As a real estate agent, you know you have a lot of competition out there. And if you’re investing in digital strategy, then it makes sense to plan some aspects of your strategy around what your competition is doing online (and even by what they’re not doing).
But how do you know what that is?
There are a number of tools and tricks that you can do and use to track your competition’s successes and failures, and dig into what they’re doing online and in their marketing strategies so you can adjust your own strategy accordingly.
★ One quick note here. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than straight up copying someone. So if you discover that your competition is doing something interesting that’s working for them, consider how you can improve it, change it, or adapt it to make it your own rather that just copying people.
Here are a few tools and tricks you can use to keep an eye on your competition:
How strong is their online presence?
The first thing you should do is a Google search for their name or team name. That alone can tell you a lot about them. As I’ve mentioned before, online presence is a big part of a modern referral business, so what’s on the other end of a search for their name is really important.
- Is their website the first result?
- Is it broken out into further links?
- Do they have a Google Business page with a lot of information, content, and reviews?
- In general, does the Google search result page look nice and inspire confidence that they’re professionals?
For a consumer researching a real estate agent they’re thinking of hiring, how they display in a search result can tell them a lot and will likely determine if they ultimately contact them or not.
The next thing you should do is find out what their domain authority is. What is domain authority? It’s essentially a ranking system that determines how authoritative a website is in a search engine’s eyes by scoring it from 0-100 (the higher the number the better) based on a number of factors, like engagement metrics, how many backlinks it has, etc. There’s a number of free tools out there to help you find it, but AHREFs has a good one you can check out right here.
Once you know their domain authority score, one of your goals is likely going to be for yours to be better than theres so you have a better chance of displaying in more search results. If you’re interested in learning more about domain authority, you should check out this blog post I wrote.
You should also consider creating a Google Alert, which will allow you to track any keyword and get notified whenever Google indexes a search result with that keyword in it. If, for example, you enter your competitors’ name or team name, then every time something new gets indexed (including their listings if it has their name in it) in a Google result, you’ll get an email letting you know and with a link to that new content; so you’ll always be able to keep tabs on them. You can create Google Alerts right here.
Once you know this basic information, you can compare what your own online presence is versus what your competition’s is.
What’s their marketing strategy like?
It’s fairly easy to see what your competitors are doing as far as their marketing goes, simply because it’s so accessible.
You should start by going to their website (maybe with a throwaway email address), and start signing up for all of their marketing material, like their digital newsletter, any downloadable content they have, blog post notification, even signing up for their gated listing content if they have it. Doing so will show you 2 main things:
- It will let you actually see their marketing material, and…
- It will give you a glimpse into what their follow up and communication strategy is like.
If your competition is heavy into advertising on Facebook and/or Instagram, then you can easily check out all of their ads as well.
To do that, go to Facebook’s Ad Library, and type their name or team name into the search bar, and then click on their profile in the results. From there, you can see all of the ads they’re running on Facebook and Instagram, as well as some interesting information about it. For example, you can sort by impressions, which shows you which of their ads get the most views.
If you click the ads, you can also see where they go on click. If they’re just advertising their listings, then that isn’t really that useful, but if they’re running actual campaign ads, then you can also see what their landing pages look like, which is really useful.
How is their digital strategy performing?
There are a lot of tools (some paid and some free) that you can use to monitor your competitors and see how their website is performing. Here are a few:
- SpyFu: Using this tool, you can see a lot of interesting information about your competition’s website stats, for free, without needing to sign up for anything. Just head over to the SpyFu website, and enter the domain of the website you want to check out. SpyFu will then give you a ton of information about the domain, including: monthly organic keywords, monthly clicks from organic SEO, paid keywords in their PPC campaigns, organic competition, and a lot more; you can even click-through some of those results to break it down even further. There is a TON of information available here that will give you an in-depth view of how they’re performing online.
- BuzzSumo: Using this tool, you can really narrow down what your competitors’ best performing content is. Just go to the BuzzSumo website, enter the domain you want to search, and it will give you a report breaking down the most popular content on that website. While they do have some free information available, to do a really deep dive, you’ll want to access their paid platform.
- RivalIQ: This tool exists purely for you to see how your social media strategy stacks up to that of your competitors. They have a number of free tools, like measuring Instagram, that you can check out. It’s really a tool built for direct comparison; just go to the RivalIQ website, choose the Instagram tool, and after you enter your username and your competitors username, and it will email you a report that breaks-down a lot of information, like engagement metrics, top-performing content, audience analysis, and a lot more. If you’re interested in going a step further, they’re paid platform that will give you more in-depth information.
Adapt Your Own Strategy
As a real estate agent, you’re in a very competitive space, and it’s always good to see what your competition is doing so that you can stay one step ahead of them. Just remember, don’t copy. What works for one agent may not work for another because as no two agents are exactly the same, no two strategies will be exactly the same either.
Want to drive traffic, build your brand, and engage your target audience? Download our eBook: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing’. It’s a collection of some of our best marketing articles, tips, and tricks that we’ve collected over the years.