“If you’re not answering customer questions on your website, you could be losing clients you didn’t know you could get.”
More than two million searches on Google every month – in Australia alone – are real estate related*. Every day, more of us are doing hands-off, keyboardless searches. We already use voice to ask questions in our phones and we’re now talking to the dashboard in our cars.
Voice-based searches are on the rise and tech giants like Apple and Microsoft are in a race to be first-to-market.
The research into this technology so far shows that voice-based searches typically contain longer questions – so jamming a website (or your Google Ads) full of keywords is not going to cut it against a website that delivers a headline with the answer to a question that someone is asking.
In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we’ll explore the growth of voice-based search and how you can position your agency at the top of the list when someone is looking for the answer to a burning real estate question.
In November 2014, Amazon released a new piece of technology called the Amazon Echo. While somewhat more familiar with US consumers, Echo is not as widely known about here in Australia.
The device measuring 23.5cm tall, is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, updating your calendar, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real-time information such as updates on your favourite sporting match. It can also control several smart devices and you can even order a pizza. But the scary thing is, you can do all that with no use of your hands whatsoever.
The device responds to the name “Alexa”. By saying “Alexa”, the device is activated and asks you what you’d like to do. An example might be, “Alexa, please schedule lunch on Tuesday with Rachel at 12pm.” And it’s done. Your calendar is immediately updated.
Now we’re all familiar with the more widely used Apple’s version of “Alexa”, called “Siri”. Siri does mostly the same thing. You call out “Siri”, she asks how she can help, you ask a question or make a demand, and it’s done. All without using your hands.
Every day, more of us are doing hands-off, keyboardless searches. We already use voice to ask questions in our phones with Siri, Google’s Now service or Microsoft’s Cortana – and we’ll soon be talking to the dashboards in our cars – in fact, it’s already happening.
Most new cars coming off the lot today have voice activated search functions allowing you to ask questions, ask directions, make reservations, update your schedule all without using your hands.
Voice based searches are on the rise – I myself use Siri at least 20 times a day to make phone calls or update my calendar without even touching the phone.
Tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft are investing millions in the technology. It is the battleground for software companies and the race is on to be the first to market.
So what does this mean for the real estate industry when it comes to marketing your business?
Firstly, the old strategy of buying ads on Google, Facebook or any other online platform won’t be nearly as effective as it used to.
The research into this technology so far shows that voice-based searches typically contain longer questions so jamming a website or your Google Ads full of keywords is not going to cut it against a website that delivers a headline with the answer to the question someone is asking.
Let me say that in another way – if you’re not answering the questions that your customers are asking, it’s going to be very difficult to stand out online – now and into the future.
Here’s a 30-second experiment to see exactly what I mean. Pick up your phone – if you’re on an Apple iPhone open up Siri and if you’re on an Android device, open up Google Now.
Ask Siri or Google this question:
“How much does a real estate agent charge.”
In under five seconds you’ll receive around 10 suggested websites that can answer that question for you with another 10 or so suggestions below that with similar questions that people have asked. Depending on which country you’re in, none of the responses lead back to a real estate agent’s website. Not one.
This is the problem and the opportunity for you into the future.
We know the use of voice search is on the rise. We know this because the tech giants of the world are in a race to the top and their spending millions on promoting this technology in their latest model smartphones and other devices – such as cars.
We know that 2.24 million searches in 2015 on Google alone were real estate related. We know this because Google data has shown this.
We know that the overwhelming majority of real estate agents are not creating content that people want. We know this because no matter what real estate related question you ask, chances are that it won’t be a real estate agent answering it.
The solution is really simple my friends.
What questions are your clients and prospects asking? Are you answering them on your website?
If the content you’re posting online isn’t resonating with your audience, maybe it’s time to stop.
But I’m optimistic – I believe you’re open to change and that instead of creating the same old boring content, you’ll start creating content that people actually want – instead of what we typically do in real estate which is create marketing that people simply ignore.
Do you want to become the leading informational provider in your local market for all things real estate?
Start small. Start simple. Start answering your customers questions on your website the same way you would if you were speaking to them in person and – who knows – Siri might just be your friend next time someone searches for the answer to their burning question about real estate.
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