Online estate agents are feeling the pinch too – and how SmartScope helps traditional agencies fight back

January 17, 2017

There’s been a fair bit of doom and gloom lately in the property market, with London slowing down, although other areas are reporting healthy price gains. Competition is as fierce as ever, and if you’re a traditional bricks and mortar estate agency, you’ll be aware of the threat of the new online players eating into your potential customer base and profits.

However, even the online operators have been finding it harder lately. The Financial Times recently interviewed online property listings entrepreneur Nick Marr. The article is behind a pay-wall, but you can find it here on the FT site. Here, though are what we think are the key findings from the point of view of what it means for traditional estate agents and their marketing.


Vulnerabilities of online agencies

The interview highlights the rise of the online operators, but also points out some of the weaknesses in their business model.  One is that it’s all very well to have a website that lets you theoretically reach everyone, but in practice you often have to spend a lot of money promoting it, and backing it up with traditional (and expensive) advertising.

The other issue is that when dealing with an online agent, consumers may be reluctant to pay a lot of money up-front to someone they don’t know and haven’t met.

So while some of these online agencies can do well, particularly if they are backed by a big brand name with the investment cash to match, many are struggling. The solution, the article suggests, is for online agents to charge more (which presumably won’t go down too well with those reluctant to part with large sums online).




SmartScope - An opportunity for traditional estate agents

What does all this mean for regular estate agents? Well, for one thing, it shows that the online boys have their challenges too – and that if they do raise their prices, they’re going to become a less attractive option in comparison.

For another, it could be worth thinking of new ways of generating more leads and improving the return on investment you generate from your existing marketing activity. You don’t have to pay for TV ads, as certain online players do, but prospecting letters and other marketing channels can still cost a lot of money.

Which is why the ability to target only those homeowners who are likely to sell, before your competitors do, can make all the difference.  And that’s where SmartScope comes in.

On average, 1 in 40 homeowners will move in the next 180 days. Our predictive marketing platform uses big data and machine learning to accurately predict who they will be. In fact sales letters and emails sent via our platform are more than five times as likely to reach homeowners who are actively planning to sell in that time period. That lowers your likely hit rate from 1 in 40 to 1 in 8 – and means you are able to speak directly to those prospects who are most likely list their property in the near future. This leads to more listings every month at a lower cost.

Why not find out more about SmartScope and request a free demo ? It could make all the difference in generating more sales listings in 2017. And unlike those online agencies in the report, you won’t have to raise your prices!

By Astrid McGuire, (SmartScope Business Development Manager)