These days, if you don’t have a website, you’re not in business. It really is as simple as that. We live in a digital age, and prospective customers rely on business websites for initial research before making contact with potential real estate agents.
But that said, we could spend all day going over different website building and promotion strategies. There are dozens of companies out there that build websites specifically for real estate agents, and there are hundreds of strategies you can use to get traffic to the site you eventually build. If you read any other articles on the subject online, you’re bound to get overwhelmed by the number of recommended tips and techniques.
So instead, I want to focus on the one thing that I believe makes the biggest difference when it comes to real estate websites. To do that, we need to first understand how websites fall in the customer prospecting process…
Your goal, as a real estate agent, is to get clients. Clients, after all, are the ones who eventually pay you with commissions when they buy and sell property. As a result, your primary objective must be to find ways to get business to come to you over and over again.
Now, a website can’t do this on its own. It can’t go out and get business for you, as it’s a stationary, automated object. So instead, your goal must be to connect with people as they arrive on your website. You need to get to know who these people are so that you can build relationships with them that might ultimately lead to business.
The reality is that most of the people who land on your website don’t represent immediate business. Maybe they’re in the early stages of choosing an agent or maybe they’re dreaming ahead to a home purchase that will be years down the road. But whether they represent immediate or prospective business, you still want to use your real estate website to laying the groundwork for a future relationship and to establish yourself as the “go to” real estate agent of choice.
Certainly, you can help this process along by making your website look attractive. This isn’t 1996 – plenty of options exist to create professional looking websites without blowing your budget. People do judge books by their covers, so make sure your site is aesthetically pleasing enough to clear the first hurdle of online relationship building.
But beyond your website’s looks, the most important thing you can put on your website is an opt-in form.
An opt-in form allows you to offer website visitors a free gift in exchange for their personal information. As an example, you could provide readers with a free ebook on home selling techniques. In exchange, these prospects will subscribe to your email list with specific details about themselves. Gathering names and email addresses in this way should be considered mandatory, though requesting phone numbers and addresses as well is even better (though this may cut down on the number of subscribers you collect).
So what can you give readers in exchange for their opt-ins? First of all, I’d recommend staying away from free market analyses, free newsletter subscriptions and free market updates. These are all fine options, but they’re overdone. You won’t be able to differentiate yourself effectively if you’re giving away the same thing as every other agent website online!
Instead, look for something that’s perceived as being extremely valuable to a huge swath of home buyers or sellers. I like to go after sellers (since targeting sellers will build your business much faster than buyers), so I might choose something like an ebook titled, “10 Ways to Sell Your Home for More Money.”
Just make sure that whatever you offer is perceived by visitors as highly valuable and differentiates your business from others online. It’s a simple technique to implement on your real estate website, but it’s one that can go a long way towards helping you to capture and build relationships with otherwise anonymous site visitors.