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8 minute read

Every real estate business knows that educating consumers is an important part of establishing trust with clients and prospects alike. Very few, however, have committed to publishing high-quality, hyper-local and informative content on a consistent basis.

This is where Harris Partners stands out: not just in their local market covering Sydney’s inner-west and inner-city suburbs but also in the fact that their content is sought-after by consumers, agents and media across Australia.

On his regular video series titled ‘Inside Property’, Peter O’Malley from Harris Partners interviews leading economists, demographers and legal experts on factors affecting the property market and insights for consumers. Alongside this video series is an extensive library of articles, podcasts and physical paperback books.

So when it came time to build their new website, it was about blending Harris Partners’ body of work with smart lead generation, intuitive property search and real-time market data.

The goal? To build the “Google of real estate” for the market in which Harris Partners operates – an online resource that buyers and sellers will visit and re-visit many times over.

The end result – in an industry where so many businesses copy their competitors, plus or minus 10% – the new harrispartners.com.au website and lead generation platform is truly one-of-a-kind, featuring an extensive library of high-quality content, lead generation tools and real-time market data.

Building the next generation of websites in real estate

When the team at Harris Partners approached us to design and build their new website, they had a tonne of passion, a long list of technical integrations, clear design aspirations and some pretty audacious goals. The leadership and marketing teams were looking to build a real estate website that not only aligned with their reputation as trusted advisors but also delivered an experience to homeowners and investors in their market unlike anything else that exists online. Whilst also giving their agents and BDM’s a marketing and branding tool to perform at their best.

Accepting the challenge, we dove right in. And we’re proud to finally announce the new Harris Partners website launch and feature some of the big-ticket items below.

Starting with a blank canvas, we worked alongside the Harris Partners team to architect an agency website that suited their goals and utilised their data – from various sources – to give their business a striking advantage in the marketplace.

For sellers and buyers

On the home page, for example, homeowners in the agency’s core service areas can generate an instant property estimate while keeping the whole experience personalised for the visitor from start to finish.

Utilising the Domain API, vendors can obtain an instant property estimate, based on real-time data from Domain’s API, along with an in-depth overview of comparable sales, suburb demographics, market performance and links to various other content on the Harris Partners website.

If you’re thinking, “Those property estimate generators are so inaccurate. I’d never put that on my website.”, you’re not alone. Many real estate businesses think the same way.

But here’s the thing… they have existed on other websites for many years for the purpose of lead generation. And homeowners are using them – a lot.

 

There is a reason why they are called estimates – that’s all they are.

An appraisal from a reputable agent is the only way to get an accurate assessment of the potential selling price of a property in ‘today’s’ market and had those homeowners spoken with an agent, they may have achieved an outstanding result.

This is why it’s so important to consider putting a price estimate tool on your own website and promoting it to as many homeowners in your local market as possible.

On every other website, no one is educating consumers on the importance of an agent appraisal to get a true reflection of a potential selling price. Most online platforms use price estimate tools for consumers to compare their current home loan or discover how much equity they might have. The primary objective of these platforms is not necessarily to generate vendor leads.

By putting a price estimate tool on your own website, however, you have an opportunity to inform potential sellers of why an agent appraisal is the only way to get a true reflection of current market value.

IMPORTANT: Be aware of script-based property estimate tools

Some web developers today are implementing property estimate technology on agency websites using a ‘widget’ style approach that places scripts on your website.

This approach, although quick and relatively easy for any website developer to set up, provides third parties with access to ALL of the personal data entered into the price estimate form (it’s in their terms & conditions). These scripts can also impact significantly on your website performance, your conversion rate and ultimately your Google rankings.

It’s important, if you are considering this technology for your website, to ensure your data remains your property and your website performance and SEO are not being impacted. By using Domain’s API, we can custom-build these experiences to suit any design our client desires while retaining all user data within the agency’s own website and improving website performance.

Also, when these tools are integrated directly into the website itself (not injected by a script), the experience can be better personalised for the user – including dedicated landing pages for every agent (more on that below) and pre-filling the agent appraisal form should they wish to take the next step and meet with an agent from your office:

The price estimate feature has proven to be a powerful tool for setting appointments with agents, with ~10% of all price estimate requests converting into an agent appraisal appointment*.

* Based on data collected from all Stepps website clients with the price estimate feature enabled (January 2022 – December 2022).

Dynamic Suburb Profile pages give buyers and sellers real-time data on suburb market performance, market trends, recent sales, current listings and more, also adding significant SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits and improving Google rankings across all suburbs for critical key search phrases.

We’ve opted once again here to utilise Domain’s API for this feature to provide an enhanced user experience and boost SEO (search engine optimisation).

For discerning buyers and ‘market monitors’

For many real estate websites, the listing page is no different to what is pushed from the CRM to the major portals. By including additional detail that can’t be obtained anywhere else, your own website becomes an attractive destination for more discerning buyers.

Additional items might include:

  • A copy of the contract (available only once contact details are provided)
  • The ability to ‘make an offer’
  • Strata reports
  • Suburb profiles
  • Local schools
  • And so much more

Buyers and renters can quickly sign up for Harris Partners’ weekly listing alerts (feeding directly into their CRM) from the site navigation, and integration with the Google Business API provide site visitors with real-time office hours.

Homeowners interested in keeping up to date with local market data, property trends and economic factors affecting the property market have a plethora of content options to choose from thanks to Harris Partners’ body of work we spoke about earlier – all categorised into the various forms of media i.e. audio, video and article style content.

For admin and marketing teams

When it comes to managing the content on the front end of a website, the back end needs to be beautifully designed and easy to use as well.

Stepps website clients have their own customised dashboard, built specifically for their business and their website – so admin and marketing teams can make changes to site content, update layouts and push out new campaigns quickly and easily.

For business owners and marketing teams

Your website is another salesperson on the road that never sleeps. It’s spruiking your business 24/7/365. So at the end of the week, it should be showing you the results it’s brought in and what it will do next week to improve (just like every great salesperson does!).

Our new Advance platform – Australia’s only fully website-integrated social media advertising platform for real estate – is exclusive to Stepps website clients. Allowing agents and marketing managers to deploy stunning listing campaigns, lead generation and branding campaigns in just a few clicks – driving all traffic back to their own website.

Advance by Stepps – Explainer Video: 

Reporting & Analytics

Google Analytics is one of those things that businesses know they need, but once it’s installed, they never look at it.

Stepps deliver weekly website performance reports to all of our website clients in plain English, accompanied by SEO recommendations and strategies to increase traffic, leads and sales.

Many of our clients also opt to include social media and email statistics in the same dashboard – perfect for sharing in marketing meetings, for a more detailed overview of your digital marketing performance and actionable steps to improve.

We also provide our clients with lead source information for every form submission on their website to help analyse which channels are generating the most leads:

For the cyber security-conscious business owner

Stepps is an industry leader in cybersecurity best practices. We are dedicated to making real estate websites more secure, fast and reliable.

We are a proud partner with the ACSC (Australian Cyber Security Centre) and leading security platform Cloudflare.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) leads the Australian Government’s efforts to improve cybersecurity. The community of ACSC Network partners includes cybersecurity professionals across government, industry, academia and the research sector.

Cloudflare is a global network designed to make everything you connect to the Internet secure, private, fast, and reliable – especially your website.

Stepps is also a trusted cyber-security training provider to real estate businesses around Australia.

For the discerning tech-minded people

All websites under management with Stepps are securely hosted with AWS (Amazon Web Services) in Sydney with the latest, fully supported, hosting software packages and optimised with the very latest website coding practises, including Vue 3 – a javascript framework that delivers better website performance and scalability.

In closing…

Gone are the days when a website for your business remains static. A website can do (and be) a lot more than just a fancy online business card. It can be a lead-generating machine and so much more – if you want it to be.

We love working with forward-thinking real estate brands and this project was certainly one of our favourites. We like to be as creative and innovative as our clients allow us to be and we’d like to thank Peter, Ciaran, Saskia and all the team at Harris Partners for inviting our team to be an ongoing part of theirs.

Get started on your next website with Stepps.

Learn more about our approach to building real estate websites  >

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