Complete Online Internet Marketing Plan for Agents

5 minute read

With over 50% of Australians now online and 1 in 5 of these users searching for properties, every residential real estate agent needs a complete online strategy. This strategy should include all major real estate portals, and this is why!

Agents are now marketing their online strength (spread) to potential vendors and at the same time showing their competitors weaknesses in this area.

As the importance of the Internet marketing of properties grow so will the spread of agents online marketing strategies.

If your residential agency only lists with one of the main portals then you will definitely lose business to your rivals.

Vendors are becoming less interested (yes they are still interested) in advertising in newspaper guides because of the costs involved. Paper guides are great for immediacy and branding but do little to actually sell a property, this is because they contain so little information. This trend will only get stronger in future years as vendors understanding of the reach and communication benefits of marketing properties online increases.

Agents not only need to market their properties to as many potential buyers online as possible, but they also need to structure a pricing plan for this marketing.

I think all agents should offer an Internet only strategy and an vendor advertising fee structure around this strategy.

Agents should be charging a minimum of $200.00 per listing, but they also need to lift their game when it comes to quality of content and images/VR tours. Vr Tours are usually outsourced to a third party but this is just plain silly as software and cameras can do a great job, all it needs is some training for your staff. (they will also enjoy it). It is such a simple procedure and it does irk me that some agents still get this outsourced for hundreds of dollars a pop. After the shots are taken it takes less than ten minutes to make a VR tour.

When you consider the costs involved it makes perfect sense to formulate a marketing strategy around the Internet and give vendors a great spread of advertising.

Your future is online and despite the coming competition in print media, the Internet is the print media’s biggest competitor. +
There are only two truly national real estate portals and that is and and if you are not listed on both of these then you are going to lose listings to your competitors.

If I was your competitor and was listed on both then I would let vendors know that you were not!

Both of these sites are owned by major national newspapers and they market their sites very effectively. Real Estate (News Ltd majority owned) is pretty strong all over Australia and Domain (Fairfax) is particularly strong in Melbourne and Sydney.

Both have their strengths in markets where their newspapers have a dominant share of the classifieds revenue. Even local newspapers can have a very effective online presence and your advertising mix should be about marketing your vendors properties to as many potential buyers as possible.

Just go basic
In allot of cases both of these portals are now offering featured listings and extra services such as email marketing, however I would not bother with these features instead I would be spending those costs on marketing your own website, this is your future!

A good example is featuring a property at the top of search results. If a person is looking for a property in Hobart (Tasmania) then they will look at ALL properties, not just the first few. The only thing a featured property gives you is a strong chance that a person will see this listing before others.

Your Own Website
If you do not have your own website ( and I do not mean one that re-directs to …… a REAL ONE) then you are sadly going to be left behind.

Most agents now receive over 60% of their enquiries from their online advertising, yet less than 10% of their marketing budget is spent online, does something seem out of whack to you?

When thinking about your website, think of your brand and presentation of your vendors properties, 95% of your visitors will go to your site to look at properties, so make it as simple as possible to get that information. If you have less than 100 listings you should not bother with a search facility, just give your users a big long list of properties that link to more information. Give the user of your site the ability to sort listings by price, suburb, property type etc.

Your Brand & Presentation
If you care little about your brand and presentation of properties your website will demonstrate this in spades.

If you know little about technology and user behaviour your website will demonstrate this in spades.

In fact your website tells a user so much about your company, yet they will rarely ever tell you about it.

So it is time for all agents to start being totally honest with themselves, are you on both and ?

Does your website accurately reflect the brand you are looking to project into the marketplace. Do you spend less than 20% of your marketing budget online? Be honest with yourself and train you and your staff to understand the benefits of the online world and your future will be better for it.

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  • Andrew
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm 0Likes

    Print is only restricting the amount of content advertised due to the price. The media monopolies continue to increase their prices to the point where an agent will only get a quarter page for what they used to pay for a full page. Agents need to not only undertake and have their own website (agreed) in addition to the major sites mentioned, but they also need to take control of their own print with regard to brandings and listings- and in turn this will promote their own website to the their potential vendors. This is not as expensive as it sounds and moves are afoot to offer agents low cost high quality ownership in this important area.

  • snoop
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 8:29 am 0Likes
  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:42 am 0Likes

    Guru? Why do people think this? Baker is and has always been a self-promoting tugger! How does he get so much publicity that says so little except that he thinks he is a guru?!
    The 2 most important milestones at REA?
    1. Pre-Baker, REA was saved from closing its doors by a Macquarie bank and News Ltd injection.
    2.Then the only ‘master-stroke’ made at REA was to purchase that was the original portal that it copied to get started and was the ‘big fish’ that was its biggest competitor. This enabled them to then dominate the market.
    Can anyone tell me what S. Baker actually ever did for the REA portal in terms of vendor, agent or buyer perspective? (He did set himself up with a large salary and a whack of options etc tho’)
    S. baker is no guru. He’s just one of the classic products of the McKinsey self-promotion sales methods.
    (Gee, speaking like this makes me really sound like a grumpy old timer, doesn’t it. But I just want to see something useful come from the web for all real estate parties) 🙂

  • Craig Adams
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 11:11 pm 0Likes

    Finally someone who tells it as it is. Nice call Sal Espro on Baker as he aint no guru but more like a naughty little boy with a big ego.

    Fact 1. Yes he did a great job building the business up from $0 to big $$ and getting agents onto the site and more importantly lots of Australians as well. Acknowledge that and well done on that note.
    Fact 2. For the last 18 months of his tenure he seemed to have little or nothing to do with the business in Australia and its paying agents preferring to get his overseas ventures up and going so the eulogy’s from posts in August about REA being a one man band were ill informed and off the mark.
    Fact 3. The CIO who has now left to join him in his current ventures was seemingly totally out of their depth and left the REA Technical department looking like a train wreck with unfinished projects and no respect left within the business.
    Fact 4. Baker leaving was a big deal for about a week and that was about it. Most agents barely blinked. The REA business has not collapsed, there does not appear to be a mass exodus of disgruntled employees (whilst the CIO has gone the rest of the senior team are apparently still there) and it would seem the new CEO is setting about plotting a new course for 2009 and beyond whilst looking to fix up some of the mess left by Baker who despite media opinion was not that well liked by most employees or agents, who like I found him arrogant and dismissive of others in the trade.
    Fact 5. The board made a gutsy and timely decision and Simon was never going to go without having the last say. They probably could have done it better but he wasn’t left poor I’m sure.

    Most gurus are generally straw men at the end of the day.

  • SSSR
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:37 am 0Likes

    A good test of his skills would be to liquidate his shares and start an opposition portal. Be interesting to see how that went.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 8:51 am 0Likes

    I found with my dealings with Simon Baker that one was quick to draw a conclusion whether you liked or disliked him. Whatever the case nobody can deny his success within the real estate industry as he drove a very successful model – although in the end I believe that his ego led to his departure.

    I recently read on his CEO blog where he was writing about the importance of customer service (finally) where he was on a flight where the in-flight movies were not working. He praised the airline who reimbursed him for the inconvenience experienced so in the best interests of maintaining and managing the relationship – he was most impressed.

    Anyone that I have spoken with quickly identify that have a terrible relationship with agents in terms of customer care. Take their server breakdown debacle where purchasers email enquiries sat idle and unnoticed on their server for months and months. Simon went to into immediate hiding and never acknowledged (to the best of my knowledge) or offered an explanation or apology to the many agents that endured this monumental stuff up.

    Just yesterday I contacted our Account Manager (who advised me that she was leaving also) to ask if was experiencing server melt-down again as are producing on average 15:1 ratio emails over I am happy to donate some rubber bands!

    No response yet (to both :)) and now we get a new Account Manager whom is probably brand new to our industry where at a time that online to real estate agents has never been more important – I hope I am proven wrong on this. On past history it in all probability will be sometime next year when we learn who our new Account Manager is.

    Unlike the airlines somethings never change and for the agents – I stand by my longstanding opinion that we to are mere ATM’s.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 11:57 am 0Likes

    Robert and Craig,

    Interesting to hear your comments seem to agree with mine on Mr. ‘Just another snout in the trough’, Baker – ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.
    Let’s hope the media starts to question some of his hollow, self promotory words until he can show some start-up success himself!

    However, back to the main game:
    It is such a pity the World doesn’t have any supported systems other than the old ‘tried and true’ classifieds model to bring vendors and buyers together.
    There are certainly ways of surpassing REA and Domain et al. However, it ain’t gonna happen while agents are happy to spend money on things like the classifieds portals ‘Feature’ properties (that will be found by real buyers anyway), and not even a small percentage on freeing themselves from the grip of classified portals by using some alternatives! I still contend submitting stock directly to Google is the way to go. We just need to manage ‘inactivated’ properties better so buyers don’t get jacked-off by being directed to inactive links. It’s more than worth it.
    Can someone suggest a business model here?

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 11:58 am 0Likes

    And another thing,

    Can we all also take a look at just what the ‘Uploaders/Management systems/portal pushers/ Website CMS hosts’ – whatever you want to call them are doing for their $450 per week.
    This is the other silent rort in our industry that is basically supporting the whole REA, Domain et al farce!
    They all do much the same thing but jut package it differently!
    And I *do* have a business model to displace these mobs!

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 12:03 pm 0Likes

    That should read $450 per month! 🙂

  • SSSR
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 4:42 pm 0Likes


    You make a good point. I dont think that a portal like all others is the way forward here. Even a portal that was to adopt a Zillow type service still wont get traction ie Onthehouse… those guys will be finding it cold out there.

    Dont know what the solution is, but variations of the theme will always struggle to change consumer habits away from REA.

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