We have compiled a list of the top 5 things wrong with most real estate websites; correct these issues and it will produce measurable improvements with your online marketing strategy.
The list of reasons why a real estate agent ought to have a website should be short. However, a cursory examination of most real estate websites will leave you with the impression that no such list exists. Most real estate websites are nothing more than an attempt to maintain market neutrality with their peers. Doing something because everyone else is doing it but few know why. And those that know why, little effort is expended to excel.
Most real estate agents would notice no change in their business volume if they did not have a real estate website. This is a sad indictment for real estate website providers and real estate agents – but, it doesn’t need to be this way. In fact, a targeted, purpose-driven real estate website ought to be a significant sales tool for every real estate agent.
Number 5: A Brand of Ambiguity.
Many real estate agents make themselves the focus of their marketing. This ego-centric brand emphasis is often the centerpiece of their website. Their picture prominently displayed like a well-known celebrity. Real estate agent by day, fitness model by night, business guru on weekends, and grandmaster of marketing puns at every MLS meeting. And while all these things may be appealing to your peers, who at various levels are doing the exact same thing, none of these deliver any value to your clientele. Consumers tolerate these real estate agent shenanigans like consumers tolerate the inflatable man with long arms sitting in front of a car dealership. Neither contributes to the home purchasing or selling experience but the frequency of experience necessitates the continuation of the practice.
There is a caveat here. Perhaps you are your brand. You’re a well-known athlete, a well known actor/actress, inventor of the sticky note. By all means, leverage your identity! But do it in a way that facilitates the end goal, not just focusing on the means, in this case, the website.
When we speak of a Brand of Ambiguity, what we’re referring to is the common practice of focusing on a person without reference to why that person connects to a need they may have. For example, think of any number of famous spokespeople who have become synonymous with their brands – they are linked to the business they are representing. Simply placing your picture next to your logo isn’t enough to establish the link.
The more focused you’re able to establish the link the more successful you will be developing yourself as a brand. For example, your association with luxury real estate or beachfront properties. Establishing your image with repetition in association with the type/service you’re providing is key for building market awareness. Most agents trying to establish themselves as the brand do not establish this important step.
Number 4: Distracting Website Content.
You’ve seen it. Real estate websites showing real estate market statistics from 2012. Animated weather widgets. A mortgage calculator with currency converter. Weblinks to everything from garage sales, the local chamber of commerce, to your local parks & rec. And worst of all, because you have no confidence that they will click on anything on your website, you place all of this content on your homepage. Then you hire a website company and all they do is make the clutter look pretty.
Always Be Closing
While the notion may sound a bit cliché, the sales adage, Always Be Closing has a lot of weight to it. You certainly do not need to embrace the strong arm approach often associated with the idea – but you ought to think of your website as an integral part of your sales process. As such, does it guide your website visitors to a reasonable conclusion?
Throwing every idea under the sun on to your main page (or any single page) would be like a retailer just taking all their products out of the packaging and piling them in the middle of the warehouse. Little to nothing would sell if that is what retailers did. There is a reason why retailers focus so much of their attention on merchandising – the way they present/organize product in their stores. You must pay attention to the message and service you’re communicating with as little distraction as possible. This means no music, no weather widgets, no calculators, no third-party links that take them away from your service, no superfluous real estate data. Stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish with your website visitor which most often is to convert them from anonymous website visitor into a workable lead.
Number 3: Very Little Website Content.
Unique website content is the number one way to improving your organic search engine position. Without content, search engines pay little attention to your website and no amount of blackhat, backlinking, or SEO trickery is going to place you where you want to be. Content is King.
Now, before you get carried away with grand plans to write a local real estate novel or create your own reality YouTube vlog, start with the basics. Have you created a unique biography to place on your website? The answer to that question is no for most real estate agents. We’re always a bit surprised to find real estate agents who focus on themselves as the brand but say absolutely nothing about themselves – it just doesn’t make sense. Also, when writing about yourself, stay focused on the mission, which is real estate. Your biography ought to focus on your local roots, your local involvement, your local experience, your local profession. The more local-focused you present it the better your local SEO score.
Your content ought to always be personal; not corporate bland and generic. The content on your website serves many purposes, but not one of those purposes ought to be boring and irrelevant. Good content will be topic-focused, keyword rich for good SEO scoring, relevant to the reader, and shareable on social media.
Number 2: Little Attention on Your Actual Service.
You always know when a real estate agent is out of ideas when they spend money to promote, “whether you’re buying or selling…” Not exactly the most urgent offer is it? Could you imagine if a grocery store marketed themselves with, “whether you’re hungry for food or want to store it …” or a car dealership, “whether you’re looking or buying…” or a lawyer, “whether you want to sue someone or are being sued…” These are not benefits for someone to make contact, rather, these are at best a description of what they do.
When you focus on detailed topics within your service repertoire you make it easier for people to envision reasons for doing business with you. For example, do you specialize in the unique needs to retirees? Can you assist investment buyers? If you have a unique niche, and every agent ought to have one, your website ought to center/focus on your unique niche.
Focused marketing allows you to focus your message creation, understand and fine-tune market variables like the message, media placement, placement type, frequency, demographics, and other important variables. Your message focus ought to always be mindful of the market; obviously, a message focused toward buyers in a low inventory market might be tough.
Number 1: No Call To Action… Anywhere.
Imagine this: You take a family to their 5th home showing. The home is amazing. It has everything the family wants while even being slightly below their budget. Everything about the home is perfect and they even say, “This home is perfect!” Instead of asking them, “Is this the home? Would you like to make an offer?” You say, “Well, have a great day… Remember, if you’re buying or selling give me a call.”
A related situation happens on many real estate websites every day. A consumer visits your website because they have some sort of interest in you, your market, and/or real estate yet leave because no invitation was made to provide any type of service. One of the reasons automated market valuation reports became so popular years ago was because it finally gave real estate agents something to promote with a call to action. Well, you certainly offer a lot more services besides AVRs. Position those services and market them.
Everything you do ought to be centered around a Call-to-Action.
If you correct these 5 things wrong with most real estate websites on your own website you can expect to see positive gains. Or perhaps you recognize that if you’re unwilling to make these corrections, your website is costing you more than it is worth.
Correcting these 5 things will improve your business; eliminating your real estate website will save you money until you’re willing to make the necessary improvements. Implementing either will help improve your business.
The worse thing you can do is nothing. If you have questions about your own website, feel free to reach out to us. We really do love helping our clients (and/or potential future clients) succeed.