One of the most exciting technological advances in Real Estate was the dawn of the Real Estate websites. Suddenly, a Realtor® wasn’t simply, “Jane Smith, local Real Estate Agent”, but Jane Smith, a Realtor® with online presence that had one more tool in her arsenal to promote her Real Estate practice, and her listings, getting exposure that was not previously available, without thousands and thousands of dollars of investment.
Unfortunately, many of today’s Realtor®’s websites just aren’t good enough. They lack interactive features and are basically little more than a glorified “online brochure”. To make matters worse, as web technology proliferated and larger Real Estate Brokerages started growing throughout major Real Estate markets, an individual Realtor with a simple, basic website becomes once again irrelevant.
In order to compete for your piece of digital space on the Internet, your website has to be more than just an “online brochure”.
- It needs to be mobile first.
- It needs to consider the user’s experience, making sure it is as easy to use, informative and as value added as possible.
- It needs to have fresh content, expanding your digital footprint, helping you compete against the big Real Estate Tech companies that came in and made such a massive land grab.
Your Real Estate Website is part of your marketing engine. As such, it has to support the process of developing relationships with potential buyers and sellers. With that in mind, today I want to share with you three features that your Real Estate Website simply must have.
A User-Friendly MLS Search Feature To Keep Visitors Engaged (And Returning)
This may sound like an obvious feature, but I cannot tell you how many Real Estate websites I come across that either have no live IDX feed, or if they do, a terrible one that is impossible to navigate. It is imperative that your MLS search on your website has easy to use forms, is set up so users can quickly find your featured listings, and uses a clean listing layout, with lots of home photos, to engage website visitors.
Remember, 80% or more of your visitors are going to be coming to your website from a mobile device. Because of this, it is also critical that the IDX solution on your website is mobile first and is equally as visually appealing in a mobile layout, compared to the desktop layout.
A solid IDX feed is also one that invites reasons for website visitors to come back to your website frequently, further building your brand in their minds and increasing the possibilities that they will choose you for their Real Estate needs. My favorite way to achieve this is to have banners throughout your site that invite visitors to sign up for an account. You can explain that when they sign up for an account, they can find out about listings before they hit the market, sign up for saved listing searches, etc. The idea behind all these benefits is that they will come back to your website more often. The more they come back to your website, the higher the likelihood that you will turn them into a client.
A Blog To Help You Compete With “The Big Guys”
While I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard Realtors® say they are not bloggers and simply don’t have time to put regular content into their website, I also cannot tell you what a disservice they are doing themselves by not working to figure out a way to harness this fantastic growth hacking marketing strategy.
With the rise of popularity of the Internet and the number of Real Estate related websites that have popped up as a result, it makes sense that the vast majority of homeowners searching for a home today, begin their search online. By taking the time to blog, you are becoming the local expert in your marketplace, educating homeowner’s and buyers in your area about Real Estate, establishing yourself as the thought leader in your market. The more blogging you do, the more you will show up in more keyword searches, and therefore begin generating a higher number of Real Estate leads.
Lead Capture mechanism To Help You Actually Get Real Estate Leads
This last feature is perhaps the single most important part of a successful Real Estate website. After all, you want to turn your website into more than simply an “online brochure”. To do so, one major requirement is giving people a way to raise their hands, letting you know that they have some level of interest in your services. Enter lead magnets.
Lead magnets are a fantastic way to get people to give you their information, allowing you to then put them on a lead nurturing program and one day close them as a client. The trick with successful lead magnets is determining what is valuable enough to a homeowner, that they are willing to give you their name, email and phone number to get it.
For instance, taking my long tail keyword search example above about the right Vancouver neighborhood for a family, maybe you have a lead magnet on your website that features a call to action with something like, “Click here to get a guide on local Vancouver schools”. Somebody that is looking to move their family to Vancouver would obviously be interested in learning more about the local schools. Because of that, they are going to easily be willing to click on the lead magnet to give you their information, so they can get your report.