Arnolds Keys formed from a merger of two successful companies (Arnolds and Keys) in 2012. Operating from 7 branches, they’re now one of the largest independent estate agencies in Norfolk, covering residential sales, lettings, holiday lettings, commercial properties and auctioneering.
To understand the strategy behind their success, we caught up with Martyn Baum, Group Residential Manager for Sales, and Tanya Chapman, Group Marketing Manager.
Arnolds Keys have been using the Rightmove Optimiser package since April 2016.
With the Rightmove Optimiser package, Arnolds Keys pay no core membership fee. Instead, all of their spend on Rightmove is on advertising products – giving them maximum exposure for their brand across all of a home hunter’s journey. With their Optimiser package, the Arnolds Keys brand is seen over 400,000 times per week by people searching for property in their area on Rightmove.
“The world is changing and estate agency is changing with it”, says Martyn. “The way we interact with consumers and how they look for property has fundamentally changed. But the process of buying property is, as a format, now over 100 years old. The government says the market is broken – however, I think it’s more that some areas of the process are broken. You’ve got to adapt to survive or will be left behind, which is why we’re now starting to see two tiers of estate agents in all our areas.”
“We invest heavily in Rightmove because it’s a big part of the buying process and it’s about getting our brand seen, not just our properties.”
With the Optimiser package, Arnolds Keys make use of all marketing channels available to them on Rightmove to reach buyers and vendors.
“It offers a complete brand experience. Everywhere they turn as a buyer or vendor, we’re there in front of them”, says Martyn.
“Local Home Page gives us an opportunity to target potential clients (looking on a desktop computer) at a point in their journey when they’re starting to think about which estate agent they might utilise”, adds Tanya “We use it to put across the fact that we’re someone they can trust to give them a professional valuation. Visibility is hugely important to us and we welcome the moves that Rightmove assure us they are making to make this marketing stream available on mobile.”
“Featured Agent gives us a prominent position in the major usage part of Rightmove – when people are scrolling through the properties available”, continues Tanya. “We use this space to try and get asked on more valuations, by treating the end user as a buyer first and then a seller. They’re showing an interest in what’s out there, so we use Featured Agent try and tempt them with messaging around a free valuation of their own property. Through us, they can get confirmation of the value of their property and see whether the value of the properties they’re looking to buy is attainable.”
“The days of Rightmove being purely a tool for buyers to look for properties have gone”, says Martyn. “Yes, buyers go to Rightmove to look for property and having great photos and using premium products mean that our properties stand out. But it’s about both the purchaser and the potential vendor. Vendors start researching potential agents far earlier in the process than when they contact an agent. They now use our presentation on Rightmove to judge us as much as they used to be influenced by For Sale boards or shop windows.
We want them to think ‘Look at how well they promote their properties on Rightmove – I want to advertise my house with them’
“When taking a property to market, we sit down with the vendor and establish a marketing strategy for their property”, says Tanya. “That includes using Featured Property and Premium Listing at appropriate times to keep the interest as high as we can. When a property is first added and it gets sent out in the property alerts, it gets a high level of interest. So, for some properties we hold back the Premium Listing or Featured Agent until the initial interest has waned slightly, to give it a boost.
We include this as standard with our fee, using the RRP of £500 with vendors to demonstrate their worth.”
The flexibility of Featured Property and Premium Listing means that Arnolds Keys can also use them to meet other marketing needs.
“We also use Featured Property and Premium Listing to target sections of the market that we want to break into”, continues Tanya.
The Local Valuation Alert product means that Arnolds Keys are one of up to 4 local agents notified when somebody asks for their property to be valued in one of their postcode areas.
“15 years ago, an agent would value a property and their opinion would be almost gospel”, says Martyn. “Now, people have the facilities to do research themselves and at least get a rough idea of what they’d like to achieve for a property before a valuer has even attended. The LVA is vital to capture those people and it works well for us”.
“Does the Optimiser package work well for us in terms of results? Yes”, continues Martyn. “Like a lot of agents, I fully appreciate that it isn’t cheap. So, we need to make it work as hard for us as the number of staff we could’ve hired with the money instead. Rightmove is a key element of the home buying process so we invest time and effort to make it work as hard as possible for us.”
“To meet modern demand, our marketing strategy has to be multi-channel”, says Tanya. “We’re still in the newspapers and local magazines and we invest in our own website, social media and online advertising to make sure we cover all the outlets available to us.”
“Our mantra is ‘local knowledge, local people, local property’ and it’s something we really embed within the firm – both internally and also through our marketing and social media hashtags”, says Tanya.
“As well as our marketing, the thing that makes us stand out is our people. In each branch, we have good quality, genuinely local people who are a part of the community. They have great local knowledge and so become the go-to person for property.
We’re heavily involved in the communities we operate in – through local events, schools and networking. For instance, a couple of weeks ago we spent the day in a local school and did various activities. We measured a field with agricultural guides and worked with the kids to create sales particulars that they then ‘auctioned’ off to the headmaster.”
“Our strategy is all about gaining exposure across each of our branches and this is bearing fruit” says Tanya.
“The local market is fairly strong”, concludes Martyn. “People are buying in the area and lots of our properties are getting multiple offers – but those that are overpriced are still struggling. It’s the sort of market that we like to practice in, as it sorts the wheat from the chaff. If you’re proactive, you can make headway. If you’re sitting there waiting for things to happen, it’s probably not going to work.”
To find out more about how the Rightmove Optimiser package can give you massive exposure, speak to your Account Manager.