Estate Agents: Conducting a Competitor Analysis

Why and how to keep ahead of the competition

Posted under Estate Agents Business

Are you setting up your Estate Agency business? Then conducting an in-depth analysis of your competition will form a vital part of your strategy. But competitive analysis isn’t only for start-ups. However, established you are, however successful you feel you might be, the same applies - you need to keep abreast of your competitors – both local and online. To complacently ignore the value of regular, structured competitor analysis could have long-term devastating consequences for your business. In this article, we look at what estate agent competitive analysis is, why it matters and how to effectively carry it out.

What is competitor analysis for estate agents?

In short, competitor analysis for estate agents is a detailed analysis of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, conducted in such a way that identifies clearly how your business compares. With an effective competitor analysis, you’ll see both your business and competitors’ businesses from your customers' point of view, enabling you to highlight how and where to improve. A competitive analysis will give you a strategic view of your competitors. It will help you to understand their products, their services, and their marketing and pricing strategies.

Why is a competitor analysis important?

Competitor analysis is the single most effective way to get ahead (and critically, to stay ahead) of your competitors. By making this activity a consistent and integral part of your business processes, you’ll give yourself the best chance of attracting more customers and increasing your bottom line. Competitive analysis will help you to analyse whether:

  • you’re advertising in the right areas.

  • you’re offering the right services in the right way

  • your prices are set and structured in the most advantageous way

  • your values and strengths compare favourably to your competitors

  • there are any gaps in the market you should be exploiting

  • you’re taking full advantage of your marketing opportunities

  • you’re keeping abreast of relevant new industry trends

  • there are any new potential competitors appearing on the scene

Use a competitor analysis framework

A competitor analysis framework is a type of analytical modeling that guides how to structure your competitor research. One example of a framework would be your SWOT analysis. Another might be position mapping. For this model, you produce a simple chart to plot your perception of your competitors’ products in terms of quality versus price and how you think your products compare. This will support decisions such as whether to demand a higher price for a premium product.

How to conduct local competitor analysis

1. Identify your competitors and what makes them competitors

It’s easy to find out who your competitors are but identifying how they compete with you is another matter. Do you know what makes them different from you? How do they stand out? Does it matter? What can you do about it? A quick occasional peek at their social media channels won’t suffice. You need to develop a proper strategic approach to carrying out your competitor analysis.

The trick is to restrict your search to direct competitors who closely match your business in terms of the services they offer, their geographic location, and size. Try taking a handful of estate agent competitors and produce a brief overview. For each competitor, include

  • a summary description

  • their revenue – for listed companies, you’ll find this on the London Stock Exchange. Not so easy for private companies, but you can try Companies House.

  • the date they were established

  • management information

Unsure of who your competitors are? Ways to find your competitors :

  • Use Google – Type into Google “Estate agents” + “[Your Area]”. This will bring up all Estate Agents that have created a Google My Business account in your area. From here you will be able to find their details, including their website, which you can use to find further information about that Estate Agent

  • Other web directories – Though these are not as commonly used today as they were years ago, many local companies still use them. Head to some of the popular ones such as Yell or Yelp, and enter “Estate Agent” and select the appropriate location.

  • Talk to clients/people – Gather information through people you talk to on a regular basis that live in the local area. Find out what Estate Agents they have used in the past, or whether they know of any. This can be a valuable method to gather qualitative data, getting insights on which Estate Agents are good, and which are bad.

  • Keep an eye out – Have a leisurely stroll through the areas in which you intend to offer your services. You will see Estate Agents' boards and can determine whether some Agents have a stronger hold in certain areas.

2. Review their property services

This is where you need to list the features and benefits of your products or services and compare them in detail with each of your competitors. Make sure you distinguish between features and benefits. For example:

  • Feature – we work during the evenings and at weekends.

  • Benefit – you get to hear about new properties or offers more promptly.

3. Analyse their marketing strategy

Find out how your estate agent competitors promote their services. Cover -

  • social media

  • advertising

  • content strategy

  • newsletters and emails

  • events

4. Pricing your services

Remember to consistently analyse your pricing policy against your competitors. Otherwise, you could easily miss potential threats. But always keep in mind that price isn’t everything. Think about your service levels too. Value is much more important than price.

5. Customer reviews

Check out the review sites. This can give you a clear idea as to what your competitors are doing well … and where they’re failing.

6. Carry out a competitor SWOT analysis

This technique is tried and tested, and it’s still a great way to find out where your business is positioned in comparison with others. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

  • Strengths - What does your company do well? What do you provide that the competition doesn’t?

  • Weaknesses - Are there areas where competitors perform better than your company?

  • Opportunities - Are there emerging trends or changes in competing companies that could benefit your company over the long term?

  • Threats - Which trends or competitive activities could cause a disruption in your business?

This SWOT analysis should be a standard part of your business plan as well as a tool for seeing how your competitors are performing. It will identify areas you may need to improve, as well as areas that you can leverage in future marketing and branding efforts.

7. Download your competitors’ annual reports and press releases.

8. Just ask

Use your local connections and network to find out about your competitors. Ask about their reputations and personal experiences.

Tools for online competitor analysis

Most of the above ideas will work, not only for local competitors but for online ones too. Other ways to analyse the performance of online estate agent competitors include checking out their websites to find out about their services and company values.

There are many tools available to help you with your competitor analysis. Examples include:

  • Brandwatch – a social media ‘listening’ tool providing handy insights into how potential clients engage across social platforms with your brand and your competitors’.

  • BrightLocal – check how other local businesses perform in local web searches and Google My Business listings.

  • BuzzSumo – gather fresh content ideas plus an insight into how competitor content performs.

  • Ahrefs – Conduct keyword research for your website or blog and see how your competitors rank.

What does your competition analysis tell you about your competitors?

No marketing strategy can exist in a bubble. It’s vital that you have a clear idea about how your estate agent competitors are behaving. Only then can you develop your strategy for standing out.

The more you know about your key competitors, the better prepared your business will be to meet the challenges their operations present.

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