With further easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK this week and a red-hot property market, it seems some of the digital innovations agents have made to work around the pandemic may stand the test of time.
Statistics from Yomdel show that, more than ever before, buyers and vendors alike are turning to online communication in order to engage in agency services. Their figures show that estate agents’ website traffic was 142% higher in April 2021 in comparison to April 2020. While this may feel like a given because of the high demand, the majority of the uplift has been from new vendors (242% increase) and new landlord enquiries (100% increase).
The pandemic prompted lots of estate agencies to increase their use of digital marketing and many agents believe it’s changed the way they’ll do business in the longer term. Richard Combellack of BriefYourMarket.com told us: “Our data shows agents are taking the opportunity to drive content-rich strategies to engage with prospective clients via their inbox. The volume of marketing emails being sent from estate agents through our system has risen from 4 million in April 2020, to 15 million in April 2021.”
During this busy time, agents are also looking for ways to automate communication with clients as much as possible. Combellack continues: “We can see our customers are making the most of automation to engage with their vendors, buyers and landlords. Last month, 21,000 ‘triggered’ emails were sent using BriefYourMarket.com and the importance of creating a nurture sequence based on the home mover journey has never been greater. For many agents it’s now more about the customer’s experience in the long term – not just the initial valuation, sale or purchase.”
The digital legacy of lockdown isn’t limited to outbound communications. Yomdel’s figures show the number of leads captured via live chat was 80% higher in April 2021 when compared to April 2020. While lockdowns have meant less in-person interactions, the upsurge in online communications alongside round the clock working has meant customer expectations in many instances are higher. There’s a clear customer appetite for engaging with real human beings at a time of day, or night, that suits them – Yomdel’s manned live chats are, on average, seven minutes longer than chats handled by bots and a huge 44% of all live chats on agency websites now occur out of hours.
As we hopefully move towards the fourth stage of the route out of lockdown roadmap in June, when it comes to marketing, it certainly appears that many agents will be retaining several elements of the “new normal”.
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