By Mohamed Alaa El-Din
Mohamed Hammad, Egypt manager of digital marketing platform Property Finder, spoke with Daily News Egypt on the company’s plans to expand its local services this year, in either Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada or Alexandria.
Property Finder considers the Egyptian market to be a strategic market due to its large population, exceeding 90 million people, in which more than 45 million use internet, noted Hammad.
“The company offers digital marketing services for real estate developers in the Egyptian market. More than 100 clients of large companies in the market use our services,” he further said, adding that Amer Group and B2B are on the top of the list.
What are the services offered by your company?
We are a specialised company in the field of internet marketing for the real estate sector. We began our business in 2007 and offer our services in seven countries in the region: Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and Morocco, which makes us of the biggest companies specialised in digital marketing for the real estate sector in the Middle East.
Your company was launched during the international financial crisis; how did that affect you?
During this period, regular marketing methods (offline) were controlling the market completely. The financial crisis, however, was one of the main reasons to switch the type of search and marketing to the internet, where consumers were looking for low-cost real estate units for long-term investment. This had a positive impact on our business and helped in achieving steady growth rates within the Emirati market.
When was your company launched in Egypt?
We started offering our services in the Egyptian market around year and a half ago, and now major real estate companies in the Egyptian market are our clients.
What services do you offer your clients in the Egyptian market?
We provide assistance to developers and real estate companies in selling their products depending on the platform we offer. The units up for sale are promoted via the platform and through marketing campaigns launched by the companies and our wide clients’ database, thereby providing better chances for selling these units.
Our platform promotes the offered units to a larger audience, guaranteeing the exhibiting company an actual buyer, an easier sale process and that the investors’ needs are met. As soon as the client finds the unit he wants, he directly contacts the offering company to finalise the procedure.
We offer unusual solutions for real estate marketing using technology, and we always work on meeting the market needs. The website was developed to be compatible with mobile phones after we noticed that 50% of the visitors use the site through mobile devices.
In addition, we provide periodic reports to real estate companies offering units, explaining the market trends regarding areas in which clients look for units and whether the trend is towards purchasing or renting, as well as the districts favoured by real estate clients. This gives offering agents a chance to set their plans based on market trends. We also offer the client a list of the districts other clients are looking in for housing units.
How do you see the Egyptian market in this sector?
The Egyptian market has huge growth potential in this aspect, especially with more than 45 million internet users, which allows expansion in Egypt. We are now looking to expand in Alexandria, Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh.
What is the criteria in determining which Egyptian district to expand in?
The decision is based on a number of determinants, the most important of which is the volume and number of real estate projects in the area, population of the area, demand rate on new housing units and the ratio of people able to use internet in comparison to the total number of residents in the area.
Do you market units owned by individuals?
Currently, we only market units belonging to real estate developers. The company must have at least 100 units in its account for sale or rent.
How many real estate developers do you have as clients?
We have more than 100 real estate companies and developers, most of them are of big companies in Egypt like Amer Group and B2B.
How many clients do you believe decided to buy housing units via your platform?
Property Finder records visits of more than one million pages monthly on the website. More than 1,000 buyers are directed monthly for each client, according to the latest statistics we have, which reflects on the efficiency of our marketing services.
What are the primary areas in which Egyptians are looking for housing units?
According to the search trends we have, New Cairo is on top of the list, followed by Sheikh Zayed and 6th of October city. During the summer, the search rates in the areas of Ain Sokhna and the North Cost increase.
What are the average prices of the housing units Egyptians look for?
Egyptians look for housing units that cost between EGP 150,000 and EGP 250,000 and most users look for apartments. The unit’s total cost is the major factor that affects the purchasing decision of Egyptians. It is noticeable now that the Egyptian market is witnessing an increase in the real estate prices accompanied by increase in demand.
How do you make your profit?
We do not take commissions whether from the buyer or seller, only subscriptions from the offering companies. The subscription is either annual or biannual, and the price depends on the number of the offered units.
What makes you special compared to competitors?
Our regional proliferation in the Arab countries is the most significant competitive advantage that gives us more of an edge over competitors. We can promote the local units for clients outside Egypt, which provides more chances to conduct the sale or rent process, in addition to our wide database of clients.
What are the major tools for conducting marketing campaigns of your clients?
Google’s advertisement service (Ad words) comes on top of our marketing tools, then Facebook, and other various e-portals.