8 min read

If you are a real estate agent/ broker, you have probably seen, not all your listings are performing well in the property portal websites these days.

You have paid hundreds of dollars for getting your properties listed in a portal site (such as iProperty.com) but you ain’t getting enough phone calls from potential clients through your online listings. If this is you, you are not alone. 

I get two types of complaints from Real Estate Agents these days: 

  1. Some of their property listings are not getting enough views; OR
  2. Only a few prospects are contacting them, despite their listings getting a lot of views.

“The reason why your listings are not getting enough views is because your listings are getting low reach.

The issues for low reach of your listings are: 

Reason #1: Fall of search ranking of your listing in the portal site

This happens when new listings in the same location are published by other agents. 

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Convert your existing listing into a Premium Listing that appears first ahead of Featured and Standard listings on the search result pages whilst generating maximum exposure. However, you need to pay extra fees for premium listings in most property portal sites. 

Only in sites that offer free classifieds, you can republish your listing to rank #1 for a few hours and then the ranking starts falling as others post or republish their listings. 

Now, do you really need to spend money on premium listings? Well, it depends on which property you are currently promoting. 

First, you need to find out how many listings appear in the portal’s search result page when you search for the name of the property. If your listing is appearing in the first page of the search result, then you are good. You don’t need to spend on premium listing. 

Secondly, you need to find out whether any listings (whether yours or other agent’s) with the name of your selected property appears in the search result page when you search for the name of the location/neighborhood. 

If any listing with the name of your selected property is appearing in the first page of the search result, then you don’t need to spend on premium listing. 

Now, you might be wondering how your direct competitors’ listings, appearing in the first page of the search result for the name of the location/neighbourhood, favor your listing. 

Here is how your prospects can reach your listing: 

When a prospect searches for a property by typing in or selecting the suggested location/neighbourhood in the search bar of the portal site, the first page of the search result can include other agents’ listings of apartment units (for example) in the same building where you also have one unit that you are promoting. 

Now, lets say your listing does not appear in the first page and the prospect does not dig in to the second page, but she checks out one of your direct competitors’ listing. If she likes the property, then she would want to see more similar listings. 

Next, what she would do is check out the listings suggested under “Similar Listings” at the end of the listing page and/or do another search with the ‘name of the property’. 

So, your listings can show up in the suggested ‘similar listings’ sections and/or appear in the first page of the search result for the property name. 

Reason #2: Your cover photo of the listing is not impressive enough to get many click-throughs from potential customers.

When prospects see your listing preview in the search result page in the portal site, they are more likely to click the preview link to access the full listing page if the cover photo is more appealing compared to other similar listings. 

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Your listing’s cover photo should give an overall picture of how the property looks like or it should include the best part of the property. 

Option #1: Overall picture of the property can be panoramic view of the living and dining space or panoramic view of the master bedroom only. If the portal site allows you to put multiple photos in the cover photo, then you can turn it into a photo collage by adding 2-4 photos in it. 

If you include four (4) images in the photo collage, then you can include: 

  • Image 1: Master Room
  • Image 2: Living-and-Dining Hall
  • Image 3: Kitchen / Gym / Children’s playground
  • Image 4: Swimming pool

Images 3 and 4 should highlight the amenities and facilities that can influence your target customer to buy or rent the property. 

Now, if your target prospect is a family – a couple with kid(s) – your Image #3 should include ‘children’s playground’ to get your prospect’s attention and click-through to your listing preview. 

If your target prospect is a family with grown-up children, then your Images 3 and 4 should be both about the facilities of the property, such as gym and swimming pool or any Top 2 facilities of the property. 

If your target market includes mostly a certain ethnicity who loves to cook and prefer a good kitchen, then you should definitely put ‘kitchen’ for Image #3. 

If the property does not have any facilities such as swimming pool, gym, etc, then you can put exterior view of the building for Image #4. 

Option #2: Best part of the property can be anything that appeals the most to the present/former residents of the property. It can be interior decoration of the apartment, modern furnishing of the apartment, amenities provided in the apartment, or swimming pool in the facilities area. 

This should be just one image for the cover photo. However, if other agents are doing the same for similar properties in the area, then this option should not be taken. The idea is to be different from your competitors so that you get more attention from your prospect. 

Bonus Tip: Since most property portals do not have any option of adding headline to a listing, you can add text in the cover image if it does not go against the policy of the portal site. Well-written text in the cover photo can certainly increase the clickthrough rate of your listing preview in the search result pages. 

“The reason why few prospects are contacting you even though your listings are getting a lot of views is because your listings are getting low conversion rate.

The issues for low conversion rate of your listing are: 

Reason #3: High quality photos ain’t posted in the listing page.

Your potential customers are not impressed viewing the photo album – photos are of low resolution, not bright enough, not taken in good angles – and so they are hitting the ‘back button’ to see another listing. 

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Hire a professional photographer to take photos of the properties that you’re promoting. If you’re just getting started as a property agent and cannot afford to hire a pro photographer, then learn how to take professional photos using your smartphone camera. 

Reason #4: Your listing photo album has pictures of the facilities of the property only.

Some agents are only posting photos of the facilities area, such as swimming pool, gym, lounge, squash court, and so on, but no photos of the apartment unit in the listing album. 

Here’s how to fix this issue:

While posting photos of the swimming pool, gym, lobby, etc can give a good impression to your prospect, they will still want to see the photos of the apartment unit, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, living and dining space, and kitchen area. 

So, posting the interior of the property is very crucial to make the prospect interested in the property and get phone calls for inquiries and viewing requests. 

Reason #5: Your listing photos look the same as the photos taken by other agents.

You’re either using sample photos found in the net or your photos are taken in the same angle. So, your potential customers are probably thinking that your photos are of the same apartment which they already inquired about to other agent. 

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Do not use photos of the same property found through Google Image Search. Take photos of the property by your own camera or by hiring a professional photographer. The photos should look different and better than the usual photos found in the internet. So, take note of the photos posted by other agents and then take snapshots from different angles and height. 

Photo tips: avoid photoshoot on rainy or cloudy days; ideal time is during early morning when it is not so bright or in the late afternoon when the sunlight is not directly falling on the property but it’s bright enough for taking great snapshots. 

Reason #6: You are stating that the photos of the property are for illustration purpose only.

You maybe also stating that actual photos are not posted for privacy reasons. While some clients might not mind to see sample photos in your listings, most prospects expect to see the real photos of the interior of the property.  

Here’s what you should do:

Avoid using sample photos. Post real photos to be more transparent with your prospect. Your customers are using the internet to save time in finding a suitable property. If they can’t see the actual photos, you are asking them to take a chance by viewing the property in person to figure out how the property looks like.  

Reason #7: Little to no content written for the listing description.

Most real estate agents copy and paste the listing description from the property developer’s website. So, we see the same description (or duplicate content) of a property promoted by several agents. This is a big mistake!  

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Put all the details of the property in the listing description. There are usually two parts of listing description in any property portal: (i) list of amenities and facilities in the property which you need to check the bullet boxes beside each item, and (ii) description of the property you need to write in paragraphs. 

The first part is important for both ranking in the search results of the portal (as many potential clients search with filters specific to the nature of the property) and it gives a summary of the description of the property for people who are skimming through the listing. Sometimes people will go through these lists of amenities and facilities before reading the detail description of the property. 

The second part is important for converting portal site visitors into leads, meaning that it should give potential clients (who are checking out your property in the portal site) enough information to fall in love with your property or at least to get convinced that your property is suitable for their needs and to call you for more information or scheduling a viewing appointment. 

Tips to write great content for your listing description:

  1. You should always write original content and must not copy content from another website or listing. Duplicate content not only lowers the ranking of your listing page in the Google search, but it also gives poor impression to your potential clients about you.
  2. If majority of your target audience belongs to a particular ethnic group (such as Chinese or Korean, for example), then it is a good idea to write first half of the description in their respective language and the second half in the default language of the portal, i.e. English in most cases.
  3. The length of the content should not be very short or very long. There is no hard-and-fast rule, but it is better to keep it within 2-3 paras.
  4. Start writing the content with the most popular reasons for staying in the property. It can be the location: such as nearby public transport, nearby certain schools or collages, close to the supermarket/ shopping mall, couple of minutes drive to the downtown, nearby a park, and so on. Another reason can be the neighborhood: such as expat area, Muslim/ Malay/ Chinese area (if the neighborhood is mostly inhabited by a specific ethnic group), residential area (if there is no offices or commercial establishment in the neighborhood), etc.
  5. The second para should focus on the property itself. Highlight the best things about the property that entice someone to live there. The best features can be the window view (mountain in the horizon, sea beach, greenery, city skyline, etc); the direction at which the property faces (e.g. southward – getting more breeze in the summer, eastward – getting no direct sunlight in the afternoon during hot summer); large bedrooms, modern fittings and furniture, spacious balcony, swimming pool, gym, children’s playground, and so on.
  6. The 3rd para should include some important terms and conditions your potential clients should know about before purchasing or renting the property, followed by CTA (call-to-action). The T&Cs should be concise. It should be about the cost of purchasing the property, such as S&P Agreement (legal fees and stamp duty) or refundable deposit required to rent a property. CTA should be encouraging the reader to call/text you for any inquiries or scheduling a viewing appointment.

So, that’s it! I hope you find this article helpful to optimize your property listings.

Let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions or any issues you are currently facing with the promotion of your property listings.

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