Well, 2018 has just about finished and if you’re in real estate, you’ve no doubt had a “fun” year…
Here in WA, the market has still been slow for most folks, but it’s been like that for 3-4 years now, so it’s hardly new.
Locally, everyone’s fingers are crossed that we have gone over a tipping point and next year things will pick up… Only time will tell though.
On the other hand, our brothers & sisters over east are finally starting to get a sense for what a DOWN market is like, with prices dropping off, auction clearance rates down and vendors still not having adjusted their pricing expectations to the current market.
As for the middle (SA), things have been pretty “steady as she goes,” but that doesn’t mean they get to let vendors run around with crazy-high price expectations anytime soon! 🙂
The banks FINALLY got officially caught with their fingers in the till and have been getting spanked for it, but unfortunately that has had the flow on effect of tightening up finance for buyers and investors, which has NOT been a good thing anywhere.
I have real estate clients telling me they have plenty of listings, but buyers aren’t buying because they can’t get finance, which is obviously frustrating for everyone.
How much longer this will last, I honestly don’t know.
And of course, if Labor gets in next year and kills off negative gearing (which seems somewhat likely), the investment space is going to REALLY suffer then as well.
Speaking of elections, the Libs have stumbled over themselves multiple times this last year, what with Malcolm being knifed and kicked out, and all the other carry-on in our crazy political world! I doubt any of this stupidness has helped the real estate industry, let alone the rest of the economy either!
And the less said about the USA & Trump, the better! 🙂
So, all in all, on the surface at least, next year doesn’t look like it’s going to be a lot of fun for anyone in real estate, especially those in sales!
HOWEVER, before you hit 01 January 2019, I wanted to give you some tools and ideas to make next year your best year yet!
This is a long blog post, but it’s worth the effort for you to read it *IF* you are serious about having a great 2019!
And if you really don’t care what happens next year, then you can leave and go back to your phone, tablet or computer and play around with FB or Instagram! 🙂
So, let’s get straight into it with my #1 tip for you to ensure you have a fantastic selling year in 2019…
Online Property Purchasing Platforms
One thing that I have started seeing and hearing a lot more of this year that I believe is going to revolutionise the industry (actually, I think that revolution has already begun!) is the arrival of online property purchasing or bidding platforms.
Call it “eBay for Real Estate” if it helps you understand approximately what they are, but there are now two strong players out there in the market that are making a BIG difference to the selling of homes.
The first one I ran across probably about 2 years ago is Market Buy from Melbourne, and this year I have now become a lot more aware of Openn Negotiation, a Perth firm offering a similar platform and service.
David Stewart (head honcho of Market Buy) gave me a demo of his system a few years ago and I was very impressed with it, and still remain highly impressed.
He now has a LARGE list of individual agents and also larger agencies (ex: RE/MAX here in WA has recently come on board with it, & MD Geoff Baldwin has been singing its praises lately!) using Market Buy to sell properties here, there & everywhere.
They’re kicking butt & taking names and even took out the Winner of the Innovation Award (REIV) and also have been named as the Winner of the Game Changer of the Year for the AREA 2018 Annual REA Excellence Awards, as well as being nominated as a Finalist – 2019 REIA Innovation Award.
As for Openn Negotiation, I really only started looking into them recently as one of my clients (Murray Wellington from Wellington Barber Real Estate) is a big fan and recommends it whenever possible to his vendors.
Essentially, I had to figure out how it works so I could help him with his marketing, so I attended their training program a few weeks ago and have been drilling down into it since then. So far, I like what I have seen of it.
They have an excellent product which is definitely helping agents sell homes faster and – usually – for good prices. They just turned 1 year old in June 2018 and have already seen the 500th property uploaded to their platform and ready to sell.
So, if you haven’t yet checked out either of these systems, I HIGHLY encourage you to reach out to them and find out more, because they are really turning around the way agents sell homes and I have yet to hear of an agent who has used one of them properly who has been disappointed with the results.
Why look into this as an option?
Simply, they help bypass many of the challenges of both auction and private treaty.
They bring a LOT more transparency to the selling AND buying of real estate, and both vendors and buyers love the experience.
They also help speed up the sales process. Here in WA, the average Openn sale is closing in half the time that a normal private treaty does, and I am sure it’s a similar situation for Market Buy.
They help introduce competition into the process that you don’t get as easily, because buyers can see what everyone is bidding and can therefore raise their own bid to their financial maximum, rather than have to just give their best price and hope for the best.
No more will you hear a buyer complain that they would have paid more for a home if they only knew WHAT the real price expectations were!
And for those who prefer auctions, it’s easier to get people to bid who might have terms like “subject to finance” or “subject to sale” on their current home, etc.
If you want a fantastic way to revive your sales, increase attendees at open homes, increase bidding competition AND making it easier for buyers to buy (and sellers to sell), then I highly encourage you to reach out to both of these companies and have a demo of their technology and find out how it can increase your sales in 2019.
BTW, just something to think about. If you don’t make a genuine effort to suss them out, you can bet one or more of your competitors WILL, and you’ll be the one who suffers because of that!
OK, so my next recommendation to you to ensure you have a great 2019 is to finally get serious about Facebook Ads.
For those of you who know me, you’re probably fairly tired of me harping on about Facebook Ads, but in all honesty, I aint gonna shut up about them because if you’re not using them, you are shooting yourself in the foot and you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself!
Agents left, right and centre bitch & moan about REA (realestate.com.au) and their high prices and market domination, but folks, the one company REA is SCARED of is Facebook!
They KNOW that Facebook’s ad platform is super-powerful, super-flexible, super-cost efficient and super-effective at helping agents and agencies find new clients, and at the moment, they are just keeping their fingers crossed that the majority of Aussie real estate agents don’t woke up to the power of Facebook any time soon and stop using REA in preference to Facebook Ads.
As for those of you who aren’t using Facebook ads, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!
If you don’t get SERIOUS about using – no MASTERING – Facebook ads in 2019, you’re going to be rapidly overtaken and pushed out of the real estate business by those who ARE willing to make the effort, spend the money and learn something new.
I’ve been privileged to train approx 350-400 REIWA members in an introduction to Facebook ads via my REIWA course in the last year and a half, but truth be told, there are 10s of THOUSANDS of you out there who have NOT yet had an opportunity to level up your skills, and your time is running out!
So, if you want access to the exact same training that my REIWA students get, you can click here to check out the online version of my course, or you find alternatives to help you learn this stuff.
However, NOW is the time for you to step up and GET SERIOUS about digital marketing, and Facebook Ads in particular.
As for WHY you should go all in on Facebook ads… Well, it’s simple really.
They work AND they’re cheaper than the alternatives and can reach 17+ Million people across all of Australia!
Whether you’re looking for buyers, sellers, renters, commercial property buyers or even property investors, Facebook Ads done correctly are a fabulous way of connecting with potential clients and helping them get to know, like & trust you as well as helping introduce your service to them!
Just as a simple example, one of the lead generation video ads I have been running for one of my clients (looking for Property Management leads) has had 30,376 people see just this one ad for a total ad spend so far of $1,785.86! That works out to be a “massive” 5.9 cents per person who has SEEN his ad!
Where can you get a person to see your ad for only 5.9 cents AND also measure how long they watched it for (in the case of video), whether they clicked on the ad and went through to your website and even whether they filled out the “Contact Me” form asking you to call them about their enquiry?
So far, that one ad has generated 58 property investment/management leads at a cost of $30.79 per lead, which is a damn good price! And a previous version of that ad generated 43 leads at $10.25 per lead, which is even better!
I have another ad running for a different client that has generated 83 seller leads for an average of $13.01 per lead from COLD traffic – people who don’t even know the agent whose ads I am running!
And there are many more examples out there of agents who are using Facebook to drive massive growth AND brand awareness in their local market.
Are you going to be the next Facebook Ads success story in 2019 or are you going to procrastinate and miss out on the opportunity while your competition takes over your patch and pushes you out of the market in 1-5 years?
Your choice of course, but if I was in your shoes, I know which option I’d be choosing!
Now, after you get onboard with Facebook Ads, next you need to look more closely at Google Ads.
I have to be honest and say I am surprised a lot more agents don’t use Google Ads compared to Facebook (I believe it’s because they see FB/Social Media as more “hot” and trendy!)
It’s a powerful ad platform, and most of the bigger agencies are using it (not very well, mind you!), but every single agent SHOULD be running their own simple Google Ad campaign in my opinion, even if it’s just to ensure you get visibility to people searching for real estate in your primary suburb or town.
For example, if you’re an agent based and selling in the Perth suburb of Duncraig, you could have a campaign running that shows your ad when people search for “real estate duncraig” or “real estate agent duncraig” or “homes for sale duncraig”, etc.
From as little as $10/day, that campaign could run 365 days a year, generating buyer, seller & renter leads for you, and once you have made some early-stage optimisation tweaks to it, you likely wouldn’t need to look at the ad more than once a week for 2-3 minutes, just to make sure it’s running fine.
However, in the meantime, you’d be getting more phone calls and online leads from folks looking for help from an area specialist agent.
You only have to look at the massive success of the lead gen firms like Open Agent and Local Agent Finder (etc.) to see that Google Ads work.
They rely heavily on them and if you choose to use them for leads, you pay the price in the large chunk they take out of your commissions for every lead they refer that sells through you.
20% or more of the commission is a LOT to pay, when you could probably generate that lead yourself for as little as $300-$400 per listing that sells vs $2K or more through them!
If you hate these guys, I’m sorry to tell you but you’ve got no one to blame but your industry as a whole. The real estate industry has mostly stuck their head in the sand when it comes to digital marketing, and as a consequence, companies like Open Agent have seen an opportunity and stepped up to the plate to deliver leads to you in return for a sizeable chunk of the commission.
No body held a gun to the real estate industry’s head and FORCED it to ignore digital marketing like they have, so you really don’t have a right to complain about others filling a much-needed market gap or opportunity, and having the cajones to fund it but also charge for the service.
If you don’t like paying these companies 20% or more of your commission for a lead that sells, then get off your butt and learn to do your own digital marketing and take control of your own destiny, rather than leave it in someone else’s hands!
Next, we go onto the topic of video, which is one of the most powerful marketing options available now.
If 2018 was the year of Facebook Ads, 2019 will be the year when Video starts to really take over the real estate world!
Sure, it’s been around for a long time, and plenty of agents are using it, but it’s never been easier to record video, edit video, publish video AND promote video!
Naturally, Facebook Ads are a great place to start when it comes to promoting video ads, but let’s not forget our old friend YouTube (the 2nd largest search engine in the world, behind Google!)
You can publish your videos for free on your own YouTube Channel (here’s mine: Real Estate Marketing YouTube channel), and you can also promote them using YouTube video ads via the Google Ads platform.
If you don’t know how to edit video, start with this YouTube video I recorded back in 2016. Note that the video talks about using an Android phone, but the app I am demonstrating is also available for iPhones and it should be almost exactly the same to use this app on an iphone as it is on an android phone! Just click the screenshot below to be taken to YouTube to watch this video.
Also, here’s another video I recorded which gives you an introduction to the basic concepts behind video editing:
Now, when we talk about video, we MUST talk about video ads in Facebook.
One of the biggest advantages they offer is the ability to create a Custom Audience. In plain english, this means that when you run an ad with a video in it, if you set it up beforehand, Facebook will store a list of everyone who watches at least 3 secs, 10 secs, 25%, 50%, 75% and 95% of the video, and allow you to run more ads (called retargeting) down the track just to the people who watched your first video.
You can use this powerful Facebook technology to grow highly targeted lists of prospective clients over time, so that when they’re ready to list their home or buy a home or engage with you for your property management services, you can be sure they know who you are and have developed some trust in you over time.
To go into the concept of creating video custom audiences a little bit more, here’s a video I recorded in Oct 2018 which discusses it in more detail:
As for WHAT kinds of videos to publish, how about these as a suggestion to get you started:
- Monthly market update
- Monthly or quarterly finance update (Reserve Bank interest rates, etc.)
- Tips on how to sell your home for maximum profits
- Tips on how to find a great mortgage
- Local market advice for potential buyers thinking of buying in your patch – what’s good about the area, etc.
- Local school event updates
- Local charity event updates
- Interviews with home decorators, renovators, painters (etc.) – all of whom can give great advice to potential buyers or sellers.
That’s just a SMALL list to get you started.
Next, we move onto Digital Farming, which video is a great asset to use in.
Finally, I want to finish off this blog post by discussing a term you may (or may not) have heard before, which is “Digital Farming”!
Most people in real estate understand the term “farming” – to “plant the seeds of future business, nurture them with marketing and then hopefully reap the rewards in future sales” – but have mostly used offline marketing methods such as letterbox drops, billboards, newsletters, branding ads around town, etc.
Digital farming refers to the process of farming, but using digital marketing mediums, such as ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube, email marketing, etc.
With the low cost and effectiveness of digital marketing options, you can literally make yourself the most “famous” and well known real estate agent in your patch, which ultimately leads to increased leads and sales coming to you over time.
So, let me give you 2 examples of successful digital farmers, to hopefully give you some inspiration.
Scott got started back in about 2013 by going out into his farm area and recording video content – interviews with local people, updates on the real estate market, announcements of special events, history of the area, profiling local businesses – even the local weather & traffic, etc.
In the last 5-odd years, he has leveraged his website 4510tv.com into a MASSIVE amount of positive brand awareness and as of today (9 Dec 2018), his site has been viewed 3,208,339 times!
That’s an average growth in website traffic of about 94,000 visitors per month (or 3134 per day!) at the moment.
You can see the steady regular increase in website visitors below. Amazing results that I doubt any other agent real estate website in Australia has achieved to date. Certainly not without using paid advertising to get visitors to the site, which I don’t believe Scott uses much or any at all!
If you’d like to learn more about how Scott has achieved this amazing result, go check out my interview with him here:
A couple of things to keep in mind here:
- Scott has largely done this by using organic (non ad) traffic – his YouTube channel has approx 391 videos uploaded to it in the last 5 years.
- Those videos have generated nearly 75K views collectively.
- His channel and those videos have grown the brand name awareness of Scott’s community website (4510tv.com), which has reaped the reward with regular MASSIVE visitors from google searches and people visiting the site directly.
- Note that Scott’s agency (R&W Caboolture) is the only real estate agency listed on the website (and Scott has over 200 competitor agents in his market!)
- In my interview with Scott, he told me how much easier it is for him to get new listings and charge premium prices, due to his amazing positive brand in the Caboolture market.
Scott’s example is the BEST example of successful digital farming here in Australia, so if this is something you’d like to get serious about, start by watching my interview with Scott (link above) and then get moving.
If you need help to implement this, reach out to me and let’s discuss what options I can offer to help you become famous in your local market.
Now, on to my 2nd example of the power of Digital Farming, and this is actually a new client of mine.
Murray Wellington is the Principal & Auctioneer of Wellington Barber Real Estate here in Canning Vale, a suburb south of Perth.
Murray and I first met when he did my REIWA course back in late 2017. However, I’ve only been working directly with Murray helping with his marketing needs for about 3 months now, but in that time, he’s practically become a brand name in his local market due to the massive amounts of coverage we’ve been generating for him using Facebook video ads.
In Murray’s own words:
After an initial plan to trial a month by month digital marketing plan we are 3 months into a very productive campaign. Currently I have 2 listings generated from Facebook ads of which 1 is under contract and the 2nd looks very likely to go under contract in a couple of days.
Numerous leads where home owners have requested desktop appraisals and therefore have been added to the database and potential business in the near future.
The sellers feedback on the video ads have been super positive as they could see their agent was being active in promoting their property to as wider audience as possible.
Overall the marketing campaign has significantly increased brand awareness and has my local competitor real estate agents on notice that WBRE is out to achieve market share.
Notice an important point Murray made. Because potential sellers have been seeing his video ads promoting vendor properties for sale, they’re excited that an agent is going the extra mile to market the listings they have. Essentially they want this for themselves when they sell their own home, so even though they’re not looking to buy a home now, they definitely want their (future) agent promoting their home on Facebook, not just a boring listing on REA!
And guess what. The VPA Murray gets from clients is helping him not just sell their home, but also raise his brand and reputation with future vendors!
Here’s the exposure Murray has gotten just from 3 video ads promoting vendor homes for sale.
And then here’s some other “farming” style video ads that have also been raising Murray’s profile massively in his local market:
And finally, some more stats to finish off…:
Stop and think about how POWERFUL this level of exposure is for an agent. And we’re running this sort of stuff regularly, to ensure Murray and his vendors’ homes stay front-of-mind to any potential clients in a 5 mile radius around his office!
My last comment on this subject. Yesterday I delivered my last day’s training at REIWA for 2018, and one of my students told me he had recently spent $2500 distributing 60,000 leaflets/flyers to his farm area. When I asked him how that had gone for him, his response was short and sharp.
It generated ZERO enquiries!
$2.5K in ad spend for nothing.
He didn’t seem too happy about that!
On the other hand, if he had spent $2.5K on some great Facebook ads, it would have been a VERY different story. I can guarantee you that!
The End…Or Just The Beginning
I want to finish this blog post with 1 final free resource for you. It’s a video I recorded recently, entitled “The $100/m Real Estate Agent Marketing Plan That Works!”
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to take advantage of some of the digital marketing options I have mentioned above, check this video out for a plan that can work for ANYONE!
And if you’re serious about marketing for you or your agency in 2019 and want some professional help, book a 30 minute strategy call with me and let’s see what we can come up with for you.
Now, we’re at the end of your journey, so there’s only 2 things left for you to do.
1) Have a fantastic December and a happy, safe Christmas, and
2) Get cranking for 2019 – TAKE ACTION – and make it your best year yet!
Thanks for reading all the way down to here. I hope you found this blog post helpful, and if you have questions about anything mentioned above, feel free to leave them in the comments field below. Other than that, have an awesome day!
PS: Let me know how you go if you actually follow my advice. I’d love to hear about your success stories.