We’re now eight weeks into the new year; I can’t believe how quickly the year is unfolding. My forecast was for a busy start to 2018 (compared to last year) but I’d underestimated the level of demand from both tenants and buyers. Tenants at the more affordable end of the market far out-number the properties which are available. Buyers looking for their first purchase seem to have been spurred into action now that interest rates are seemingly edging (slowly) upwards. This seems counter-intuitive, but when considering the very attractive mortgage products now available, especially fixed rate offerings which provide security over 3 or 5 years, I can appreciate why getting a foot on the housing ladder now seems sensible.

On the recommendation of Hayley, who looks after our marketing, we embarked on developing our social media presence last summer, primarily to reach young professional tenants and first-time buyers, the biggest users of social media. Being somewhat of a dinosaur when it comes to social media (I’m not on Facebook and I don’t understand the ‘language’ on Twitter) Hayley’s extensive research convinced me this was an area both our clients and our business could see significant benefits. We spent time and money on developing our platforms in late 2017, ready for the start of 2018. What a surprise I’ve had. It’s been a real ‘eye-opener’ – not only with younger tenants and buyers responding positively to our social media marketing, but also from older age groups.

Recent marketing included a lovely 4 bed semi on the Drummonds. Hayley’s marketing reached 4114 people, resulting in 530 clicking through to our website to look at the property details. Statistically, 1% or 2% response is considered good for this sort of marketing. Our 12.7% was phenomenal. Was this a one-off? I have to admit we’ve not had double-figures since but a recent listing of a one bed back to back in the Highbury’s reached 3454 people, resulting in 288 clicking through (8.3%).

A semi in need of refurbishment in Greyshiels Avenue had 371 clicks to the details out of 3769 ‘reaches’. This marketing helped to generate 20 viewings and 5 offers. The property was sold in excess of the guide price.

Most recently, I brought a detached in Moor Park Drive to market at £650,000. Our social media marketing reached 3869 people on the first day of listing. 287 people clicked through to the details (7.6%) and a sale was agreed within 9 days.

The above figures are only on the sales side of the business. We sponsor our rental properties too, which have an equally good ‘reach’ and ‘click through’.  In fact, we let a property to professional tenants recently as a direct result of advertising on Facebook.

I’d always had a cynical view of ‘digital’ marketing, viewing it as a complicated and confusing media, established primarily to take money from businesses with no discernible or measurable results. I was wrong. With investment in data analysis we’re now able to identify where we’re getting productivity and results, and where we’re not. By changing one variable at a time we have the capability of determining where the best returns on our investment are and where our clients are benefitting from the exposure this marketing is generating.

Although I’m not tempted to embrace Facebook, or follow in the footsteps of the US President, I now accept digital marketing is not ‘fake news’ and it’s now a major element of our marketing budget going forward.