Everyone who conducts business online knows how important content marketing is for online lead generation. However, perhaps due to property prices rising in recent years, the real estate industry has been slower to adopt content marketing techniques than other industries.
We sat down with Rod Smith, founder of the real estate profile automation platform, Realtor Profiler, to talk about his unique content marketing solution. Realtor Profiler is the world’s first rapid content generation service for real estate profiles. It lets real estate professionals, agencies, and portals transform their online presence in just minutes.
What’s the story behind Realtor Profiler?
Realtor Profiler really began in 2013 when I was looking for a house to rent in Australia. Like most people, I started searching for real estate agents to assess their qualifications and credibility.
I was surprised to find that most real estate agents’ LinkedIn and Portal profiles were incomplete and lacked key information. Instead of inspiring trust, most agents’ profiles felt like dead ends. So I asked a question that ultimately inspired the business: why aren’t real estate agents better utilising their online profiles?
I identified three key reasons:
- Time – real estate agents are often too busy to optimise their own profiles.
- Skills – most agents aren’t totally sure where to start or how to project themselves effectively online.
- Money – bespoke personal branding consultants are usually pricey (not to mention, they require agents’ time).
After three years in this space, my team has more than 30,000 hours of consulting experience and the largest capacity in the world. We’ve never stopped innovating and refining our processes.
Now, we’re launching an innovative content generation platform that makes it incredibly simple for real estate agents to transform their online profiles with unique, personalised, search-engine-optimised content. We offer live chat support as agents fill out our form, then we deliver fresh profiles within a business day.
Explain how the business works and what it does for agents?
We partner with portals and agencies, and also serve agents directly through our B2C site.
Agents spend 10-30 minutes filling out our optimisation form. From there, we craft profile content that fits specifically with any number of desired portals, and/or LinkedIn. In Australia, that’s five portals plus LinkedIn. In Southeast Asia, it’s currently three regional portals plus LinkedIn. The agents look more professional online, attract more listings, improve referral rates, receive more job offers, and save a lot of time (and money). For AUD$99, that’s amazing value for money and it really helps them to be more competitive online.
Our B2B partners also benefit from offering optimised profiles to their agents – stronger SEO presence, more online engagement, better metrics and more comprehensive agent services. Probably the biggest attraction is that we save our partners lots of time and money by quickly transforming their less-than-optimal agent profiles. Incomplete, lacklustre agent profiles are really a blight on portal and agency sites. We’ve got the quick cure.
Which platforms can you optimise?
There are really no limits. Currently, we can optimise the leading portals in the South East Asian and Australian markets. That includes the leading residential and commercial portals. We are talking with several smaller portals that see us as an opportunity to gain traction and compete. We are looking at North America later this year.
LinkedIn is also a big part of what we do. That’s getting more important with the acquisition by Microsoft, who are integrating LinkedIn with a number of their products like Outlook, Skype, MS Dynamics, and the rest of the MS Office suite. Junk LinkedIn profiles are getting less and less acceptable for professionals in any kind of sales role.
Agents who aren’t native English speakers are also really interested because we allow them to complete our form in their native language and then produce two versions of their profile – one in their native language and another version in perfect English. This has opened discussions with portals that have a country specific focus but want to attract foreign, English-speaking investors.
Do you also optimise profiles on agent rating websites?
We focus on portals and large agencies primarily, because they offer greater volume opportunities and we believe we are a better fit for their needs. Although we are open to possible partnership talks.
You didn’t have a background in real estate – what made you decide to focus on this sector?
I’ve been based in Asia for nearly 20 years and have started four companies focused on servicing niche markets in developed APAC countries. So I have have a lot of experience building solutions for competitive rates.
Speaking of real estate specifically, I actually did have some prior experience with the property market through a non-profit I founded in Cebu. Fair Go Sourcing helps single mothers who need a flexible way to earn and invest in their children. We connect them with property management agencies that need to transcribe property condition reports. Also, my family has always been active in the property market, so that’s also given me some insight into how things work in this sector.
I’ve learned by reading and engaging constantly with seasoned real estate and proptech professionals. Back in 2013 when I was looking for a home to rent and not really impressed with most agents’ online profiles, I delved into it. I’ve done a lot of research since then and I’m confident in my assessment and familiarity with the market dynamics.
Can you tell me how many clients you have / how the business is growing?
We launched a short test campaign in 2014 and saw over 30% month-on-month average growth. At the beginning we would spend 4-5 hours per agent. Since then, we’ve invested a lot of time in tech and content and now offer a more streamlined approach.
We have the capacity to serve 1,000 agents per day and hope to be hitting those numbers soon with a few large B2B partners rolling out. That’s more capacity than any other supplier, by far. We’ve already had over 30,000 hours of consulting experience and now have the ability to serve more agents in less time with much less overhead.
Do you have any competitors? (I was waiting to find a system like yours given the need for agents to manage online profiles)
At this stage there are no firms with our capacity or tech. We have spent 3 years focused on this one niche so we have a big head start and our location allows for us to service Asia, Oceania and Europe during daytime hours. We opened our first office in the United States last month.
What do you think is the future of real estate agents and how they will compete online? (given agent rating platforms, online agents, etc.)
Obviously, technology is helping, but also challenging and disrupting the way humans work. Real estate agents are not immune to this phenomenon. Your question actually underscores the importance of our solution because agents who have the ability to tackle novel situations, meet new market needs, empathise with their clients, and project and promote themselves as discerning, compassionate human beings will be the last to be replaced by virtual (machine) agents. Agents who do not adapt and brand themselves in this way may experience some uncomfortable pressure in the coming years.
What is the technology or skills that are behind your business?
We’d love to share, but we do guard our tech specs. I can say that we owe a great deal to our exceptional relationship with Vietnam’s most selective university, the Foreign Trade University, where we source most of our talent. Our staff are mainly young and excel at research and innovation, technical and research skills, problem solving, and customer service. These are what drive our product and underpin the quality of our live support.
We’re based in Hanoi, ranked this year by the World Economic Forum as the 8th most dynamic city in the world. Vietnam consistently ranks in the top 3 globally for outsourcing. The quality and availability of technical and English speaking staff here is amazing – both local and international talent.