After speaking with so many agents over the past few weeks it has been interesting to note the change in attitude to the newspapers and their real estate guides. Some agents have told me that they receive less that 20% of their enquiries through these paper based guides compared to their Internet advertising.
However their marketing spend is skewed to over 85% to traditional media advertising. This simply does not make any sense.
So how can this change the way agents communicate?
One thing is for sure, newspaper real estate guides will be around for a long time. But I think agents should now start to direct people through to their websites from these guides. This has a twofold effect.
Firstly it directs traffic to your website but secondly and more importantly is trains people to go to your site.
All over Australia so many real estate newspaper guides have a monopoly, which means you pay ridiculously high prices. Most single office agents spend on average between 60 and 100 thousand dollars per annum in these guides. This is not to say Agents do not get results because they do, however Internet advertising is so much more cost effective and has far greater reach.
But because agents charge fees for vendors to list in these guides they do not see it so much as an expense.
For the Internet to boom for agents they must do the same. Unfortunately The Real Estate Institutes Australia wide have been left dragging their feet with the Internet mainly because of their lack of understanding of this medium.
So I suggest agents start charging fees for the services they provide for vendors in relation to Internet advertising. The more reach an agent has through their Internet marketing (i.e. main real estate portals) the more they should charge for this service.
This is the only way I see that real estate agents will lift their marketing dollars with Internet advertising and build a future that is independent of the major media players around the world.
The last thing we want to see is the big media players not only controlling agents newspaper advertising expenditure but also their Internet marketing spend.
Agents who invest sensibly in their own website and market these sites accordingly will be the big winners in the future.