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 »

Featured Agent – Frequently asked questions

To assist in answering the questions that have been asked of us as we have been setting up Featured Agent profile service we have captured the answers to the most common questions below:

How do I find out the cost of my suburb?

Easy either select your suburb on the “AgentPro” part of the website by choosing your preferred suburb or download the complete list of all suburbs that are gold or silver.

We have priced the suburbs at an introductory price level. The levels are $150 per month for gold suburbs $75 per month for silver suburbs and the remainder cost just $25 per month.

There are 73 gold suburbs, 245 silver suburbs and 1,301 bronze suburbs.

What basis is used to make a suburb a gold / silver or bronze?

When discussing this concept of Featured Agents for a suburb as an advertising opportunity all the people we spoke to told us that we needed to be fair and charge an appropriate rate based on the popularity of each suburb.

We did some analysis and looked at the number of listings and the number of viewings of listings for each suburb over a 6 month period. By combining these two sets of data we were able to come up with an objective means by which we could differentiate 3 different levels of suburbs and in so doing be fair to all in this industry.

My suburb is full – what can I do?

Unfortunately if all 3 slots for this month have beenĀ  booked then it appears that you missed out. Have a look to see if a future month is available to be booked. We will be releasing future blocks of months in the coming weeks so check out this website and make sure you subscribe to our regular monthly email from realestate.co.nz.

We chose to restrict the Featured Agents to just 3 per suburb as this ensures that the impact on the buyers looking at the site is not interrupted by to many Featured Agents, equally we wanted to ensure that there was a balance and therefore 3 agents seemed like the best number.

Why has realestate.co.nz started this initiative?

We have launched this service at the request of individual agents who wanted to take advantage of the large audience on the website to promote themselves in order to seek new vendor enquiries.

We felt that we could provide a more cost effective means for agents to advertise themselves than is currently being offered by newspapers and magazines.

The revenue from this service is part of new income which we hope in time will allow us to offset and subscription changes and hopefully if we are successful enough with this and other initiatives like Zoodle allow us to reduce the subscription fees charges to offices. This is only possible as a result of the website being owned by the industry and the reinvesting any profits made from the website back into the business rather than distributing to shareholders.

What if I want to buy a whole year

We have started off just offering 3 months (April / May / June) – we want to measure the results of these initial months and then with feedback plan the forthcoming next 6 or 12 months. This also ensures that in this initial period we can ensure broad awareness within the industry. With the best will in the world we know not everyone will find out about this on day one and we did not want to frustrate people by having them find their chosen suburb is booked for the next 12 months at this early stage.

How can I find out if there is space available for my chosen suburb

To find out is a slot is available for this month or a future month login to your AgentPro account and search for your chosen suburb.

We do not provide a status that shows which suburbs have available space. To do so could lead to people block booking areas. In the consultation we have had with the industry prior to launching we received clear feedback that we should drive this service at individual agents who want to be profiled on their chosen suburbs rather than offices or groups who might want to buy up areas of the country deliberately to exclude others.

Can I add my blog or my website as the link

The link provided in the Feature Agent advert takes the enquirer to the listing profile page of the agent on realestate.co.nz. On this page there is the opportunity for external links to office website, agent website and also an agent’s blog.

Why is my office logo not showing?

The primary purpose of the advert is to promote the individual agent and as the cost is borne directly by the agent paying online by credit card we judged based on discussions with the industry that the focus should be on the photo and contact details of the agent

My featured agent advert shows my office telephone – I would prefer it to show my mobile number?

If your mobile number is not showing it is because we do not hold that number in our database. We have set a priority rule for the display of contact details. Firstly we show the mobile number, if that is not available we show the home number, if that is not available we show the office number. If you would like to provide us with your mobile number then please contact our team on 0800 732 536 or email info@realestate.co.nz

What happens if I do not have a credit card?

The service of Featured Agent is based on first-come-first-served. Due to demand and to the processing costs of managing orders, invoices and cash collection we do not offer this service. Unfortunately if you do not have a credit card you cannot purchase this service.

Can I buy a feature half way through a month?

You can buy a Featured Agent advert at anytime as long as the space is available. However we do not discount the charge is less than a full month is available.

April 02 2009 | New feature | 5 Comments »

How to double your lead generation and reduce your cost per lead by 60%?

Simple answer! – switch to online marketing!

These amazing figures have been shared by Century 21’s Senior Vice President of marketing (Beverly Thorne) who was recently interviewed for e-Marketer magazine.

As was reported on a post on the Unconditional blog back in January, Century 21 in the US has made a strategic decision to back away from main media including TV to focus their marketing online. Whilst not sharing the exact cost of acquisition of leads Beverly did say:

From December 2007 to December 2008, we improved the efficiency of our lead generation by reducing our cost per lead over 60%. At the same time, we multiplied our number of leads by over 235%.

There is no doubt that the real estate industry is fast realising the cost effective tool the web provides to attract a relevant and targeted audience and through that to generating leads for vendor’s properties. These opportunities are not purely restricted to buyer enquiries the web is a very powerful tool to build leads for prospective vendors.

These are the key topics are comprehensively covered in the forthcoming series of presentations offered for free by realestate.co.nz which have commenced again after the Christmas break.
The first ports of call for March are New Plymouth and Palmerston North. Other venues around the country will be added over the coming weeks and months. To keep in touch check out the special “On the Road” website or call at anytime our support team on 0800 732 536

February 26 2009 | Online marketing | 2 Comments »

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 (realestate.com.au and allrealestate.co.nz) – 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 »