Digital Marketing for Estate Agents: A Guide to Local SEO

The internet has provided businesses in every industry and of every size with the opportunity to not only reach customers in their home country, but also to expand into the global market.

However, for estate agencies, the ideal target audience is local, rather than global.

For estate agents, a successful digital marketing strategy should focus on reaching customers who are based in the local area by appearing on localised search queries. This enables users who are searching for an estate agent in their local area or users who are in the area already to find you as quickly and as easily as possible. Because of this, performing local SEO should be a top priority for any estate agent, and a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy. Read on for some top tips for local SEO for estate agents.

Registering your Estate Agents with Google My Business

Google provides a one-stop-shop for a number of local businesses, including estate agencies, known as Google My Business. This is a tool which enables you to increase your company’s visibility within Google search results, Google Plus and Google Maps, making it extremely useful for smaller, local organisations such as estate agencies. It also provides extra convenience by allowing you to manage all of your business’ Google services from one platform. Visit www.google.co.uk/business in order to quickly sign your company up for this service. Once you have done this, you will need to ensure that you include all of your business’ correct details, including an address, before verifying it.

Include Your Address on Your Website

It is hugely important that Google understands exactly where it is that your business is located in order for it to show up in local search results. In order to improve your visibility in the search results, it’s crucial that your business address is fully listed on your business website, including the postal code. If it fits in well with the design and is appropriate, your first choice for including your address should be in the website footer of every page on your site. By doing this, you will reinforce the relevancy of each and every page on your whole website for local searches.

Separate Branch Pages

If your estate agency has a number of different branches in different locations, it’s crucial to keep them separate from each other on your business website. Having a separate page on your site for each branch that you have will ensure that you create optimum search result visibility for all of your estate agency locations. Each page should include a range of information which is specific to the location, for example the full address including the postcode, and the telephone number including the area code. This enables Google to have a clear picture as to where your branches are active and keeps them separate from each other in order to avoid confusion.

Location Relevant Keywords

In SEO, the process of using location relevant keywords in your website’s content is known as optimisation, which is the process of ‘optimising’ your website so that each page is as relevant as possible to the search terms for which you would like to appear in Google’s search results. If you want to be found when people search for local place names or people search for estate agencies in your area, you will need to ensure that the name of the area and local place names are used across your website. This means creating content which talks about where your branch is, where the houses that you have for sale are located, and which areas your company serves, for example.

Links from Local Websites

Links are a hugely important part of SEO. When another website links back to yours in the form of a hyperlink, Google views this as a favourable ‘vote’ for both the relevance and quality of your website, rewarding you with a boost in visibility in the Google search results. By getting links to your website from other websites that are based in the local area, you can help to improve your own local visibility. These could include links from local government websites, news websites which cover the local area, or local groups and associations of which your estate agency is a part. You could also get involved with the local community, for example by sponsoring a local sports team, in return for links back to your website from theirs.

Positive Reviews

Online reviews are becoming more and more of a significant tool for improving your presence online. If you want your business to appear prominently for localised search terms, you will definitely need to consider how your customers are able to leave online reviews for your company and the service which they have received. The importance of generating honest and genuine reviews of your business and its services online is ever increasing, along with the need for these reviews to come from authoritative online social hubs and businesses. Even if you have all of your other local search strategy elements fully covered, it’s important not to underestimate the power of review data. Ensure that your business is listed in local directories that allow customers to leave reviews, and also encourage customers to specify the area when leaving a review of your company.

Although the internet has given all businesses the chance to go global, companies in the estate agency industry need to go back to basics and focus on targeting a local audience.

5 Digital Marketing Techniques of Successful Estate Agents

Online shopping is on the rise, and this isn’t limited only to buying new clothes, gadgets and other consumer products. In fact, in recent times the internet has become the primary method used by homeowners who are looking to sell their home, and buyers who are looking for a new property. This is an unavoidable fact which all estate agents can take advantage of and use in order to become more competitive, increase their customer base, and bring in more profits.

Before the internet, pre-digital marketing methods were limited. However, it was still possible for businesses to achieve a level of success on the same scale as many today have with the help of the internet. These businesses have gone on to become some of the most successful when it comes to digital marketing, expanding their company size, brand recognition and customer base through the use of online and digital marketing.

For estate agents, both digital and non-digital marketing strategies are important in today’s day and age. Whilst businesses in other industries can achieve success by using digital marketing alone, estate agents are at an advantage where due to targeting local audiences, non-digital marketing can still be just as effective as it was decades ago. But, this doesn’t mean that digital marketing strategies can be ignored – quite the opposite. In order to achieve real success, it’s important to ensure that both forms of marketing are carried out to their maximum potential.

By following these five steps, you can become a local expert and ensure that your estate agency is the point of contact for both homeowners looking to sell and prospective homebuyers in your local area and beyond. Keeping in mind that in today’s day and age, most home purchases begin with a simple online search, it’s important to stick to a formula which drives as much traffic as possible to your website and ultimately enables you to close more deals.

Creating Buyer Guides

It is always good to imagine that any visitors to your website have absolutely no idea about the area in which your estate agency operates and what it is like to live there. Although the majority of your target audience is likely to be based in your area and will therefore probably not need this information, it’s good to keep in mind that you’ll also likely come across buyers who are moving from a completely different area and therefore buyer guides are exactly what they are looking for.

The more information that you are able to provide, the more opportunities you will have to be able to answer a question that may be tapped into Google search, getting you further up the results list. As an estate agent, you will be fully aware of the type of questions that are commonly asked by homeowners and buyers, enabling you to use this to your advantage when preparing a buyer guide which compiles all the most sought-after answers into one easy-to-reach place. For example, you may want to mention things such as nearby schools, public transport timetables, local events, sports facilities, shopping, crime rates, and even the economy in the area to give any potential buyers a clear idea of what to expect. This way, you will become the go-to source for any potential homebuyers who are seeking more information. Ensure that the guides are downloadable from your website or send a link to a landing page for download if you are distributing guides via email on request.

Creating Your Brand Identity

There is much more to creating a brand identity than simply having a recognisable logo, especially in the estate agent industry. These days, successful companies, for example Jones Lang LaSalle, have become the go-to resource for anybody carrying out research on real estate marketing internationally. This is because they use their own data from their globally based offices and produce a range of statistics that you will be unable to find anywhere else. This is one of the biggest signs of a successful brand identity, especially in the investment market.

It is absolutely vital that your organisation’s marketing ‘voice’ has authority behind it. This can easily be achieved by looking at the advice given to many stockbrokers-in-training – ‘take a view’. Simply put, this means that you should be knowledgeable on which way the market is going, the developments that are taking place in your area which could add any value to investments made by your clients, the impact any rising or falling interest rates will have in real money terms when it comes to borrowing, and understanding the Forex implications for any international buyers who will be purchasing in different currencies.

Of course, it is not possible to know exactly what is going to happen in the future, however, the importance of taking a view is that your clients will feel that you are on the case and have formed a strategy which keeps their best interests in mind. This not only brings credibility to your entire operation, but also improves your overall brand identity.

Keeping In Touch

For decades before the internet, estate agents stayed in touch with their prospective buyers by sending them regular newsletters and magazines which contained their latest listings. Back before the dawn of the internet, it was almost guaranteed that newsletters from estate agents would lie on doormats underneath a pile of other marketing materials which would inevitably get thrown into the bin. Today, the digital revolution means that estate agents are in the same situation, but in a virtual, rather than a literal sense. Email folders are now filling up quickly with junk and spam, and for many email users, a huge percentage of the mail that finds its way into their main inbox is deleted before it is even opened.

For this reason, it’s important to work to engage your clients so that they feel compelled to open your email newsletters rather than just move them straight to the junk folder. This can be done by using the subject line to your advantage, creating an email subject which is guaranteed to provide the best click-through rates.

But, don’t stop there – the way in which you format your newsletter is also important. The best way to do this is to include links to previous news articles that have been published on your website because it is a useful way of attracting more traffic to your site and encouraging it to stick. You should also include the use of images in your newsletters, but be careful not to go overboard. Limiting your newsletter to one or two feature properties with around 5-6 links to others on your website is often enough to interest potential customers without overloading them with information. Ultimately, it’s important to ensure that your newsletter is worth the read!

Business Blog

The blog area of your website is more important than you may realise. Not only does having a business blog for your estate agency which is regularly updated help your SEO efforts by bringing in fresh content, it’s also an area where you get to really showcase your brand’s ‘personality’ and engage with customers on a more personal level. The blog area is where you can express things such as your personal take on market activity, talk about properties in the area which you’re particularly fond of, or even tell your readers more about what’s going on in the neighbourhood.

Your blog is the personal identity of your estate agency, and can work with just one or several contributors so long as they are actually working for the firm and can ensure that blog posts remain consistent in views and brand voice. The blog is where you will share your most relative, informational content on a regular basis in order to maintain customer interest. Use your website’s blog as a tool to showcase your expertise and make it clear to any visitors that your estate agency is the go-to expert for information about selling and buying homes in your area.

Don’t forget that on your blog, you can also ask your readers more about the topics that they are interested in, answer questions, and give updates on the community to provide a truly customer-centric experience. Your blog isn’t the place to show off your extensive vocabulary, so write in an easy-to-understand, friendly tone which your readers will be able to relate to. Providing as much value as possible, but doing so in layman’s terms, will ensure that you have effective communication.

Consistency

It is crucial to devise a strategy for digital marketing that is based on terms of which tasks need to be completed on a regular basis with a disciplined approach. When it comes to online and digital marketing, there is absolutely no point in being sporadic as in today’s digital age, content has an extremely short life expectancy and visitors expect to be updated and provided with fresh content and information, sometimes as often as multiple times a day. News articles that are originally sourced and completely unique need to be uploaded with careful precision timing, in order to ensure that the crawlers, spiders and bots of internet search engines can pick up on them.

Staying up to date and consistent is imperative, as displaying outdated articles, news and buyer guides on your website sends a message to customers that represents little to no value. If there is no interesting, current information on your site for visitors to explore, their visit is likely to be brief if they are unable to find a property listing that they like. Often, it can be difficult to find inspiration for content pieces, but bear in mind that keeping up to date with both local and national news both online and offline can be a key source for fresh ideas and information.

As an estate agent, effective digital marketing is essential to your success and no matter which platform you are using, it is all about providing value. Aiming to give your customers the best value when it comes to your website, email newsletters, blog and other marketing materials is absolutely crucial when it comes to ensuring that your organisation has a strong brand image and is known as a local expert.