There are numerous small businesses in the healthcare, real estate, home services, and other industries that should have a website. According to Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com editor concluded that almost half of small businesses don’t have a business website. In addition, only one-third of small businesses use a website to communicate with their customers. In this article, I will focus on the real estate industry and these top reasons on why real estate agents need a website.
Build Awareness and Online Presence
Let’s face it, in today’s connected world customers are looking for their services online. According to 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 51 percent of buyers found the home they purchased from the Internet.
The Internet has become an important tool in the home search process. Real estate agents who do not have a website or listing may be missing out. Although most agents rely their leads from referrals and repeat business, it’s important to utilize a website to establish name recognition for brand awareness. In the long run, marketing and advertising agent’s own brand will result in more business.
Generate Quality Leads
According to Real Estate Agent U, 62% of agents spend at least an hour a day on marketing and advertising. 60% of agents prospect for leads on a daily basis. 26% devote several hours a day to prospecting. That’s a lot of time on chasing leads in this demanding professional line of work. With a website, real estate agents can team up with digital agencies to build marketing strategies and generate quality leads. For long term, content and inbound SEO marketing can be applied for organic growth. For immediate lead generation, paid marketing such as PPC coupled with relevant landing pages is the better plan. Regardless of marketing tactics, real estate agents can free up their valuable time to close more sales and generate more revenue. In addition, agents who add more value to their services for existing clients will be rewarded with more referrals and repeat business.
Increase Credibility and Branding
In the 2018 Properties Online Real Estate Tech Trends, nearly 95 percent of home buyers search for homes online. Most real estate agents believe that using the website of a well-known real estate firm should be sufficient for online presence via a single page profile. However, there are several issues with this approach.
- When buyers or sellers visits the firm’s site, they are visiting a real estate agent’s umbrella brand instead of agent’s own brand. This means an agent rely on umbrella brand to refer the lead and that agent is not in control. In addition, this agent can be competing with other agents in the umbrella brand for the same business.
- When an agent decides to leave the umbrella brand, it will require that agent to start his or her online presence over which takes time to build. With a website in agent’s own brand, this is avoided since the established online presence is tied to the agent’s brand instead of agent’s umbrella brand.
Everyone wants a solution to solve their problem, instead of being sold on a product or service. This mentality is no different for buyers and sellers. Real estate agents with a website can increase their values for their clients by providing valuable information to help guide buyers or sellers throughout the buying or selling process. Part of this is ensuring agent’s website have updated listing, community resources, FAQ, and contact information. Educating the buyer or seller and explaining how real estate agents provide their services can build trust, rapport and earn agents more business. According to 2017 NARS Real Estate in a Digital Age, photos and properties information were most important to Millennials (born between 1980-1998). For Silent Generation (born between 1925-1945), real estate agent contact information, virtual tours and photos were most important.
Customers Expect Real Estate Agents to Have an Online Presence
From the 2017 NARS Real Estate in a Digital Age report, social media plays in a big part of tools utilized by real estate agents with Facebook leading at 80% followed by LinkedIn at 71%. Having a website is vital because it serves as the core of your online presence. Agent’s website can be the center of marketing and have all other social pages and local directories link to the website. It will be a great place to add client testimonials and resources for buyers and sellers.
One issue of not have a website is that real estate agents don’t have full control of their information. This specifically apply to agents who rely heavily on social media for their online presence. Real estate agents don’t own their information on social media. They must ensure information is up to date along with related photos. In addition, any algorithm change in social media platforms may have adverse effect on their ranking. Real estate agents that own their website can have rich analytics reports from how visitors got to their website, what keywords they used, if they used mobile phone or desktop, where they visited on the site, and where they go after leaving the site. With this insight, agents can take guesswork out and understand their visitor’s behaviors. Real estate agents that have a profile page under their umbrella brand have analytics but usually have access to limited reports.
A Major Component of Your Marketing Strategy
Every small business can benefit from having a website and online presence. This is no different for the real estate industry. With a website, real estate agents reap these benefits: build awareness, generate quality leads, increase credibility along with brand, help buyers and sellers throughout their buying or selling journey, and full information control. It’s a small price to pay which should result in huge dividends in the long term with a planned and sound marketing strategy.