This article was originally published in Propertyfinder Trends 2017, Vol 3.
Directors, is your marketing budget really working for you?
It always surprises me when I talk to company directors and they are unclear on their ROI from different marketing channels. Some clients in the UAE track every lead, knowing exactly what their investment returns, something I urge every client to do. But all too often I hear, “Marketing manages our advertising budget.” Every business owner should know what channels are the most effective for them. How else can you allocate your marketing budget?
In the last twelve months, there has been consolidation in the market with some large mergers and acquisitions, as expected in a maturing market. At Propertyfinder, we are also seeing some consolidation of marketing spend, specifically the number of portals customers choose to invest in.
In my opinion, I would never recommend that a client advertises on every portal. It isn’t necessary. If I was running a brokerage here in the UAE, I would choose a maximum of two portals, and obviously, I would choose the ones that deliver the most effective cost per lead (CPL) and, ultimately, the most business.
Clients sometimes complain that it’s expensive to advertise on portals. Print, outdoor, buses and radio can all be effective in terms of branding, but what is the ROI from these mediums in terms of leads and actual business? It’s impossible to say. I started my career in print sales, at powerhouses like Daily Mail General Trust and News Corporation Australia, where I used to sell and manage teams selling space in the newspapers. The hardest part was that we could never guarantee any return from print.
I moved into the digital property space at Findaproperty in 2011, which was later acquired by Zoopla in October 2012. What I love about digital is the complete transparency: clients know exactly what they are paying for, and if they don’t, they should. Due to the great work our digital marketing and SEO teams do behind the scenes, we are seeing consistent growth in our audience and leads. If you do any property-related Google search in the UAE, Propertyfinder will rank very well organically, and we’re diverting those consumers to our clients.
We are also growing in terms of customer numbers and have just exceeded 1,000 subscription customers across the UAE, not through company acquisition, through a consistent number of new clients choosing Propertyfinder as their digital marketing partner. So why have they chosen Propertyfinder? In short, the ROI they’re getting, but also because we offer a fast
What I love about digital is the complete transparency: clients know exactly what they are paying for, and if they don’t, they should.
and reliable platform for consumers, we are constantly innovating, we have a transparent pricing structure, and a dedicated team. The most rewarding part of our work is seeing clients grow from 50 to 2000 listing packages in the UAE, knowing that Propertyfinder has been an integral part of their growth strategy. We are currently seeing record levels of traffic and leads. We delivered over 360,000 leads in October, our highest ever.
At Propertyfinder, our Account Managers’ main priority is to help clients get the best return on their investment. On average each team member attends approximately 30 meetings per month with decision makers, and as a result, have a robust understanding of the market.
We invest heavily in B2B events in order to get to really know our customers and the challenges they are facing, and to allow them to get to know our offerings. At one event about a year ago I asked, “What do you need from us to help you grow your business?” The answer was self- serve data to help clients understand their results from Propertyfinder and most importantly, which communities to focus on in order to improve. Since then, our Data and Product teams have been working on a brand-new Dashboard, designed to give valuable insight and compare clients’ results against their competition.
Initial feedback about the new Dashboard, which launched in November, has been extremely positive, and we’ve already had some suggestions for iteration two of the product which we welcome.
Daily tips are included on the Dashboard, as well as ranking of Agents, a map of existing stock, and how clients compare to their competition in a given community for listings, leads, conversion, and leads per listing.
Ask your marketing team for a detailed breakdown of your spend, including conversion to viewings, and transactions. I encourage all business owners to fully understand the back ofice of all portals and test their internal process. Sometimes the smallest change to your spend or process can give you better results and visibility of your ROI. I look forward to hearing more of your feedback, and to delivering more transparency and data to help you succeed.
Commercial Director, Propertyfinder Group