The imperative need to have a tool to run your real estate business, but for some reason, not possessing and utilizing said tool while others around you are.
“Making money in Real Estate is easy…However, not making money in Real Estate is even easier”
anonymous, well…I may have said that once or twice
Is a Website Necessary to Run Your Real Estate Business?
It seems the Real Estate community is convinced to run your real estate business successfully, you need to have a real estate website. That’s were the consumers are so that’s where you need to be too! All you need is get people to come to your website, generate leads, turn those leads into home buying and/or home selling clients and you’ll be set.
Do you know an agent or Broker that doesn’t have a website?
The reality is a real estate website is just one part of the overall bigger business building machine…
You also need:
- A Plan to get stuff on the website – A strong web presence requires lots of ‘Value Adds’ like Videos, ebooks, white papers and of course a blog.
- Systems to get folks to see that stuff on your website – Utilize your Social Media, Email marketing, drip campaigns, subscription/membership sign ups and offline marketing efforts like flyers, mailers and print advertising all help drive traffic to your site.
- Tools to keep them there and/or keep them coming back for more stuff – Home Search, email listing alerts, Property valuation, market reports and School information.
The Benefits of a Real Estate Website
As today’s real estate consumer becomes ever more reliant on the power of online portals and websites for all their real estate information, the real estate professionals who offer the right tools, systems and implementation of said information is very likely to reap the highest rewards for their efforts.
We’re all very aware that now, more and more of your customers are primarily using smaller, hand-held devices to extract valuable property stats, photos and updates, on the go! Couple that with the insatiable need to have this information wherever and when the customer want…at their command, it becomes clear that having a convenient online platform that offers all this is highly beneficial to both the real estate agent as well as the client.
SEO, CRM integration and Lead Capture
Having these components working in concert with your real estate website is key to being able to run your real estate business efficiently. They are also some of the more misunderstood benefits of your real estate website.
Search Engine Optimization
The term SEO is thrown around quite often and you don’t have to look too far to find some advertisement offering to get your website on page 1 of Google…if you believe that, then I have some lovely ocean front property in Oklahoma to sell you! The whole exercise to get traction with the search engines is confusing and ever-changing. Best practices for utilizing SEO on your real estate website are implemented on all our websites.
Client/Customer Relationship Management
CRM’s are a dynamic way to stay top of mind with your new and existing clients. Using a CRM to either use a drip campaign or a weekly email blast with your latest blog post are both excellent means to create a lasting long-term business relationship with your database. Integration with your real estate website adds contacts (who sign up) directly to your database so you don’t have to. What is the best CRM? The one you’ll use!!!
Ideally, you want a visitor to your site to sign up for something. Either an email listing alert, saved property search, home valuation, on one of your contact forms or a landing page to download one of your ebooks or white papers. You can also create subscription to your newsletter or email blast to get names and emails.
Certainly, there are those who understand the value of SEO, CRM integration and Lead Capture. All very important things to be sure and vital to the success of any real estate website.
We love these great tools & WordPress plugins:
- Leadin – A free CRM and Lead Generation plugin created by our friends at HubSpot
- SEO by Yoast – Excellent plugin designed to guide you with proper SEO protocols.
- Formidable – Contact form builder ideal for getting folks to connect with you online
- MailChimp – Easy to use, drop and drag email marketing and CRM system. Also worth noting: FREE when you have under 2,000 emails in your database and send out under 12,000 blasts per month
- LeadPages – Easy to use and create as many unique lead capturing landing pages as your heart desires.
These all work in concert with your website when done right…hardly any good if you don’t have the content or plan/systems/tools in place to get folks to your site.
Sleek with High Priority on the User Experience (UX)
The clear winner in today’s website design is ‘less is more’. The consumer wants to find what they want, quickly and with little effort. Admittedly, it’s sometimes a struggle to tell our clients what they want on their website is not always best practices for good conversion. We often need to stress that to run your real estate business, it’s important to remember…the goal of your website is not to look pretty…the goal is to make money! Looking pretty is just a tool which is used to meet that goal…
The (Perceived) Non Benefits of a Real Estate Website
There is no doubt you have to put time, effort and money into maintaining a successful real estate website.
We do see a small sector of folks who are either adamant in not actively participating in the planning, systems and tools to get both traffic and content onto their site or simply don’t have the comfort level to work on their site.
Website Outsourcing Tools:
- Upwork.com (formally Odesk)
Having a successful real estate website doesn’t mean you are tied to it every second of the day! Leveraging any of these resources gives you an unfair advantage over your fellow agents and Brokers. Taking the fear (and the work in most cases) out of managing a site is what these folks do!
ROI vs. Cost
We all want a return on our investment. So, when it comes to an cost like a real estate website, the microscope is usually on full magnification!
It’s not difficult for us to see why a website is not performing…we’ve made a very clear case for what you need to do to run your real estate business properly utilizing your website. That all being said, there are still those who are simply not convinced.
This is where we can start seeing the separation in having a website that helps you run your real estate business profitably and a website that is there because you were told you needed one.
Case in point…
ISSUE: We recently had a client cancel their service because they really didn’t feel the monthly cost to have the home search and maintain the site was worth it.
FACT: This agent was averaging 800+ hits a month. On top of that, they were getting over 100 hits a month from their IDX with 70 of those coming directly from Google.com.
So, even a real estate website that is getting good traffic and costing a little over $2 bucks a day may not meet your return on investment. In this case, this agent didn’t see enough of a return on their investment and opted to go in another direction with their marketing.
In an industry that is moving more and more in this direction, those agents and Brokers who simply don’t get this stuff are finding it increasingly difficult to do what needs to be done to maintain their site. We again completely understand and know there are great resources out there that will do a lot of this tech stuff for you. If you have questions, refer back to my list of helpful resources above.
Real Estate Comes in All Shapes and Sizes…AND, so do Real Estate Websites
Let’s take a step back for a moment and realize just how different types of real estate require different types of online platforms.
Visual and Heavily Search Based. IDX is somewhat a must on your residential website
Very Limited Visual or Property Search Requirements. Most commercial brokers don’t input their listings on the MLS rather they’ll use the CBA portal. Also, most commercial real estate consumers do not search for properties on websites in the same fashion as residential consumers do.
Visual but Specific to Amenities & Inventory Search Only. Manual input of listings is preferred here.
Very Visual with High Consumer Expectations but Limited Search Capability Requirements. Again, a manual approach to inputting listing on the website may be the preferred method here.
Customization and flexibility are key to getting the consumer the information they want. And the expense of an IDX is not always a necessity given your particular niche.
The reason for bringing this to your attention is not all real estate is created equal and therefore, not all real estate websites need to be either. We find many of our clients come to us for a variety of reasons:
- They tried to build their site themselves and just ran out of steam
- They had a site designed by someone who was unfamiliar with IDX integration and need help
- They have seen a shift in their business model and need a new look or brand
Whatever the case, your first job is to align yourself with a full service web development company who can design, create and integrate all the necessary components of your site.
Secondly, you need to set your budget. Don’t skimp on your website but don’t get taken to the cleaners either! Websites are not nearly as expensive as you might think.
Lastly, give your site time to settle in. This is not an overnight fix. There were lean times when we started out and you will find that may be the case with your site at first. It takes time for this to really catch hold and to create your audience.
Remember, ‘Success’ only comes before ‘Work’ in the Dictionary.
You must let the process take its course. However, with hard work and an attention to the Plan, Systems and Tools…your website can play a large role in how you run your real estate business with great success and efficiency!