What are QR codes, and do they have a role in property marketing?

January 9th, 2012

QR codes, or Quick Response Codes are defined as a “two dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.” You will undoubtedly have come across them either in display advertising or shop windows.

They were originally developed by a subsidiary of Toyota to allow for the tracking of vehicles during the assembly process as the codes can be read at very high speed. Their use is  free of any licence and there are numerous site on the web that provide QR code generators for free, and free QR readers are available to download for most smartphones (see below for links).

They have become increasingly popular in marketing circles as the scanning of a code by a QR enabled smartphone can quickly direct the user to a website, a video, or can even initiate an email or telephone call. The “quick response” saves all the hassle of having to punch in a lengthy URL into your browser, or an address into your email client and allows a print advertiser to get more bangs for their bucks if they can entice the reader into their website or video stream.

They have become widely adopted in the US for the residential market and it is very common to see a sign with a QR code stuck on a lawn outside a property for sale. In the UK the internet chatter amongst residential Estate Agents suggests that they are being enthusiastically embraced and the UK’s leading residential portal Rightmove are now offering QR codes to all their members.

One problem is that as each QR code is unique, a unique sign board has to be created for external marketing. This can be overcome by creating stickers to attach to your existing boards however this being the UK, and with our weather system, there have been complaints that such stickers don’t often stay on the boards for long. Strutt & Parker claim to have nailed this particular problem using sign boards that also have a NFC (near field communication) chip embedded in them.

Looking to overcome this issue is Tag Street, an innovative company who provide a small sign or ”smartboard” that can be tacked on to an Agent’s pole and they only charge on a pay-per-view basis.

It therefore seems that the UK will be following the US in adopting QR codes for residential property but it remains to be seen whether there will be the same enthusiasm for commercial. However given that smartphone adoption is likely to exceed 50% of all mobile phone users in the UK by the end of 2012, and that QR codes are free and an open standard, there is a marketing opportunity here for those who think creatively.

Sources for QR Code generators: Qurify| QR Stuff| OnlineQRlab

QR readers for smartphones: Android| Blackberry| i-phone

Do you really need a designed brochure?

November 4th, 2011

We have done some research with investment agents on the benefits of creating a designed pdf brochure versus leading marketing campaigns with a website and data room. Here are some of the contrasting benefits that came out of our interviews:-

Designed brochure

- Design. Bespoke look and feel.

- Physical. Great looking physical product to take to meetings.

- Post. Clients get too much email.

- Budget. You have one so use it.

Website / Data Room

- Speed to market. Sites are much quicker to put together. Can edit content in house.

- Flexibility. Update content after the start of the marketing process.

- Organistaion. Central repository of supporting documentation reduces email traffic and improves communiaction.

- Tracking. Knowing who is downloading documentation gives the ability to focus on most active potential investors.

- Reporting. Keeps clients updated with effectiveness of your marketing.

- Cost. You can get a site and templated pdf brochure for under £500. Spend your clients money on something else.

Not convinced and want to be persuaded? Send us over a recent brochure and we will mock up a website and data room for you.

Don’t agree? Join the debate in the comments below.

My Account

September 4th, 2011

Due to popular demand we have launch a “My Account” function. Our “My Account” allows each of your end users to have an account which means they will only have to register once. When they login to their account they will be able to see all the sites that have been either allocated to them or that they have logged into.

If you would like this functionality added to your set up please get in touch on 020 3086 8279.

estatecreate wins Innovation Award

July 16th, 2011

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12th November, 2009 – estatecreate won The innovation Award last night at an awards ceremony organised by Theestatecreate Negotiator Award Negotiator magazine in association with The Digital Property Group.

Henry Yates, estatecreate Chief Executive, said: “I am very pleased that the team’s hard work has been recognised by winning another award. The judges were unanimous in voting for estatecreate, which is a great vote of confidence in our product.”

Mark Milner, The Digital Property Group’s (Primelocation.com, FindaProperty.com, Homesandproperty.co.uk and FindaNewHome.com) Chief Executive said: “The success of the Negotiator Awards is a testament to on-going excellence within the market, with firms such as estatecreate gaining much deserved recognition. It’s a pleasure to celebrate their achievements as well as toast the impressive performance of the estate agency industry in challenging times.”

estatecreate winning award

estatecreate is a new tool for estate agents to showcase a vendor’s home with a standalone website for their property with its own domain name – the 21st century glossy property brochure for the web. You can see an example website here: http://dovehousestreetsw3.com/


The service is very easy to use – estatecreate takes a feed of data from each branch and the agent can then easily add content and publish to a domain name of their choice. You can see a product demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIGk-9Bxp4Q


The judges of the 2009 Awards read like a Who’s Who of Estate Agency. They included:

Peter Bolton King, CEO, National Association of Estate Agents

Paul Broadhead, Head of Policy, Building Societies Association

Nicholas Leeming, Corporate Client Director, Property Finder

Mr Bill McClintock, Chief Operating Officer, The Property Ombudsman Service

Julian O’Dell, Founder, TM Training & Development

Ian Floyed, Chief Executive, My Home Move

Peter Rollings, Managing Director, Marsh & Parsons

Mr Ken Waller, Former Chief Executive of Connells Residential

Lucy Morton, Managing Partner, WA Ellis

John McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, McGrath Estate Agents

James Howard, Associate Director – Development, Urban Splash


estatecreate was founded by Henry Yates and is the first company to offer this service to estate agents in the UK. Yates is an experienced entrepreneur who has previously co-founded and sold two businesses, Face, the research and planning agency (www.facegroup.co.uk, sold to Cello PLC) and Univillage.com, the social network for students (sold to www.sub.tv).

estatecreate partners with The Live Organisation

April 24th, 2011

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estatecreate has announced a new partnership with The Live Organisation, the UK’s leading provider of residential conveyancing, with the launch of Live Sitemaker software which allows agents to create individual websites for their properties.

Tim Price, group sales & marketing director at The Live Organisation said:  “We are constantly looking for ways to give clients the tools to sell properties to customers in the most efficient and user friendly way. Sitemaker provides a contemporary and comprehensive marketing tool which goes well beyond a simple listing.”

“Winning instructions is the life blood of any agent and Sitemaker allows Live agents the opportunity to enhance their portfolio of marketing services, especially for middle and up market properties. And it is exactly this type of sophisticated improvement which can help agents win more business.”

Henry Yates, CEO estatecreate, said “We are excited to be working with The Live Organisation, they have a fantastic client base that will really benefit from using the Live SiteMaker service.”

The Live Sitemaker software allows clients to create an individual website for each property and a personal domain name. The format is easy to read and understand, allowing customers to view the property information with no confusion. Clients have more online space to include information about the local area, schools and contact details, as well as substantial room for photographs.

The easy to use software only takes minutes to create and publish websites. Clients can share the personal property websites through social networks and get more leads from other agents. The personal domain name is more memorable, making it more effective for advertising purposes. The websites can be branded for users, making them more visually appealing. There is no duplicated entries as the software auto-populates the sites for you.

Tim Price added: “Individual property websites are innovative and functional.

We offer estate agents the easiest and most cost effective way to create standalone websites for individual properties. The sites have their own web address and unlimited pages to showcase photos, floorplans, 360 tours and walk throughs.”

More details of Live’s new service can be found at www.live-sitemaker.com.

estatecreate launches new service to drive web traffic

March 21st, 2011

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4th FEBRUARY, 2010 estatecreate has launched a new service for estate agents that will drive more web traffic to their properties from search engines.

Search Engines such as Google are putting more and more emphasis on website content and domain names. By using estatecreate websites to showcase properties on key street names in an agency’s neighbourhood, agents will increase their search traffic and drive more leads to their properties.

Henry Yates, estatecreate Chief Executive, said “Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available to estate agents. By investing in SEO you should see increased traffic and increased business for years to come. Our SEO solution is part of the overall package estate agents buy into when they sign up to estatecreate.”

The service is very easy to set up. First an agent needs to identify key roads where they sell houses in their neighbourhood.

estatecreate estate agent SEO solution

The agent then sets up estatecreate sites for the key addresses around the agent’s branch. These sites will all point back to the estate agent’s website. Whenever the agent has a property for sale on a key road, they showcase it on the appropriate website. You can see an example website here: http://dovehousestreetsw3.com/

estatecreate seo solution for estate agents

estatecreate is a new tool for estate agents to showcase a vendor’s home with a standalone website for their property with its own domain name. The service is very easy to use – estatecreate takes a feed of data from each branch and the agent can then easily add content and publish to a domain name of their choice.

The service is the holder of The Negotiator’s Innovation Award and the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward.

estatecreate was founded by Henry Yates and is the first company to offer this service to estate agents in the UK. Yates is an experienced entrepreneur who has previously co-founded and sold two businesses, Face, the research and planning agency (www.facegroup.co.uk, sold to Cello PLC) and Univillage.com, the social network for students (sold to www.sub.tv).

Interview with The Estate Agent

March 6th, 2011

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The Estate Agent

Originally uploaded by henry_yates

The Estate Agent interviewed estatecreate in their April issue. Unfortunately it is print only, so here is a screenshot.

Come and have a look at our new Data Room

January 4th, 2011
We are very excited to announce the launch of our new data room product. You can see an example here:
You can see the full feature list below. If you would like a demo please get in touch on 020 3086 8279
estatecreate supports a broad range of template designs. We offer a free template that has a standard layout overlaid with your branding. Our charges for implementing bespoke templates vary according to the complexity of the design.
estatecreate is a highly flexible platform. It is possible to add, delete and change page names.
Secure access
Each page has the option to be password protected.
Property Portfolios
It is also possible to have pages outside the navigation. This enables you to create additional pages for properties within a portfolio.
Secure sites
Setting up a secure site is very straightforward. Once you have decided which pages you want password protected, you can choose to either lock down sites and pre register users or ask each user to register. Registration is very flexible and allows you to add unlimited fields and select which are mandatory.
Setting up a secure site allows you to monitor who is accessing the site. Our reporting allows you to monitor the following by user:
· Number of logins
· First/last login
· Documents downloaded
As well as all the details that you request in the flexible registration form.
Editing sites
There is a “Change Data” option, which allows you to edit sites yourselves. The sites are very simple to edit, you just click on the item you want to change.
Adding editors
It is possible to add editors from the administration section. Editors then login and only see sites that have been allocated to them.
SEO & Analytics
Adding a site description and meta tags is simple. There is a form that is easy to fill in which automatically updates the site once the site is published.
The form also allows you to add your analytics code to a site.
Domain names
estatecreate has an API with Register.com. Our standard service allows you to publish sites to .com addresses.
We can also take over one of your own sub-domains. Once we have set this up it will allow you to publish sites to that domain.

We’ve been busy

September 4th, 2010

It has been a long time since our last post, apologies fo the radio silence. We have been busy putting together a new set of products. Watch this space for the launch of our new offering to help market Commercial and Residential Investments and Developments.

estatecreate nominated at the 2010 Property Professional Show Awards

October 7th, 2009

Who doesn’t love award ceremonies? They’re a great excuse to get the team together for a night out and Property Professional Show Awardsrepresent a TON of hard work.

Today estatecreate is thrilled to announce that we have been nominated Best Estate and Letting Agency Technology provider at the 2010 Property Professional Show Awards.