Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

There was a time when Placester offered websites for $5 per month. Subway used to sell a sandwich for that much.

From what I remember from the company’s websites back then, that’s pretty much what you got. Needless to say, the company paid for it, too. I know that seems harsh, but my roots in this industry were birthed in marketing.

Websites require investment, strategy and an understanding of how a business functions. They need to overlap with how a brokerage works, from lead intake to commission output; a good website has to do more than share half-hearted agent bios or two-year-old blog posts about “The 5 best coffee shops in Seattle.”

But this is a comeback story.

While they still promote websites that can be up and running quickly, the least expensive option from Placester is now $64 per month, a cost much more aligned with a website that can support an agent with IDX feeds and some good storytelling. Smartly, they call it the “starter plan,” indicating there’s much more to Placester than what you likely remember.

It’s also a price that should demonstrate to new agents that being in this business requires spending some money, and that $64 per month for your most critical marketing effort is still incredibly affordable. You likely pay more for streaming services.

There are deep levels of content control at each price level, from body-copy styles and listing view cards to home-search fields and testimonial feeds. Higher account levels offer enhanced lead engagement, landing pages, integrations and brokerage-level enterprise tools ideally suited for in-house marketing managers.

To make all this possible, Placester Codeless has been renovated from the studs up for enhanced artistic manipulation, faster live edits and extensive content flexibility.

I always worry a little about offering too many creative choices and thus, recommend agents consult or use dedicated marketing professionals when launching a new web presence. (This is why we scroll Netflix for 20 minutes before choosing something.)

However, underlying Placester’s new design approach is a strategic digital business offering called Concierge Custom, a unique way for brokerages to outsource powerful marketing automation and execute structured office workflows.

The value in Concierge Custom is ultimately behind the scenes, materializing in back-end tools used by Placester teams, who use it to curate front-end marketing and office tasks, such as linking new agent onboarding processes with making sure that person’s web bio lands where it should and is published on time. That only scratches the surface, though.

Concierge Custom can be used to link new listing agreements and MLS entries with property landing pages, email marketing campaigns and online advertising.

Placester staff leverages an internal flow chart-like interface to assemble connected business actions, similar to tools I’ve seen some CRMs deploy for customers to use. However, it’s not a methodology suited from the end-user, in my opinion. Most agents don’t have the time or necessary business acumen to smartly connect processes that can predict sudden plan alterations.

Placester showed me how Custom Concierge can launch a marketing plan for a new listing but then accommodate it going from “new” to “under contract” in the same day, a common occurrence in the current market.

Many brokerages struggle with getting a property online within a few days of earning the listing agreement, let alone possess the team and time to integrate market-based reactionary marketing tasks.

Real estate marketing needs to shift from brute-force attacks to calculated execution. This is what Placester can do for its Custom Concierge clients.

I lamented in this article the industry’s overdependence on automation and the way software vendors are doing everything for their customers to such an extent that many agents actually have little idea how — or why — something is being done.

Placester customers can work directly with their account team to monitor Custom Concierge plans and actions. They can interject via in-app communication tools and have multiple avenues for feedback (Slack, text, phone, Calendly), especially vital in the early stages of the relationship.

Custom Concierge links directly to Placester’s Services Marketplace, too. This helps users gain access to a large team of creative pros in graphic design, marketing and tool integrations, etc.

This is a hard-right turn for Placester’s brand, one that it appears to have executed without an ounce of understeer.

Now, it only needs to prove to brokers and team leaders why the digital transformation of traditional business processes is what will help it bridge the broadening fault lines creaking across the industry.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

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