Should Real Estate Franchises Reward Their Agents For Generating Web Traffic?

Within each franchise network there are some real estate agents who have invested their time & money into increasing their online presence by improving the SEO of their websites, building blogs & using social media marketing, yet the franchise often receives a percentage of the traffic generated by these agents across to the franchises corporate site for Free.

Since the agents are paying franchise fees, should the traffic generated by an agent that subsequently clicks open the franchises corporate site be Free traffic to the franchise? Or should the franchise reward the agent for generating traffic to their site?

Free Traffic Means Franchises Receive Free Home Loan Leads

Most franchises now have their own home loan department & potentially the franchise can generate more revenue from their home loans than they do from franchise fees paid by their agents.

If a real estate franchise wants to increase its profile on the web they could provide a reduction in franchise fees for agents who include links to their corporate website or they could build in a monthly pay-per-click incentive for the agencies who send lots of visitors across to their corporate website.

Just think, if a franchise is prepared to use pay-per-click advertising on Google to generate traffic, then wouldn’t a click from one of their agents’ websites, blogs, twitter/facebook accounts have a similar value?

If the Real Estate Franchises adopted this concept they could reward their own agents instead of paying Google for leads.

I’m sure some franchises will frown upon this idea, but the forward thinking real estate franchises should see that this provides a real incentive for their agents to build a larger web presence, send more traffic to the franchises corporate website & build a bigger corporate brand which could help to generate more real estate offices & increase the franchises home loan revenue.

I feel that anything which reduces the running costs of an agency & helps to encourage agents to increase their web presence at the same time is a good thing. What do you think?

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About Greg Vincent

Greg Vincent The Online Guy for Real Estate Professionals is a Speaker, Trainer and is a highly respected online strategist. As a real estate professional with Internet and Social Media nous, Greg Vincent presents the how-to on getting the most out of the internet and social media without the “geek speak”. His insights into on-line real estate marketing are sought throughout Australia and valued for cutting through the confusion that locks many out of gaining full value from the web. After 20 years as a real estate agent, Greg now has multiple web-based businesses and works with some of the best agents in Australia.

14 Responses to Should Real Estate Franchises Reward Their Agents For Generating Web Traffic?

  1. Robert Simeon July 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    Greg – I don’t really believe the vast majority of franchises really understand the internet. They are very traditional in their respective thought processes and the reason why they let agents host their own is because they recognise that they do a better job. 🙂

  2. Greg Vincent July 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    It would be interesting to see how much free traffic the corporate sites receive from linking from a site like yours Robert.

    The franchises could provide agents with an affiliate link & if the traffic lead to a home loan then they should pay their agents a referral fee.

    Years ago referrals within franchise groups was one of the reasons why agents joined a franchise, but nowadays the referrals from agent to agent seem to be less prevalent. For franchises to add more value to an agent in the future they may want to start thinking about digital referrals.

  3. Robert Simeon July 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Greg,

    I actually steer well clear of them as many of these guys failed in real estate. I just read in the Fin Review that LJ Hooker looks like selling for around $20 million and I heard initially $100 million then $65 million. On topic LJ Hooker does not allow their agents to run their own individual websites so hardly anybody understands what IT is all about given that a new owner might allow them to brand individually.

    I gave our Dee Why office a referral that other day however they are few and far between. Obviously vendors are better informed these days thanks to online with greater market awareness.

  4. Westie July 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    Same thing is happening with Raine and Horne at Head Office in Sydney where it appears to be run by Dads Army.

    They are heading down the same path as LJ Hooker in my opinion and lack the agility to adapt thus devaluing their long term market position.

    The days of the large neanderthal property groups dominating on a State and National level are going and the time of the agile, nimble and consumer savvy local agent are here for the long term.

    Do I back myself to be supported by a slow moving, red tape creating bureacracy or do I back my own ability to use my local knowledge, my local relationships and my ever increasing knowledge of the internet and online marketing techniques.

    Simple choice in my mind as we approach the end of another decade.

  5. Robert Simeon July 17, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Westie,

    And the launch of Google Maps just accelerated the process ten – fold. Long hail SEO!

  6. Tony Wiles July 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Hi Greg
    It’s an interesting concept and at the same time mainly applies to franchises. The bigger they are the more cumbersome and greedy they become. What do they really offer that’s worth being part of anymore.

    Posing this question is bound to excite one or two of them.

    As a small agency I couldn’t care less. We have an office policy that any monies generated by any referral business by anyone in the office is shared equally amongst all of the staff. We are a team and do our best for each other. If one or the other decides to have a go on the internet to boost office and individual profiles, we pitch in and give a hand.

    Christ knows what the world is comming to

  7. Greg Vincent July 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Westie, it’s a no brainer. The franchise groups will need to start providing innovative solutions that actually benefit their agents or they will struggle to be relevant.

    Robert, I’m amazed that LJ Hooker could sell so cheaply. They obviously haven’t used their LJHooker.com site & data the way they should. The new owner could be sitting on a goldmine, especially if they let agents build LJHooker’s web presence outside of LJHooker.com.

  8. Robert Simeon July 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    Greg – I’m not sure there are buyers at $20 million? As I see it the problem is that business model income formula of how long ten per cent will remain relevant over a flat fee basis (which is what we are on).

    I believe franchise fees remain the elephant in the room which must be popping up all the time with due diligence. What many don’t see (yet) is that the internet has made them more irrelevant given that online is now the number one source and ten per cent is a lot to pay for just a name.

  9. Glenn Batten July 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    Thankfully I can say that the First National group has really embraced SEO and internet marketing as a group both from a head office website and through the difficult part of education of the members.

    The group has developed some advanced internet marketing software just for the exclusive use of members along with some really cool SEO options/packages for members who like most of the industry just dont understand how it all works.

    Thats not to say the group did it perfectly.. resources are always limited… and you can always do better… but what they did do was fairly advanced for the industry and thanks to some core individuals they really got a hell of a bang for their buck.

    I seen one example which is certainly extreme and was not typical, but it shows what you can do if everyone works together in a group. It was a small rural town which still had around 10 local agents.. When you did a search on their town their office returned 6 of the top 10 results on the first page of Google. Two results were for their own website, two were from SEO initiatives maintained by head office, and two were by SEO initiatives started by their state council. Everything drove traffic back to their office.

    Not only did their profile look amazing but their opposition was basically shut out as Domain and REA took out 3 of the other slots and that last one still was not filled by one of their competitors.

  10. Greg Vincent July 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    Glenn, I agree the First National team have done a great job with their SEO & other initiatives.

    I wonder if the lack of innovation within some of the other franchises was because they got caught up in the home loan whirlwind & looked at their agencies as bank branches rather than focussing on real estate?

    Either way, many of them have a lot of catching up to do.

  11. It sure seems like a reasonable idea to me. The marketing power that a firm could generate with everybody working like this could do a lot for their marketshare.

    I hope the larger firms in my area aren’t considering this.

  12. Kylie Emans August 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    I think franchises for real estate are a thing of the past, the franchise fee used to be seen as an advantage over independents as it provided them with stationery, corporate image, part of a big business network image etc. Most people now know that these franchises are really independent, small businesses, none of the franchises in our area work together at all, their images are stale, they are restricted with how they can market properties and their websites? Don’t get me started they are disgraceful! As an independent who has always been an independent office we celebrate everyday that we can be flexible, keep up with technology and save franchise fee!

  13. Glenn Batten August 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    But not all real estate groups are independent. First National and the Professionals are Cooperatives. Providing the same or in many cases better resources for a fraction of the fees.

    There is good and bad points for every model whether it be a Cooperative, Independent or a Franchise. There is no perfect solution with the benefits of each but none of the issues. What suits you may not suit somebody else..

    However, I think that the legal compliance issues we face in our industry these days is making it harder and harder for an independent to navigate the day to day paperwork. You really have to rely on your industry body to provide this sort of assistance more than anybody else. Every month seems to bring new forms, new procedures or changes to one act or another and screwing it up can be very expensive.

    Leaving brand and buying power out of the discussion, for the above reason alone I think the percentage of independents in years to come will be on the decline. But time will tell!

  14. Kylie Emans August 8, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Glenn, I agree that there are good and bad points to every model. In our area in particular the franchises are fast disappearing, in the Sutherland Shire at 1 stage this year I think First National had disappeared but a new one has opened in the last few months. I wish everyone well whether they are independent or part of a group but sometimes I feel like the guys at the top of the groups could not run a real estate business to save their life and need to get out amongst it and have a bit of a reality check!

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