With everyone working from home and businesses moving completely online to adhere to social distancing guidelines, digital marketing becomes more important than ever.
It’s just no longer geared towards lead generation but rather focused on supporting estate agencies keep the conversation going with their customer base and effectively keep the show on the road.
Your website is your virtual shop window
Your high street office might have closed, but your website is open 24/7. In fact it remains the most important channel for your existing and potential customers to reach your agency, contact you with questions or valuation requests and to browse through your property listings and book virtual viewings.
So make sure your website is up to date and ready to do all that. Some of the things you should consider:
- Keep customers informed of your business availability and services during the lockdown, right from the homepage.
- Make contact details more visible and readily available for users to reach out to you online - including email and phone numbers, social media pages & team profiles if relevant.
- Update your viewings and valuation calls-to-action on the website to reflect the new virtual set-up that you have in place. If you’re struggling to get started with virtual viewings and virtual valuations, find out here how you can do that for free.
- Make sure your property listings are up to date, complete with useful information, including all the photography available and virtual tours, maps and other 3rd party widgets at your disposal.
Real-time online communication is the new normal
Everyone had to rapidly adapt in the past couple of weeks; because of social distancing, we’re now used to jumping on video calls or text messaging with family, friends, clients and business partners online. It’s the new normal.
Beyond property listings and the right calls-to-action in place, your website should reflect this new normal and allow your users to reach out in the most convenient way for them. At the other end, making yourself available for this kind of real-time online communication with users is key in retaining and generating new business (no matter how little that is).
Video calls using Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp integration are the lowest hanging fruit to get started with. In addition to that, a managed live chat solution could prove to be very helpful for customer support and user engagement for estate agencies that no longer have the resources to manage them in-house. Some of the best live chat widgets we know and recommend for the property vertical include CommVersion, MoneyPenny and Yomdel.
Being social is more important than ever
The lockdown means, among other things, that a lot of us spend more time on social media than ever before. Whether it’s to read and share the latest news or connect virtually with colleagues and family, screen time on web and mobile apps is through the roof.
This offers estate agents a real opportunity to communicate with their audiences in ways that will strengthen their brands over the long term. Granted, there is less room for selling services or promoting properties at this point in time, but it’s a chance for estate agents to connect with the public in more authentic, meaningful ways.
Sharing personal content from self-isolation, telling your brand story and what it stands for, being there for your customers in these challenging times or getting involved in the local community, social media is the best channel to do that in.
An awesome example of that is the #AgentsHereToHelp initiative, created by The Depositary and calling all estate agents and property suppliers to join a series of live Q&A series on Facebook, to offer support and advice to the general public on house moving during the lockdown.
Don’t neglect your database
It might be hard to call every single client and prospect in your database now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate with them on a regular basis. Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to communicate with a large number of people in personal and straightforward ways.
So make sure you continue sending out regular updates via email - whether it’s to inform your customers about the status of your services during the lockdown or to share content you’ve created to support them and help them through these difficult times.
This content could cover a lot of useful topics, such as advice on how to keep safe and make the most of your homes during the isolation, things to do with kids during lockdown and tips on how to work from home. Or send updates and ways to get involved in the local community, advice on moving house and the state of the local property market during the lockdown.