Estate agents need to focus on adapting their marketing messaging to overcome the common challenge of depleted stock levels, according to The ValPal Network.
A recent survey of over 650 agents, carried out by Zoopla, shows that ‘insufficient stock’ has been one of agents’ top three challenges for three consecutive years.
With no signs that improving stock levels will become any easier in 2019, The ValPal Network, which represents over 800 agency brands and more than 4,000 branches, is urging agents to focus their marketing strategy on driving traffic to their websites. To then convert that traffic into vendor and landlord leads.
There are a number of ways agents can drive traffic to their websites. These include social media and content marketing, pay-per-click advertising and client database mining.
On top of this, there are several traditional marketing techniques agents can use to drive traffic such as leafletting, touting letters and local newspaper advertising.
Craig Vile, director of The ValPal Network said, “The majority of agents will already be carrying out several of these elements, but if they don’t have a way of converting the increased traffic directly generated from marketing campaigns, they won’t see an increase in the number of leads they are generating.
“The easiest and most common way to do this is to drive traffic to a defined ‘Call to Action’ such as an instant online valuation tool. This allows you to gather prospects’ contact details for your sales team to follow up on.”
The ValPal Network is therefore advising agents to tweak their marketing to include clear reference to a Call to Action so they can convert more website traffic and ensure they’re not wasting their marketing spend.
It’s also now vitally important for agents to check their website on their own mobile device to see how consumers are seeing them. For example, how easy is it for users to find the call to action button?
Vile added, “Around half of prospective clients will be using mobile devices to visit your website, so you could be missing around 50% of opportunities if your mobile site isn’t configured properly.
“Our team has recently worked with a number of Network members to make subtle tweaks to their messaging used in tried and tested marketing methods.
“They are already seeing the benefits. Their stock levels are up, and the additional activity has also attracted more buyers to their door.”
He said, that one advantage the agents hadn’t considered was the positive attitude that has grown within their team, something which is crucial when market conditions are challenging.
Steven Herd, founder of MyLondonHome said, “We’ve been able to grow our number of listings by realigning our marketing budget, so it’s focused on generating vendor leads. In a market with depleting stock levels, hot buyers will soon find your good listings.
“Instant online valuation tools bring all this together and ensure our marketing budget isn’t wasted by providing the team with a constant supply of future vendors who otherwise wouldn’t have engaged with our site.”
Katie Darlow, residential sales director of Roberts Estate Agents said, “Following an email campaign we recently sent out offering an ‘online valuation now,’ we generated a massive 261 valuation leads in a week.
“We have worked with the team at The ValPal Network to make sure the tool works to its maximum potential and always see a huge response following campaigns based around instant online valuations.
“We are aware that the leads are not always immediate business, but today’s online valuations are next month’s listings.”
Vile continued, “We know 2019 is going to be a tough year for many agents with Brexit uncertainty stifling the market and the introduction of the ban on letting agent fees hitting the bottom lines of many firms.
“However, this doesn’t mean its time to cut back on marketing, batten down the hatches and become frugal. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you choose to do nothing, nothing will happen.
“Therefore, agents must put resources into their marketing activity in order to get the attention of the reduced number of people looking to move and work on taking market share from their competitors.”
The organisation behind the industry’s pioneering and best-known instant online valuation tool, The ValPal Network provides a range of additional products for estate and letting agents.
These include live chat service ChatPal and branding and design tool DesignPal, alongside training webinars and unlimited marketing advice.
There is also the soon-to-be-launched MovePal, a consumer moving hub which agents can use to generate revenue from referrals, as well as PortalPal, which will qualify buyer and tenant leads generated by the leading portals.
Analysis carried out by The ValPal Network last year found that 18% of online sales valuations its members generated over a two-year period went on to complete with HM Land Registry.
This means, members had the opportunity to earn £363m in potential commission from the leads generated between, January 2016 and the end of December 2017.