The internet has caused considerable change to the face and nature of the real estate world during the last 10 years. According to a recent industry survey, it’s now a fact that more than 60 per cent of real estate professionals have a website that is maintained either individually or through their real estate company.
Many real estate professionals invest significant resources in developing and maintaining their websites, and are often disappointed with the poor amount of business generated. The key to a successful website lies not in the scrolling messages, exciting sounds and animated graphics, but rather through its ability to offer valuable content with functionality. The website doesn’t have to be plain and basic, just simple and informative.
Effective ways you can enhance your online business are:
Be different – define and communicate the benefits you offer and how your services set you apart from the sea of competition. Keep the branding consistent with your existing marketing materials so that visitors remain connected with your brand. Offer testimonials so that visitors gain a better insight into the level of service they can expect from you and immediately develop a level of comfort with your website.
Provide valuable content – recognise that an effective website is about content focused on the needs of your potential clients, and not yours. While it is important to tell your personal story, useful information about local schools and the community are valuable to potential home buyers, and answering Frequently Asked Questions about buying or selling a home will help increase the rate of return to your website.
Keep it functional – a user-friendly, searchable database of your property listings (with photos) will help narrow the search significantly, and will often translate into less time you have to spend showing homes to buyers.
Promote it – once your website is up and running, you’ll need to ensure that prospective clients can find you. Listing on search engines is important, but it is essential that you promote strongly throughout your local community. Include your website’s address in your contact information, and on business cards, marketing, stationery products, advertising, direct mail, email signatures, etc that your clients see.
Have a follow-up system – compile a mailing list (allowing those who view your website to join it) and maintain contact with the people on it by sending regular updates on the property market or houses that are new to the market. Send out forms asking for feedback on the website to see what areas you can improve.