Where's my traffic? A look at ZeroAgentProperty.com

Hong Kong’s property market hit a record high US$93 billion, back in 2018. The associated 1% realtor fees with these transactions would equal a whopping $930 million! The gives companies like Zero Agent Property the opportunity to take advantage of those intelligent and savvy home owners that could sell their own home.

A great working example of this is Haus.com in the US. Their simple and informative online presence provides first time home buyers with free and guided support when selling their own home for the first time (Haus.com makes their money by selling add-ons like assessments, lawyer referrals, contractor referrals, photography, etc).

ZeroAgentProperty.com has an opportunity to capture their share of a growing FSBO market, but we will try to figure out why there is a lack of traffic going to their website.


Let’s take a look at their website….

The main thing that stands out, is not the design choice or functionality of the website, but a subconscious bombardment of my internal defence system. The same type of defence system that kicks in for the average consumer.

The average internet user has been surfing the website for more than a few years now. There is a certain expectation when it comes to the websites they visit for the information they need. And with the technological advancements towards mobile and user interaction, the user experience becomes one of the most important aspects of any customer-to-brand interaction. What are some of the most important considerations of internet user behaviour?

People do not like to click on banner ads.

The bottom line is, people don’t like being advertised to. As an owner of an information portal, what would be the most important thing to show your visitor for A) a first impression or B) a reason to come back. The answer for both is: what they want. The information they are seeking. In this case properties and their details.

If I am to visit a website to either look for a home rental or purchase the last thing I want to see are advertisements. Especially for things not associated with my reason for being on a property website. It takes away from my experience of wanting to be a visitor of your website.

What makes things worse is the amount of advertising that is not only in the upper fold of the website (the most important part of a website - the first thing a visitor sees), but on the entire front page.

Lets take a look at the total advertising taking away from the user experience:

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There’s more than 50% of the website’s front page showing advertisements. Considering that these advertisements aren’t targeted to the correct demographic (I am a male in my 30s - I don’t not want to see ads for Sassy Mamma on every page), my first impressions of this website are “annoying”. Therefore I do not want to use it.

Here are some examples of property websites in Hong Kong that have great functionality. The moment you land on the front page of these website, you are presented with the tools you need to find the information you came looking for. For the ones that have banner advertisements, you can notice that they are placed within the page and are secondary to the information the website visitor came for:

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PropGo provides visitors looking for services apartments with an easy to navigate map, directly followed by the latest properties on the website. Off to the right are their advertisements, that all have something to do with the buying or selling of homes

 
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HongKongHomes has no advertisements.

 
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EngelVolkers.com tastefully places their advertisements within the results of the listings. In this case, their newsletter. They also have banner ads that advertise finding out more information about their services. Essentially, it’s a link (designed as an advertisement) that sends people to an important marketing funnel on their website.


Should we not advertise on our website?

That’s a very good question. But it should only be asked by website owners that already have a very high number of visitors to their website. If you don’t have a large number of your visitors already going to your website everyday, why would you put anything (in this case advertisements) that would deter them from visiting in the first place.

Understandably, as their business model, the owner of ZeroAgentProperty.com seeks to sell advertising space on their website. But doing it in a way that affects the user experience is a great way to annoy your visitors with an advertiser’s logo. It would be advisable to utilize the advertisers offer to bring value to your website visitor.

What should we do?

This is where Expert Marketeers creativity comes into solution-mode! Focusing again on the client’s objective: we need more website visitors. We see an opportunity to remove all website banners, provide more value to the visitor, provide more value to the advertiser, and increase SEO. All at the same time.

Here’s a simple list of suggestions from our Expert Marketeers team:

  1. Instead of selling banner ads to potential companies, create engaging content about each of them. These can be in the form of featured blog articles that have an in-depth look into the advertiser, the neighbourhood(s) they are located in, photos and videos of their offerings, and value-first reason to visit the advertiser’s website.

  2. Use this blog content as supplemental information to the properties being listed on the website. When you search a particular area for buying or renting, allow these featured blog articles to also display in the results. This brings value to the person wanting to know what else is in that neighbourhood. This also improves the SEO of the individual listings because they are piggybacking off of searches such as “trendy food neighbourhoods in Hong Kong”.

  3. Create campaigns for the advertisers. When an advertiser (lets use a restaurant in this example) is located in the same up-and-coming neighbourhood that has a few listings for sale. Use the restaurant as leverage for why it would be great to own or rent in that specific area. Maybe it’s a great spot for those wanting to enjoy Hong Kong’s culinary culture. Create a campaign out of that restaurant’s need to advertise on a property website: offer ZeroAgentProperty.com visitors who successfully buy or rent a home near that restaurant, get a free dinner. Or maybe even signup for a ZeroAgentProperty.com newsletter for a chance to win a dinner for two. The marketing possibilities are endless when you utilize content creation and distribution!

Major Take-aways

The most important aspect of a high-traffic website, is to think of the visitor first. Provide value to them at all costs, and allow their experience to be unbothered by your need to advertise. Instead, create content that is engaging and interesting, as it is more easily consumed than a banner advertisement. Utilize that content to bring more value to the advertiser who paid for it, and at the same time increase your website’s SEO.

Remember, it’s not the design or look of your website that dramatically improves your website traffic and Google ranking. It’s the content. Just look at Youtube.com, Facebook.com, Craigslist.com, and Google.com - the world’s ugliest websites are also the most popular. Something to consider!