Digital marketing is essential to all estate/letting agents, regardless if your agency is on the high street or online.
Ever wondered how Foxtons rank #1 when “Letting agent in London” is searched for in Google? Are you intrigued by how much Howsy pay to show in ads when the term “Cheap Letting Agent” is searched for? Or are you keen to know which search terms have the highest % in conversion rates?
These types of results & questions can be answered by simple digital marketing efforts & tools which we will explore in this article.
When digital marketing efforts are done right, they will bring in more landlord & seller leads, more revenue, improved search engine rankings and increased website authority.
As important as your letting or estate agency digital marketing is, it’s a process that can be confusing and tiresome to many.
Most established letting & estate agents digital marketing strategies are run by an internal team or freelancers.
Agency owners can rattle off what they want to achieve and the experts make it happen.
These are the lucky ones. Smaller letting & estate agents digital marketing in the absence of endless funds, are often forced to do the marketing dirty work themselves.
Running an effective letting and estate agent digital marketing campaign takes plenty of research, time, and experience. For letting & estate agents trying to get their business off the ground, these tasks can seem overwhelming. They distract you from what’s really important during running your agency, your clients, tenants & their properties.
Not only are these tasks tedious, but they’re probably not what you thought you’d be doing when you decided to start a property business. Instead of sitting in your cushy office chair directing agents, you might find yourself sending cold emails, begging for handouts, and editing blog posts. You may even start questioning your agency and why you started it in the first place.
If you’re running your own letting or estate agent digital marketing efforts, there are a few things you should know. Here are some of the less-glamorous (and downright annoying) things you’ll face.
- Find landlords via Rent Round – A quick plug!
- What does letting and estate agent Digital Marketing mean?
- Letting & estate agent digital marketing tips
Find landlords via Rent Round – A quick plug!
This wouldn’t be good digital marketing on our behalf if we didn’t plug Rent Round! If you’re a letting agent, interested in gaining more landlord leads, then list your agency with us.
We allow landlords to compare letting agent fees & ratings in their area. If your listed and landlord prefers your agency, Rent Round will send you their details.
Listing is free for a month, using code PROPERTYMGR during sign up.
Letting agents can learn more here.
What does letting and estate agent Digital Marketing mean?
You’ve heard the phrase but do you really know what it is? It’s at the heart of every business – at least in today’s growing world of e-commerce. Digital marketing is everything you do on the Internet for your letting or estate agency, from advertising to creating a high-ranking website.
Here are a few examples of the advertising tasks you might face:
- Running letting & estate agent Google Ad campaigns and banner ads
- Sending cold emails to landlords and tenants (also known as SPAM!)
- Paying for solus emails to property audiences
- Writing newsletter features to property groups
When it comes to growing your site’s domain authority, you’ll need to:
- Create website content about rentals, selling, property etc
- Get backlinks from other property sites
- Optimize your letting or estate agent website for SEO
Say for example your letting agency is seeking to be highly ranked for the terms ‘letting agent fees‘, a letting agents digital marketing will be highly geared towards this topic.
- Firstly there’ll be tonnes of content that talks about letting agent fees
- Tools to calculate letting agent fees will be created for landlords
- Google Ads will be bidding for the key words letting agent fees and possible variances
- Guests posts will include the words ‘letting agent fees’ as anchor texts back to the letting agents sites
With over 4 billion people using the Internet every day, digital marketing is a must for getting your name out there and attracting more customers. There are two main elements to any digital marketing campaign – advertising and growing your site’s authority.
Letting & estate agent Digital Marketing Tasks
Digital marketing is a necessary evil for creating any successful property agency. It’s part of the groundwork you lay when starting. Knowing it’s necessary doesn’t take away from the fact that many tasks are tedious and time-consuming.
Here are a few parts that make up letting & estate agent digital marketing, aspects that are the hated most and our tips
1. A website geared to capturing leads and showcase your USP
An amateur site is a big turn off for property owners & landlords. The connotations are unprofessionalism, out-dated practices and old fashioned ways of working. It’s not difficult to find letting & estate agents where they have a logo is based on a quick mock up on MS Paint!
In this day and age creating a website and branding is easy. Sites like Go Daddy give users the ability to customise basic templates for a range of industries. A user’s main task is to update wording and logos/images. If that’s too daunting, a decent website will only set up back around £500 if you pay a developer.
Site like Upwork allow you to find graphic designers within 10 minutes who will produce you a logo for £5
Your unique selling point
Your website should showcase your unique selling point. A quick Google search will show multiple agents promising low letting agent fees, no sale no fee and guarantees on how quickly they’ll find you tenants.
Ensure your USP is plastered on your website. The modern user has a low attention span so you need to capture their interest quickly. Your location, price and service stipulations are always key. You want to avoid landlords and property owners having to click around your webpage to find key information.
Your letting or estate agent website lead capture system
So if you’ve done the hard work and got traffic coming into your site great! You want to ensure on your website you have a friendly way to capture lead information.
Commonly, this is done through the use of pop ups, asking for landlord & property owner contact information. When implementing pop up type lead capture tools, make sure they aren’t annoying! Nobody likes a pop up that’s difficult to close, requires too much information or continues to pop up after it’s been closed already!
A tried and tested technique to capture lead information is the promise of a calculation or information. For instance on Rent Round, we request landlords to enter their property details and their contact information, before showing a comparison of letting agent fees.
By enticing landlords for something valuable that will save them money, they’re more included to provide their personal information.
Remember creating tools, calculation and pieces of valuable information also helps boost traffic to your website. A few of the tools that don’t capture information from leads, but provide a steady traffic flow to the Rent Round site are below:
2. Getting backlinks for your agency website
You know you need backlinks, but you had no idea how expensive they could be. The truth is, backlinks are SEO gold, which is why websites charge so much for them. Getting credible property industry sites to link back to your letting or estate agent website helps you creep up the Google rankings.
Technically, organic backlinks are the real creme-da-la-creme. Those are links that you actually earn based on how credible your letting or estate agent website is. If you’ve created good content on your site or have been featured in the news recently, this increases the chances of other property sites writing about you.
But before you can start earning your own backlinks, you may find yourself paying for them or providing free content in return for a shout out.
Contacting other property bloggers asking to plug your website can be a daunting and exhausting process. You may send out 30 inquiries, hear back from 4 sites, and only have one offer you a backlink. Thus making this for sure one of the most annoying things about letting & estate agent digital marketing.
Then, there comes the price for your fame. Don’t be surprised when the property blogger asks for a fee to post your link. Not only that but most will request a beautifully written 2,000-word, original article. That’s a lot of work for one little link.
But remember, that one little link could bring you tons of new traffic which will boost your SEO and may convert to sales.
A link in the right place in the right place on a landlord site, could result in flocks of landlord leads flowing to your letting agency site.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the higher a website’s domain authority is, the more you’ll need to pay. After all, a referral from a well-known company or expert in a certain industry is much more valuable than a no-name blogger with low domain authority. The problem is, big names in the biz may not give you the time of day.
The second problem you’ll face is low domain sites thinking a backlink on their site is worth more than it is. You’ll find a mixed-bag when vetting websites for backlinks. Some sites with domains lower than 30 think their links are worth £500. Other sites with high domain authority (50 and over) might only charge £150. Be prepared to deal with both ends of the spectrum.
When you’re faced with a quote that’s too high, you have one of two choices – walk away or make a lower offer. Walking away is the easiest option, but it also means you won’t get anything in return. If you decide to haggle, consider the website’s domain authority before exhausting yourself.
The only time this is a good idea is if it’s a site you’ve been chasing for a while or one that will bring great value to your website. This is usually the case if you’re working in a very specific niche.
Under these circumstances, you can counter-offer, just be sure not to insult them. Don’t low ball them. Try to ask for a 5-10% discount.
In rare cases, the publishing website offers to lower their price if they really want your business.
3. Google Adword Management for your letting or estate agency
There’s no denying it – Google Adwords are expensive. Running campaigns for your letting or estate agency are time consuming and exhausting. You might find yourself stalking conversion rates, impression share metrics, and cost per click.
Of course, if you’re not positioned well organically on Google, paying for your letting or estate agency to be top is a required cost to attract more leads.
There are countless firms out there dying to manage your Google Adword campaigns. While they might offer free audits or trials, they’ll eventually cost you a pretty penny.
On the flip side, you’ll also be inundated by smaller management firms who promise to manage your account for a minimal fee.
These are especially appealing to agents just starting out who are low on cash for their digital marketing campaign.
You’ll quickly learn that the audit reports are underwhelming, to say the least. They’re basically a rehash of the Google Adwords recommendations that are already available to you. They focus heavily on your optimization score.
Of course, the managing firm will promise to boost your score by 50% among other things. But the truth is, a higher optimization score doesn’t equate to more profit. In fact, many of the recommendations these firms make will just cost you more money with lackluster results.
Instead of being blindsided by empty promises, learn how to run your Adwords account yourself. Head online and find a few tutorials that’ll teach you the basics. Some of the more in-depth features of Google Adwords can’t be taught in a YouTube video.
Once you have a grasp on the basics and have a good amount of conversion data, try switching to Adwords automated bidding strategies. These strategies use algorithms and existing data to help target specific users that are more likely to convert.
Running your Adwords campaign yourself (or using the automated feature) before hiring a manager is an essential step in the process. Then, you’ll get a better picture of how well your manager is performing. You can now make an informed decision about whether or not the cost of hiring them is worth the improvements they offer.
4. The Letting & estate agent Digital Marketing SEO Optimization Know It All
Most agency owners can only dream of their letting & estate agency digital marketing strategy concluding in ranking at the top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results page). With enough time, work, and SEO optimization, you can make this dream a reality.
SEO optimisation covers multiple aspects, some of which are:
Broken links: In your blogs, you will for sure be linking to external sites that include research and backup your own content. Overtime, the pages you link to may move or be deleted. This creates a broken link for your website and will impact your rankings
Page speeds: Your homepage may be extremely fast, however other pages may be slow and deter users
SPAM Links: External sites linking to your pages isn’t always a good thing. If the source is a SPAM heavy site, it could negatively impact your rankings. These types of links should be removed
Missing pictures: In the background, your media files may be moved or renamed. This results in missing images on your site, impacting the look and layout
In the quest to improve your websites SEO, management savages can smell your desperation from miles away. And the minute you launch your letting or estate agency website, the hounding will begin. So-called SEO “experts” will bombard you from all directions with promises of increased traffic, higher rankings and thus more property seller and landlord leads. Some go as far as to promise a #1 ranking in just a few weeks.
Unfortunately, you don’t reap the benefits of SEO for many, many months – in some cases, years! Anyone promising to get you to the top of the SERPs overnight is lying. But some letting and estate agents (even those who know full-well these experts are offering empty promises) are intrigued by the offers.
And of course, certain companies will offer a free SEO audit. There’s no harm in trying a free trial, right? Right, except similar to Adwords, all the information you’ll receive was already at your disposal. Free online tools can perform the same scans as these so-called experts are offering.
Use these free tools to identify errors that might be negatively impacting your SEO. Things like broken links or pages prevent Google bots from crawling your page, which is the only way your site will rank. The faster you identify and fix these issues, the less of an impact it’ll have on your SEO.
5. Property Content is Still King
A key part of your letting or estate agency digital marketing is creating content for your website. Articles that talk about the property industry and services are crucial to improving SEO.
You may have thought being an letting or estate agent was more about business lunches and negotiations and less about writing blog posts. Unfortunately, if you’re a small agency just starting out, chances are you’ll be responsible for creating most of your content.
Not only do you have to produce content but it needs to meet certain requirements if you want it to improve SEO.
Tips to creating content for your letting or estate agent website include:
- Write clear content
- Avoid being over promotional
- Create long-form blog posts (over 700 words at minimum)
- Include relevant images
- Create only original content
- Include research and statistics to support your claims
- Research keywords that help target the right traffic
Writing content that meets all of these requirements is no easy task – especially for anyone who failed English in high school.
But creating quality content is worth the time and effort when your website starts ranking for specific keywords and receiving organic backlinks.
Write about what you know and what your customers want to see. Opinions on the rental market and how to secure higher rents will work towards attracting landlord leads.
Likewise if you’re an online letting agent, content on how online agents can offer lower prices and quelling the concerns of working with an online agent, will help get the attention of landlords.
Not only do you need to create well-written, valuable content but you need to do it on a consistent basis. Create a posting schedule and stick to it.
Another option is to pay a freelance writer to create articles based on ranking topics and keywords. Just be clear about your expectations and remember, this comes with a price.
Creating tools for landlords and property sellers to attract leads
Growing in popularity, is the creation of tools that are free for people to use At Rent Round, we’ve created a letting agent fee calculator and a quick way to compare online letting agents. Creating free tools attract attention, which in turn help backlinks and traffic increases. There are numerous platforms that allow you to create tools such as calculators, widgets & tables for free
6. My letting & estate agent rankings are Taking a Nose Dive
Congratulations! Your digital marketing plan has obtained a bunch of backlinks, you have pages of quality content, and you’ve eliminated all SEO errors. Now, your agency website should show an upward trajectory for ranking keywords, right?
Well, not always.
You’ll need to run your website through rank tracking sites like What’s My SERP to see how well your target keywords are performing.
You may find yourself checking your rankings several times a day. It’s addicting. Each time you check, you’re hoping for a huge spike in results. On good days, you’ll see a sea of green (meaning your rankings are on the rise) and your site being ranked in the top 5 for the term “best letting agent”. On other days, you may be met with red as far as your eyes can see. A keyword that once made an appearance on the first page is now thrown into the depths of page 20.
The truth is, search engine rankings are determined by complex algorithms that only the SEO gods who created them can fully understand. Remember, ranking well on SERPs is a marathon, not a sprint.
As a new website, you’ll see plenty of large fluctuations before you see any type of steady, consistent results. Don’t let these small dips in success get you down.
Don’t get complacent either. Once your rankings are doing well, don’t give up! Now is the time to keep up the good work and gain momentum.
On the other hand, if your rankings are dropping don’t panic. Step back and evaluate why. There could be a whole host of reasons, in addition to the natural volatility of being a new website. You’re just a blip on the screen at the moment.
Common SEO errors in letting & estate agent digital marketing include:
- Lost backlinks (websites have removed your links or the article containing your link)
- A sudden surge in backlinks (on the other side of the coin, a sudden spike in backlinks shows promotional activity vs. organic growth and makes Google mad)
- Google algorithm updates (Google constantly changes the way it ranks sites and any given update could negatively impact your website)
- Server issues (Unstable servers can negatively affect your ranking)
- Penalties (the risk of paying questionable websites for backlinks are hefty penalties from Google)
You became an letting or estate agent for success, clout, and financial freedom. But nothing worth having comes without a price. Running your own letting & estate agent digital marketing campaign is one such sacrifice many agency owners make in the beginning.
Overcoming these daily obstacles is the key to consistency. Your agency is an investment of your time, money, and energy. The good news is, with enough patience and drive, you’ll reap the rewards of landlord leads, property sellers and tenants. This is in addition to learning a lot about the property industry, digital marketing and yourself along the way.
7. Haggle with HARO
If you plan to run a successful letting & estate agent digital marketing campaign, you need to know what HARO is and how to use it.
HARO (also known as Help a Reporter Out), is a free platform that connects journalists and experts on specific industries. Journalists post questions and for every response you offer (that they actually use), you get a mention on their site – ideally, with a backlink (more on this in a bit).
Questions vary from very niche-specific to more broad, vague topics and ideas. It’s important to vet these questions regularly and act fast. Keep in mind, though, that HARO can send several emails a day during the week so it’s virtually impossible to respond to every relevant question.
On good days, you’ll see requests that are so specific you’d think they were written specifically for you and your business. Imagine you own a letting agency in birmingham and you see on HARO:
“I need a letting agent in Birmingham to talk about the current market and rental prices”
You get excited, thinking, “This is perfect”! You write a well-thought-out, well-researched response that meets all of the journalist’s criteria only to get completely ghosted.
You wait a few days – nothing. A few weeks – still nothing. Then, the harsh reality sets in that your “perfect” response wasn’t so perfect after all. But you don’t know where you went wrong. This experience can be demoralizing and discouraging. Once again, you may question your expertise on the subject – especially if it’s the foundation of your business.
Don’t get defeated. Remember that HARO is looking for quantity as much as quality, which means you need to provide consistent responses. The more you pitch, the more likely you are to earn recognition. Set goals for yourself. How many questions can you respond to (realistically) on a given day? Be sure not to burn out, though. Your letting/estate agency still needs your attention.
You can also create a system that expedites the process. Use a template with an introduction and conclusion that you can edit to fit specific queries. Evaluate your templates to see what needs improving. Can you increase your credibility? What information is unnecessary?
Most likely, you’ll also need to broaden your horizons when working with HARO. Just because you’re a property management business doesn’t mean you can only target queries in that specific niche. Branch out a little. Look for other industry-related questions.
Take note of HARO’s “soft skills” section. Things like online conversions, face-to-face communication, and sales are all considered soft skills that you probably have. Don’t short-change yourself. Chances are, you can bring a lot of value to a wide range of topics.