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7 Reasons Why You Need an Effective Real Estate Website

Kathleen Allardyce is a regular contributor to Inman News and REMonline in Canada. This is the first in her four-part Elite Agent “exclusive” series on creating an effective real estate website. In the next few weeks, Kathleen will be discussing why you need an effective real estate website, what you need to do to make the website work for you, how to attract leads and prospects to your website, and tips for converting internet leads into clients. With so many real estate professionals relying on the portals to generate leads, the first topic we deal with why you need an effective website in the first place!

How Does an Effective Real Estate Website Benefit Your Business?

We’ll start by exploring the reasons why a website is critical to your business to make sure we’re all thinking about websites in the same way. There are at least seven reasons why a website is important for a real estate professional.

1. Establishing Credibility

Credibility is a big issue for real estate professionals in today’s marketplace. The first people look for information about you is your friend “Google”. If there is no website, then it’s like standing alone on the street with no shopfront. Having a credible website helps to establish you as a credible business (even if you are working on your own or as part of a smaller or start up office).

2. Capturing Leads

Often, the biggest benefit of a real estate website is its ability to capture leads. Set up properly, a website can make offers that it would be impossible for you to make in person.

Real estate is a relationship business. If you offer something of value on your website that visitors will respond to, they will reward you with their email address or contact details. That can be the first step in starting to build a relationship that can result in business from that person, and their referrals, for years to come.

3. Providing a Foundation for Direct Response Marketing

Direct response marketing typically produces more leads than standard marketing approaches. Direct response marketing invites the consumer to do something. It uses a strong and specific call to action.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that consumers will respond to low-key messages on a postcard or newspaper ad. They use a general message like “Call Me” or send a “Just Listed” postcard that says “Call for more details” or a Just Sold message of “I’m here to help.”

That type of promotion doesn’t give the reader a strong reason to do anything. In addition, people are much more likely to visit your website than they are to call you. Using your website as the foundation for a direct response marketing campaign can make a big difference.

Here’s one example of how that might work. Let’s say that you created a page on your website making an offer for visitors to gain access to information they can’t get easily elsewhere. For example, a list of the difference between list and sale prices for homes in their area over some period of time – maybe the last six months. You make that offer on the postcard or ad, making sure there’s an easy way for them to find that page.

People are much more more likely to call you or visit your website because because you have something they want!

4. Letting Prospects Get to Know You

Everyone knows that a home buyer isn’t ready to make a purchase the first time they land on a real estate website. Many professionals with great real estate websites find that someone who becomes a prospect today may have been visiting their website for months and sometimes years.

These days, people are much less likely to call than they are to visit a website. A website is safe. Giving prospects a non-threatening place to get to know you can produce many clients over time.

5. Providing Better Service to Existing Clients

A website can also be a way to improve your ability to provide service to your existing clients. Your website can contain useful information that will help your clients make decisions. Rather than trying to explain a complex issue, you can refer your client to your website for the in-depth information, and then answer questions afterward.

6. Providing an Excellent Experience for Buyers and Sellers Using the Internet

The competition among real estate professionals is fierce. You need to take advantage of every avenue for getting exposure for you and your business. A website gives you the opportunity to be found online.

When you have a website that you control, there are a number of things you can do to encourage Internet visitors to stay and come back, including:

  • Display listings in a unique way that you devise. On your personal website, you can display much larger photos than are available elsewhere. I’m sure you’ve seen a buyer’s reaction when the photos of a home are so small it’s difficult to see the home’s details. You’ll get a lot more attention with large photos, especially from people overseas who are looking for property in Australia.
  • You can provide more detailed information about a home for sale, which has the same positive impact as good photography.
  • Internet users are also looking for good local information from someone who has in-depth knowledge of their area of interest. You can produce very useful information about neighbourhoods, amenities, real estate market statistics, buying and selling issues and a wide range of other topics to entice visitors.

Your Internet presence works alongside all of your other marketing efforts. The goal is to become so visible in your marketplace that prospects think “Wow, I’m seeing this agent everywhere!” (also known in Australia as the “attraction agent” theory!)

7. Keeping Up with Your Competition

As more and more professionals establish their own websites, others in the industry are being pressured to do the same. You need to get in front of that trend.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these seven reasons you need an effective website as a real estate professional. I’ll see you in Part Two where we will build on this information to provide a checklist for creating a real estate website.

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Kathleen Allardyce

Kathleen Allardyce has been serving the real estate industry in the US, Canada and Mexico since 2004. Kathleen is the Digital and Content Marketing Specialist at Getting It Write