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Embracing the Psychology of the Online Model

Embracing the Psychology of the Online Model

 

 

The online model serves to highlight the importance of embracing a new way of working for property professionals; one that truly focusses on today’s digital generation. Of course, there are other differentiators to consider when discussing traditional and online, but one can indeed argue that the online model is representative of how the industry has been forced by modern consumers to change the way it operates.

 

Businesses - across all industries - that are embracing technological advancements are succeeding at a phenomenal rate. This is due in part to the fact that their focus is not necessarily about the ‘here and now’ consumer. Their strategies’ plan for longevity and seek to anticipate how Generation Alpha will want to interact with their business in the future.

 

Successful digital-age businesses offer the on-demand consumer instant solutions. Their processes are quicker, they intelligently use customer data to inform their responses, and they communicate in real-time, instantly gratifying consumer needs. No waiting, no time spent on hold – everything is taken care off at the touch a button in most instances.

It’s this kind of forward thinking in terms of user-experience that makes the online model so appealing. They don’t necessarily think from a traditional agent’s point of view because they can’t - they don’t have the history or the prestige, yet they are still getting prospects through the door.

What the online agents do is actually very astute. They combine their USPs with a customer-driven digital strategy that is functional, accessible and user-friendly. In effect, their appeal can be attributed to the fact that they are simply offering today’s digital customer what they want: instant gratification with limited hassle.

Do you have a button on your website that allows prospects to book an appraisal? We know many of you will, but it’s surprising to speak to agents that are still pondering whether or not this is of relevance to their business. They would almost certainly change their opinion if they could quantify how many appraisals are lost because a prospect can’t book online with them.

All the prestige, all of the awards an agency has won, all the years of hard work that has earned an agency recognition within an area and persuaded a prospect to search for their website in the first place, can all be quickly undone by not having certain technological elements in place.

It’s a fact of the generation we now live in. The most obvious example of understanding how customer mindset is evolving is highlighted in the fact that a growing minority of people are now prepared to forgo an agent’s history, reputation and genuine expertise just to make a monetary saving.

Therefore, traditional agents are now battling against financial incentives and the demands made of them by the on-demand generation – the consumer that wants their demands met via immediate access to, and convenient provisioning of, goods and services.

So, for example, whilst many agents do have a good website, many independents are still presenting a sub-standard face to the on-demand customer base. This only serves to increase the probability of a prospect finding a business that will meet their requirements in terms of basic usability. This is why traditional agents must pay attention to the future. It is imperative that they begin to think about the new style of customer and what overall experience they are giving them from the moment they interact with their business.

It’s also probable that the majority of prospects are unlikely to immediately convert when visiting your website. A significant proportion of prospects will spend a great deal of time and effort researching your business before making a decision whether to use you or not. This becomes even more prevalent in your industry, especially when one considers that you are dealing with the biggest financial transaction that most people will ever make. So, in order to increase your conversion rates, a strong digital communication strategy is vital – one that continuously reinforces why a prospect should choose you.

Richard C.

 


 

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How Far Are Traditional Agents Willing to Enhance Their Current Offering?

How Far Are Traditional Agents Willing to Enhance Their Current Offering?

  

When it comes to the ongoing discussion about online vs. traditional, the rise of the on-demand customer and the influence of ‘proptech’ on the industry, I feel it’s important that we take a moment to examine a few finer points.

Firstly, there are top class agents all across the UK that offer far more than a cheap online offering. Secondly, I believe that there is no substantial argument to be had about whether online agents are better than traditional agents; the issue is ultimately one about agency differentiation, new processes of customer acquisition and clever marketing techniques, not rivalry per se. Thirdly, all businesses, not just those that are property related, are being forced to overhaul their traditional infrastructures to accommodate changing customer behaviour and new technology.

In recent months there has been a great deal of commentary surrounding the online business model; the majority of it only ever seeming to highlight all the areas that the traditional proposition currently lacks.

On the contrary, I believe the emphasis should be one that focusses on what the online model is currently lacking. Namely all of those vital areas of tradition that the industry has been built upon; the high-street premises, the close connection with the local press, a large local database, key relationships with local charities and local organisations and – most notably - genuine local property experts.

As a brief side note to this point, one of the most persistent pieces of media spin I have witnessed with the growth of the online model is the advent of the generic term ‘Local Property Expert’. In my 25 years of estate agency, I was always part of a team that, at branch level, had local property experts. I have been extremely disheartened by the lack of response from the industry to this seemingly ‘new’ concept. In reality, we have always had local experts who succeeded in securing new business and achieving the best price for their sellers precisely by being genuine local experts.

These elements are why the traditional bricks-and-mortar model is still alive and kicking, why it is still relevant, and why it still remains the best way for vendors to achieve the best possible selling price.

TRADITIONAL AGENCY IS NOT DEAD THEN – IT’S EVOLVING

It might be a little later to the party than other sectors, but the property industry was never going to be exempt from ‘evolution’.

In order for agents to respond to this evolution, I believe that their focus should now be about combining their current strategy – the traditional elements that continue to work well - with three key areas that digital-age customers are now demanding.

Firstly, they must renew their commitment to enhancing customer experience through digital communications. Secondly, they must be willing to capitalise on new avenues of customer and prospect acquisition through ease of customer contact across multiple communication mediums. Thirdly, there must be an assertive commitment to conveying their value proposition via as many customer touchpoints as possible, through both physical and digital publications, emails, blogs, social media, and even television.

Streamlining the customer experience’ has become something of a buzz phrase in the twenty-first century and encapsulates a progressive way of thinking for all business owners. Conveying value is one of the most important elements of the streamlining process. Value is no longer solely thought of in terms of financial benefit from a customer’s point of view. The true value of a business resides in its ability to be of the greatest amount of benefit to a customer in terms of fitting in with lifestyle, being accessible when they need it and also pre-empting what they are going to need next in their journey.

This is what on-demand customers are asking for, so to dismiss it would almost certainly be detrimental to the future success of any business. The primary effect of the online model’s commitment to ‘streamlining customer experience’ – predominantly through the use of innovative digital technologies and shrewd marketing techniques - has opened up additional ways of acquiring prospects. So, as discussed earlier, it can be viewed as representative of the commonplace, on-demand, features that a growing number of younger customers –  what are, in effect, the next generation of vendors, applicants, tenants and landlords – want from a contemporary agency, namely: ease of use, instant digital communication and maximum value. 

These additional ways of acquiring prospects and conveying your value are available to you. However, it is ultimately up to you whether you choose to add them to your offering or not.

CHANGING MINDSET…

Having been managing director of Your Move for 21 years and spending 5 years working with local independents big and small up and down the country - along with the other big corporates - I was recently asked: ‘If I were still running an agency, how would I embrace the evolution of the industry?’

From the outset, it all comes down to one key question: ‘Am I willing to look objectively at my business and identify the strengths and weaknesses of my proposition and improve it with new, unfamiliar elements?’.

I do sympathise with the senior, establish agents. Change is not easy to accept, especially when the online model and technological change can often be seen as a direct threat to traditional values and working practices.

However, embracing the change is an absolute necessity. If it can help your agency acquire more prospects, stop the traction of the online model and keep driving your market share in your locality, it must be used to your advantage.

Technology can no longer be viewed with apprehension, fear or cynicism by any modern agent, it must be embraced because of its advantages. It gives your agency options to add to what is already a formidable and superior proposition.

I do believe that traditional agents are still in a commanding position, but we are at a crossroads. Adding fresh elements to your offering should certainly be a primary focus in order to ensure that this dominance continues into the future.

CHANGING TIMES AND DIFFERENTIATION

Once you have committed to change, the next step is to examine both business models, identify what the online model is doing well and find out how you could implement those elements into your current offering. Again, the outlook must always be one of constantly strengthening your dominant proposition.

Within the pre-digital era, the established infrastructure of the property sector meant that the art of differentiation was a very different proposition to what it is today. Creating and distributing marketing collateral that demonstrated an agency’s USPs could only be conveyed through limited – but very effective – resources.

In the digital era, there are more options available to you to reach your prospects and customers than ever before. Technological advancement, savvy marketing and digital communications have distorted the established infrastructure of the industry and is loosening the monopoly that traditional agents have over the market.

You really do have more opportunity than ever before to add to your traditional marketing mix. The question is: are you willing to take advantage of it?

Gareth S.

Continue reading
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Is Your Agency The Best In Your Area?

Is Your Agency The Best In Your Area?

Christopher Watkin has recently penned a piece, published on the Estate Agent UK Networking website, entitled: Why are estate agents wasting time marketing to get new instructions? So we thought that it might be a good idea to examine Watkin’s take on modern day marketing principles.

Continue reading
1002 Hits
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The True Value Of Lettings Agents

The True Value Of Lettings Agents

Agents do go the extra mile for their customers. We think that your customers should know this. We look at the ways in which you can convey your value.

Continue reading
850 Hits
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Are you in the top 10% of agents?

Are you in the top 10% of agents?

To be in the top 10% of agents, you've got to maximise your database usage. We explore how this is possible.

Continue reading
1223 Hits
0 Comments

Brief Marketing - The BriefYourMarket.com Blog

This is some blog description about this site

Embracing the Psychology of the Online Model

Embracing the Psychology of the Online Model

 

 

The online model serves to highlight the importance of embracing a new way of working for property professionals; one that truly focusses on today’s digital generation. Of course, there are other differentiators to consider when discussing traditional and online, but one can indeed argue that the online model is representative of how the industry has been forced by modern consumers to change the way it operates.

 

Businesses - across all industries - that are embracing technological advancements are succeeding at a phenomenal rate. This is due in part to the fact that their focus is not necessarily about the ‘here and now’ consumer. Their strategies’ plan for longevity and seek to anticipate how Generation Alpha will want to interact with their business in the future.

 

Successful digital-age businesses offer the on-demand consumer instant solutions. Their processes are quicker, they intelligently use customer data to inform their responses, and they communicate in real-time, instantly gratifying consumer needs. No waiting, no time spent on hold – everything is taken care off at the touch a button in most instances.

It’s this kind of forward thinking in terms of user-experience that makes the online model so appealing. They don’t necessarily think from a traditional agent’s point of view because they can’t - they don’t have the history or the prestige, yet they are still getting prospects through the door.

What the online agents do is actually very astute. They combine their USPs with a customer-driven digital strategy that is functional, accessible and user-friendly. In effect, their appeal can be attributed to the fact that they are simply offering today’s digital customer what they want: instant gratification with limited hassle.

Do you have a button on your website that allows prospects to book an appraisal? We know many of you will, but it’s surprising to speak to agents that are still pondering whether or not this is of relevance to their business. They would almost certainly change their opinion if they could quantify how many appraisals are lost because a prospect can’t book online with them.

All the prestige, all of the awards an agency has won, all the years of hard work that has earned an agency recognition within an area and persuaded a prospect to search for their website in the first place, can all be quickly undone by not having certain technological elements in place.

It’s a fact of the generation we now live in. The most obvious example of understanding how customer mindset is evolving is highlighted in the fact that a growing minority of people are now prepared to forgo an agent’s history, reputation and genuine expertise just to make a monetary saving.

Therefore, traditional agents are now battling against financial incentives and the demands made of them by the on-demand generation – the consumer that wants their demands met via immediate access to, and convenient provisioning of, goods and services.

So, for example, whilst many agents do have a good website, many independents are still presenting a sub-standard face to the on-demand customer base. This only serves to increase the probability of a prospect finding a business that will meet their requirements in terms of basic usability. This is why traditional agents must pay attention to the future. It is imperative that they begin to think about the new style of customer and what overall experience they are giving them from the moment they interact with their business.

It’s also probable that the majority of prospects are unlikely to immediately convert when visiting your website. A significant proportion of prospects will spend a great deal of time and effort researching your business before making a decision whether to use you or not. This becomes even more prevalent in your industry, especially when one considers that you are dealing with the biggest financial transaction that most people will ever make. So, in order to increase your conversion rates, a strong digital communication strategy is vital – one that continuously reinforces why a prospect should choose you.

Richard C.

 


 

Continue reading
22 Hits
0 Comments

How Far Are Traditional Agents Willing to Enhance Their Current Offering?

How Far Are Traditional Agents Willing to Enhance Their Current Offering?

  

When it comes to the ongoing discussion about online vs. traditional, the rise of the on-demand customer and the influence of ‘proptech’ on the industry, I feel it’s important that we take a moment to examine a few finer points.

Firstly, there are top class agents all across the UK that offer far more than a cheap online offering. Secondly, I believe that there is no substantial argument to be had about whether online agents are better than traditional agents; the issue is ultimately one about agency differentiation, new processes of customer acquisition and clever marketing techniques, not rivalry per se. Thirdly, all businesses, not just those that are property related, are being forced to overhaul their traditional infrastructures to accommodate changing customer behaviour and new technology.

In recent months there has been a great deal of commentary surrounding the online business model; the majority of it only ever seeming to highlight all the areas that the traditional proposition currently lacks.

On the contrary, I believe the emphasis should be one that focusses on what the online model is currently lacking. Namely all of those vital areas of tradition that the industry has been built upon; the high-street premises, the close connection with the local press, a large local database, key relationships with local charities and local organisations and – most notably - genuine local property experts.

As a brief side note to this point, one of the most persistent pieces of media spin I have witnessed with the growth of the online model is the advent of the generic term ‘Local Property Expert’. In my 25 years of estate agency, I was always part of a team that, at branch level, had local property experts. I have been extremely disheartened by the lack of response from the industry to this seemingly ‘new’ concept. In reality, we have always had local experts who succeeded in securing new business and achieving the best price for their sellers precisely by being genuine local experts.

These elements are why the traditional bricks-and-mortar model is still alive and kicking, why it is still relevant, and why it still remains the best way for vendors to achieve the best possible selling price.

TRADITIONAL AGENCY IS NOT DEAD THEN – IT’S EVOLVING

It might be a little later to the party than other sectors, but the property industry was never going to be exempt from ‘evolution’.

In order for agents to respond to this evolution, I believe that their focus should now be about combining their current strategy – the traditional elements that continue to work well - with three key areas that digital-age customers are now demanding.

Firstly, they must renew their commitment to enhancing customer experience through digital communications. Secondly, they must be willing to capitalise on new avenues of customer and prospect acquisition through ease of customer contact across multiple communication mediums. Thirdly, there must be an assertive commitment to conveying their value proposition via as many customer touchpoints as possible, through both physical and digital publications, emails, blogs, social media, and even television.

Streamlining the customer experience’ has become something of a buzz phrase in the twenty-first century and encapsulates a progressive way of thinking for all business owners. Conveying value is one of the most important elements of the streamlining process. Value is no longer solely thought of in terms of financial benefit from a customer’s point of view. The true value of a business resides in its ability to be of the greatest amount of benefit to a customer in terms of fitting in with lifestyle, being accessible when they need it and also pre-empting what they are going to need next in their journey.

This is what on-demand customers are asking for, so to dismiss it would almost certainly be detrimental to the future success of any business. The primary effect of the online model’s commitment to ‘streamlining customer experience’ – predominantly through the use of innovative digital technologies and shrewd marketing techniques - has opened up additional ways of acquiring prospects. So, as discussed earlier, it can be viewed as representative of the commonplace, on-demand, features that a growing number of younger customers –  what are, in effect, the next generation of vendors, applicants, tenants and landlords – want from a contemporary agency, namely: ease of use, instant digital communication and maximum value. 

These additional ways of acquiring prospects and conveying your value are available to you. However, it is ultimately up to you whether you choose to add them to your offering or not.

CHANGING MINDSET…

Having been managing director of Your Move for 21 years and spending 5 years working with local independents big and small up and down the country - along with the other big corporates - I was recently asked: ‘If I were still running an agency, how would I embrace the evolution of the industry?’

From the outset, it all comes down to one key question: ‘Am I willing to look objectively at my business and identify the strengths and weaknesses of my proposition and improve it with new, unfamiliar elements?’.

I do sympathise with the senior, establish agents. Change is not easy to accept, especially when the online model and technological change can often be seen as a direct threat to traditional values and working practices.

However, embracing the change is an absolute necessity. If it can help your agency acquire more prospects, stop the traction of the online model and keep driving your market share in your locality, it must be used to your advantage.

Technology can no longer be viewed with apprehension, fear or cynicism by any modern agent, it must be embraced because of its advantages. It gives your agency options to add to what is already a formidable and superior proposition.

I do believe that traditional agents are still in a commanding position, but we are at a crossroads. Adding fresh elements to your offering should certainly be a primary focus in order to ensure that this dominance continues into the future.

CHANGING TIMES AND DIFFERENTIATION

Once you have committed to change, the next step is to examine both business models, identify what the online model is doing well and find out how you could implement those elements into your current offering. Again, the outlook must always be one of constantly strengthening your dominant proposition.

Within the pre-digital era, the established infrastructure of the property sector meant that the art of differentiation was a very different proposition to what it is today. Creating and distributing marketing collateral that demonstrated an agency’s USPs could only be conveyed through limited – but very effective – resources.

In the digital era, there are more options available to you to reach your prospects and customers than ever before. Technological advancement, savvy marketing and digital communications have distorted the established infrastructure of the industry and is loosening the monopoly that traditional agents have over the market.

You really do have more opportunity than ever before to add to your traditional marketing mix. The question is: are you willing to take advantage of it?

Gareth S.

Continue reading
22 Hits
0 Comments

Is Your Agency The Best In Your Area?

Is Your Agency The Best In Your Area?

Christopher Watkin has recently penned a piece, published on the Estate Agent UK Networking website, entitled: Why are estate agents wasting time marketing to get new instructions? So we thought that it might be a good idea to examine Watkin’s take on modern day marketing principles.

Continue reading
1002 Hits
0 Comments

The True Value Of Lettings Agents

The True Value Of Lettings Agents

Agents do go the extra mile for their customers. We think that your customers should know this. We look at the ways in which you can convey your value.

Continue reading
850 Hits
0 Comments

Are you in the top 10% of agents?

Are you in the top 10% of agents?

To be in the top 10% of agents, you've got to maximise your database usage. We explore how this is possible.

Continue reading
1223 Hits
0 Comments
 
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