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How Real Estate Websites Get Noticed – Rise Above the Competition

Real Estate Websites - Rise Above

Google “Your area + Realtor®”… Are you the only one to come up? We didn’t think so. Are you on the first page to come up? If not, we can help.

There has never been a bigger need to own your area’s webspace, because there has never been more competition. But the good news is, not everyone knows how to properly cultivate a web presence. So rising above the competition will be a whole lot easier once you read this article.

Here are 4 things you need to do to rise above the pack.

Put a Keyword in Your Real Estate Website’s URL

Let’s start with your website’s URL. You may be tempted to use your name, because it’s simple. That’s logical, but wrong.

“Odds are users are googling local terms to find services like yours, and not your name. Many agents make the mistake of getting a domain that showcases their name, but miss a great SEO opportunity to get traffic by using search terms in their domain name,” said content strategist, Sandra Manzanares.

So instead of Paul-Bennet.com, go for something like EastPhillyHomes.com.

Monitor Rival Real Estate Websites

There are actually a lot of tools out there that will help you spy on the other guys. There’s no shame in doing this. Actually, it’s irresponsible not to.

See what types of content they’re publishing and see how it performs. This can give you a great idea of the types of things you should be doing, or the things to avoid completely.

Of course, always stay original. But stay on top of what they’re doing, so you don’t miss any opportunities.

Use Google Adwords

You may be putting this one off because you think this will take too much time and money. It’s true, this will take time and money. But, if you devote a little bit now, you can have a well-defined Adwords strategy in place in a few months. You don’t have to beat everyone right away. You just need enough growth to invest in yourself and your success.

“Yes, you won’t do as well as those who have the wherewithal to spend vast amounts of money on their AdWords campaigns,” wrote inbound marketing expert, Matthew Bushery.

“Over time, though, as you learn the ropes and gain a greater understand of the types of keywords that create the most traffic and leads, you’ll grow your business and, in turn, be able to allocate more ad spend to AdWords.”

Stay on Top of the News and React

Is something making real estate headlines? You can piggyback on its traction in the news, while defining yourself as the expert.

This is called “newsjacking.” There is always something real estate related in the news– it could be new by-laws, or market shifts. It’s great to be the first one to react. But you need to be the first one to publish a meaningful response. Or you need to be the first to position your reaction in a way that makes people want to click it.

Complicated changes to real estate rules/ laws? Publish a piece that puts them in plain English. New stats about the market? Tell the readers exactly what that will mean for their asking/ closing price.

Everyone has a website, but not everyone is doing these things. Most Realtors® put their name in their URL, instead of their area. At the same time, most will also get so caught up in their own site, they ignore what everyone else is doing. Or they may feel they don’t have time to look into Google Adwords, or blog about current trends. That’s great news for you. Because these are the building blocks you need to create an effective web presence.

While you’re revisiting your digital advertising, how does your print marketing look? Is it time for new business cards or postcards?  If you need new materials, you can easily customize your own design online and give your branding a quick refresh.

How Real Estate Websites Get Noticed – Own Social Media

Real Estate Websites - Social Media

Not surprisingly, while 84% of Realtors are active on social media, only 55% said they’re comfortable in using social media for business.

Being comfortable with how you use social media and properly integrating it with your real estate website starts with building a system and schedule, then seeing and reacting to the results.

Let’s take a look at how to make you comfortable in social (media) situations.

Great Real Estate Websites Make it Easy to Share

Any real estate website should make it easy for the user to find the Facebook or Twitter button to share your materials. This is especially important in building traction for your blogs, listings, and events. As your viewers share the blogs and other articles you promote, you’ll gain more visibility on social media.

Share buttons are quick and easy to add, so make sure they’re on every page.

Don’t Ask for Likes. Earn Them

A lot of businesses will share a piece of content and ask “Please Like or comment on our latest blog.” You can do better than that.

Lead with the value that your post gives your readers, and give them a reason to click on it, instead of asking them to do it.

Your blog/video, and social media headline should be similar, in that they both tease the value of what you’re offering. But the social media headline should be slightly longer.

  • Headline: “The Top 5 Mistakes Every New Homeowner Makes”
  • Social Headline: “The average homeowner will pay $5,400 more than they should. Read how to avoid this.”

You may be tempted to use an Upworthy-style headline, that shoots for an emotional response while leaving the audience in suspense.

“But just because it works for a site like Upworthy, it doesn’t mean that every publication should use it. Different headlines work for different sites. It all depends on your content and niche,” wrote Onboardly’s Renee Warren.

“In fact, people are already sick of the style. Google ‘Upworthy headlines’ and articles with the words ‘insufferable’ and ‘annoying’ pop up.  There comes a point when the intrigue is just plain predictable. And then it’s on to the next trend.”

Videos Help Your Real Estate Websites and Social Presence

Start creating videos of your listings and virtual tours. Then upload them to your YouTube channel and share them on your Facebook, Twitter and real estate website.

“Did you know that 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor who offers to create a video for them, but only 4% of agents put their listings on YouTube?” said communications expert, Jess Maria.

Don’t Just Post on Your Own Page

Part of building a social presence means stepping beyond the safe confines of your own page. Look around social media and find conversations that homebuyers are having. Add your comments to conversations about real estate in your area. Offer your expertise when a question is asked.

When you do comment, don’t wedge a sales pitch into a normal conversation. That alienates people and may even get you blocked in certain places. Be casual, but helpful. And if you have legitimately helped people, they will seek you out.

If you’ve never done any of these things, they may take a bit of practice before you’re comfortable. But, start with adding the share button on your website, then focus on adding more useful blogs to your presence, and then you can work up to shooting videos and commenting on other people’s posts.

While you’re revisiting your digital advertising, how does your print marketing look? Is it time for new business cards or postcards?  If you need new materials, you can easily create your own design online, and give your branding a quick refresh.

How Real Estate Websites Get Noticed – Get More Leads

Real Estate Websites - Get More Leads

Is your website making you money, or costing you money? The sad truth is too many real estate websites are there because the Realtor® knows they need one, but it actually shows no return on investment.

In reality, a well-designed website should be a lead generation machine. It should be one of your strongest sales tools.

If you’re not getting leads from your site, the good news is you can tweak your site to optimize it, without having to tear it down and building it again. Just a fixer-upper.

Here are a few things you can do to help your website build your business.

Keep Your Contact Information on Every page

This is probably the biggest lead optimization fault of any website, not just real estate websites.

Don’t make it hard for people to contact you. Keep your contact information on every page of your site, so you’re never more than a click or quick call away.

“With search engines being such an important driver of inbound website traffic, you can’t always predict where people are going to enter your website,” notes Jonathan Bentz, marketing manager, Netrepid, a provider of professional services.

“Having your contact info on every page of your website increases the likelihood that people will contact you.”

Lead Capture Forms Help Real Estate Websites

If someone doesn’t want to use your contact information, they should just be able to enter a bit of info on the side of any page to reach you.

I know we’re in the business of qualifying our leads, but try not to ask for too much information in this form. Full name, email address and a question is usually quite enough.

An average 5% dip in conversion rate by including a phone number field. Unless your business is based on post-click sales calls, avoid this field at all cost. Not many people like to have someone call them (unless it’s critical to their personal success). said Conversion guru, Oli Gardner.

Use a Call to Action That Gets People Moving

Sometimes a would-be client is on your site, and they leave without contacting you. Why did this happen? Maybe because you haven’t given them a clear and compelling next step or call-to-action.

Say someone is looking at one of your listings. Your first instinct may be to end the page with something like “For more information on this home, click here.” That doesn’t really entice the browsers. Consider a more active, “Click here to get a tour of this home.” It’s what most browsers want. So give it to them right away.

And use different CTAs, because not every page will have the same logical next step.

“If you use the exact same CTA on every page, you are likely leaving leads on the table. While it is certainly easier to use the same call to action everywhere, it’s not the most prudent way to generate new leads,” said ConversionVoodoo.com.

“As your website visitors move around your site, their desires and their needs often change. If you are presenting your calls to action correctly, you even want their needs to change.”

These are just 3 little things you can likely implement tomorrow on your real estate website. You may just have to move things around a bit to get your contact info on every page, add a lead form or shorten the one you have. You can also easily add new CTAs to each page.

PS: In addition to your website, how are your business cards and postcards? If you need to update your print materials, you can easily get customized real estate business cards and postcards to make sure you’re getting the most for your dollar.

How Real Estate Websites Get Noticed – Build a Better Blog

Real Estate Websites

Want a website that performs better than the other guys’ real estate websites? Start by building a better blog than them.

The numbers prove that blogging drives success and performance. According to Hubspot:

  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information

The good news is there are countless Realtors® out there blogging on real estate websites, but only a small percentage of them are doing it correctly.

Here’s how to separate yourself from the pack.

Focus on the Headline

It very literally starts here. It’s the first thing people see on real estate websites, and what they use to determine if your blog is worth their time and their click. It’s the “bait” that gets people to stop scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook and read your story.

Be creative, be engaging and be funny to earn people’s attention. “The City’s New Bylaws Explained” is boring and not really click-worthy. But a headline like “Will the New City Bylaws Cost You Thousands?” will spark people’s interest and create a sense of urgency.

A few other tips on headlines:

  • Let your personality shine through
  • Keep them short and sharable
  • Try to work keywords into them, but don’t force them in
  • Mistakes and myths play well. For example, “5 Myths About Home Inspections” or “3 Mistakes Nearly All First-time Buyers Make” would be great headlines!

Write and Publish on a Schedule

Schedules are good because they make your blog predictable, while keeping you on task. So get yourself in the routine of writing the blog Monday and publishing on Wednesday, or something like that.

What’s the best day to publish on real estate websites? Experts have a ton of data and metrics that can make an argument for Monday right through until the weekend. The bottom line is you want to publish your blog and share it socially when your would-be customers are online. That can be any number of times.

An attainable and repeatable routine is more important than locking yourself into a steadfast day of the week based on someone else’s numbers.

Mix Things Up

Being predictable doesn’t mean being boring. There are lots of different types of blogs you can publish:

  • How to Guide or Q&A: Always popular and you get to showcase your expertise
  • Newsjacking: A term that describes responding to something that’s trending or making headlines and providing your own spin
  • Guest posts: Run a piece from a guest writer like a local mortgage broker or home inspector

You should also try a bit of gated content. This would be something like a whitepaper or a how-to-guide. It’s called a gated asset because your reader will have to provide you their name and email address to download it. This helps you capture more leads and build your mailing list.

Most Realtors® don’t do these things, and neither do bloggers from most any sector. Most will use the first headline that comes to mind, write and publish when they have time, and offer up the same stale meal every week. But now you know better, and can stand out from other real estate websites.

While you’re revisiting your digital advertising, how does your print marketing look? Is it time for new business cards or postcards?  If you need new materials, you can easily create your own design online, and give your branding a quick refresh.