With the increasing awareness and embrace of online marketing into many companies marketing strategies, internet marketing and web design has become more prevalent than at any time before.
Many industries have begun focusing their marketing efforts online, and maybe no industry has seen a greater focus and shift than that of real estate agents and brokers alike. Operating as Personal Real Estate Corporations (PREC’s), many realtors operate as their own entity underneath a name brand entity such as a Re/Max, Sutton Group or Royal LePage.
Real Estate is One of the Fastest Growing Industries Online
Known for cheesy marketing tactics, realtors have been on the butt end of jokes from a spray tanned realtor using urinal pucks to market himself in the 2009 Paul Rudd film “I Love You Man”, to Ty Burrell’s character Phil Dunphy in the ABC Sitcom “Modern Family” having billboards and bus stop ads around town.
However, in actual fact, real estate is becoming one of the fastest growing industries benefitting from the use of the internet throughout the 2000’s. With more homebuyers looking to conduct research online, realtor’s in each city who once fought for the coveted bus stop bench ad are now duking it out virtually vying for the top ranking terms such as “real estate Maple Ridge”, “Los Angeles”, “Miami” and “New York City”.
How big of a market is online marketing for real estate agents? Lead generation business BoomTown just finished a round of venture capital raising over $20 Million in new equity investments from Adams Street Partners. Or more recently, Canadian firm Real Estate Webmasters, an online lead generation based just outside of Vancouver, BC, appeared on a CBC television broadcast of Dragon’s Den pitching their online offering. The show features business owners pitching their ideas or products to a panel of successful “Dragon” entrepreneurs, who make offers on investing capital in exchange for equity. CEO of Real Estate Webmasters Morgan Carey received $2 Million for a 4% stake in his company, valuing his company at $50 Million.
So why are these companies able to command such large valuations? Because their realtor clients put such a value on ranking for terms like “MLS Maple Ridge” or “Toronto Real Estate”. In these big real estate markets, thousands of searches are made each month by searchers looking to find new properties and realtors alike.
Realtors Need Websites That Brings In New and Returning Visitors
This creates the challenge of designing a website that stands out from the rest, and gives visitors exactly what they’re looking for, so that they return visit after visit as they continue their search, before they inevitably pick up the phone to call the website realtor to seek professional assistance.
Speaking with Maple Ridge based realtor Kris Mugridge of the Cardas Mugridge Group, he touched on some of these efforts that he has put into designing his websites. “I spent countless time over the past few years crafting a website that I felt was simple to navigate, and gave visitors search tools that would help their narrow their search in finding their next property, whether that be a new home or a real estate investment” notes Mugridge.
The partner of The Cardas Mugridge Group continued, “Through tracking analytics, I’ve been able to determine what pages my visitors land on and where they leave, and have structured my website in such a way that is more likely to convert visitors to become leads.”
What Do You Need on Your Real Estate Website?
So for designers looking to create a new real estate website for their realtor clients, what types of things should they ensure are on the site?
- Fast and easy search – Buyers want to see listings, they came to your site to either browse for an agent to sell their property – or, more likely, to find a new property to purchase. The user is not interested in reading a barrage of your personal achievements (although these should be on your site somewhere). They want to see homes. Give them an easy way to search and filter listings.
- IDX – Ensure your site holds all of the active listings for your Real Estate Board. In his case the Vancouver Real Estate Board. You want users to be able to see every available property that matches their criteria.
- Clear CTA (Call To Actions) – There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful Real Estate Website, that has no clear call to actions. No easy way for a user to request a showing of a particular property.
- Quick page load time – One of the major bounce rate factors for websites is the page load time. Bounce rate is when users land on your site, and then choose to go back to where they were before, rather than browsing your site. Often this can stem from a slow page load time. Statistically if your homepage isn’t loading within 3 seconds, we can often loose the users. Ensure your site has a quick load time, consider using a CDN or Content Delivary Network or a Dedicated Server.
With these helpful tips, you are sure to design a site for your clients that produces high value leads, generating your web design clients with real estate prospects month over month, opening doors to create new opportunities to work together for years to come.
Check out the video below to find out just how a good website can help a realtor be successful.