For almost 20 years real estate agents have totally relied on Rightmove to bring them buyer leads. But is it healthy to depend on one company to bring most, if not all, of your business?
What’s the problem with Rightmove?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: there is no problem with Rightmove! It’s a fantastic website for browsing properties. Rightmove has done such a great job that, in terms of traffic figures, it pretty much has a monopoly over the real estate market in the UK. With over 40 million visitors every month, it’s more than double the size of Zoopla, the second-biggest property portal in the UK. So what’s the problem?
If anything, Rightmove has worked too well
Many real estate agents are self-employed, small business owners. When Rightmove came along, it gave them a chance to put their properties online. They focussed on being a real estate agent and let Rightmove take care of the online stuff. The problem is that Rightmove has been so successful that agents have not learned how to operate their businesses independently.
No wonder Rightmove have increased their prices every year. They know that real estate agents don’t know how to survive without them. You can hardly blame them for maximising their profits. These price hikes have led to much ill-feeling towards the portal, culminating in the Say No To Rightmove campaign.
Can I sell properties without advertising on Rightmove?
Absolutely! All you need to do is stop thinking like a real estate agent and start thinking like a business owner. Opportunity is everywhere, especially with the technology available today. Invest in your knowledge and your business and you’ll reap the rewards.
How to survive without Rightmove or Zoopla
- Find your niche
- Build a great website
- Learn about SEO
- Create great content
- Collect email addresses and send newsletters
- Grow your network on LinkedIn
- Be present on a variety of channels
- Advertise on Govesta
1. Find your niche
Before you do anything, you need to figure out who you are. Now I don’t mean taking a gap year and travelling through Thailand. I mean taking the time to understand what you are good at, so you can build a brand around your niche. It’s all very well wanting to be the ‘best estate agent in the world’, but that’s not going to help. It’s going to overwhelm you.
Cutting down your target audience gives you focus and helps you develop a brand that resonates with your clients. It also helps massively with SEO, which we will talk more about later. Are you focused on a very specific area? Maybe you are an expert in old buildings? Or new buildings? Do you or your staff speak multiple languages? Do you have connections to architects and interior designers? Are you selling luxury or budget properties? If you are short on ideas, look at what your competitors are doing!
2. Build a great website
Having a great website is obviously very important if you don’t advertise on Rightmove. It’s where potential buyers can view your properties, check out your content and ultimately get in touch with you. Once you’ve found your niche you need a high-quality website that reflects it.
But it’s not just for show. A good website also helps a lot with SEO. Here are a few basic tips to get started:
- Have multiple pages on your site
- Update your site regularly
- Make sure your site contains words & phrases that your customers are Googling
- Make sure your site looks great on your phone
Hot tip: you don’t need to hire a full-time designer or developer. Use sites like Upwork to get in touch with great freelancers.
3. Learn about SEO
I’ve already mentioned it a few times, but it’s really important. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. But never mind the jargon. Good SEO means property hunters can find you easier on Google. It’s a super powerful way to grow your business, for two reasons. Firstly, the whole world uses Google. Secondly, it is completely free! Check out our article, 3 easy ways to improve your SEO right now.
It may sound complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. You just need to focus on creating great, unique content that your customers are searching for. Google is very smart these days and recognises great content when it sees it. Which brings us nicely onto the next point…
4. Create great content
Content is how people engage with one another online. Great content creates relationships with people who you’ve never even met – It is so powerful. A good place to start is to create a blog. Your blog should focus on topics that your customers are interested in. It should provide something useful to the audience. A great example is to provide something that is downloadable to the reader. But try to think out of the box a little bit – your content needs to be unique. If you create the same article that 50 companies have already written, it’s not going to help you much.
Video is the most effective form of content that you can put out. People love watching videos. Don’t be scared of what people think about you. Thoughts cannot hurt you!
5. Do email marketing
Your most engaged customers are those subscribed to your newsletters. They’ll be a powerful referrals tool, as they’ll almost certainly talk to their friends about you – especially if you create great content!
Make it easy for people to subscribe on your website. The easier it is for them, the more subscribers you’ll get. Newsletter tools are often free to use, if not very cheap.
According to research by Adobe, the average person spends 2.5 hours per day checking personal emails at the office. And a study by Fluent concluded that 68% of millennials say their purchases have been influenced by a newsletter.
6. Grow your network on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a super useful platform. Firstly, it is so easy to reach the right people. Then you can use it a way to share the content that you’ve been working on. Secondly, LinkedIn is full of people with good jobs and incomes – the kinds of people who sell and buy houses!
Hot tip: use LinkedIn Helper to grow your network quickly and send personalised, automated messages to them. It’s a very cheap tool but also offers a 14-day free trial. It’s really easy to use, thanks to the video guides included in the tool, and will save you a ton of time.
7. Post and advertise on social media
It’s a fact: people spend more time on social media than they do on property portals, such as Rightmove. You just need to reach them! Posting on Instagram and Facebook, for example, is free, so why wouldn’t you do it? Build a community around your brand and engage with it regularly. This is particularly powerful for local estate agents.
Use paid advertising to target specific groups of people that could be interested in your properties or services. Facebook knows pretty much very every detail of your life, so the targeting is pretty damn good. It’s a very sophisticated and surprisingly cheap way to get business.
8. Advertise on Govesta
Govesta is the new generation of property advertising. Govesta displays your properties, but sends interested users to your website to get in touch with you. That means you can show off your content, collect emails, retarget your visitors – whatever you want! We work on a performance marketing model, just like Google and Facebook.
Advertising on Govesta compliments all other areas of your online marketing strategy. Build your own brand, not somebody else’s!