Agents Should Avoid Directing Their Clients Across To The Major Portals

In the past I’ve overheard real estate agents talking on the phone, directing clients onto the major portals like realestate.com.au & domain.com.au to help a client find out more information about a property. I could never understand why the agent wouldn’t want to send the customers to the listing appearing on their own company website???

By sending visitors across to the major portals, agents are diluting their marketing message & sending potential customers to a website full of their competitors.  At least if agents send them to their own website the customers can read more about the agent & the agency. Plus, the customers have the opportunity to opt-in to receive more information from the agent via newsletters, blog posts, etc.

Real Estate Agents do more than enough advertising for the major portals via posters in their windows, talking about the major portals at listing presentations, etc.

If agents are going to post a link for one of their listings into either a blog post or onto Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc then they should make sure that they direct the traffic back to the listing appearing on their company website.

I can understand why there would be  some agents unintentionally sending visitors across to the major portals from Twitter, mainly because posting listings onto Twitter is still a relatively new concept for a lot of agents & many agents aren’t aware that they can use a URL shortening service, but when sharing listings on Facebook there’s really no excuse for it.

URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web where a provider makes a web page available under a very short URL in addition to the original address. For example, the page http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=TinyURL&diff=283621022&oldid=283308287 can be shortened to http://tinyurl.com/mmw6lb .” Source: Wikipedia

The URL shortening services are free & most have stats so you can use the shortened URL to measure the response from your Social Media marketing campaigns at the same time.

There are over 100 or more sites to choose from. Here’s just a few of the URL shortening services that make it really simple to link across to a web page on your company website.

tr.im
bit.ly
ow.ly
budurl.com
tinyurl.com
su.pr

Facebook, Social Networking, Twitter, Url Shortening

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

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.

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17 Responses to Agents Should Avoid Directing Their Clients Across To The Major Portals

  1. Nick November 4, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    This is only common sense, but yes agents do have a tendency to promote the portals more than their own site.

    They should be proud enough about their site to use it where ever possible.

  2. Bill Burdin November 4, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    I’ve always scratched my head and wondered why individual real estate agents and offices send prospects to the major portals to view their listed properties when they have their own company portals.

    Recently I spoke to an agent and he couldn’t even give me the website address of his listings on the company website, he just didn’t know.

    By sending clients to portals agents are building the portals brand at the detriment of their own company brand or even their own personal brand.

    Agents should now be starting to think about expanding their own personal brand especially online. They can now easily do this by setting up a website with their own name as the domain name and list their properties on their own website. Then they can send hard fought for prospects to their own website.

    Not only will it promote an agents personal brand but offer added value to the client by exposing their property on another website but show professionalism.

    A sample of an agent using this strategy can be seen at Robert Matheson’s website robert-matheson.com It’s an example of an agent being proactive online.

    The benefits for the franchise or office is that their own website would gain backward links from their agents who operated their own websites and this could help shove them up in the rankings.

  3. Travis Williams November 4, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    I couldn’t agree more guys. May I also add that a real estate business ought to be loading listings to their own web site and alerting their client base BEFORE loading to the web portals.

    This will then drive traffic exclusively to their brand, increase site hits and reward their ‘community’ for being a valued customer. This means that your web site ‘supplier’ must be independent of the portal (otherwise your website and the portal are receiving listings at the same time).

    The days of paying big money to portals AND driving traffic to them are numbered. To throw salt in the would, many agents pay big dollars for priority placements…. Crazy…. They are paying to prioritize listings on a portal and then sending buyers to see them first……

  4. Robert Simeon November 4, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Greg, I can’t see this changing anytime soon given agents just don’t (care to)understand internet. From an economies of scale perspective it is cheaper and easier for them to just use the pay and free portals given in their opinion that is all that is required. Then every couple of years they (might) spend $2,000.00 on a new website thinking a homepage is what it is all about.

    My observations are that they use the portals as their database given that they are too lazy to set-up and administer an online platform. Sadly, for them the businesses using high-tech online media platforms will smash them whether that be an independent or a franchise where a smart independent online business can now smash a franchise office.

    Real estate agents are very good at spending other peoples money yet very tight when it comes to spending their own. The high-tech agencies keep growing market share simply because they are running much smarter strategies. We use the latest technologies from http://www.agentpoint.com.au and http://www.wordpress.org and laughing all the way.

    What many fail to understand that in the modern era this is their actual point of difference over their competitors. For us the property portals are nothing more than back-up after our online business which just so happens to be much more productive for our client base.

    For us it is better that they keep ignoring online 🙂

  5. Greg Vincent November 4, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    There are some really simple things that agents can do to leverage the internet, Social Media & even the Major Portals a whole lot better, and most are either free or very inexpensive.

    It’s not as if the ROI is going to be an issue for agents, because there is no faster way to build a buzz around your brand or leverage your marketing than via the Internet & Social Media.

    I saw a new acronym for the web called COI, which stands for Cost Of Inaction.

    It relates to ignoring Online Reputation Management (ORM) & the fact that there are lots of companies who are currently missing out on an incredible amount of business through a lack of embracing Web 2.0 technology.

  6. Glenn Rogers November 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Agents still don’t realise the significance of sending their clients into the arms of their competitors.

    This was never more prevalent then when agents allowed the major portals to have their branding on the agents web sites simply because they had their listing linked through to their own web site from the portal.

    I don’t know if they still allow this but it was a clear demonstration that the agent had no idea what the web was all about, you may as well just stack your competitors business cards at your reception desk.

  7. Billy Brag November 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Check out this:

    http://www.crtrealestategeraldton.com.au/

    as distinct from

    http://www.alexscott.com.au/

    or http://www.ljhooker.com.au/batemansbay

  8. Shane Dale November 4, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Its also worth noting guys that any reasonably savvy buyer soon learns there are property portals out there on the net, and that is convenient to their view not the agents.

    Having said that – I agree – most agents should direct enquiries to their own sites – as long as that site is easy to use and well presented. This shows they are savvy and can use the web effectively – surely a winning premise to getting listings from sellers? Maybe some agents dont like the site their principal gives them?

    Its still also true that many agents either dont answer emails personally or dont respond at all! Unbelieveable but true.

    I dont think if they do refer clients to portals its a mortal sin – just not an optimal strategy for them personally but buyers will be valuing a property against the market – thinking that they wont by sending them to your own site isnt realistic – its a branding play for future potential listings ( buyers are sellers right? ), which in my opinion is the main reason for having your own site.

    Having a great agency site or a personal site is a real winner. Increasingly sellers comprehend the power of the web in real estate and demand an agent who also “gets it”. Especially if the seller is a corporate or white collar worker who uses email and the web everyday.

  9. Robert Simeon November 5, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    Greg – you will enjoy this most informative Facebook story.

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/article/facebook-yahoo-ninemsn-advertising-pd20091104-xg45t?opendocument&src=blb&

    Let me know if you can’t open the link and I will copy and paste it in this blog.

  10. Greg Vincent November 5, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Great article Robert. Thanks for the link.

    I read a report a while back where sharing content on Facebook had become more popular than sharing via email. And it was interesting to see that Twitter was only just behind email at that time.

    Facebook & Twitter are such powerful tools & provides an incredible marketing opportunity for real estate agents but unfortunately most agents just see it as a time wasting distraction.

    If agents are worried about time wasting distractions, I think the old school ways of knocking on doors, walking down streets stuffing leaflets into letterboxes & cold calling for business are a greater distraction & I can tell you most good Gen Y agents feel the same way.

    The majority of Gen Y’s know how to leverage these social networks, but unfortunately the culture in lots of agencies is that prospecting has to be done the old fashioned way.

  11. RS November 13, 2009 at 8:40 am #

    In our case, our listings are fed to our website via a major portal and as such there is no way to direct a client straight to the listing via our site.

    (I’m sure this is a very clever way to feed clients back to said portal – e.g. just visit http://www.majorportal.com.au/12345678 as opposed to go to our webpage http://www.smallagency.com.au then click on the for sale tab, then select your suburb and hit the search button and it will bring up all the listings in that suburb, then just look … ugh)

    Would love to change it, but as others have said, principal has no inclination to change or understanding of web

  12. PaulD November 14, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    RS. Why don’t you go to one of the URL shortening services, like tinyURL and include all the shortened URL’s on your brochures and advertising etc. so that people go back to YOUR website to look at YOUR properties.

  13. Greg Vincent November 14, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    Great idea Paul.

    I understand that some agent websites like RS’s don’t have each of their listings appearing on a seperate URL that they can link back to.

    RS, rather than changing your website in the short term you could also create an individual property website for your listings or use a blog within your website & upload your listings onto a blog page to create an individual URL that way.

  14. Travis Williams November 30, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    FYI guys, my company (Box and Dice Software) offer a CRM product called Boom which can power (and host) your company Listings directly to your web site. We also can load independently to all major portals. Therefore you can load to your own site separately to the web portals.

    The key is to have a CRM/Business application that is NOT owned by a major web portal (sorry about the partial plug).

  15. Rachael Lord December 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    hootsuite is a great tool for twitter postings as it has an inbuilt url shortener!

    I use it all the time when directing people to our listings

  16. Rachael Lord December 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Also – in response to Shane Dale

    Its gobsmacking to think agents don’t respond to emails!
    Its the first thing I do every morning and I fret if I don’t reply within 24 hours.

    Emails are just as important as phone calls – when will agents realise this!

  17. Greg Vincent December 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Rachael, using the Firefox Plug-In for Hootsuite has made running my Twitter accounts even easier ~ http://ow.ly/I24F

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