To say that the Internet has transformed the average Realtor’s universe would be an understatement.
Obviously the internet is a superb platform for real estate marketing. The days when a buyer would contact a Realtor either by phone or in person to schedule home viewings are gone for good. The home buyer, with mouse in hand, now does his research in front of a computer, or on a portable device such as a notebook or smart phone. Every realtor needs a killer website, and visual appeal rules. You have to look good from the first click. Here are four important steps you need to take maximize the impact of your internet presence.
- Be easy
- Be good looking
- Be tech savvy
- Be fresh
Be easy. The new reality means that the Realtor is no longer the client’s first point of contact. If a potential buyer is clicking through homes and finds something that catches her eye, you need to be immediately reachable. Otherwise, your potential client may call some other Realtor she knows and ask him to find out about the property.
Many house hunters, especially those outside your geographic area, will start their search by simply entering a zip code on a site like Realtor.com, or Trulia.com. These sites carry millions of listings, and for many of them, the listing agent has an ad and a link right next to the property listing.
Once they have clicked through to your personal web site, your contact information, including phone numbers and an email template must be immediately visible. The key is to make it easy for someone who has found an interesting property to connect with you immediately. Make sure your web site also provides easy access to other properties in the same neighborhood and price range. Don’t worry about showing properties listed by other Realtors. The key is to make everything accessible to the buyer, to bring that potential customer into your fold, regardless of whose listing he or she ultimately chooses to purchase. What goes around comes around.
Be good looking. You need to create an attractive, informative website that shows off your personality and connects potential buyers directly to the property they are interested in. First impressions are vital, and a well-designed, informative website dramatically affects your credibility. Your site should provide views and information over and above anything the buyer has already seen on a national real estate listing site. Your personal site should be in-depth, friendly, and offer the client as many options as possible.
Be tech savvy. When you choose a web site designer or hosting company, make sure they are tech savvy and especially that they understand the technology behind “virtual tours” and have the bandwidth to include them in your website. Videos of the various rooms in the home are an enormous enhancement to your overall presentation. And we don’t mean standing in the middle of a room and doing a 360 turn with a smart phone either! Get professional help. You want the potential buyer to be there with you as you escort him or her from room to room and describe the home’s many features and virtues.
There are companies that specialize in creating 1080p High Definition (HD) video walk-through tours, including dramatic interior and exterior photography, complete with voice-over audio descriptions and background music. They will uploaded the tour to a YouTube channel, and provide listings on a number of free classified websites such as craigslist.com. Many of these companies offer such options as aerial and twilight photography to further enhance a property’s appeal.
Be fresh. Recently, we visited a firm’s web site that we had done business with about five years ago. Other than the property listings themselves, the web site has not changed one bit in five years! BORING! People will visit your web site multiple times over months or even years. You have to attract and keep their interest with appealing graphics, hyperlocal neighborhood information, and up to date technology. A satisfied client is very likely to promote you and your firm by sending a link to family and friends. This, of course, enhances your reputation and promotes your business growth.
You are a 21st century Realtor. Don’t settle for 20th century marketing. You need a professional internet and social media presence all tied together in a nice neat package. We’ve covered the web site aspects of your marketing. The latest on social media will be covered in a future article. Stay tuned!