“My Place Real Estate is a small independent real estate agency in Baldivis and I specialise in property management. I previously had a soft furnishings business and I was going to peoples’ houses to show them how to decorate it. I thought ‘well, with the same amount of effort I can make a lot more money by selling your house too.’ That was the natural progression to real estate really.”
Agnes Gaspar is the owner of My Place Real Estate. She joined the Digital Solutions program when she needed help connecting with her target audience online. Her main challenge? “How today’s young people communicate. When you look at the demographics in Baldivis a majority of the people are actually under 34. They don’t use the traditional methods — they’re all on social media, and when they go to the website they’re happy to just email and use the website form instead of picking up the phone.
“I knew I needed to fix up my website. I also wanted to be discovered and noticed, that’s another part. With all the marketing and real estate changes, how do you compete with the big franchises to stand out in the crowd? As an independent operator, I can’t just say to an advertising agency I’ll give you ten grand, make me a national advertising campaign.”
Through the program, Agnes was paired with Nicky Jurd, a website and app development expert. “I discovered that Nicky does SEO work and can teach you how to improve your website to make it discoverable.
“Some people make you feel like an idiot because you don’t know the basics. I’m not a computer person, I avoid the machine as much as possible but I have to learn. With Nicky it didn’t matter if it was big or little questions — it was just like let’s look at this site, are you aware of this, do you do that? When somebody makes you aware then you can go ‘ah that’s what’s missing, and that’s why that’s not happening.’
“I was always looking forward to our sessions because I knew they would be productive as well as fun. Nicky has such a wide range of experience. It was great because we ended up chatting about so many other things like general business as well. When a small business is isolated, that makes it difficult to know what’s happening out there in the big world.”
With Nicky’s guidance during their one-to-one sessions, Agnes was able to improve the SEO, user experience and discoverability of her website. “When people look for ‘real estate Baldivis’ I pop up as search result one or two depending on the keywords they’re using. That’s much better than being on page two, line six. We worked on it a lot and have done really well. The difference is that people are now emailing and calling, that’s really why we have a website — it’s working.
“We created a contact form, so instead of getting phone calls from people saying, ‘I want a valuation on my house,’ we said this agency specialises in property management. It’s great because the enquiries I’m getting on my website form are actually for management and that was the other aim.”
Reflecting on her Digital Solutions experience, Agnes says anyone considering the program should “Sign up now, don’t wait!”