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Realtors – Should You Even Bother With a Website?
The real estate industry has changed over the years and will continue to do so. Because of the internet, buyers and sellers are armed with a lot of information. They can get homes for sale, recently sold properties, inventory levels, mortgage rates and market updates at a glance. The Internet made information faster and more accessible. The number of buyers who start their search on the Internet is increasing every year.
In my opinion, all Realtors should have a website. But from a marketing and business perspective how much time should you focus on? Should you be the type of agent who has a rinky dink generic real estate website just to say you have one in your marketing presentation or should you spend a little more money and time developing a web presence that consistently generates income? ?
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the biggest real estate producers aren’t the agents who make the internet their main business production goal. It’s in Sarasota, Florida and I suspect the same in most other markets. Take a look at the top producers in your area. How many of them do most of their business through the internet? I’m sure there are some exceptions but my guess is that your market looks like the top producers are the ones who do it the old fashioned (but effective) way – outreach, referrals, open houses, farming and print advertising. . They may all have a website but you most likely won’t see them spending countless hours building links, writing articles and posting on their blog.
Although 90% of buyers start their home search online, the old fashioned way of doing business still generates more transactions from the web. I’ve had many calls over the years from Realtors who just completed a transaction whose client saw the property on my website. A large percentage of buyers may start their home search on the web but that doesn’t mean they call the Realtor who owns the site they are looking for. If they have a strong relationship with an agent, chances are they will call them to do their transaction even if they use a different Realtors website.
Do you spend countless hours building your web presence knowing that the old way of doing business generates more sales than an online business on the internet and that the top manufacturers in almost every market don’t get the majority of their business through the web?
Here are some things to consider:
The number of leaders
A successful website can generate a large number of leads. This is great if you have a team that needs leaders or if you’re really good at cherry picking. Too much perspective can be a blessing or a curse. They can cause paralysis. You may get so caught up in trying to figure out which ones are good or bad that you don’t do anything about them. You may also take them for granted thinking that more leads will come.
Good alignment is critical for consistency
You will not generate a consistent amount of traffic from your website unless you are good at search engines. You might get one here and there from someone who stumbles upon your site but nothing you can trust. The internet is massive and consumers have many websites to choose from. They visit several websites and most likely contact several Realtors. Unless you are at least a few sentences close to the top you will most likely not generate consistent business.
The quality of Internet guidance is low
There are some flowers in the field of herbs. Internet lead quality is lower than other business sources. For example, someone who calls from a yard sign is a better lead for me than someone who made an inquiry on my website from out of state who has never been to my area, buys in six months and considers several markets. The neighborhood lead call sign has predetermined the location, outside of the home and motivated enough to get in the car, drive by the property and make a call.
Would you rather contact 200 prospects a year and get 25 of them or have 1,000 leads a year and get 25 of them? The number of closed deals is low compared to the leads that are made when comparing internet channels with traditional business sources.
There are only 10 organic listings on the first page of Google
Most people don’t go past page one when browsing a website. How many realtors optimize their website to get on that first page for a specific search phrase? Well-funded national websites, like Yahoo real estate and Trulia, are trying to get to the top spots. You are also competing with hundreds if not thousands of other companies and Realtors trying to get there as well. The competition is tough.
Getting there is not easy
Ranking on the first page of Google is not easy. It requires expertise, time and hard work. How much time do you want to spend on the computer optimizing your website? Is your time better spent on something more immediate like an open house or farming your field?
There are thousands of blogs, websites and books written about how to rank well in Google. People search all day every day for the magic formula to rank well in Google. It is a great industry because there are great benefits in having a highly visited website.
You can either hire someone to get you on the first page or you can do it yourself. One way is expensive in terms of money and the other is expensive in terms of time and energy.
Search engines are evolving
Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines are constantly changing their formulas to provide better search results to their users. You need to promote with the search engines. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re done when you get to the first page. Once you get there, you can scale back your efforts but remember that your competitors probably haven’t stopped working.
Lead generation is passive
Prospects will contact you so business productivity becomes more passive with a successful website. If you are in a big enough market and are well respected, you can sit back and just wait for the leads to follow.
If you generate enough leads you can build a team of buyer agents and just take a cut of their business. It’s a great way to work on your business and not in your business.
Not very loyal
Internet referrals are often unreliable. Prospects often visit several websites and contact several Realtors before deciding on one. Loyalty is higher than your reference and sphere of influence.
If you don’t like representing sellers or you enjoy working with buyers, focusing on the internet is great. Most of the guides you will get from the internet will be actionable. I’ve made seller leads but buyer leads are much heavier than that. If you hate to wait in the car and show a buyer around town, don’t pay attention to the internet.
Assuming your website ranks well you will get a lot of leads. A good percentage of those leads are low quality. Therefore, you generate a lot of low quality leads. It is time consuming and tiring to diligently work through many low quality methods. It takes patience and perseverance. You may have to kiss many frogs to find your prince.
Critical advance knowledge
Since a successful website can generate many leads, good quality leads are important. They waste a lot of time in this work. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t know how Landlords are compensated so it’s not a big deal to them if you drive them around town for a day and play tour guide. And there are a lot of tire kickers out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to drive someone around town for a tour of Sarasota, Florida. Turning your wheels to someone who doesn’t buy or sell allows you to grow your business. Planning is not only important for success, but also for preventing burnout.
Follow up is important
Just because someone isn’t ready to take action today doesn’t mean they aren’t a good prospect. Follow-up is critical to success when working with internet leads. Most prospects are months away from buying or selling so your follow-up and organizational skills are essential. If you are not good at following up your productivity will suffer.
So, in short, building a consistently successful web presence is difficult, time-consuming, requires expertise, generates a lot of low-quality, unfaithful leads that require you to have a lot of persistence, patience and determination. and follow the skills to be successful. With all of that said, I have been fortunate enough to generate at least 80% of my business over the last four years through the internet. I am clearly in favor of creating a good web presence. However, in 2009 my business plan requires me to continue improving my website but also forces me to generate more business using old methods. My goal is to develop a well-rounded, diverse lead generation system. Since the most successful Realtors in almost every market use their clients the old fashioned way, I figure it can’t be that bad.
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