An estimated 94% of home buyers start their home search online.
Think about that for a moment…
That means it’s pretty much a requirement to have some type of web presence in order to compete in the marketplace and earn people’s business.
So if you’re a real estate agent, here’s a short list of things you need to be doing to build your web presence…
- Invest in a good, professional web design. I’d consider hiring the pros over at Agent Evolution. Or, if you can’t afford a full custom website design, at least invest in a premium real estate theme like AgentPress. For a little design inspiration read: 12 Eye-Catching Real Estate Website Designs.
- Start a real estate blog. Simply put, a blog is easy to update, and a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise of the local marketplace. With the right content marketing strategy in place, you’ll not only dominate local search results, but you’ll steadily attract, engage and convert traffic into buyers. (Recommended Reading: 5 Ways a Real Estate Blog Can Help You Sell More Houses).
- Invest in a good IDX system. Consumers are coming to your site first and foremost, to search for homes. If you don’t have a good IDX system in place, you’re missing a BIG piece of your online marketing toolset. Period. An IDX system is the tool that’s going to help you convert site traffic into customers.
- Learn the basics of SEO. Is your post title properly optimized? Are you using a good post slug URL? Did you properly title your images and did you upload a good meta-description? These are things you should be checking before you hit publish on your next blog post. Properly optimizing your blog posts for SEO will get you to rank faster for the keyword phrases that consumers are searching. (Recommended Reading: How To Create Compelling Content That Ranks Well in Search Engines.)
- Write for your customers, don’t just write for the sake of promoting your business. If your writing is constantly self-promotional and/or it reads like a press release, you’re going to have a really hard time building and growing an audience. People don’t want to read about what an amazing agent you are or “why now is a great time to buy.” No, they want to be educated on the real estate process. They want to be educated about the community – what’s it like to live there? Your content needs to be helpful. Write about the things your prospective customers want to learn about and you’ll win customers that way. (Recommended Reading: 5 Types of Must-Have Content for Your Real Estate Blog).
- Claim your brand’s username on popular social networks. KnowEm is a tool that lets your search the availability of your username or brand name on over 575 popular social networking sites. I’d create a profile on some of the most popular social networks for two reasons: 1.) You don’t want somebody else claiming your username (it’s your brand, you should own it), and 2.) a lot of sites have a very high page rank which means your profile on that site will rank high in search engines as a result.
- Build an email list early. Simply put, email is personal. And it’s a great way to stay in touch and market to an audience that has expressed an interest in what you have to offer. So start building your email list early using services like Aweber and/or MailChimp. Not sure how to use email? Try something similar to what Brian Sparr is doing to grow a list of interested prospects over at SparrProperties.com. He has a 7-day email tutorial list for understanding the buying process, selling for top dollar in today’s current market, and an email list for investors.
- Use video. You spend a lot of time in the field showing people homes and talking to them about the community. Why not grab a flip-cam and capture some of that on video for those relocation buyers and for other consumers to see? Here’s a great example of neighborhood community page put together using video.
- Use photo. Photos really help capture and tell a story. And let’s face it, smart-phones today have a pretty decent camera built-in to them so really, you have no excuse for not taking your own photos to complement your writing. But don’t just use photos in your posts, capture photo content everywhere you go to really help paint a picture of a community. For example, I like what Matthew Shadbolt from The Corcoran Group is doing to photograph places in and around New York on instagram. Or what real estate agent Ines Hegedus-Garcia is doing with her photoblog to complement her real estate blog, Miamism.com.
- Go where the consumers are and answer their questions on buying and selling real estate. Here, I’m referring to websites like Trulia Voices where tons of consumers gather to have their questions answered on everything real estate.
No, This Isn’t a Complete List!
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s certainly a start. Pick one or two mediums, and focus on creating highly informative content that educates your target audience on everything about buying and selling real estate. If you don’t like writing, that’s ok, use photos and video instead.
But if you’re not doing anything to build a web presence, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
Image Credit: feverpitched