Little Real Estate

After disrupting the market with a new brand and unique business model in 2009 Little Real Estate has grown into Australia’s largest independently owned real estate company and an Australian success story. In a saturated market Little Real Estate continues to challenge the status quo in property management and sales, by providing a service that is frank, authentic and builds relationships based on trust and transparency.

The business found though, that traditional methods of reaching out to customers online were no longer delivering the company value. Acknowledging that the current website was a major obstacle in its ability to continue disrupt the real estate market and to deliver value to current and future customers, Little Real Estate embarked on a relaunch of the website.

The new website would need to deliver a consistent customer experience in line with other digital channels, and meet and exceed customers expectations of the brand.

Lre 1

In an initial discovery phase we reviewed the marketing strategies and plans, and available customer and digital data. This included an audit of the existing marketing channels. Following a series of workshops with different stakeholders, we refined the scope of the website and decided on a roadmap of work to enhance the platform over a 6-12 month period following the launch.

We also took a deep dive into Little Real Estate’s target audiences, developing detailed audience descriptions, personas, and customer journeys.

Based on our research we were able to build target audiences that were abstracted from the service offering. We also identified that there is a huge opportunity to use digital to nurture existing clients along the real estate lifecycle.

There is a sufficient level of self-direction persisting in the market across all target audiences, which is a bit less pronounced for the “Family Future” segment. Providing the right tools would enable customers to self-serve.

All audiences furthermore rely heavily on mobile devices as part of their decision journey, and are looking for a seamless experience i.e. favouring a digital form over downloading the application form from the Little Real Estate website.

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We developed a sitemap that allowed us to categorise a wide range of content in the future. A user-centred approach helped us determine what the most common user goals would be, and provided pathways to the pages that spoke to these needs. In order to ensure all content was easily accessible we tested the navigation at wireframe stage with users.

We learned to steer away from a reliance on the hamburger icon, and instead designed a mobile navigation that facilitated faster navigation to content of interest. Iterating through a series of wireframes, we arrived at the final designs for the website in line with the newly released brand guidelines.

In the initial workshop the user stories had revealed that new features should be added to improve the user experience including the ability to create property email alerts, wishlists, add floor plans, and share properties, while the most critical feature remains the property search. Using Algolia we developed a multi-faceted search that returns lightning fast, accurate results with tailored filtering options based on different user groups.

To increase visibility of the new Little Real Estate website, we developed a comprehensive digital marketing plan to promote the site through AdWords, Google Display Network and Facebook. Advanced on-site SEO activity was carried out to ensure previous domain authority was not lost during migration.

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The homepage is designed to surface the content/actions that users are most interested in when they come to the website.  For property hunters, the prominent search bar allows them to dive into the search experience straight from the homepage. For existing tenants, digital forms and information (ie for emergency repairs or maintenance) are located quickly and easily. With clear headings and relevant content/links, users can hone in on the content most relevant to them.

Other content on the homepage meets business objectives, by conveying credibility with key statistics, showing a range of properties, and highlighting their nationwide coverage.

Using Algolia to provide lightening fast search, typeahead results and predictive searching, the search experience is the heart of the website content. Allowing users to quickly isolate their search to preferred suburbs or areas, both simplified and advanced filtering options means users can narrow down the available properties to those which meet their criteria.

Not all property hunters are deeply familiar with their desired suburb. ‘Search by Map’ allows users to narrow down their search by property criteria, then review where those properties are located on map, in relation to one another and other features such as public transport and shops.

A key business outcome of the website redevelopment was to improve self-service, allowing for digital submission of transactional actions like maintenance requests, and a centralised repository for all other forms for tenants.  By making these available on the website, tenants aren’t restricted by business hours or the availability of the their property manager; and it reduces the need of office staff to triage and respond to phone calls and physical forms.

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In the first three months since launch, 34.5% more users visited the site compared to the previous year. Their engagement with the site’s content improved significantly as well. Organic search accounted for the largest proportion of this increase. The risks associated with the launch were not only successfully mitigated, but the optimisations rolled out as part of the website relaunch are already returning results. The predominant device is now mobile, being responsible for over 50% of all traffic. This is a strong testament to the findings from the initial research. Following these early results Little Real Estate will adopt a mobile first approach in the future.

"There were many elements to building our website and the team at Evolution 7 guided us (lots of hand holding) through the entire process. This gave our team lots of confidence and reassured us we were on the right path. We achieved the set launch date with minor iterations in the first month post launch which was a great outcome!" - Narina Amvazas, General Manager, Marketing
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