Don’t ‘close early’ for Christmas, agents warned

Estate and letting agents are being warned not to slow down in the run up to Christmas as it can be a valuable time for current and future business.

The ValPal Network, which represents 800 agency brands and more than 4,000 branches, says that every year it speaks to some agents who admit they’ll be reducing marketing activity and hours until the New Year.

According to the Network, however, this could be a risky strategy. Its figures show that during last year’s winter period, agents generated over 80,000 vendor and landlord leads from instant online valuations.

What’s more, agents’ Facebook ad campaigns, designed to drive traffic to their valuation tools, were most successful in December 2017 as well as January and February of this year.

The Network says that these social media ad campaigns generated more leads per month for some of its members than any other ad campaign throughout the year.

There are also the well-publicised traffic figures from Rightmove, which show traffic spiking over Christmas as consumers use their time off to start the search for a new home. According to the portal, it received over 25 million page views on Boxing Day 2016 and some 38 million on New Year’s Day 2017.

“Slowing down activity in the run up to Christmas could be costly for agents. It’s important that you’re always planning ahead for the next few months, dedicating time and effort to securing new instructions,” says Craig Vile, Director of The ValPal Network.

“We live in a changing world which doesn’t come to a complete standstill. Consumers will happily look for their next home or start the process of selling their home over the Christmas break.”

“There are also more agents competing than ever before, so you don’t want to miss out on business to a rival just because you’ve taken your foot off the pedal for the festive season,” he says.

The Network is reminding agents that if they stop promoting their business in late autumn, the next few months will be particularly quiet.

It says that agents with their eye on the ball can change the messaging of their marketing campaigns for the Christmas period to have maximum effect.

“You may want to create urgency for vendors and landlords, reminding them that Christmas and the New Year are a busy time for the market so they need to list their properties. Or you may want to run a special festive offer or competition to drum up interest,” says Vile.

“The key is to make sure that all of your marketing and business activity is tailored to what your agency needs. For example, if you’re struggling to shift properties, there’s no point targeting anything at vendors and landlords – you should be targeting applicants instead.”

“The Christmas period is a great time to market an estate agency brand as there is a ‘feel good’ attitude and families come together and spend time at home. This can trigger the desire to move home and/or area,” says Martin Gibbon, director of Balgores Property Group, a 12-branch estate agency operating throughout Essex and Kent.

“Our busiest time for new buyers registering is from Boxing Day through to the end of January, however this doesn’t convert into sales until a few months later. Making sure the company and its brand has received maximum exposure is key to get ahead of the competition.”

“Building that relationship with the audience over time before they’ve even invested in the company and its services increases the chance that when they decide to sell or let a property, your brand is the first one on their list,” he says.

Recently, The ValPal Network revealed that its members generated over 100,000 leads in October, the first time this milestone has been achieved.

What’s more, data analysis found that 18% of online sales valuations its members generated over a two-year period went on to complete with HM Land Registry.

Members had the opportunity to earn £363 million in potential commission from the leads generated between January 2016 and the end of December 2017. And the Network says its average member generates 33 online sales valuation leads each month, potentially earning them £22,000 in monthly commission.

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