Rexfest Live 2: Growing your agency in a digital world

After a cautious wait to see if Brisbane stayed clear of the northern drift from the Delta strain of COVID-19, we celebrated the second of our live events last Friday (15th October). Hosted by Spoke Product Manager, Rahul Nair this session focused on the impact digital marketing is having on our lives, and how to harness these eyeballs to grow your listing and sales activity.

Meet the Panel

Meet the panelists
Our panelists (L-R) Cassy Smith, Graeme Carmichael and Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton, Director of Property Marketing - Hutton and Hutton. 

As one of the Hutton's, Karen brings unique skills to the business. She is an advocate for the power of storytelling and brings a flair for copywriting into the agency’s marketing. Prior to H & H, Karen was ranked on Google as Australia’s #1 real estate copywriter and worked with agents all over Australia, the U.S. and Canada.

Cassy Smith, Director of startup agency Smitherson

Another dynamic husband and wife team, Smitherson arrived in the Brisbane agency world last year amid COVID lockdowns. As a new brand on the scene, Cassy's marketing efforts over the past year have been laser-focused on building their brand and reputation. Every interaction is an opportunity to grow their local database and digital advertising has been fundamental in their early success.

Graeme Carmichael, Sales Manager - Agency Growth, LJ Hooker Property Centre

Running 28 sales agents in the Redlands, Graeme’s focus is on building scale and efficiency into the agency’s sales process, and he’s definitely delivering on this. As the largest LJ Hooker company in the 700 office network, LJ Hooker Property Centre sells more Brisbane property than any other agency.

The Discussion

Everyday average internet users are spending around 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media. There is a huge opportunity for the real estate industry to leverage this activity. How can you be in front of the right person at the right time? The answer is through the use of well-targeted ads, and that’s where Rex Reach (part of the Rex family of products) comes in.

The biggest benefit from digital marketing tools?

Using polling app Slido we asked the audience, here’s what they said:

What do you think is the industry's biggest benefit of digital marketing tools

This view was also strongly held by the panel. Whether you are looking to get more buyers to an Open House, or to promote your brand for longer-term prospecting, knowing the impact of your efforts is what is driving the engagement behind digital media advertising. Unlike offline marketing tactics like letterbox drops, sales signs and branded billboards where it’s a challenge to connect a buyer walking in the door with the ad channel, social media ads are a data dream. 

The adoption drivers of digital strategies in successful agencies

While listing ads are regularly being paid through VPA packages, all the panel agreed that they were powerful branding tools. 

“Every listing ad showcases our brand - adding them into our listing presentation is a no-brainer”

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that 70% of the audience agreed that they adopt digital strategies to build brand awareness while advertising listings.

What has been the biggest driver
How often do you use social media to advertise properties

The biggest hurdles in being a digital-first agency

The results on this one were mixed. While some agencies had found the sweet spot that allowed them to embrace digital, an equal number were challenged by the skills required to implement online strategies. In exploring this insight we learned that these skills gaps were across both the admin and marketing teams. These teams are required to be the digital experts and also the sales team who needed to be digital-savvy.

The team at H & H have been using social media since Facebook appeared on the scene in 2004. With every iteration of online marketing and the transition from organic activity to paid activity, they have actively developed their skills - exploring and testing the potential of each new platform. For them Spoke simply allows them to deliver their marketing efforts faster, and to spend more time on the copy and ad creation than the process of ad set-up.

At the other end of the scale, LJ Hooker Property Centre have embraced Spoke as a way to support sales agents so they can just focus on the thing they are most passionate about - talking to buyers, sellers, renters and investors.

What has been the biggest hurdle in bringing digital into your buiness

Eco-friendly marketing a bonus

The other hidden benefit the panel discussed was the environmentally friendly nature of digital strategies. Today’s consumer is committed to a better future for the planet and many of the traditional offline tactics used by agencies are creating concerns around waste. While print and paper production has become more environmentally conscious, it still leaves an unsettling feeling when we consider how much of the material dropped off in letterboxes heads straight for the (recycling) bin.

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