Although direct referrals still exist, most sales prospects in this digital age start out as anonymous traffic on your website. If your funnel is designed well, this traffic will eventually flow on to become legitimate leads, resulting in more sales for your business.
The REA approach
REA Group has always focused on ways to attract sellers at the very top of their real estate transaction funnel. It’s a clever and effective approach, as there are many potential sources of future revenue.
An offer of a free appraisal, finance options or house renovation information can generate leads and pay dividends. Later, when sellers become buyers searching for property, the funnel is there ready and waiting to offer utility connection and removalist services.
The origins of the REA sales funnel
REA Group had humble beginnings back in 1995. The internet was in its infancy, and in a Melbourne garage, the founders wondered if the new technology could possibly change the way the world experiences the property market. It seems they were on to something!
Fast forward to 2008, and REA launched and operated www.homeguru.com.au and www.ozhomevalue.com.au. In an ingenious lead capture model, these sites would offer sellers a free property valuation report. Great for the seller – and even better for REA who would then on-sell these leads to any agents who were prepared to pay for them.
Between 2012 and 2017, this model became more sophisticated via the launch of property profile pages. Based on the automated valuation estimate concept called Guesstimates (offered by www.onthehouse.com.au), REA created a page for every property in Australia.
The page included valuable information pertaining to past sales or rental history, as well as offering an instant AVM (Automated Valuation Model). As a modernised version of the free property valuation report, the aim is to get the property owner to ‘claim’ their property so that REA can collect the valuable data. And thus, the funnel starts flowing.
From 2017 onwards, REA identified a prospective leak in their sales funnel. Companies such as www.openagent.com.au and www.ratemyagent.com.au started gaining traction, and in order to compete and ensure they weren’t losing seller leads to these third parties, REA launched their own agent comparison website.
According to REA Group, their “Residential property platform www.realestate.com.au is the country’s leading place for property, news and inspiration”.
They also operate a commercial property site www.realcommercial.com.au and a share accommodation site www.flatmates.com.au.
Recognising that the way people work continues to change, they’ve even expanded to include a short-term commercial and co-working property site called www.spacely.com.au.
The end result is that REA can capture future leads from an extremely broad database.
It’s clear that REA Group and its competitors are continuing to develop their platforms so they have more touchpoints with property owners who will eventually convert to sellers.
In this data-hungry age, consumers may have some concern that each and every engagement with this proptech results in another datapoint these portals (or third parties) will use for tailored marketing. However, on the flip side, there will continue to be huge innovation in this area, which will be advantageous to property owners.