What does your real estate website do for your business?
If you are an agent wanting leads from your website “nothing” is the answer to this question according to an article posted in Inman News on Nov 7, titled: “Most Realtors get Zero leads from the personal websites”. From personal experience, the answer of “nothing” rings true if you’ve spoken with as many real estate agents as I have over the years when talking about their websites.
But is that the end of the story? Is generating leads the only reason for having a real estate website? Heck, I’ve heard smatterings from agents, brokers and even industry professionals of “there’s no reason to have a website at all because no one ever goes to it, or ever uses it.”
We say absolutely not and listening to folks telling you there’s no point we think is foolish and naive. No offense.
Why else should an agent have a real estate website?
- Be legit online & Build trust – prospects and leads are online and will look to see if you are who you say you are. If they can’t find you, or can’t find much about you, you don’t have much of a chance at getting/earning their business. Having your own site makes you look more professional than someone who doesn’t have one. Think of your own behavior – what do you do when you are looking for a new service like a plumber or HVAC person for your home – you look for them online. Same said for home buyers and sellers – they look online. If you can be found and you have a decent looking site, and it is mobile friendly then you look more legit and you’re that much closer to them trusting you.
- Be valuable and authoritative to active prospects, past clients, and all homeowners you come across – your competitive edge in the coming years (2018 and beyond) will be how much value can you provide to home buyers and home sellers. The best place to show value is your website. Listings, calculators, community information, current local events, niche information (among other things) all provide value. Your future depends on providing this value.
- Establish and enhance your brand – this one is a biggy. Many brokers offer free websites and other free stuff to recruit and retain agents. While seemingly great, it’s a huge mistake relying on what a broker provides for free. Getting free stuff is also what agents hide behind to not have to invest in their business. I’ve heard numerous times – “my broker provides all the technology I need – I don’t need to pay for anything.” Ok, what happens when you leave that brokerage? If you haven’t thought about it here’s how it can go: first, your website goes down and in many cases, agents lose contacts/leads etc too. Now you have to start over. Any web presence you had is lost now prospects can’t find you again. No one ever starts working with a brokerage thinking about a divorce upfront – but wake up your real estate business is your business – you have to look out for yourself. Things happen – marriages don’t work all the time. Same can be said for your relationship with your brokerage.
- Stay top of mind with your sphere – There’s no mystery as to why NAR published a study in 2016 that 9 of 10 homeowners don’t know their last real estate agent’s name. Agents are horrible at this over the long term. Why? We think it’s because of all the free stuff brokers provide and then agents move and lose it all. We also think it’s because of the technologies for staying in touch over the long haul have fallen way short of being simple and what an agent really needs to show their value and usefulness to their sphere.
- You control it – with your own website you control what it looks like, what content goes to it, where the leads go, what your clients can do with it, that it connects to your social media and so forth. It’s the place where you get to say what you want, establish who you are, create your niche etc. If you leave one brokerage – great you swap out a logo on the top and keep going – no downtime and no starting over.
- Qualify and build your own traffic and referral stream – if you use your website properly for staying in touch with your clients you can train your clients to come back to your website for their real estate needs. Bringing your own clients to your website which helps your site in the search engines – enhances your SEO. If your clients like your site and what you are doing with it they are more likely to refer their sphere to it too. Here’s our real estate marketing strategy to do this.
Real estate agents all around make the fatal mistake of not taking their website seriously as part of their business. Can you imagine a business like Amazon relating to their website a joke and waste of time? That’s what many agents to – and as we move deeper into technology not having a real estate website is the first kiss of death. Let’s hope it’s not yours.