Unlocking Leads on Your Website

The ascension of online property portals has coincided with the rise of the digitally savvy consumer, and the real estate industry must innovate to compete. Here, we take a look at the digital moves estate agents can make to drive traffic, convert leads and grow their market share.

Unlocking Leads on Your Website

Today’s digital consumers have high expectations when it comes to their online experiences, and real estate brands must take heed in order to increase their conversion rates and remain competitive in the face of digital disruption. This disruption has largely come in the form of property portals, and there’s no denying the impact these have had on the real estate sector. Property portals have risen to dominance and in most cases, they’re now the first port of call for consumers who are searching for properties.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way. It was traditionally the estate agent who would take ownership of the consumer’s journey from the get-go, helping to guide them through the process of making an important purchasing decision. But now, this journey usually starts online, and property portals have brought with them a specific set of problems for real estate agents who have lost control of the consumer journey. Differentiating your brand is almost impossible on a generic portal site, and profit margins are damaged due to over-reliance on portals for leads, enquiries and sales. Access to sellers is limited too.

So how can real estate brands regain control and place themselves at the start and finish of the consumer journey? Property portals are just one of the challenges for the real estate industry, which is also faced with self-directing consumers for whom digital is second nature. 93% of buyers use websites to search for a new home, while 73% use mobile or tablet apps. And the demographics are changing; millennials are entering the property market with 58% of them using a mobile device to find their home.

Consider the digital consumer

These consumers are the very same ones who enjoy personalised digital experiences on platforms such as Netflix and Spotify - and this is exactly what they’ve come to expect. 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company which delivers custom content, and 80% say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services. Recapturing the end-to-end consumer journey means real estate brands must therefore deliver tailored, superior digital experiences along the way.

It’s an engaged consumer who is most likely to stick around on this end-to-end journey - and our data has shown that people are at their most interested and engaged on real estate agent websites when they’re browsing properties. It’s something many consumers really enjoy doing, yet a great deal of websites just aren’t geared towards this. No matter how these consumers arrive at the website - be it via social media, search or a direct link - they often find that the site is not tailored for them, but rather those who are in the final stages of their journey and ready to make a transaction, with too much emphasis placed on property valuations, for example. This is a good call to action (CTA), but not for everyone.

An improperly optimised user interface, a lack of appropriate CTAs which match the user’s current objectives, and the absence of a qualification mechanism to determine which consumers are in immediate need of the estate agent’s service, lead to an all-round poor digital experience. Consumers don’t receive the highly personalised experience they expect online, and these leads drop out of the process as lost potential conversions.

Customising experiences, converting leads

To secure conversions, brands must provide a superior omni-channel experience. So what does this entail? As we’ve seen, consumers begin their journey from different touch-points and at different levels of interest too - and this is what brands need to bear in mind.

Successful brands will not only target the right people with the right properties; they will create opportunities for conversion at all stages by providing consumers with clear, customised CTAs that align with their particular position in the property journey and help them take the most appropriate next step. That’s where an automatic qualification mechanism comes in, allowing the estate agent to offer this next step while ranking and prioritising leads. By leveraging technology that supports your website, in addition to other channels, you create the necessary gateways for a superior, customised journey which strengthens your brand, keeps the consumer engaged and maximises conversions.

It’s with this in mind that we’ve created Engage, a tool designed to increase the value of your website traffic and help to ensure the conversion of leads. It works in three stages, and the first of these is the addition of relevant, easily accessible CTAs which integrate seamlessly with the website. Users might arrange a viewing or subscribe to updates on a particular property, simply by submitting their name and contact details. This latter option is particularly helpful for consumers who are in the early stages of their property journey and not yet ready to speak with an agent.

Users who respond to the initial CTA are then directed to a touch-based questionnaire featuring five to eight questions regarding their personal property journey. This in turn builds a rich consumer profile which means the agent will know exactly where this user is situated in their journey - and the benefits of this qualification process are two-fold. Not only will the agent know exactly which users are worthwhile leads, but they’ll also be able to tailor their service to each individual user. For example, if a property seeker isn’t quite ready to buy yet, an understanding of their anticipated timeline and interests means the estate agent can leverage other digital assets to provide them with custom content in the meantime.

This is the kind of seamless, tailored experience that modern digital consumers now demand and expect, and it’s this that will enable real estate agents to fend off digital disruption and reclaim ownership of the end-to-end consumer journey to convert leads and increase their market share.

Listen to our webinar with our CEO André Hegge and CMO Munyaradzi Hoto to learn more about Engage and the art of converting your website’s leads.