What is the ROI on your real estate agency's marketing spend?
Article by: Adriaan Grove (CEO, Entegral)
PROPERTY PORTALS – RISKING ALL TO BE NUMBER ONE?
This is interesting...50% of USA portal Zillow's operating expenses are sales & marketing related, yet they are making a net loss. Both Trulia and Zillow will spend close to R500m this year in advertising whilst competing for the same customers. That’s R1 billion! Basically, their increase in marketing is outpacing their user and subscriber growth. They are trying to outdo each other in a highly competitive space, by pumping more money into advertising. Both are listed on the stock exchange, so they are driving the revenue numbers for investors.
Do we have a similar situation in South Africa: where excessive amounts are spent by portals on advertising, which must be recovered (from estate agents) over the long term?
SOUTH AFRICA – A SMALL SPACE TO COMPETE IN
The EAAB lists about 40,000 agents and 10,000 registered agencies - of course the active agents and agencies are far less. That’s quite a small space to compete in for portals if you want to run expensive national campaigns.
Looking at historic lead stats for our clients, investing in a good website makes sense for agents. A mobile real estate website, even more so looking at the mobile phone internet penetration stats. Our stats show more people using their mobile phones to access real estate websites after hours (especially between peak times from 7pm-9pm). Is your website reachable? If you don't have a mobile site, you are losing out on possible leads. We've recently launched our new mobile offering for estate agents which will help you drive more leads when people are not in front of their pc’s.
IS MOST OF YOUR MARKETING BUDGET IN ONE BASKET?
If you are putting all your marketing spend into one basket (or portal) and not investing in your own online marketing efforts, you are taking a huge gamble.
The reason is that the internet landscape is ever evolving and you can't rely on one source to drive all your leads. These days, social media is key to attract new clients and can’t be ignored. Google's SEO algorithms have also changed significantly over the years to put more focus on quality content. With a good website, and proper weekly unique articles plus a social media drive on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and PInterest there’s no reason why you can't outdo your bigger competitors...or even the portals!
Combine this with Google Adwords packages which only focuses on your local area for maximum effect, and you have a killer combination. Our team can, for instance, integrate tracking on your website which shows you the exact ROI on Adwords ad spend. It displays how much you’re paying per lead.
Another great South African industry first feature we've introduced, is a lead consolidation feature in our OMS system. It centralizes leads from all the leading portals into one view. You can then see where your leads are coming from and if agents are following up on them.
The key skills required by successful agents these days must encompass the efficient use of the latest technology tools. It’s easy to get caught up spending your time on the wrong things. So make sure you calculate the ROI not only on your marketing spend, but also on the things you spend time on, personally.