Estate agencies are no stranger to industry threats, whether that be government changes, recession or shifting interest rates. But the situation we currently find ourselves in is unlike anything that agents have faced before.
With what is going on in the world, it’s natural to feel uneasy and to question what steps you could be taking. But the truth is that no one is an expert in how to market your business during a global pandemic.
If your agency is unable to operate right now you want to share content with the goal of retention. In other words, staying in touch with your existing clients and followers so that once you reopen, you’re the first agent they think of.
So while we can’t offer you tried-and-tested strategies for property marketing in uncertain times, we can offer some guiding principles, ideas and tools that can help you take action.
Don’t be a stranger
With no new listings, no viewings, and no one moving any time soon, it can be tempting to drop off the radar when it comes to your social platforms. After all, it’s hard to know what to say when none of your usual content applies.
But staying connected is now more important than ever, with people relying on social media to stay in touch with friends and family, to inform themselves and to be entertained. As a result, social media platforms have seen a huge increase in activity. Both Facebook and Instagram have seen 40% more usage, while Facebook live views doubled in just one week. So if social media is where your clients are spending their time, you should be too.
What to post
Having your potential clients spending more time online offers you a unique opportunity to build on your relationship with your audience and increase awareness of your brand. Here are some ideas for your social media content.
- Focus on the community
This works particularly well if you are an independent agent or are very area-specific. To some extent, all businesses are struggling right now, but small independent businesses are likely to have been hit hardest. Now is a great chance to highlight other local businesses whose services could bring value to your audience. Is the village pub doing a delivery service? Is a local personal trainer doing online classes? Let your audience know, or even jump on a Zoom call with the business owner that you can post online. You will build trust and loyalty with their audience as well as your own, while also showing your support for the community.
- Offer advice
When you’re working in property day in and day out, it can be easy to assume that other people are just as up to date with the market as you are. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. As well as the people who are currently on the market, there are also plenty of others who had been thinking about doing the same before the lockdown began. Use your social media platforms to let them know that you are there for support and advice, or even to create content geared around questions you’ve been asked, whether that be through blog posts, Facebook lives or YouTube videos.
- Give an honest update
Don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes and let people in. People are looking for connection during this isolation and will appreciate an honest approach to how your business is doing. Let them know your plans and how your services are going to be available for them. Keep them in the loop about who is available for phone calls and emails and how things change as time progresses.
- Don’t sweep things under the rug
The reality is that everyone is acutely aware of our current situation, so to pretend it isn’t happening could come off a little tone-deaf. You might be holding back for fear of getting it wrong, but remember, this is new territory for everyone. It’s important to let your audience know that you are listening and to acknowledge the situation that we are in.
This doesn’t mean that you need to mention Covid-19 in all of your communications. It does mean, however, that you need to be aware of how anything you post might come across to those in a different position than yourself. Some of your followers may have lost their job, be looking after a relative or even be sick themselves. The tone of your content has never been more important.
Things to do in your downtime
The future is still very much uncertain, and things seem to be changing on almost a daily basis. It can be challenging to know how to spend your time, but with little activity in the way of sales, it could be a good idea to work on systems and improvements that will support you when things pick back up.
If you find yourself at a loose end, why not use this time to really get ahead of your marketing strategy? Here are a few ideas you could focus on:
- Plan (or launch!) your email newsletter
If you find yourself coming up with ideas for your newsletter in the days before you send it, now is the perfect opportunity to sit down and create a cohesive content plan that delivers value to your subscribers. You could even draft the copy and schedule your emails, freeing up hours of time when you are back to business as usual.
If you don’t have an email newsletter, here are a few reasons why we think you should. Now’s a great time to educate yourself about the benefits of email marketing and get a solid plan in place. If you’re looking for a bit more guidance, head over to our handy blog post, Email Marketing For Estate Agents: What Should I Write About?
- Run an Instagram audit
Update your bio, finally get around to creating your highlight covers, or get rid of any old posts that no longer fit the look and feel of your agency. Social scheduling tool Later has a great blog post with a free downloadable checklist that will point you in the right direction.
- Schedule your social
Speaking of scheduling, you could also create enough content for weeks and even months to come so you can essentially ‘set it and forget it’. As mentioned above, Later is a great tool to use, though there are many other options out there that you can get set up in minutes.
- Update your website
When’s the last time you had a proper look at your website? Sit down and go through every page of your site to see where it could do with some updating. There may be some information on there that’s no longer relevant, or simply areas that could be improved. Are your area guides up to date? Does your About page really sell your business? There are so many valuable places your time can go to prepare you for when things get busy again.
Things may not be easy, but we hope this post will help you to navigate through this period of uncertainty and continue to market your property business. We’ll be sharing more tips and insights through our newsletter and over on our social channels. Got a question? Get in touch via our Instagram or Facebook.