real estate industry is changing in a positive way to embrace the web. The first occurrence was as a consequence of a presentation to did first thing today in Tauranga to an assembled team of Harcourts salespeople from Advantage Realty.

The presentation was as ever to share insight to the power of the web in real estate marketing and endeavour to encourage all agents to embrace the web and build an online profile. The audience were great and the response in questions was excellent. To my surprise later in the day I was sent this photo by the MD of the company with this comment:

“thought you might like this photo, this agent would be or has been the most techno ignorant agent in our company and after your presentation arrived into the office with a computer and said ‘I refuse to be left behind!”

Little by little we are changing the industry!

Then later in the day I came across this great article on Inman News from Marc Davison of 1000Watt Consulting which really speaks to the similar challenge faced over there in converting agents to the benefits of social media. Just 3 out a group of 400 this guy had been speaking to actually practiced social media to build their business. For me the really compelling comments came at the end of the article:

  • The first time you receive a comment to your blog telling you how good your post was, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll find to write another one.
  • The first time a long-lost friend from college locates you on Facebook and coincidently happens to be in the market to buy a home, watch how fast you start “friending” everyone you’ve ever met throughout your life.
  • The first time someone posts a question on Twitter about your community and you respond seconds later with precise info that turns them into a follower, notice how your slogan — which has sat dormant on your business card forever — begins to glow.

Little by little, bit by bit – the change is happening and will happen as this industry goes through a transformation.

PS – if you want to attend one of these presentatios then check out our ‘On-the-Road’ blog for future dates and times around the country.

June 10 2009 | Online marketing | No Comments »

How do you rate in responding to emails??

We have recently completed a survey of email response rate from enquiries sent from the website. This is a survey which we have undertaken annually for the past 2 years.

The good news is that response rate and timeliness of response is improving – the bad news is that out of 100 email enquiries sent from the site – 12 were never answered!! – those emails could have been genuine enquiries from buyers!

The research carried out by an independent company was undertaken in late April and surveyed the response rate of 100 enquiries sent from the site on a random basis across the country to a representative number of listings per region. Here are the key findings and some observations / recommendations:

1. Overall response rate 88% answered. This compares to 87% last year and 69% 2 years ago – things are improving

2. Regionally Auckland performed worst (78%) with the rest of the North Island performing best (96%)

3. Excellent responsiveness – 43% responded to an email within 2 hours, 86% responded within 24 hours. A year ago only 68% responded within 24 hours

4. Email is the preferred method of response – 86% of enquiry that asked for an email response got one by email, however 23% of enquiries asking for a telephone call were responded by email only

So what can this information do to help you – or rather what can you do to ensure you do not miss important leads, here are a few tips:

1. Ensure that the email address we have in our system for your listings is correct – test our website. Send a test email to yourself from one of your listing on our site – it’s free and if you get the email in your inbox it immediately all is working OK – if not then let us help try and find why – call the team on 0800 732 536

2. Find ways of being kept informed on email enquiries – use a mobile phone that can receive emails or get someone in your office to text you to inform you of new enquiries

3. Set up home email so that you can respond at the end of your working day

Have a read of the full report to fully understand how your approach may help in gaining more from email enquiries – pdf file (0.4MB file)

Click here to download the full report

June 04 2009 | Online marketing and Research | No Comments »

Handling email enquiries

We are currently undertaking a series of presentations around the country sharing insight with licensees, salespeople and admin staff on all aspects of real estate marketing and the online world. One of the components discussed at these presentations is the best way to handle email enquiries coming from the web. Every day we pass on emails from website visitors keen to seek more details regarding your properties or to schedule meetings with you to discuss properties, handling these in the most professional manner will leave these people with a great feeling of support and assistance from you.

As a guide I would like to share some observations on handing email enquiries which come from research from the web and conferences I have attended. There are 4 basic principles:

  1. Be responsive – timeliness is key.
    Enquiries are often looking for answers to questions. The sooner you can respond the better – expectation is that emails should be answered in 2 hours or less. Look to see how within your office you can receive alerts on your phone by text or email so even though you are out an about you can respond and be kept informed.
  2. Be respectful and don’t be pushy.
    An enquirer has emailed you for a reason, in choosing to email they did not want to start a conversation and in general want to remain anonymous. Try and avoid being pushy and insisting that they call you receive information. Remember they could be the buyer you have been looking for of your listing and you need o create a good impression.
  3. Answer their question.
    The majority of email enquiries are a question, the question is best answered simply and directly (if you can) – this builds trust.
  4. Recognise that the person sending the email may be at an early stage of looking for a property.
    This is probably the most important thing to think about when answering email enquiries. The more you respect the sender and respect their anonymity the more they are likely to come back to you.

Taking a practical example let me share an example of how an email could be handled by you.

Could you please give me an estimate of the land area of this property please?
Thanks Graeme

My recommendation on a reply would be

Hi Graeme,
Thanks for your email regarding the property at 45 North Street. The property is described in the legal title as being 645 m2.
I recognise that you may be at an early stage of looking for a house in this area, however if there is any further information you may require on this property or any other property you may be interested in please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours Sincerely


The outcome of this email response from you could be one of two things – firstly the enquirer could feel very comfortable, the question was answered and the response let the person feeling valued by not threatened. Alternatively the second outcome could be that the enquirer immediately emails or picks up the phone to say to you that they want to discuss this property immediately – by placing them at ease they are far more likely to want to work with you.

Email responses

Over the course of the past two and a half years we have sent out over half a million emails leads to this industry from the website, together with a similar number of referral links back to your website. It is always at this point that we leave you to make the connection and facilitate the sale of the property. We do not however forget that whilst we cannot facilitate the sale we value that lead as it came from a visitor to our site.

We have in the past undertaken research as to the number of emails that are answered by agents and how quickly they are answered – remember that the expectation of the public is that agents should ideally answer an email within 2 hours!

These two prior research studies back in 2007 and 2008 showed that whilst performance of email response was improving there was still a long way to go. An original response rate of 69% of all email being answered increased to 87% – however that still means that 13 out of every 100 emails were never answered. This month we are repeating this research, we will be anonymously sending out 100 emails from the site – if your listing is chosen then we will respond (once you respond) to let you know that the enquiry was part of a research programme.

I appreciate your assistance in this research – I will publish the results when they are available.

April 20 2009 | Online marketing | 7 Comments »

Mortgagee property listings – a note of caution

I would like to bring your attention to the serious matter of adherence to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines as they relate to the description of mortgagee property listings on

The fact is that within the 349 listings currently on the site which use the term mortgagee there are number that are not in fact properties subject to mortgagee auction or tender or as properties being sold on the instruction of the lender.

To quote a couple of examples (these are not being identified to protect the anonymity of the agent:

Mortgagee Auction ?
Not at all….. but our vendors will meet the market to ensure a sale on auction day!
Situated on an established easy care section with fantastic outdoor living, the home has spacious living, modern kitchen, 3 double bedrooms and 2 toilets.
Inspection essential to appreciate all that the property offers. – Excellent school zones and close to amenities.
This home will be sold!
Will you be the lucky new owner?

Location is the Greatest. Apartment is Excellent, the situation is unbelievable and the timing is right Now! You’ll be surprised what the Vendor will Sell for! Might as well call it a Mortgagee Sale! Why wait? Find out what the fuss is all about!

This practice of “seeding” listings with this keyword of “mortgagee” is clearly being done to attract attention, however as this article in the NZ Herald clearly shows the attention of the ASA may be the result.

The guidelines for us running the website are very clear from a legal perspective – we are a publisher and do not undertake to audit or review any content we receive from any of our customers for publication on the website, to do so would be impossible and impractical. However if any complaint is addressed to us regarding any content on the website we will immediately contact the office and agent concerned and request them to immediately amend the content or remove it.

I would encourage everyone in this industry to recognise that by abiding by the guidelines of the ASA and not misusing keywords that the whole industry will benefit from greater trust and credability as seen from the perspective of the public and regulatory authourities.

March 30 2009 | Online marketing | 2 Comments »

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