The ability to stand out in an increasingly competitive market is a challenge. What can you do to compete online? Our new content series will be focusing on the unique value that a real estate website gives you and how to get the most out of it.
Just having a website isn’t going to get you too far. It’s like having a car but not putting gas in it. If you don’t invest even a little bit of time and money, you’ll probably not get the most of it. It’s very easy to mis-spend, and just because you spend a lot of money on a fancy website, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed success.
It may sound overly simplistic, but most agents don’t have a goal for their website, apart from “make me money”. Thinking about WHY you want a website is the first step to getting a website that actually fits your business model and will make you money. Why is it so often skipped? Often, it’s because no one asks the question. What your goals are has a massive impact on how you’ll structure your website.
So, leads are maybe the worst place to start in thinking about your website, yet it’s where most agents begin and end. Everyone wants leads. But it’s putting the cart before the horse when thinking about your online presence. This is a major misconception and why a lot agents don’t get as much out of their website as they think they should. The irony is that if you build a solid website and then ensure that it is fed with traffic, you’ll get leads… but those two initial factors are everything as they drive the decision for qualified consumers to contact you or register on your website.
One of the biggest challenges online is differentiating yourself from potentially thousands of other agents to win some business. One of the biggest opportunities on most real estate agent websites that we see is agents effectively demonstrating why 1) people use them as a real estate agent and 2) see value in their website. Successful agents are using social proof, testimonials and other content to make sure that visitors know that they are the smart choice in buying or selling a home. There are so many agents in every market, you need to skew the perception of visitors to your benefit. you need to be asking yourself some questions… How are you different? What makes you a better choice than your competition? What evidence do you have of your ability to sell homes in a good and bad market? What are some of the tough transactions you’ve had and how did you get it closed?
So, how are the answers to these questions expressed on your website? Are they? Take a step back and think about it… this is what people want to know about you and your business. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Instead of building out generic “For Buyers” and “For Sellers” pages, think about taking different approaches to distinguish you from the other sites they will visit. Think about building content pages that feature some of the best homes that you’ve sold, high-level descriptions of the process, and testimonials. Break it down by location or property type. Be different. But be different with a goal. Make sure that everything you add to your website is demonstrating that you’ve had success, that you’re a professional, and that you can help the visitor succeed too!
Having a great IDX search experience like Showcase IDX on your website is essential. SEO, leads, and the minutiae around optimizing for both of them is very important, but providing your visitors with an experience that isn’t a dramatic difference from what they are used to on large portals is crucial. Your IDX has to reinforce your value proposition, trust, and authority. It’s also not just about converting random visitors into leads, it’s about your ability to give tools to your current and past clients that keep them close to you by providing more value than other agents.
Local Market Authority and Community Pages
A key part of most real estate websites are community or neighborhood pages that help visitors get more of a picture of what living in community would be like. Think about community pages like a Yelp page. You want to give the user useful content, structured in such a way that it makes it easy to learn about the area with a focus on what it’s like to live there. Many agents just slap a few search results on a page and call it a day. Successful agents put in the time to create unique narratives about each area. Yes, it’s work and it takes time to do it right. Yes, it’s why successful agents are successful.
Less is More
More pages, more menus, more words, more images… usually just gets in the way and dilutes your message and makes getting your value proposition across harder. Simplicity will make your website convert more leads… but the simplicity has to be intentionally pointing the visitor towards selecting you to work with, as well as disqualifying people who you don’t want as leads.