By Whitney Bennett
It’s no secret that the Internet is a hotbed of real estate. Between Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and the countless other real estate websites, it’s also extremely competitive. Before you write off utilizing a website for increasing your sales, consider this: 80 percent of potential buyers research on the internet before purchasing. With the right strategy, you can get your slice of that 80 percent and increase your leads and sales. Here are some steps to follow to attract new clients through your website.
Make Your Website Search Accessible
Nearly every real estate agent and brokerage firm has a website. Your first step then is to make sure your site crushes that competition in search. The best way to do that? Search engine optimization. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and easy to read on any device. Make it visually appealing. Create keyword-conscious copy that focuses on what your potential market is searching for online. Ensure your pages have specific focuses and matching keyword-centric titles. But the biggest piece of advice that will put your site near the top is to write great content.
Write Great Content and Get Leads
As you begin to mold your website into something that is both interesting for potential buyers and search engines, you’re going to want to start writing content on your site’s blog. Not just any kind of content, mind you. You don’t want to write sloppy and keyword heavy articles; you want articles your clients are going to want to read and share in hopes that they will give you their information in exchange for more content. (Look, leads!) So, how do you do that? A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of what you’re writing about should have nothing to do with your brand or what you’re selling. Most of it should be content that provides significant value to potential clients. Twenty percent of what you’re writing should be about your business: your listings, updates to your brokerage and so on.
The 80 Percent
As a real estate agent, you get asked a lot of questions. Use these to prompt blog articles on your site. The more in-depth you write answering these questions for potential sellers and buyers, the better your site will show in search engine results pages. Searchers who have the questions you’re answering will search, find you, and potentially become clients. Don’t be afraid to create visuals, books, or infographics that readers can download by giving you their contact information. Not only will you get more leads, but you’ll be able to track which posts are most downloaded and work on promoting those posts and replicating that success.
The 20 Percent
Of course, you’re going to want to create well-written listings for your property – but don’t let the fact that it’s a listing deter you from making it great content. Provide in-depth information about the area in which the home is located. Add video tours, 360° listings, maps and many photos. The more information you provide, the more people will come back to your site to learn more about your listings.
Promote Your Website
Utilize Social Media
Social media is so much more than just connecting to friends online. More than 75 percent of marketers say social media has given a strong return on their investment. Share your listings and valuable content on each platform. Remember to stick with the 80/20 rule. Don’t blast all of your listings constantly. You don’t want to market to just buyers or sellers. You want to market to people who may want to buy or sell a home in the future. To do that, you have to show them they’re getting valuable information by following you. You’ll want to share your listings, too, of course, but the majority of your social media shares should be information about real estate, your market and location as well as answering questions your clients have. Consider asking your followers to ask you questions in the comments on a site and throughout the day answer them with new posts. Post photos and reviews of different places around town that homebuyers can experience if they buy a listing nearby. Run contests and give away gift cards for nearby places.
List On Other Sites
Online real estate listing sites are some of the largest competition online. There’s a saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and that’s exactly what you should do. Provide information on your listings on these sites and sign up for a paid account to get even more leads.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pay Up!
Wouldn’t it be nice if all of this were free? Advertising is real, it works and, unfortunately, it also costs money. Create ads for both your listings and your valuable content. This may mean boosting a post on your social media for more people to see, or opening a Google Adwords account to put people directly on your site. Either way, pay to have your content seen by more people. The more people that read your content and see your listings, the greater the potential for leads and sales.
Follow Through With Leads
Now that you have the leads coming through, they won’t become new clients unless you follow through with them. The final piece of the puzzle is to follow up. If they’ve provided you with a phone number and are interested in a specific property, call them back to discuss. If they’re just interested in a piece of content and provide their email, put them into an email newsletter, or call them to answer any questions they might have about a specific part of the real estate process.
Don’t wait, either. When the leads start coming in, contact them as quickly as possible. According to a study done by a professor at MIT, you’re 21 times more likely to get a sale if you contact a lead within five minutes of receiving their information. Have your leads go directly to your phone or to other individuals in your brokerage who can assist them quickly and get sales more frequently.
Do you have any ways you’ve increased your sales and client numbers from online means? Share them in the comments.
Whitney Bennett is an SEO Specialist who enjoys writing and developing helpful, informative content for homeowners and real estate agents.