Acting on intelligence…
Homeflow’s “Implied search” technology is really quite sophisticated stuff, as we hope to explain. But the end outcome you present an applicant or a vendor coming to your site is so utterly simple, that to the untrained eye we hope you wouldn’t really notice what was going on. Instead you’d just be left with a vague feeling along the lines of, “well, that’s a nice site, feels like my kind of agent”. It’s one example of the type of features that we believe make Homeflow sites better. Let’s explain…
But first let’s reflect on how you operate in branch…
When a potential vendor walks in and mentions a house they’re thinking of putting on the market that’s 6 bedrooms in a nice village on the outskirts of town, you welcome them professionally. You know that first impressions count, so you’re well dressed and polite, you stand up and say hello, in order to create a solid first impression, because you know that people buy from people, and first impressions count.
If you’re really good, you’ll mirror them too. So for the £600k, 6-bed vendor prospect, you start chatting to them about the other houses around that price point that you have now, or you sold last year. You already asked them for their email, so you could send them your guide to the “differences with selling a premium home in Salisbury”. You talk to them about their property and you make sure they understand your agency is especially strong in “their part of the market”. You make them feel comfortable. You match them, and engage with them in a way they feel comfortable. And you do this all sub-conciously, as second nature.
So, why shouldn’t you expect your website to do exactly the same?
Here’s how it works…
Whenever a visitor comes to your website and looks at a specific property, the a mini application – think of it like a “brain in the page” – forms an “Implied search profile” for that user. It can do this, even if the user enters your site directly from an email sent to them by a friend. So, if they look at a £400k property with 4 bedrooms, we’re going to assume that they are interested in 3+ beds, between £350k and £450k within 2 miles of the current property. If they move up into the site and run an explicit search, say 4+ beds, up to £420k, the “brain in the page” will update this “implied search” with a more accurate, higher confidence, picture of the user. We store that latest implied search in memory at all tmes, (creating a session ID, setting a cookie for the user, and storing the profile against the HTML5 store for good measure for the techy amongst you). To the best of our knowledge we’re the only people in the UK doing this. And it makes our sites behave with intelligence which might not match a negotiator, but begins to offer you ways to mirror the kind of behaviour you are doing naturally in branch.
We’re not talking about similar properties on the page, though that would be an obvious way to use it. We’re talking about intelligence about the current user which can traverse multiple page impressions during their visit, long after they’ve left the property search area. Indeed we’re talking about behavioural targeting that can persist between sessions, so it will even remember their implied search when they come back in a few days time.
So what? What’s in it for me?
Here’s the killer angle for potential vendors / landlords: In most cases, a potential vendor, checking out your site, will run a search for properties similar in price to their expectation of their own property value. And we can use that intelligence on your homepage, underneath articles they might read on your site, or wherever you want in your site design. Suddenly, anywhere they turn, your agency just “feels” like the kind of agency that deals in £400k properties (or vice versa they’re not put off with a “oh, they’re too posh for me, they only deal in big houses” as you site can serve £100k flats to £100k flat sellers, so they feel comfortable). It’s like we can restock your branch window, with all the stock that mirrors the kind of house they are looking to sell. It contributes to making your website a more efficient trap for landlords and vendors. The design embodiment of this can be beautifully simple. And it can fall back to a selection of manually featured properties, or even randomly selected, where it hasn’t managed to latch onto any implied search just yet, or in cases where you don’t have any stock in to match.
And the implication for applicants is equally clear: If they forward one another an email of an interesting property (a very common entry point into your site) – then we can latch onto their behaviour, and form an implied search. In fact we’ll go one step further, if they view specific property details we’ll mix those into the cocktail, and if they save any given property obviously we’ll do the same (boy, are we going to latch onto that). So when they move off to read an article, or look at a branch details page, or check out a staff profile, on all these pages, we can play back what we simply call “interesting properties”. These are not “similar properties” – they’re interesting properties, and remember they’re available to any page on your website, right through the users journey with you, and in between journeys too. It’s behavioural targeting gone wild.
The result is not just a feeling of homely familiarity, it also generates what we call “one more click” opportunities in the application. Places where the user would have left the site, and finished their journey, but instead, they’re tempted to just click another page. If you couple this with our focus on blazing fast page speed, that behaviour is encouraged even more, once a user realises that a click is rewarded with a lightening fast page response, they’re encouraged to make “another click” as it costs nothing. Before you know it you’re seeing pages/visit creeping up past 10, on through 20 pages. And as we cover in the Advanced guide to Estate Agency SEO longer page journeys within an average session, leads to better SEO, which leads to more traffic, which leads to more enquiries, which contain more valuation opportunities in disguise, and so on. You get the idea.
Chameleons make you feel comfortable
So, in summary, with “implied search” your site has the power to literally change the colour of it’s spots, to mirror your vendor’s requirements, or unearth more reasons for your applicants to stick around on your site and send more enquiries. You give them confidence, by mirroring what they want to see, in order to feel comfortable that you’re their kind of agent. Hence the “Chameleon”.
If you’re interested to learn more, hear about similar ideas, or see a demonstration, please do get in touch.