Gary is the founder of Marketing For Startups. He consults and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs in online marketing strategies.
Why Should Real Estate Agents Care About Online Marketing?
Traditional marketing channels are expensive and unwieldy, but real estate agents still stick to the traditional flyers to find new leads. But if you consider how consumers search for information on real estate today, you'll realise that having an effective online presence is much more important than placing your face all over town.
In a red ocean where countless agents struggle to survive, a few savvy ones have started running Google and Facebook ads, backed by a professional-looking website. This article is designed to help real estate agents get started on online marketing.
Is it Better to Have a Facebook Page or a Website for My Real Estate Business?
As an agent, you need a website—not a Facebook page, Twitter handle or any other profile. A website offers flexibility on what you want to show, like your current listings, your professional experience, and your clients' testimonials.
You're also not at the mercy of platforms like Facebook, which are increasingly profit-driven at the expense of businesses.
How should you start online marketing for your real estate agency business?
Build a website on Wordpress
You need to be able to maintain your own website.
Put your listings on your website
Stop paying property websites so much money just to advertise your listings.
Market your services with an About Me page
On a flyer, you're just another agent. Use your website to really sell yourself hard.
Build lead generation pages to encourage customers to reach out
Web visitors do not easily convert to a customer, just like in real life. You need specialised webpages to encourage them to take action.
Run a Google Search ad campaign to be found on search queries
Without anything to start from, running an ad campaign is your best bet.
Share your website as widely as possible, outside of the ad campaign
Ads are expensive. You will want to spread the word without spending too much money.
Track web traffic and see how many visitors that come actually convert to a quality lead
The benefit of online marketing is being able to track analytics and conversions.
Try A/B testing by building more lead generation pages and testing different versions of the ads
By testing multiple ads and webpages, you an fine tune the kind of marketing channels that resonates well with your target market.
Repeat and review constantly, ensuring you keep pushing your conversion rate up
Online marketing is all about trying out mew ideas and strategies, always pushing to increase the ROI.
Build a Website on Wordpress
Wordpress is one of the world's most popular website builder and is well supported by many other plugins and forums. It's also free to start using, but as a professional agent, you'll want to subscribe to the premium account to manage your own domain.
Go to Wordpress.com to create an account, and then follow the steps as prompted by the website to finish setting up a basic website.
During the setting up of the site, you can also choose a preferred theme. Try to go for professional-looking ones with neat and clean fonts. Otherwise, you may also try to change the font on the theme customisation dashboard.
Put Your Listings on Your Website
Instead of paying online real estate portals to advertise your properties, you can put up as many properties as you want on your website! Some portals also limit the number of photos and the type of information to show. . .but on your website, you are no longer restricted.
To create a simple listing page, go to the Wordpress dashboard, then Pages > Add New Page. The page creator on Wordpress works much like Microsoft Word, so you shouldn't have much trouble using it.
Give your webpage a title, a detailed description and upload some images. Once you're happy with the content and design, click Publish.
Market Your Services With an About Me Page
Following the same steps as above, you also need an About Me page to show your expertise. Most property portals and social media channels do not help you stand out in the online world, but your own website can.
You can consider adding these information into this page to market yourself:
- Educational and professional qualifications
- Client testimonials and industry awards
- Citations and publications
Build Lead Generation Pages to Encourage Customers to Reach Out
By starting out with just a webpage, you may find it hard to get leads from your online visitors. Build lead generation pages to attract them to perform an action on your website - like leaving their name and contact number, for instance.
There are a lot of factors to build an optimised landing page. You may consider:
- Minimising the number of images to reduce distraction
- Have a single, clear call-to-action
- Write action-oriented copy to encourage conversion
- Speed up page loading
You can also make sure your URLs are reasonably short, contain important keywords and are easily to remember.
Run a Google Search Ad Campaign to be Found on Search Queries
Without an initial stream of visitors, start getting instant traffic by running Google ads. Go to Google AdWords to create a new search ad, put some relevant keywords inside, and set a budget.
Bear in mind that if your keywords are not related to your landing page, Google may penalise you by increasing the cost of an ad, or not show the ad at all.
Share Your Website as Widely as Possible, Outside of the Ad Campaign
Apart from spending money to advertise, you'll also want to share the website as widely as possible. Some places to start are:
- Facebook groups
- On forums
- Commenting on blog posts
Wherever your audience hangs out, that's a good place to attract their attention. But your website has to have value. If there's no property listings or any thing to do with real estate, then you might not get any visitors coming in from there.
Track Web Traffic to See How Many Visitors Convert to Quality Leads
Use Google Analytics to see how many visitors came into the site, and how many were converted to leads. This is a free application that can be easily integrated into your website through a Wordpress plugin or inserting some HTML code.
You can also try other tools to track performance, like Hotjar, Kissmetrics and Woopra.
The advantage of online marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is that you can track response and customer engagement. If a channel or campaign isn't working, you probably could tell, unlike the distribution of flyers.
Try A/B Testing by Building More Lead Generation Pages and Testing Different Versions of the Ads
Test even more landing page designs, customer segments and ad copy, as you fine-tune exactly what resonates with your customers. There is no one size fits all solution to online marketing, so you need to find out through repeated A/B testing.
Repeat and Review Constantly, Ensuring You Keep Pushing Your Conversion Rate Up
As you refine the ads and the website, you'll find the conversion rate inching up. Congratulations! Your online marketing is paying off!
Now all you need to do is to keep working on it, reviewing and re-optimising your strategy. The online world is always changing and updating itself, so stay ahead of the pack by following relevant blogs and websites for the latest news.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.