New technology and old-fashioned hard graft a winning combination
WITH a housing market in the doldrums for most of last year, property professionals were forced to work even harder to get results. The stamina and creativity that helped the strongest players survive was evident at Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards 2009.
The awards, devised by Yorkshire Post Newspapers, celebrate the excellence and outstanding achievements within this competitive arena.
Clever marketing, presentation and exhaustive groundwork have been the hallmark of most home sales and rentals this year, but many estate and lettings agents went the extra mile, which made the entries even harder to judge.
Yorkshire Post Newspapers’ Property and Motors Manager, Richard Tamlyn, says: “Last year was another difficult one for property, but in spite of the market, some outstanding work has gone on and we felt it deserved the recognition that a Yorkshire’s Finest Property Award delivers.”
This year, because of the difficulties in the development market and with relatively little new build, we slimmed down the categories to Best Marketing Campaign and Best Website.
“Even so, the standard of the entries was so high that it took a lot of deliberation to find our winners,” says judge and Yorkshire Post property writer Sharon Dale. “It was clear that an incredible amount of time and effort had gone into marketing the properties.
“Also interesting was how more agents are using new technology and social networking sites to gain exposure for their websites. The winner of this category was especially switched on to all the opportunities that the internet presents.”
Fellow judges included Adrian Johnson, owner of Leeds-based consumer and online PR agency, Umpf, who was highly impressed with the strategies used by to sell and let homes.
James Garrison, Digital Commercial Manager at Johnston Press, was invaluable for his scrutiny of entries in the website category.
Richard Tamlyn adds: “The judges had a hard time deciding on the winners and all those who entered should be commended. The award winners in particular should be really proud of what they have achieved in very difficult trading conditions.
“With the market showing signs of recovery, we are looking forward to our next awards and anticipate a return to our extended list of categories including some of the region’s finest architecture.”
And the winners of Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards 2009 are:
Best Marketing Campaign for an Individual Property
Winner: Blenkin and Co, York The award was for the marketing of Baker’s Yard in York.
This contemporary self-build on a tight site was a niche property and the number of potential buyers quite small. Blenkin and Co’s promotion of it was vigorous and very creative.
Tim Blenkin and Hilary Pegrum spotted the angles that gave them the best chance of publicity and managed to get editorial features in the Yorkshire Post followed by stories in two national newspapers.
The brochure was beautifully presented and the photographs superb.
The seller was delighted with 21 viewings including two from London and it took just two months to get an offer in August 2009. The buyer said: “I was initially looking for a period property but my eye was caught by the brochure which was intriguing and attractive convincing me that the property warranted immediate investigation.
“Throughout the proceedings Tim Blenkin’s conduct was highly professional revealing that he understood the intricate balance between acting for the client and assisting the buyer.
“The whole experience was most satisfying and, from my point of view, the marketing was very professionally done.” The Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards Judges said: “The contemporary photography and clever use of these images really sell this property and maximise its appeal to the design conscious. The excellent brochure paid dividends as the buyer’s eye was caught by this and he was persuaded to view even though he was initially looking for a period property in York.
“All available channels were used to generate an impressive amount of publicity for this contemporary house including PR, email, brochure, newspaper adverts and direct mail.
“This was a difficult time to sell anything and Blenkin’s outperformed against the market conditions.” Highly Commended: Beadnall Copley (with offices in Wetherby, Harrogate and Ripon) for Tudor Cottage, Bramham This property went on the market in May 2008 and didn’t sell until June the following year but Beadnall Copley worked tirelessly to generate interest in some of the worst conditions the market has seen.
They generated publicity in the Yorkshire Post and in national newspapers and used everything from email alerts to direct mail, signage and newspaper advertising to highlight the cottage.
The seller was delighted and said: “I was delighted with Beadnall Copley’s comprehensive approach, using every avenue to create interest and viewings. I was particularly impressed that during very difficult conditions for the housing market, they continually went the extra mile to get as much publicity for my home as possible.
“By doing this they secured very valuable free editorial for me. All of this had substantial effects on the success of the viewings and undoubtedly had a direct influence on the final result.” The Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards Judges said: “This property was on the market at the worst possible time and took a while to sell, but the agents put in 110 per cent effort and never gave up. They worked extremely hard to sell this house.
“By branding the cottage as “quintessentially English” they gave it a strong identity and managed to get excellent press coverage.
“If that was our house we’d be delighted with the marketing campaign and the fact the agent worked so incredibly hard.”
Best Property Agent Website
Winner: Flats in Leeds www.flatsinleeds.com This lettings website won an award last year, too and it is still one of the best we’ve ever seen for targeting its market and using everything the internet has to offer in the way of web marketing.
The home page is very clear, informative and easy to navigate. Within a click you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
It is generating a growing number of visitors each month thanks to its high ranking on search engines and its design, which is contemporary and user-friendly.
They realise that the interest of the visitor has to be secured within seconds.
Flats in Leeds don’t rest on their laurels either and are designing a new tenants’ information page and a page for students.
They also have links to social networking sites including Facebook, Gumtree and Twitter. The Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards Judges said: “This site was a very worthy winner. It is superb.
“It is clear and concise and is cleverly designed to appeal to its target market.
“It also shows extreme understanding of modern technology.
“We were really impressed with the organic search engine optimisation and with the use of marketing through putting videos of the properties on YouTube. “ Highly Commended: Knight Frank www.knightfrank.co.uk Knight Frank is an international property agent but even though it has 5,000 properties for sale all over the world, its website is very easy to navigate.
It was very easy to find homes for sale in Yorkshire.
Users are able to explore and refine their property preferences easily using everything from lifestyle criteria to maps.
The homes for sale are displayed clearly and the imagery is excellent. The Yorkshire’s Finest Property Awards Judges said: “Although this is an international agent, it was very easy to search for Yorkshire property.
“The site looks good and it performs when looking for regional homes for sale.
“The properties are clearly displayed with options to contact the agent and the carousel photographs show good use of technology.
“Knight Frank.co.uk also has very high Google rankings, which shows that search engine optimisation is good.”
WINNER: Jordan Yorath of Flats in Leeds, right, receives the Best Property Agent Website award from Richard Tamlyn of Yorkshire Post Newspapers.
PRESENTATION: Hilary Pegrum and Tim Blenkin of Blenkin & Co receive the award for Best Marketing Campaign for an Individual Property.