Agent Caffeine Interview: Placester’s Seth Price on Creating a Better Online Experience for Consumers
By Colin Ryan
On last week’s episode of Agent Caffeine, “Live from RETSO,” host Kelly Mitchell (who’s also the CEO of REcake) interviewed Placester Sales Strategist Seth Price to get his thoughts on the Atlanta-based real estate technology conference, the challenges of expressing oneself richly online, and where to look for inspiration when it comes to your web strategy. Here are some highlights from that conversation.
Ask Your Customers
Real estate professionals have struggled in recent years to keep up with developments in web strategy and design. “Online web experiences for most agents and agencies are five to ten years behind,” Seth suggested. To fix this problem, real estate professionals need to understand what people do when they access the Internet. “People go on the web for three things: answers, to self promote, and entertainment.” Providing a rewarding web experience for users means providing opportunities for visitors to do all three.
When it comes to implementing this idea, Seth said, agents should starts with the most basic and essential of tools: the search bar. “If someone is searching for a community in your area, wouldn’t it be great to show not only really interesting photos of that community, [but also] some blog content that you’ve written, and maybe a video about it, and also some of your featured properties, all in the same search result? That would be an experience that I would be interested in, because I’m not just looking for a house — I’m looking for a place to move my family.”
So what’s stopping agents from employing these strategies? Seth suggested they take a look in the mirror. Agents are spending too much time talking to each other, and not enough time talking to consumers. “The challenge for folks oftentimes is that they’re looking only from their own perspective, and not looking from the perspective of potential customers or their niche,” Seth said. “You need insight from your target audience, instead of trying to figure it out on your own.” Agents can start by talking to others in their organizations. “Start asking, ‘What questions do our customers ask us every day?’ You’ll start seeing trends in questions. You’ll start seeing opportunities for you to be the organization or person to answer them. And when you start doing that, the conversation gets steered in your direction.”
The focus on customers extends to the ways agents should be promoting themselves and their sites as well. For instance, instead of wasting all your time trying to market yourself and your business on every social media outlet in existence, “pick the channels that contain your audience and are going to provide some ROI.”
Inspiration and Disruption
Aside from consumer feedback, where else should you seek inspiration for improving your web strategy? Seth cautioned against looking solely to direct competitors, which leads to “inbreeding” and prevents you from developing truly innovative ideas and approaches. Instead, try searching for examples outside the real estate space. “Good storytelling is not industry specific,” Seth said. Even in fields as different and unrelated as medicine and auto repair, if a business can “tell a good story and provide a really good experience for a person who has a problem,” they’re worth paying attention to.
Finally, Seth offered some thoughts about the speakers at RETSO, Atlanta’s real estate convention. His favorite moment? “Marc Davison’s talk about disruption,” Seth said. “Disruption is going to happen. It’s what you do to be agile during that disruption that makes the difference between those that are really successful and those that fall by the wayside.”
To hear more of Seth’s insights, as well as interviews with Brand Strategist Terri Conrad and Inna Hardison of HaMedia Group, check out the full podcast of Agent Caffeine here.
Published on April 16, 2012