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I don’t think that anyone can deny that nearly every business should have a website of some sort. To the extent you can, it’s far better to control your own digital footprint rather than have the world do it for you.
According to one recent study, an incredible 93% of all interactions between a business and its customers begin in the exact same way: with a search engine like Google. For that reason alone, the quality and execution of your real estate website is of paramount importance - especially in those fragile early days of your career.
OK so you finished real estate school and have passed the real estate license exam and obtained your real estate license. Your career can begin in earnest. But without the right, thoughtfully designed website to make your presence known, you're not going to get as far as quickly.
Thankfully, designing the perfect real estate website - one that is compelling, that properly speaks to what you do and your value proposition - isn't necessarily as difficult as you might think. All it requires is the right approach, and for you to keep a few core things in mind.
Understand Your Goals
Before you think about the actual design of your website, you need to come to terms with exactly what that design needs to do. Yes, there's a certain element of marketing at play here in that your website is supposed to be selling something. Only instead of pitching your products and services, in our real estate business you're really selling the most valuable asset of all: yourself.
But even more than that, you need to understand that your website is more than just an advertisement. It's a way to make people aware of your unique perspective on the real estate industry, it's an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your market and it's a way to begin building trust - essentially all at the same time.
If your site comes off as little more than an expanded advertisement that someone might see when searching through Google, you're not going to be able to do any of those things. Therefore, your real estate website needs to be genuine, honest, informative and legitimately helpful - all in equal measure. These four qualities need to inform every decision you make moving forward, from design all the way down to the type of content you create and share.
Get Specific With It
There's a common misconception out there that the right real estate website needs to appeal to the largest audience that it can. But the truth is that your visitors will rarely come to your site looking for a home across an entire state, or even in a larger city. They're going to be looking for information on current listings in specific neighborhoods, and you need to be able to capitalize on that.
All of this is to say that you shouldn't build your site in a way that claims you're an authority on "real estate in California" or even "real estate in San Diego, California." Hone in on specific neighborhoods and communities that you have the most experience with. Integrate Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Internet Data Exchange (IDX) search capabilities into your site in a way that allows people to focus their efforts on those places they really want to live in. Establish yourself as an authority at first in a few specifically targeted areas and work on building your reputation - and your client list - over time.
You can always expand your focus later as your business does the same, but in those early days don't be afraid to get as granular as you possibly can.
It's Also About Supplementary Features
Remember that the goal of your real estate website shouldn't JUST be to offer listings for homes in those areas, though. Listing sites are a dime a dozen - the chances are high that people will have seen information about a lot of those current homes in other areas before they ever stumble across your domain.
Instead, you need to go above and beyond that idea - turn your site into a true informational and educational resource in every sense of those words. You should absolutely be writing blog posts that give insight on current trends in the industry. Poke around my blog. I’ve been in our business for almost 20 years and I have written over 200 articles and recorded over 1,400 videos on real estate topics. This helps to establish me as an industry expert. Remember, however, that I started out just like you - 0 followers and 0 content. It takes time and consistency to make it work. The sheer volume of content being produced every second is making it harder and harder to get noticed. This underscores the fact that you have to pump out as much high quality content as possible to get known.
So what to do? As a new agent take the time to write a few hundred words that take an important real estate topic and break it down in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. Write about what people should look for in a first home and what they shouldn't be focusing so much of their attention on, for example. Try and integrate videos, a comment section, mortgage calculators and other things that will make the house hunt as easy as possible.
Don't forget that you're not just trying to get someone to buy or sell a home. You're trying to convince them to buy or sell a home with YOU. To get to that point, people need to see you as an authority - articles and videos go a long way towards establishing precisely that.
Reviews, and Lots of Them
Last but not least we arrive at the concept of reviews - something that is particularly important in terms of your long-term success in real estate.
People aren't just going to take your word for it that you know what you're talking about. Real estate has always been built on relationships - someone wants to buy a new home and they immediately turn to their friends and say "hey, do you know anybody I can call for help?"
The Internet operates in exactly the same way, to the point where a massive 90% of people who responded to a survey who read online reviews claimed that those positive reviews absolutely influenced their eventual buying decision.
When you close on a deal with a client, ask them to write you a review. Then, get that review up on your website as soon as you can. Then, share those reviews on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter - which should also be integrated into your site. Do this as often as you possibly can.
This will help you establish social proof, which truly is the currency of the modern era. The more someone sees that others value what you do, the sooner they'll start to value it, too. At that point, you'll have a steady stream of hot new leads headed straight to your door.
At the end of the day don’t be afraid to shine and show off a little. If you can add value somewhere by earning a 5 star review or writing a blog or recording a video do it! Don’t be afraid to show the world that you are a real estate expert and you know what you’re doing.
If I can be of service, please let me know. You can connect on Instagram here or reach out by phone at 888 768 5285.