Time to put real estate idx service out to pasture

Has Real Estate IDX Service Become Obsolete?

 

I received an email about Real Estate IDX Service that got me thinking.  The title of the email was:

“Putting IDX out to pasture” By Joel Burslem

In addition I have had 2 clients in the last month buy a real estate website but request we not use a real estate IDX service.

The argument is simple and one I have heard for the past 4 or 5 years….

“My clients are savvy and they will use Redfin, Zillow, or Trulia to search for listings.”

Joel explains in his email that web-based real estate searches are on the decline and that soon all real estate searches will be done on smart phone apps.

Of course this is not really new as I wrote a blog post about the “Explosion” of mobile based real estate searches in 2011…
>> Mobile Real Estate Apps Are Booming, Are You There?

I do not have my head in the sand... I get that people are using their mobile devices to do home searches and that usually means Redfin, Zillow, or Trulia.

 

Why I’m NOT Ready To Dismiss Real Estate IDX Service

 

What does your Real Estate Website offer if it does not offer pictures of houses?

Joel suggests that “Highly targeted micro-sites around lifestyles or neighborhoods… will become a much more effective use of limited resources”.  Interestingly enough the site he references as an example is just a giant image of a listing, that when clicked goes to an IDX type listings page.

Granted, they did not use a real estate IDX service provider to create it.  They are going to do it manually.

That means that the owner of the website will need to have:

  • A steady flow of new listings to display
  • A steady flow of listings that are nice enough to act as the home page of their real estate website
  • Professional Images of each listing
  • Time set aside to manually add the listing data to the website
  • Time set aside to manage the listings on the site to make sure there are no pendings or solds still showing active
  • Time set aside to correct any price adjustments to the listing

I will be the first to admit that if you meet these parameters and add all of your many listings to your site manually opposed to automatically with a real estate IDX service that it will show and do better.

It has been my experience that the vast majority of my clients do not meet these parameters.

I have suggested that you use listings to run a Real Estate Content Marketing Strategy to help the performance of your website.  Both/And.  Use the Real Estate IDX Service to keep your site fresh, up to date, and full of interesting stuff to look at AND use listings to help the performance of your website.

 

We have been talking about building Neighborhood specific real estate websites for years… but Nobody wants to do it.  Why? 

>>  If it is true that the #1 reason people use Google is find a business they already know about, then real estate agents need to have a real estate website that represents their business.  Just like every other business on the Planet.

Nike does not have an East Village Neighborhood Site where their name and logo are hidden.

 I am not against these niche sites… but they should be in addition to your business website. Did I just suggest that you have multiple websites, when most of you are finding it difficult to manage one?

>>  Real Estate Agents do not have the budget or the bandwidth to manage multiple websites.  (actually neither do I)

>>  Something has to fill the pages… if it is not MLS data, it needs to be your data.  That’s right you will need to come up with enough content to fill a website, or hire someone to do it for you.

Except, why would you hire someone to create content for the Niche that YOU are the specialist of?

Bottom line it is A Lot to Manage!

 

G.L.A.M.R. — The 5 Necessities of a Real Estate Website

Generate // Legitimize // Authoritize // Multiply // Residence

 

A good real estate IDX service provider helps improve 4 of the 5 G.L.A.M.R‘ous necessities of a real estate website:

  1. The landing pages and contact forms that built into your site help Generate Leads
  2. When I find you on Google and look at your site and see that you are a “Real Estate Business” with all the MLS data splattered all over your site.  You are a Legitimate Real Estate Business to me.
  3. When your IDX service is used strategically to create neighborhood or niche landing pages, or listings are grouped strategically, you are showing that you are an Authority in your field (ok this one does take some work/thought)
  4. A good real estate IDX Service will Multiply your web presence.  Period!

 

Real Estate IDX Service Data

So far everything I have talked about is opinion, suggestions, ideas, or just abstract.  What about the data?

I logged into 4 of my clients IDX Service dashboards to get stats.  I did not ask them for permission… so I am not going to reveal their identity.

 

IDX Traffic Stats for the Last 30 Days:

I choose 4 very different style accounts.

>>  1.  A team in California 2-year-old feed.

California_IDX_Service_Traffic

As you can see they average 90-100 searches every day!

If you paid just .50 cents per click it would cost you = $45 per day to generate that traffic using Digital Ads

 

>> 2.  An office in Virginia 5 month old feed.

Virginia Team IDX feed

As you can see they average about 200 searches every day!

If you paid just .50 cents per click it would cost you = $100 per day to generate that traffic using Digital Ads

 

>> 3. A single agent in Colorado 2 month old feed.

Colorado_Real_Estate_IDX_Stats

As you can they average 8-10 searches every day!

If you paid just .50 cents per click it would cost you = $4 per day to generate that traffic using Digital Ads

 

>> 4.  A single agent in Washington over 4-year-old feed.

Washington IDX Feed Stats

As you can see they average 2,019 searches every day!

If you paid just .50 cents per click it would cost you = $1,009 per day to generate that traffic using Digital Ads

 

Most Popular IDX Pages:

>>  1.  A team in California 2-year-old feed.

California Most Popular IDX Pages

As you can see Listings, and Photos are extremely Popular!

 

>> 2.  An office in Virginia 5 month old feed.

Virginia Most Popular IDX Pages

As you can see Listings, and Photos are extremely Popular!

 

>> 3. A single agent in Colorado 2 month old feed.

Colorado Most Popular IDX Pages

As you can see Listings, and Photos are extremely Popular!

 

>> 4.  A single agent in Washington over 4-year-old feed.

Washington Most Popular IDX Pages

As you can see Listings, and Photos are extremely Popular!

 

IDX Traffic Stats Summary:

Whether you are in the populated California Market, or a suburb in Virginia.  Whether you are a team, office or agent.  Whether you have had your IDX feed for 4 years or 2 months…  Real Estate IDX Service will Multiply your Web Presence.

IDX is an extremely cost-effective way to generate website traffic.

While it may be true that people who you already know wont use the search on your site over Redfin… People you don’t know will find your website and use it to view listings and photos.

 

Summary

A real estate IDX service is not a “Magic Bullet”  nothing is.  I mean you can’t eat nothing but brocoli and be healthy… you need protein and other vitamins and minerals.

It is, to me, at this date (11/14/14) still a necessary part of a high quality real estate website.

If you have the time or budget to create your own IDX feed on your site… do it!  But let’s call a spade a spade… it is still an IDX feed.  It is just a manual and therefore unique version of the same data.

I for one am not ready to put this service “Out to Pasture”.

By |2014-11-17T12:19:51+00:00November 14th, 2014|

About the Author:

Jason Fox - Real Estate MarketingBusiness: We build WordPress Real Estate Websites with IDXMe: #GoHawks, #BringBackTheSonics, #MaybeNextYearMariners, #ILoveMyKids #SeattleSunLover #SeattleWaterLover #BFFBlog: Focuses on Wordpress Websites, Content Management, SEO Services, SEM Campaigns, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Beautiful Design, IDX, and more.

2 Comments

  1. Joshua S February 9, 2015 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I think also by having an IDX feed on your website, you are at least able to send your already established clients to your website, allow them to favorite listings, and all the data will be up to date like Redfin, rather than Zillow and Trulia. Further, with enough marketing one or two leads is bound to come about from your website, especially when most the themes are truly responsive in nature.

    • Jason Fox February 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Josh… I agree. It just can’t hurt to have all the MLS data on your Real Estate Website.

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