During the home-buying process, 90% of people search online for information — whether it be a house listing, real estate professional, or process clarification.
Which illustrates exactly why it’s so important that you’re not only online, but that you’re accessible online. “Accessible” means three things:
- People can find your website when they’re using a search engine.
- Your website turns visitors into leads passively.
- Your follow-up process secures those leads as deals (what good is an online strategy if you don’t have an equally effective offline strategy?).
Put more simply, you need to be easy to find, easy to commit to, and quick to follow up.
With that, your ROI this year will increase.
Let’s get started on your real estate agent online marketing strategy.
Real Estate Agent Online Marketing – How to Get Visitors to Your Website
If your website isn’t driving traffic, then… well, why do you have a website in the first place? After all, having a website that doesn’t drive traffic is the equivalent of not having a website. How, though, can you drive consistent traffic to your real estate page — Carrot customer or otherwise?
Three primary ways:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Here’s how we define Search Engine Optimization for real estate,
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your real estate website through organic (non-paid) search engine results.”
Search Engine Optimization is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s learning and leveraging a search engine’s algorithm (like Google, Bing, or Yahoo) to rank on the first page for certain keywords and generate high-quality clicks to your website.
Let’s imagine, for instance, that you want your website to rank for the phrase, “waterfront houses for sale in “. After all, if your result is on the first page of Google for those keywords, then a portion of people who type that will click on your result and go to your website.
However, ranking your website in a search engine is far more difficult than simply having a website. In fact, here’s a list of different actions you can take to try and rank your website for a certain keyword phrase:
- Target the right keywords — Make sure that you find the search volume and competitive level for the phrase you’re trying to target (you can do that here). You need to know what you’re getting into before you commit to targeting a keyword phrase.
- Build backlinks — Backlinks are links that point from another website to your website. These help you rank in Google. You can use HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to build these consistently and easily.
- Keep internal links relevant — When publishing a new page, always make sure that you include a few internal links to other pages on your website. And make sure that the anchor text is relevant to the topic of the page.
- Speed your website up — The faster your website loads, the better it will rank — generally speaking.
- Create consistent content — The more content you have on your website and the more consistently you publish new content, the more opportunities you have to rank in Google. At Carrot, we help our customers rank by giving them monthly content to publish on their blog.
That’s not an exhaustive list, though. For a more thorough strategy, go check out our blog post about the five things you should do to rank your website.
However, if you’re still not convinced that you need to rank in search engines, then consider one study that found this click-through rate for the first page of Google results.
- Position #1: 45.46% of all clicks
- Position #2: 15.69% of all clicks
- Position #3: 10.09% of all clicks
- Position #4: 5.49% of all clicks
- Position #5: 5.00% of all clicks
- Position #6: 3.94% of all clicks
- Position #7: 2.51% of all clicks
- Position #8: 2.94% of all clicks
- Position #9: 1.97% of all clicks
- Position #10: 2.71% of all clicks
Total: 95.91% of all clicks occur on Page #1 of Google results
Another study put page-one clicks closer to 90%…
Either way, the vast majority of people don’t go to page 2.
Additionally, 44% of homebuyers purchased a home that they found on the internet.
In other words, search engines represent a ton of revenue potential for your business. Think about it — where do you go when you need a local service? That’s right… online. That’s where your potential customers go as well.
Which is why we encourage our customers to include their target keyword phrase or something similar to the title of their website.
For that and tons of other reasons, Carrot customer websites rank consistently better than other real estate websites.
Which means they also drive more traffic and pull more leads. Of course, SEO is only one way to drive traffic to your website. And, in the end, it’s usually a long-term play (it can take up to 6 months to see results from your SEO efforts). So now, let’s turn to a few strategies that can help you drive traffic immediately.
No real estate marketing channel is quite as versatile as social media. With a variety of sites, post types, and audience interests, your real estate social media marketing strategy can be as unique or by-the-book as you want it to be.
And right now, millennials comprise 32% of the home buying market. If there’s one thing that millennials love, it’s social media (trust me, I am one :D).
Unfortunately, only 9% of real estate agents use social media to market their listings. For real estate investors, the story isn’t much different. Social media represents loads of revenue potential for real estate businesses, but very few professionals take full advantage of it.
One realtor group that does take advantage of social media, though, is the Weiniger Group. Here’s one of their posts.
You can do something similar. It doesn’t need to be complicated — simply share the property that you want publicity for, whether it be a house listing or investor opportunity, and ask people to contact you if they’re interested or if they know someone that’s interested.
Here’s an example of what this might look like on Instagram.
Heck, you could even go so far as to show people around a property with a 3D camera like this real estate agent did.
360° Virtual Tour of 1119 Reed #4, San Diego, CA 92109
Brand new listing in Pacific Beach, enjoy all that the sun and sand has to offer! Check out this 360° Virtual Tour of the newly listed and beautiful 1119 Reed Ave #4, just blocks to the beach and the bay!Posted by Team Steele San Diego Homes with John & Melissa Steele on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Or, if you participate in a local event, snap some pictures and post them on Facebook to gain extra publicity.
The point is, never miss an opportunity to post about something you did, a property you’re trying to sell, or a thought you had. Keep this mind: people are quick to forgive the content that you post on social media. Even if something misses the mark, no one is going to care after a couple days. So err on the side of sharing like crazy.
Some stuff will hit home and other stuff won’t — but that’s normal.
Every time that someone hears your brand name, clicks through to your website, or comments on your post, you just added one more person to the web of people who know about your business.
And the more people that know about your business, the more people who will seek you out (i.e. visit your website) when they are ready to buy or sell. Brandy Pollack with Nationwide Cash Home Buyers In Miami has worked hard to build their local brand and knows the value of brand recognition when a seller reaches out and has already heard of them.
SEO can take six months to a year to start driving traffic to your website. Organic social media growth can make it happen a bit faster, but still, you have to build an audience and produce consistent content for them.
If you have more money than time, paid advertising might be the best course of action for driving traffic to your website.
Consider a few statistics.
- When consumers are ready to purchase, 65% of them will click on a paid ad.
- But, the average click-through rate for paid advertisements is only 2%.
- Still, consumers that do visit a website through a paid advertisement are 50% more likely to purchase than organic traffic.
In other words, paid advertisements drive less traffic than organic methods, but they also drive higher commitment traffic.
Plus, they drive it a whole lot faster than SEO or organic social media growth.
You could start a PPC or Facebook Advertising campaign today and drive traffic tomorrow. Like this real estate investor is doing, for instance.
To learn how to create PPC ads that drive consistent and highly committed traffic to your website, check out our AdWords guide for real estate investors.
Another paid advertisement strategy that can drive traffic to your website is social media advertisements. In fact, we created a huge guide for using real estate Facebook ads — go check it out for an in-depth strategy.
Because it’s one of the most lucrative advertising platforms, having influenced 52% of consumer purchases in 2015.
With Facebook ads, you can publish videos…
Share house listings…
And do loads of other stuff. Unfortunately, though, according to one study, 20% of Facebook posts generate an emotional response while no Facebook ads did.
There’s no need for Facebook ads to be boring or emotionless. In fact, they shouldn’t be all that different from a Facebook post. Make it interesting, evoke emotion if you can, and offer to solve the problem that your target market is going through.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What problem are you going to solve for people?
- How can you communicate that effectively?
- What’s something visual you can use to grab people’s attention?
With answers to those questions — whether you’re using PPC or Facebook — you’ll be able to pay for traffic to your website. Which, if you have more money than time, isn’t such a bad idea.
Real Estate Agent Online Marketing: How to Generate Leads
You can drive traffic to your website all day long, but if those people aren’t turning into leads, then all of that traffic is worthless. That might be harsh, but it’s the truth. Website traffic is a vanity metric — leads, though… that’s tangible. That’s something you can turn into cold, hard, cash with a couple savvy follow up calls.
When you drive traffic to your website, here’s how you can turn as many of those people into leads as possible.
Real Estate Content Marketing
As a real estate professional, you don’t sell a product in the traditional sense. You sell yourself. If people don’t like you, trust you, or connect with you, then they won’t work with you. End of story. Bye, Felicia.
Of course, building trust with website visitors can be quite the challenge. You can’t hop on a phone call and use your charming sales pitch to woo them into trusting you and you definitely can’t meet with them for coffee.
Somehow, you have to get website visitors to trust you before they even meet you.\
Enter content marketing.
In case you’ve never heard of content marketing, though, here’s how Content Marketing Institute defines the term:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, content marketing isn’t just a way to build your Google rankings and it doesn’t just give you something to promote on your social media channels. Content — great content, that is — starts by connecting with the audience that it’s intended for.
And 70% of people prefer to get to know a company through online content rather than paid advertisements.
People are trying to determine if they can trust your company, and content marketing helps them make that decision.
Pieces of content like this article from real estate agent, Judith Weiniger, works trust-building wonders.
Here’s some more similar content.
Why does this work?
Because when people can trust you with something small — like determining the best yoga studios in an area — they’ll be more apt to trust you with bigger decisions — like buying or selling their home.
Still, though, maybe you don’t have a ton of time to create content. After all, you’re trying to build a business and maybe even lead a team. How can you find time to write or record trust-building content for your website?
There are two dead-simple strategies we recommend here at Carrot. Each will build trust with the people that land on your website while saving you loads of content marketing time. Here they are.
Check out the video or each blog post for an in-depth strategy.
When it comes to turning website visitors into leads, perhaps nothing is quite as important as the design of your website.
If your website design isn’t clear, doesn’t build trust, or takes too long to load, then people won’t enter their information. Often times, a conversion is really that simple. Think about it — how many times have you left a website because it took too long to load or it didn’t seem trustworthy once you arrived?
Knowing that, it’s not a big surprise to find out that 72% of real estate agents are unsatisfied with the number of leads that their website generates.
If your website doesn’t build trust and offer a simple solution to the visitor’s problem fast, then you’ve most likely lost a lead.
After thousands of split tests at Carrot, we’ve found that the little details of a website’s design can make a massive difference. Which is why we try to keep all of our customer navigation bars clear, sales copy compelling, and CTAs simple.
Here’s a real estate agent example.
Of course, you probably don’t have the time to create, test, and iterate a design for your website. You’re busy following up with current leads and trying to build a business that’s sustainable in the long term. Even 54% of real estate agents don’t invest more than five hours per month on their website. Not because they’re lazy, but because they don’t have the time.
Which is exactly why we started Carrot in the first place. We do the A/B testing, we help you with the SEO, and we save you time with content marketing. You can check out our plans for agents here and our plans for investors here. We’d love to work with you :-)
Either way, you need to have a website design and content marketing techniques that consistently turn website visitors into leads.
Real Estate Agent Online Marketing: How to Land More Deals
Finally, you need to turn all of those leads into cold hard cash. After all, what good are leads if they don’t turn into customers?
Here’s what you need to know.
The first step to turning leads into deals is following up as quickly as possible. The fewer seconds that pass between a visitor opting in and you dialing their phone number, the better.
One study found, for instance, that companies which followed up with a lead within an hour were almost seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a decision maker. Plus, 30% to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
What’s more? 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after meeting with the prospect.
In other words, follow up quickly and don’t give up after one try.
Here’s how one person follows up over text.
And here’s how someone else follows up with email.
Find a strategy that works for you and follow-up relentlessly.
The best two ways to keep track of these leads and make sure that you’re following up with each prospect in a timely manner are…
- Set up text message notifications for when you receive a new lead to your website.
- Use a lead manager that tracks who you’ve already followed up with and where each person sits in the buying process.
At Carrot, we offer both of the above for all of our customers. Click on the links to find out more.
There’s a reason that the diagram we created for this post is a circle. Namely, because of the Drive Traffic, Generate Leads, and Land Deals process is cyclical. The Land Deals phase should lead right back into the Drive Traffic phase.
By asking for referrals and sustaining the relationships you’ve built over time. The more people who know you and like you, the more word of mouth you’ll generate for your business.
And, salespeople who ask for referrals consistently earn four to five times more income than those who don’t. Additionally, 91% of customers say they’d give a referral if asked, but only 11% of salespeople ask.
The point? Don’t let a relationship stop after you land a deal and do great work for the client. Ask them if they know anyone else who could use your services — you might be surprised by how many people do.
Relationships with Past Clients
It might seem like a waste of time at first, but one of the best things you can do for your business is keep the relationships going with past customers. Because the more people you’re consistently in contact with, the more opportunities you’ll have.
Consider calling past clients once every six months or year. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Call, say “Hello,” and ask them how their life is going. Then, at the end, tell them that they can feel free to send any referrals your way.
A car salesman does this with me and it never bugs me — he keeps it short and genuinely cares about me as a person, so I don’t mind. This is a great way to keep yourself top of mind for past customers so that when they know someone who needs your services, they’ll recommend you.
According to one resource, 70% of homebuyers forget their real estate agent after just one year.
So keep in contact with as many people as possible and it might just give you the foot up on the competition that you need. Eventually, it’ll lead into more deals and more revenue.
The online world represents a wealth of potential for real estate professionals. But driving traffic, generating leads, and landing deals online is easier said than done. Which is why we put together this real estate marketing strategy guide for you.
To drive traffic, use…
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social media
- Paid advertising
To generate leads, use…
- Content marketing
- Website design
To land deals, use…
- Follow up
- Relationships with past customers
With that, you’ll drive more traffic, generate more leads, and land more deals. Which means you’ll grow the business you always wanted and live with the freedom you always desired. Best of luck and let us know how we can help. :-)