Australian real estate brands must innovate, engage, and inform to attract new customers in the crowded social/mobile digital space. Those that can cut through to customers with customer focused websites that work on smartphones, iPads and desktop computers will boost their profile and rapidly grow market share, according to First National Real Estate chief executive, Mr Ray Ellis.
“We know that customers will only search on websites where they find every available property, never on just a single brand’s website. So the focus of our new national website is to add value, assist with the different stages in a customer’s real estate journey, then empower them to make decisions in their best interests” said Mr Ellis.
Attending the launch of First National Real Estate’s new national website, Mr Ellis said First National was the only network to think outside the box and address what customers really want, which is much more than just property search portals.
Consumers search for real estate information using smartphones and tablet computers while commuting, at work, during lunch, and even on the couch at night. Tenants, buyers and sellers want to see property videos, find answers to questions, share information through social media and take more control of the real estate process.
More than 65 per cent of people looking for property are using their phone or mobile device so video marketing is of growing importance. Anecdotal evidence is that properties marketed with video sell faster and are perceived to be of higher value.
“Nobody wants to read off their smart phone’s small screen so the FNTV section of our website offers video property search, video market updates, video tips and a wide range of useful video resources and advice that’s easily accessible” said Mr Ellis.
The cooperative network that has approximately 400 offices across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific is socialising its entire business and actively engages with customers through a variety of social platforms. Its ‘Social Express’ strategy has delivered members a 76 per cent increase in local consumer reach in its first six months and ‘fans’ have increased by close to 40 per cent, across the group.
“By providing social media content that potential customers want, educating our members to be socially savvy, releasing a groundbreaking website, and allowing customers to ask questions and provide feedback online, we’re opening new opportunities to start relationships with the experts, our members,” said Mr Ellis.
“Because our national website is responsive, we’re fully optimised for smart phones, tablet computers or desktop computers. Whatever the customer’s device, First National makes access to information simple and visually appealing.
“First National has successfully positioned over 88 per cent of its members websites in top 10 Google search results. Nearly 70 per cent of our membership is actively engaging with customers through social media. Last year, BIS Shrapnel announced First National as the third largest Australian network by market share, and, now we’re laying the foundations of future growth for our members’ businesses with this revolutionary website” said Mr Ellis.