Ray Ellis was appointed CEO of the First National Real Estate network in November 2004. This signalled a focus on the re-positioning and expansion of the largest cooperative real estate network that numbers over 400 offices throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Since appointment, the network has undergone an almost complete revolution of its product and service offering, developed industry leading internet marketing technologies, dramatically altered its corporate culture, arrested years of financial losses and returned to a position of growth.
Embracing the importance of good corporate citizenship, the network has launched the First National Foundation and become a National Humanity Partner of Australian Red Cross under his stewardship.
He began the reinvigoration of the First National brand with the launch of a new positioning statement “We put you first”. This, combined with a new marketing strategy has led to a dramatic lift in brand awareness with a national television advertising campaign. The network has grown under his leadership to the third largest, by market share, in Australia according to IBIS World.
In recent years, development of an array of new product technologies has included systems that hand customers control of the information they receive from First National’s members via websites – assuring their property search criteria is matched precisely to the network’s latest listings and rental vacancies.
These products have attracted finalist recognition from the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) in the technology innovation category, while delivering the network’s agents greater efficiency and business growth.
In February 2014, First National Real Estate launched the Australian real estate industry’s first ‘optimised for mobile’ National Website, with an entirely new customer focus – real estate life journeys.
Turning the industry’s traditional approach on its head, Ray Ellis has elevated the information that customers seek via Google search inquiries – answers to their questions about their life journeys in real estate – to the network’s highest priority.
Consumer response has:
- Delivered a 60 per cent increase in the network’s ‘first time’ customers, year on year.
- Increased the network’s page views by 27 per cent Increased overall customer traffic by 63 per cent.
- Led to a surge in mobile traffic by 285 per cent
The website has recently been awarded Top 10 status in the Kentico international website awards.
Ray Ellis currently occupies a seat on the Board of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), representing the First National Real Estate membership’s and industry’s interests. The network now has over 400 offices throughout Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.