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Why a Custom Real Estate Website Should Be Your Number One Marketing Priority

cute jack russell dog working on laptop at home. Technology concept

The importance of a clean, easy-to-navigate, responsive real estate website cannot be overstated. Make it a priority today and you’ll see far-reaching benefits into the future.

If clients see your sign, they’ll Google you first and call you second—maybe. Realty Times lists a “mobile-friendly professional website” as the number one way to get more leads.

Think about your website as your digital hub. That is, the place you can send all potential clients for the most up-to-date information available—not only for your listings but also your blog (we’ll get to that in a minute). Make your online space a one-stop, all-inclusive guide to buying and selling homes (from the buyers’ and sellers’ perspectives, not yours), and you can become the go-to agent in your community.

If you’re working for a broker, you’ll likely be handed the keys to a generic website. But to enjoy a successful real estate career, you’ll need to build yourself as a brand. In other words, the most important feature on your website isn’t the IDX search functionality. It’s what you can offer your clients. Buying or selling a home makes people feel vulnerable, and your prospects are looking for agents with whom they connect—whom they feel they can trust. If your website appears to be all business and no humanity, you’re much less likely to win clients.

Real estate marketing expert Jason Fox (@jasonfox_me) points out that most people are about “what’s in it for me?” when they hit a website. Take the time to create a buyer persona or target market before you start building your site.

He also recommends that you build trust by providing your unique perspective in the form of helpful information and filling your website with social proof such as testimonials, and a solid “about” page, and helpful information on how to buy and sell homes.

Capturing leads through your real estate website

The purpose of content marketing is to establish credibility, which generates leads, which become sales. Google Analytics can provide fantastic data about who’s visiting your website and why, but only in a broad sense. To learn anything specific about website leads, you’ll need to give people an opportunity to provide their name and contact information.

Here’s how:

  • Put an eNewsletter sign-up link in a prominent place on the site.
  • Allow people to subscribe to your blog.
  • Offer gated content—that is, make a useful article available only to those who share their email address. If you’re not a web guru, you’ll want to check out a service like JustUno to help with this.

Helpful content is king

From opening Facebook to downloading emails, we are bombarded by marketing messages all day, every day. The result is a culture that simply fast-forwards through the commercials, scrolls past ads and hits “unsubscribe” without even glancing at your brilliant opening sentence.

So, how do real estate agents break through all the noise and attract clients? By providing meaningful, compelling, useful content people want to see—blog posts, videos, infographics and so on. By entertaining and educating your prospects through your website, you’ll become the sought-after, trusted expert in your community.

Not everyone is connected

Not all buyers and sellers are (or want to be) connected to their phones or computers 24/7. Don’t put all of your real estate marketing eggs in the digital basket; be sure to include traditional marketing strategies as well. And keep in mind that even people who are hyper-connected will, at some point, want to spend time with you face-to-face. Be sure to make the most of every opportunity to develop relationships with prospects and current clients—regardless of their preferred communication style.

Blogging 101

If you’ve never blogged, getting started can feel overwhelming. Here’s some great news: You can get set up and post your first piece within a couple of hours.

Here’s how:

  1. Ask your website provider to add a blog section to your site. If you’re still using a generic site provided by your broker, no worries: Choose a blogging platform like WordPress, Blogger, or even Tumblr. In this case, be sure your website has a link to your blog and that your blog has a link to your website.
  2. Find a domain name and web hosting provider (GoDaddy, Bluehost, and so on).
  3. Design your blog. It sounds scary, but the blogging platforms we recommended will take you step-by-step through the process.
  4. Write a post.
  5. Publish it.
  6. Be consistent: Choose a particular day and time of the week to post, and do so at least once per week. Keep your posts smart, short and entertaining, and share them on all of your social networks shamelessly.

Poof! You’re a blogger.

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