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8 minute read

In a landscape where the stakes are high and customer demands are ever-evolving, it’s essential for businesses to continually adapt and innovate. This notion rings especially true in the real estate industry, where the balance between timeless expertise and modern functionality can make or break a company’s success.

Introducing Vanguarde Estate Agents, a boutique real estate business that has been setting the benchmark in the Sydney CBD precinct since its inception in 2004. Founders Tim Breckell and Travis Reeve have cultivated a team of seasoned professionals, amassing decades of combined experience in the field. While Vanguarde may be deeply rooted in tradition and local know-how, they are anything but complacent when it comes to staying ahead of the curve.

So, what happens when a company known for its uncompromising service and results decides to take their customer experience to the next level? They create a website that serves as an extension of their commitment to excellence, just as you would expect from a brand that epitomises integrity, fairness, and high professional standards.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Vanguarde’s new website – www.vanguarde.com.au. The platform is not merely a facelift; it’s a revelation in how a real estate website can and should function in this digital age.

Building the next generation of websites in real estate

When we were approached by the team at Vanguarde 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 an agency website that not only paid homage to their strong visual identity but also delivered an experience to homeowners and investors unlike anything else that exists in the market while 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 Vanguarde website launch and feature some of the big-ticket items below.

Starting with a blank canvas, we worked alongside the Vanguarde 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 Vanguarde 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.

 

By putting this experience on your own website, you are not only attracting more curious home sellers but, if done right, you are also getting an opportunity to educate homeowners on the benefits and accuracy of an agent appraisal over a computer-generated estimate – an opportunity you do not get with all of the home sellers going to those other websites.

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:

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 to use Domain’s API for this feature to provide a more comprehensive user experience, including local imagery, direct links to properties within our client’s own website.

For agents and teams

“If you’re not giving your agents the tools they need to perform at their best, they’re probably thinking about leaving you.” – Josh Cobb, CEO @ Stepps

Utilising the property estimate and agent appraisal features, the seamless and strategic integration of these lead generation opportunities for agents is in abundance throughout the new Vanguarde website. All leads are sent directly to the agent with whom the website visitor engages on their…

Agent Profile pages:

Dedicated landing pages for the Property Estimate feature (for each sales agent):

Listing pages (current and sold):

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.

Agents can not only target buyers and vendors geographically, but also people who have enquired on their listings via the portals as well as people who have attended open homes. Even better, agents can show vendors the true ROI of social media with our open home attendee tracking – showing how many people have attended an open home after seeing their Advance campaigns.

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 that deliver significantly 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 Tim, Travis and all the team at Vanguarde 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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