Top 7 ways to rate Property Portals

What makes a good property portal? How do you differentiate between a portal that will ultimately generate an abundance of worthwhile leads and one that will waste both time and money? Here’s a list we’ve compiled of the top 7 things to look for in a property portal:


1. Cost per lead


While the number of leads generated is an important measure, your cost-per-lead is one of the most important measures of how well a property portal is doing for you. Simple in concept and difficult in practice, you’ll need to have well organized data and a tracking mechanism that shows you the number of leads generated.


What you need: The number of leads generated by the specified portal (see #2 below) and how much you’ve spent on advertising with that portal. Simply divide the two, and there you have it.

How hard is it to measure?  Very hard. To ensure every lead is tracked is a difficult but surmountable problem, and ensuring you know the total expenditure should be relatively easy. The results though, will definitely help you on your quest to stretch every marketing dollar spent.

Not relevant if: you’re conducting a branding exercise, lead quality is poor or the portal is free (infinite rate of return!).


2. Number of leads generated


While a precursor to #1, the number of leads generated only looks at what’s incoming, not what’s outgoing. You can achieve a high number of leads by paying top dollar, but is it worth the money? Regardless, it’s still an important factor, given it was voted the most measured factor by the subscribers of Property Portal Watch.

What you need: A tracking mechanism that covers all contact methods (phone, email, walk-in) and a CRM database to manage the leads.

How hard is it to measure?  Reasonably hard. Some portals track this for you, some do not. Go through your process and ensure that at every point of contact you have an accurate means of measurement.

Not relevant if: you have more business than you can handle.


3. Number of unique visitors


This is one of the most contested statistics between portals. It’s commonly thought of as simple math. More visitors equal more leads… right? Normally, yes. But with property portals you want to ensure people are inquiring about the property, not just browsing past them and taking no action. The portal needs to encourage visitors to find out more, look through the photos and to hit submit. While this can be a good statistic to compare portals on the surface, if the numbers are roughly the same, dig a bit deeper.


What you need: Most portals will give this information without you asking.

How hard is it to measure?  Easy. Just ask if they don’t give it to you off the bat.

Not relevant if: You have a niche product (such as a high end developer targeting a small group of people), or if you’re helping a portal get started.


4. SEO Ranking


To determine a portal’s SEO ranking, type in the keywords that you want to be listed under and count how far down the portal appears. Better yet, try typing in the keywords that your customers will enter. SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is a tough, highly competitive market in real estate. Not only do portals fight for obvious keywords such as ‘Dubai Real Estate,’ they also have to fight for communities within the market. Remember that there are two types of rankings when it comes to search engines – natural search and paid advertising. If a portal tops the paid ads section, they may not be there for long. Natural search almost always enjoys a long term result.


What you need: SEO ranking tools. Surprisingly, you can Google (or Bing) such tools. An example would be: Google Rankings.

How hard is it to measure?  Easy. Search your favorite term and evaluate.

Not relevant if: Your website is higher than the portal’s, or online advertising is not interesting to you and you don’t want to be found.


5. Up-to-date and content-rich listings?


Many brokers and agents overlook the importance of having fresh and detailed listings. Customers want real and relevant data on properties BEFORE they enquire. Out-of-date listings and barren, lacklustre listings fall through the cracks.


Your listings should come alive with rich content listings such as interior and exterior images, maps, 360 views and more. The more information available on a property, the more likely visitors are to send an enquiry. This also helps to ensure you are receiving your most qualified leads because users are getting a genuine glimpse of the actually property and registering their interest.


Failing to keep updated listings and ensuring customers have the most up-to-date information is another barrier to success for portals. The real challenge with portals is not really getting listings on the website, but knowing when to take them down. With old, irrelevant and outdated listings a portal can often build traffic temporarily only to lose it again.


What you need: Ask the portal for the number of return visitors. This is a measure for who comes back to the portal more than once and will help determine visitors are leaving in search of other websites. You can also randomly check listings to see if they still exist.

How hard is it to measure?  Easy, but tedious. The hardest but most effective way is to spend time calling a random selection of listings to verify accuracy and status.

Not relevant if: The portal lists properties only from Masterkey (which guarantees accuracy), or has a guaranteed method to remove old listings.


6. Ease of listing a property


It’s important not to overlook the time it takes to list a property on each portal. Sure, you can try listing the property on each portal one by one but you’re going to be there a long time, and that’s a lot of overhead. It’s better and easier to find portals that allow you to upload directly from your property database. This may sound like shameless plug for Masterkey’s portal partners, but the reality is that the ability to list directly using an upload tool, or via XML in some way, will save you a lot of time.


What you need: Tech-savvy people to figure out the integration.

How hard is it to do?  Easy. All you need is a team of experts who make it easy for you, or use Masterkey. We will integrate with any portal that our clients demand.

Not relevant if: You like spending a lot of time in front of the computer and not with your clients.


7. Ease of searching for a listing


How quickly can you find your listing on the portal website? Can you go straight to the listing with a property reference code? Does the portal allow you to use your own reference code? Can you search for the building name and the name auto-completes for you? If this is going to be your main advertising channel, you must ensure it’s accessible.


What you need: A stop watch, mouse and computer.

How hard is it to measure?  Easy.

Not relevant if: You want your customers to spend hours looking for your property. Never underestimate the value of providing a user-friendly and manageable way for your customers to find what they’re looking for.


Lastly, we invite you find out more about the Masterkey Portal Partner Advantage here.

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