EPMEPM: Technology & Social

The New Online Environment

It’s no longer just about advertising rentals online. The property management agencies at the cutting edge are building their businesses online. Story by rent.com.au CEO Mark Woschnak.

In today’s competitive property management climate, it’s no longer good enough, or savvy business practice, to just list your rentals online using traditional mediums. Putting all your faith and dollars into listings alone and a non-targeted environment does not attract your total potential audience, nor does it offer anything to the growth of your company.

In the new era of real estate where property management has risen to the fore as an important growth area to combat a slow sales market, it’s time to look for ways to remain competitive in the changing environment. While we have long been educated on the need and value of promoting properties online – in fact, today it’s a given – the next step is to extend from listing online into building your business online.

A lot of tools have recently been adopted by agents, such as Facebook pages, Linked-in profiles and even Twitter accounts, which are important networking and profile tools in an increasing social business environment. Good SEO is important, and mobile apps and individual website tools that provide direct engagement to potential clients and customers, transparency of accounts and privileged CRM access are excellent engagement and clients experience factors that bind loyalty through excellent service.

With the growth of social networking and service oriented tools having been so prolific over recent years, the question is: what else can be done to get effective results online?

Getting back to the basics of getting more distribution to the right audience is key, and this may be through many channels. Over and above standard marketing and distribution of listings, business can be built by using more targeted online websites, which not only promote your rental properties, but also support the property management industry through better services for renters (such as daily new rental alerts, rather than weekly) and through building a direct line of communication between property managers and the large, but fragmented, landlord audience that has traditionally been difficult to find and market to.

In the rental industry, it is still a shock for most property managers to understand that according to the 2006 ABS Census statistics, more than 40% of all rental properties are managed by non-agents (for example corporates and private landlords). This is a large audience of property investors, of which many are ready willing and able to receive professional management services on a scale and quality level typically much better than they are aware of.

It is therefore highly opportunistic for property managers to move into new circles engaging in more local, state and national community sites or aggregate sites that facilitate direct access to renters and landlords. This gets your product proposition immediately presented, will create better efficiency of marketing effort, build relevant databases and allow better measurable activity of leads and conversions to occur.

Not only do property managers want better access to more landlords; landlords also want better convenient access of services from professional property managers.

Sites that focus on niche markets and direct service propositions are able to centralise all of the key stakeholders of the industry into one place. Good examples of these types of sites are stayz (holiday rentals), rent.com.au (residential rentals) and realcommercial.com.au (commercial properties).

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