Case study: how target marketing helped an agency
After the devastating floods hit parts of Queensland earlier this year, Brisbane-based buyer’s agent Shane Hiscock thought the residential property market was going to change.
The Locate Buyers Agency director and REIQ Buyer’s Agents Chapter member became worried the market could cool following his experience with previous floods.
The answer? Put more focus on improving the agency’s marketing efforts.
“We engaged an external marketing and business consultant to help us on our journey of coming up with some new tools and resources to improve our target marketing,” Hiscock says.
“We realised our website probably needed strengthening, we needed to build some more resources and we wanted to put some more thought into the referral side of our business.”
The marketing funnel
Hiscock’s consultant looked at the market in terms of ‘top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel’ – which described where people were at in their buying journey.
“At any one point in time, you’ve got two to four percent of the market at the bottom of the funnel – these are the people ready to buy.
“A lot of our marketing was targeting them. So we realised the middle and the top of the funnel were being neglected somewhat.
“So, in some respects we were saying, ‘I’m going to have a first interaction with you’ and then the next minute we were asking them to buy something off us or engage with us. It was the equivalent of going on a first date and then asking someone to get married straight away.”
What to do next
Hiscock’s consultant had conducted independent interviews with the business’s clients over the previous couple of years.
The interviews were designed to discover why clients needed a buyer’s agent, what challenges they were having, what were their frustrations, what they were struggling with and how they went about the process of reviewing and searching for a buyer’s agent.
The consultant was then able to group the clients into segments – mainly into Brisbane and non-Brisbane natives – and define their key pain points and challenges.
These were then used to build two distinctive buyer personas.
“We built two four-page documented avatars of each of these types of clients, with all of the things these people had said in the interviews,” Hiscock said.
“Based on all that information, we customised and built specific presentation pages on our webpage.
“These 25-minute presentations talk to all those pain points and challenges. They help people understand and learn a bit more about the buyer’s agency-type business, what we do, how we can help people, that kind of thing.
“It enables potential clients to work out whether a buyer’s agency suits them or not and whether it’s worth them trying us out. People want to buy, not to be sold to.”
Bringing referral partners on board
Taking it a step further, Hiscock wanted to further bring referral partners on board.
His team created a brochure with a QR code that linked to the website’s presentation pages and gave them to referral partners, such as sales agents and mortgage brokers.
“We distribute these brochures with a specific QR code and a specific phone number to a referral partner and then anything that comes from them we know where the lead was generated from, and we can thank them for that.
“Our referral partners are seeing buyers all the time and they don’t often have a solution for them, especially mortgage brokers – they might be doing a lot of pre-approval work and you don’t get paid for a pre-approval.
“If they’re encountering people struggling to buy then they can suggest they use a buyer’s agent. Then we can help enable that person who’s been struggling to buy to then transact.
“That’s a benefit to the mortgage broker because they may not have to renew the pre-approval and the time they put in gets realised.”
Hiscock has thought about distributing the brochures at auctions (with agents’ permission) to target the people who miss out on making the winning bid.
He says the whole work on improving the company’s marketing efforts has helped.
“It’s really working. It’s making things a lot easier and it’s also enabling our team to go and have conversations with more partners so we can build more networks.
“The more people who know about what we do, the better chance you have of someone contacting you who needs some help.”