Today’s big question for agents: Which road should we take on the digital super-highway?

The most common sight we now all see whether travelling on public transport, at work or even at the dinner table, is people with their heads down, not in prayer but tapping away at social media.

It is one of the biggest social changes we have seen since William Caxton introduced the printing press to England in 1476.

This means we now have a major choice to make in our profession.

Do we continue to place our properties on the portals in order to reach prospective customers – and remain as servants to these domineering masters?

Or do we focus on the more visited Google, Facebook and YouTube channels to reach our target audiences?

My view is we all need to get better, slicker and more digitally savvy around these channels and use our own brands to promote our properties, becoming less reliant on the property portals, as new technology will certainly overtake them.

The question is, are we ready? The resounding answer, for most estate agents, is almost certainly, not yet.

Therefore, we need to think ahead of the digital picture and start to develop our own networks to promote properties directly to every person’s handbag, briefcase or pocket.

In my own company we have brought FLINK to the market, which is already proving to be a game changer. This uses clever technology to put our property ads on social media feeds in front of the people most likely to buy – as well as those who aren’t even looking.

It’s far more advanced than using targeted Facebook ads, enabling us to show different permutations of ads for the same property, depending on the interests of the social media user.

We are now seeing passive buyers where we did not reach them before with traditional marketing methods.

Just over two months since launch, the increase in click-throughs to our own website has been astonishing.

Our properties have been seen by almost 37m people on social media – with 13% of people who see a property on Facebook, Instagram or Google Plus clicking through to our website, costing us just 8 pence per click.

It’s a fraction of what any estate agent would pay to promote a property on Rightmove Featured Agent, and much cheaper than Google Ads which cost us £2.85 per click.

At the same time, our number of Facebook followers has increased eight-fold. This is true digital disruption in estate agency.

I look back to when I first started in estate agency, and in my town, as a former professional national newspaper photographer, I was considered a trailblazer for using photos in newspaper ads!

We paid more than three times as much in those days for a page of ads – and the more pages you could afford, the more market share you would have.

Compare this now to the declining number of newspaper ads for estate agents, correlating to the declining newspaper circulation figures, and consider instead the amount of different channels and technology we now have to keep on top of – including web, social media, PR, advertising, leaflet drops, blogs, vlogs, brochures, boards, branded cars, review sites and even radio and TV if you can afford it.

It’s a real conundrum to know where to focus your marketing efforts, but what I do know is that we all need to put our foot on the gas on the digital super-highway – or otherwise we will risk being left behind.

Be careful what you click for

As the holiday season approaches and we start to book our flights to warmer destinations, it is always easy to be tempted by those low price air fares that seem so good to be true – and indeed they are until you start adding on all the extras, like luggage, the price of a sandwich or the company’s own insurance policies.

Well, the same is happening in our world of estate agency, where the offer of a cut price, low rate fee is soon overtaken by all those extras you are then asked to pay for, such as accompanied viewings, brochures or forcing people to use the company’s conveyancers.

So suddenly the bill isn’t as cheap as you expected.

And while it still undercuts the traditional cost of selling houses, the one thing sellers haven’t costed into the equation is the value of face-to-face contact, knowledge about buyers and local expertise that you always get with a branch-based estate agent.

The budget estate agents are all charging different things for a different level of service, confusing the public in the process, who don’t realise they are paying for their property just to be listed – not for it to be sold for the best possible price and service.

It’s just another aspect of our marketing that us traditional estate agents need to keep reminding the public about. After all, you get what you pay for in life.

We will always be a people business

Even though social media and the digital revolution is shaping the way we operate, we still need the very best and highly trained teams to handle property sales.

Selling in whatever guise will always be a people business – or H2H, as I call it. Not heart to heart or head to head but human to human.

And while technology may dictate how we do that, speaking and dealing with another human being will always be the preferred option for most people buying or selling a home.

This is especially true when the sale isn’t straightforward and you need that human intervention to not only smooth out the problems but act in a reassuring way.

This is why getting the best staff will always be the bedrock of any successful estate agency, and we only do that through encouragement, proper training and incentivising our teams.

We’ve just had our annual awards ceremony and conference where we rewarded our top performers for their amazing efforts, treating them to top speakers, comedy and entertainment – and giving them a day and night to remember.

Would a budget agent look after their staff in the same way?


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  1. The Outsider

    Or you could just break the law to try and compete…

  2. AgentPink92

    £2.85 a click on PPC?

    Something not right there.

    Our average PPC click cost is 9p for c10,000 targeted visits a month.

  3. Property Paddy

    Is this an advert for “Flink” ?


    1. mrharvey

      I think…. I THINK… it might be. But it’s pretty hard to find the sales message.

  4. Chrispy

    Flink must be amazing but working in a slightly different way I’d expect as all of the Haart offices near us have been losing market share for a while

  5. GlennAckroyd

    It’s not an advert for FLINK, because I think they have a sole supply agreement with Spicerheart.

    But cost per click, visits, likes, shares, yadda yadda mean nothing.

    It’s like Arsenal having 80% of possession, 12 corners, 25 shots, but losing 1-0.

    The only thing that matters is cost per lead, being a combination of cost per click and your website conversion rate.

    BTW – I know this is is second time that the FLINK story has been run – But I can vouch for the underlying product.

    We use the same tech with better algorithms and conversions (250% better in A-v-B testing).

    CPC, for what it’s worth, around a penny – Cost per valuation lead, £20.28 currently.

    1. TatianaM

      Glenn what are you using?

      1. olivia_l38

        I’m pretty sure the Ewemove guys work with a partner called Adfenix?  I work with some European clients who rave about Adfenix and they seem to be doing a lot of stuff in the UK now too.

        1. TatianaM

          Thanks for the info Olivia – good to know 🙂

  6. jeade2224

    After reading this, ALL HAIL FLINK!

  7. Woodentop

    Be careful for what you ask. For a long time I have seen the writing on the wall … it is coming …. get ready ladies and gentleman …. for I agree with Paul for the last seven words are gold. The frightening bit is this way forward “as is” leaves open for the vendor to DIY, why use an agent?


    “My view is we all need to get better, slicker and more digitally savvy around these channels and use our own brands to promote our properties, becoming less reliant on the property portals, as new technology will certainly overtake them.”

    1. AgentV

      Good point…..and what about if a thousand of us independents came together to form a co-operative collective for intelligent marketing? would anyone be up for it? 

      1. Woodentop

        Some may disagree with the intelligent marketing, but you know who tried this. So it is already there …. OMG thats going to let the cat out of the bag on this story being taken over.

        1. AgentV

          I don’t think anyone yet has tried the type of intelligent marketing we have developed. But who are you thinking of who tried true IM and already has it there?

          1. Woodentop

            We are not in the same street on this ….  independents came together to form a co-operative collective …. nodd nodd, wink wink!


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