When Regal Estates first started Lettings & Property Management from the Maidstone Branch, the internet was seen as something of a luxury. Sales agents had been marketing their properties on-line for some time, but the Lettings business was seen as an ‘Add-on’ to the real business of Estate Agency.
This did not only hold true of on-line marketing. Very few agents bothered to put their Lettings in the local paper and Regal were the first agent to go for a half page in Colour no less! The level of detail a customer could expect from a Letting Agent was also lacking. Freed from the confines of the Property Misdescriptions Act, Letting Agents pretty much wrote whatever they wanted and often it was not much.
Things have changed in the last decade though. It became vital for Letting agents to showcase all their properties and services on their own websites. Then came the portals. At first they all seemed like an expensive extra but soon enough Rightmove started to become vital if you really wished to succeed.
Then came the social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter were not going to set the world alight with new listings or new tenants, but they cannot be beaten for building brand recognition and for boosting the organic growth of a Letting Agent’s web position in the search engines. Blogging and News articles became important for the very same reason.
But the most important change of all is the advent of smartphones. Suddenly applicants and Landlords no longer need wait till they get home to check up on an agent. They can get answers immediately and the Letting Agent must ensure that those answers are presented in the best light possible. No longer will it be acceptable to have a one size fits all web page that contains flash elements and is too unwieldy for a small screen. Smartphone users set their expectations high and the amount of time they are prepared to waste low.
To meet this change Regal Estates has already taken several steps. Our website automatically converts to a mobile friendly version when sensing a smartphone user. All our property details will soon have 3D bar codes attached to allow for quick access to property details. Automatic texts will soon have links to the properties included in the body text. More changes will be announced later in 2012.
For those who are dismissive of the impact of smartphones we can confirm that in 2011 13% of all visits to our website were from smartphones. So far in 2012 that number has risen to 17%.
Thank you for reading.