Real Estate: The Secret to More Leads

It’s a common misconception: If you build it, they will come. Unfortunately that field of dreams ideal doesn’t work when it comes to the world of websites; truly it hasn’t worked for some time. Years ago, when the web was new, there were relatively few people actively using the internet and thereby fairly low competition. These days all but the most behind the times brokerages have at least a nominal online presence and the competition has gotten FIERCE – to have any hope of getting your share of this lions market you need to be online and bringing your A game.

One of the best ways to do that is by using social media and channeling all of your traffic to the best place for it to go – Your Website.
So how do you make that happen?

You Gotta Work It!
You could be the best REALTOR® in the world and if you don’t tell anyone about it they will never know. The same can be said for your website. It’s out there on the web with a billion other websites, all trying to be number one in the search engines. Your best bet to eliminate some of that noise is to refer real live people you know to your website from the get-go. Tell all your friends, tell your family, look up old high school buddies – shout it from the mountain tops! However you choose to do it, whether it be social media, coffee meet ups, or even print marketing – you’ve got to let people know you have a site if you want them to use it. The website that works the best is the one you promote the most.

More Traffic. More Leads.
It’s really that simple. It comes down to numbers. If your site isn’t getting traffic you won’t be getting leads. If your site is already getting traffic and you’re still not getting leads that tells you there may be problems in what visitors are finding – or not finding! – when they hit the site itself. So how does one get more traffic? Start by telling people about your site as mentioned above, from there get active in local community events to find sponsorship opportunities, put out door hangers, post local classified ads, and leverage social media. Make sure you include your website address on every piece of advertising you create, whether it be printed or digital. Focus your online efforts by stopping posting links to the big box real estate sites to show your listings; send those links to your website instead.

Be Active and Helpful.
Whether it be on Facebook through answering questions or making insightful posts in groups on a regular basis ( you ARE active in local Facebook Groups, aren’t you?! ), or publishing articles on LinkedIn you should do whatever you can to establish yourself as a resource to the people you’re connected to. Become an authority in your field by creating useful information and helping those you engage with to accomplish their goals and overcome challenges – you will gain more trust and a better reputation through being of service to others than through any spammy or self-serving methods. At some point someone who is thankful may want to “pay you back” for being so helpful; rather than ask for money or coffee just politely ask them to leave you a kind review or to keep supporting your online efforts by liking or interacting with your posts.

Establish a Routine – and Stick To It!
The biggest place any advertising efforts, particularly on social media, fail is in consistency. So post daily and interact often, the worst thing for people to see is a page that hasn’t been updated in years. While still not yet a major factor, one of the growing indicators of importance in search engines is incoming traffic numbers and one great way to boost that is by channeling your audience to your website. Do this by posting quality content and always, always, including a link to your main domain. It’s easy enough to do at first when you’re new to social media, it’s the sticking with it month after month that can be a challenge but it’s also what makes the effort pay off.

Do you currently have a real estate website that’s under performing? Maybe you’re just not satisfied with a page and a paragraph on your office site, or some freebie site from your national office, no matter what the reason we can help you step up your website game and move more real estate! We would love the opportunity to talk with you about what you’re currently doing and how it might be improved to help you get optimal visibility online. Contact us today to see how we can help!

A New Site Is The Answer

In retrospect to our previous entry “A New Site Isn’t The Answer” we’d like to offer you insight into times when a new site is in fact the answer.

Not to contradict ourselves of course, we want you to understand all situations are different and some times not having a quality website can be at the core of your world wide woes. While just having a website on it’s own is no cure-all method for instant success the importance of a strong and highly visible central hub for your digital presence can not be denied.

If you’re not sure about if you’re in need of a new website here are some reasons you may want to consider:

Back In My Day
Yes, we know dancing animated gif houses and auto-playing midi music was all the rage back in 1997…but if it’s been more than a few years since you revisited your website design chances are it’s long overdue. Even without considering the obvious changes in design trends that effect how the visual aspects of your site are perceived the technical side of web design must be taken into consideration as techniques and functionality change often in the world of web development.

Not Mobile
50% of all online traffic is now on a mobile device; that’s HALF of all the potential clients in the world who may be trying to navigate your site. Don’t risk losing out on such a huge chunk of the market – especially millennials! – just because your site is out-of-date. Google has already begun penalizing non-mobile compliant websites by removing their visibility in mobile based searches, so if your site isn’t mobile chances are it’s already being found less often.

Brokerages Free Lunch
Got a page on your brokerages website? Maybe it’s even got your name as part of the address? They mean well, but sadly if it’s not a website you control, where the leads come to you directly, where you are the showcase agent on every page and listing, you’re missing out. A picture and a bio on your corporate site is better than nothing, but it’s not going to give potential clients the confidence to choose you as the agent for them.

Penny Pincher
We know Realtors have a reputation for being spend-thrifts, and hey, that’s fine, nobody likes paying more for something than they have to pay. If the cost of getting your own site seems a bit much just stop and think about what the value of that expense really is: the most cost-effective means of advertising your services available. You see your website, when used properly, is more than just a digital business card – it’s a sales employee working to market you online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In relation to the average costs of being in the real estate business ( licensing, fees, memberships, desk costs, etc ) your website is in most cases one of the least expensive parts of the machine that makes your success; by comparison is a tiny fraction of what you stand to make from each client you serve.

In the end it’s up to you to decide if a new website is the right way to go for you; there are certainly any number of places to get one built these days. Regardless of who builds your site it’s important to understand that a site alone is not a complete solution but merely another tool to help build your success. It’s easy to play the role of the barber and tell you that you need a haircut, but the truth is not every situation is the same and sometimes a new site is not the answer. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about your current real estate marketing plans and how we can help make them even more effective!

HOT Real Estate Marketing Ideas!

marketing-board-strategySizzle sizzle Summer time is coming!

The real estate market in Idaho is already getting H O T – HOT! And for those agents not so busy moving real estate that they don’t have time to think about marketing it’s life on easy street, but what about everyone else? Well, if you’re not riding around with the Rockefellers showing off mansions you gotta work it – and that means marketing!

To help you navigate this fiercely competitive marketing we’ve put together some quick marketing ideas to jump start your Summer season!

Make It Stick
Don’t just give your friends, family, or potential clients business cards – give them business card magnets! Maybe it’s because people need something to stick notes to their refrigerator with, maybe it’s just because they are different, but for whatever reason these seem to hang around longer than regular business cards. Find ways to mention your work during conversation when you’re shopping or even just getting coffee – this opens an opportunity to give out a card or magnet. Word of mouth is powerful; after all if you don’t tell anyone you’re a REALTOR® how will they know?

Write Something
You know that blog you had setup two years ago and have never posted on? Yeah, you should post something.  A couple great ideas might be something like “Fun things to do in my town” or “10 reasons I love my town”, anything that is positive and highlights your local area is fine. Don’t make it about selling anything, just write about something you enjoy and wand to share. If you get reall inspired it may be even better yet write an article and submit it to Buzzfeed – a popular technique for food bloggers looking to get traffic. ( read more on how to do that here )

Be A Sponsor
Work with area charities to find out about local community events and offer to sponsor and setup a coffee or snack stand. You may be surprised to find how often you get powerful results from getting your face and branding out there in the real world where people can see it.

Show Appreciation
Previously clients can make up as much as 40% of your return business – this is even more true in real estate where repeat clients count for as much as 25% of all business. You should treat these people like gold, because they are! A great way to do this, and drum up good hype, is to stay in touch. Whether this is a small gift at closing and then following up with seasonal cards throughout the year or even holding a special event just for clients, you do not want to ignore the importance of your past clients.

Launch a Campaign
Hit the streets and take your camera with you! Make your day on the town visiting shops, eating, or hitting the market into a day of images; post them on your social media accounts throughout the day. This allows you to showcase your location in a fun way and also makes great easy content for posting. Focus on a different part of town or activity each week and be sure to link to your website whenever you post a new image.

These are just a few quick ways to get your name out there and make the most of an absolutely hopping real estate market!
Get creative and let us know about it – we’d love to hear about your challenges and success stories as you move more real estate in 2016!!

A New Site Isn’t The Answer

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It’s a story we hear from time to time having worked in real estate technology for over a decade: an agent who has had a website for some time calls to complain about a lack of leads or to cancel their service just because they “aren’t getting anything out of the website”. There are even others still who are happy with their website overall but are easily lured astray by fast talking salesman with an arsenal of buzzwords and pockets full of urgency. While we’re glad to real estate professionals in whatever direction they are seeking success but it’s hard not to ask them out right: “Well, what have you been putting INTO your website?”.

See, it’s easy to complain about a lack of results from the work you didn’t do, and unfortunately more times than not the thing not working…is the website owner. You see simply having a site and just being online isn’t enough – it never really was – and just having a site that no one knows about ( that you’re also not actively telling people about ) is the surest way to get lost in the online noise.

We understand agents want to be selling real estate, not pushing buttons all day, but as a website owner and businessperson having at least some nominal involvement with your digital presence is a must. There are any number of systems that promise “set it and forget it” solutions to automate your advertising – but their quality is sub-par to say the least. And while there are any number of things you can and should be doing to promote yourself online the topic we want to touch on here is some of the reasons you may have not thought about in regards to switching your website to a new provider.

Change of Branding
Let’s change their coffee to brand x and see if they notice….oh believe me, they’ll notice! A sudden change in look or layout can be a real shock to website visitors who have visited your site lately, and for long term users of your site a change in the functions that they’ve come to depend on can also be a big disappointment. If you’re changing web systems make sure to keep your brand looking as consistent as possible – this is no problem if you’re migrating to TourRE as we offer excellent custom real estate web design to accommodate any need.

Loss of SEO
The age of your domain, and it’s contents play a large role in your search engine visibility. Sudden changes to your content, loss of data or meta-info, changes in link structures and other technical items in the code that makes up your website itself can really knock your SEO for a loop. If you’re changing web providers be prepared to not only disappear from the radar for a short time but possibly even having to start from square one in gaining good position in search results. This is even more true if you change the actual URL of your site.

Learning Curve
Even if you are fairly tech savvy there will always be a learning curve when you switch to a new system. No matter how intuitive a website is there is always a little down time involved in learning how to use the new tools you’ve acquired. Things that were once fairly easy to do like adding custom pages or links may now be unfamiliar.

Over-promising and Under Delivering
So you’re excited about your new site, you’re learning how to use it….three or four months go by…and the honeymoon is over…and you’ve got this great new site that you’re still sort of excited about, that may or may not do what your old site did, and may or may not cost as much or more than your old site — and! it’s performing just as poorly as your old site. What gives?! Well, in some cases you bought the sizzle instead of the steak and the new website simply does not do what the nice salesman promised – in other cases it’s the unfortunate fact that: you get out what you put in.

You’ve got to work the market for your marketing to work for you – let us help!
It may seem like strange to hear us not yell from the mountain tops “OUR WEBSITE’S ARE THE BEST!!!” ( and we believe they are ) but at the end of the day the website that does the best is the website you use and promote the most.  We’ve seen basic html websites outrank sites that people have thrown thousands of dollars at and it all comes down to how much promotion the website receives. Ready to get started? We’d love to talk with you about your ideas!

 

The Magic Formula For Online Success

struggling
Despite the internet being around for over 20 years many real estate agents are filled with misconceptions on how to best use it for their business.
This is in part due to their lack of fully embracing the technology as well as a ton of general misinformation online from an abundant number of “online gurus”, coupled with the fact that online marketing itself is a fast paced and constantly changing industry. Believe it or not there are a number of very simple things one can do to increase their online visibility and success – with the understanding that simple does not mean easy, neither does it mean the results will come over night.

We’re often asked what the secret is to getting more leads; we’re sorry to say there is no one silver bullet. Just because something is working for your competition doesn’t mean it will work for you; what works now may be obsolete in a few months. A very basic formula for figuring what kind of leads might look like Traffic X Conversions = Leads. Now, what you want to look at there is that more traffic itself doesn’t mean more leads, but it is a big part of the equation. So how do you get more traffic? Here’s a few ideas:

Social Media
Having your own website is still key to legitimizing yourself and establishing a brand presence, but without a means to reach out beyond your personal sphere you can find yourself doing little more than shouting in the closet; this is where social media comes in. Unfortunately, even the real estate professionals who are using social media are often using it poorly. Most social experts will tell you post post post post post…and that’s fine…posting is definitely a big part of what you’re there to do, but it’s only half the puzzle when it comes to social success. If you’re just starting out it’s perfectly fine to focus just on posting until you get your legs under you, so be sure to:

Post consistently on your business page – no this doesn’t mean posting an endless stream of houses, it means creating quality content.

Post in Facebook Groups – these are great, generally local or niche focused groups where you can touch a (hopefully) already interested audience.

Post on Instagram or Pinterest – if you’ve got a knack for images either of these platforms can be huge. Be sure your images are compelling and interesting.

Publish on LinkedIn – the new Publish feature is one of the few things that keep this platform relevant. Post in-depth content here to let people know your a real authority.

Use Craigslist – the quality of leads can be questioned but fact of the matter is posting here with a focused effort can lead to more traffic on your site.

You can get some more good REALTOR® Social Media Tips here >>

Niche Market Sites
Have a specific market you are focused on? Equestrian properties, or a specific part of town? Having a niche market to aim for can be a great way to stand apart from the general noise and also gain good search engine position. If you have extra domains you’ve purchased that are simply forwarding somewhere, or not being used at all, consider a simple one or two page “splash” site that caters to a specific market; drive the leads to your main web presence from there.

Just Do What Works – What Has Always Worked
Create relevant engaging content, publish it regularly and promote it adequately. This means putting in the time – or paying someone else to – to blog consistently about subjects that your audience actually cares about. Beyond just writing the blog make sure you’re sharing it on social media so that as many people can potentially see it as possible. Get out there in the real world and network – shake hands, put out door hangers, and attend community events to get your name out there. Drive traffic to your site by always including a link to your main website – not zillow, not trulia, not wherever your virtual tour is – to insure that you are channeling as much traffic to your main point of contact.

Trust the Process
That’s what your trainer tells you, what your life coach tells you, and even if all the rest of what they tell you is bunk they are right on this point. If you are doing all of these things and struggling to see results don’t quit! These things take time! Social media especially can take months of regular work before it begins to show any signs of return – so be patient. Do the things you know will bring results and stick with them, after all it’s the last key in the ring that most often fits the lock.

Get More Real Estate Leads

real estate web designYou’ve got a website and it’s been online for a while; you may or may not be getting some natural traffic rolling in but where are the leads? Where are the millions of people online beating down your virtual door?

Unfortunately the days of the popular notion that if you build it they will come have long since passed. Just having a website alone is something akin to standing in your closet and shouting about how great your chocolate chip cookies are and then being disappointed when you don’t have people ringing your doorbell with money in hand. A website is a tool, like any other, it is good for specific tasks – and only if you use it properly – you wouldn’t expect to hammer many nails with a screwdriver after all.

You can’t depend on your website to do all the work, so here are some good ideas for things you can actively do to bring in more real estate leads!

Cold Calling
Gives ya shivers don’t it?! But it’s like the old axiom says: don’t be afraid to ask pretty girls for a kiss, you’ll get a lot of slaps in the face but you’ll get a few kisses too! Like any other tactic cold calling takes some strategy to be effective. Start by developing a script to work from that speaks to your potential clients needs; from there stick to a standardized calling routine to make sure it’s not a try once and quit effort.

Blog
Not just have a blog, but actually write and publish a blog regularly. By creating interesting content not only can you establish yourself as an authority in the market but you can also give your audience insight into who you are. Not to mention search engines love blogs! Fresh, keyword rich content updated on a regular basis can be a huge boon to getting more traffic on your site and more traffic equals more potential contacts. Ever struggle with stuff to post on social media? Your own blog content is PERFECT content for your fan page or other profiles – and best of all if done correctly it drives traffic to you!

Door Knocking
It can be daunting in this day and age, and much like cold calling be prepared for some difficult feedback – but you can get good response too. Getting out into the communities you work in is a great way to stand apart as so many agents are digital only these days. It really gives you a lay of the land; is a good way to get your brand in front of people you might not normally reach. Make sure you go out with some door hangers and printed materials with your photo, website, contact info prominently displayed.

Niche Marketing
Find your niche a work it. Everyone wants to be number one for “city name real estate” on Google…so aim for another target. If you can get your foot into a niche corner of the market – like 55+ buyers, or equestrian properties – it can open a whole other client base. Good ways to passively find leads from these niches is to build simple realtor lead capture websites focused on that particular theme or demographic.

Work Social Media
There could be – and have been – whole posts written on just this and the reason for that is simple: no other platform offers more bang for your marketing buck than social media. The catch? It’s a very easy way to spend a lot of time and money if you don’t know how to do it right. Now, just about any frequently updated page that caters to it’s audience is better than none at all but there are some key things to making social media work for your real estate business. Most importantly: be positive, post often, and link to websites you control any time you can.

Have questions about putting these things into practice?
Not even sure where you stand or where to start? Tour Real Estate Inc has provided the very best real estate websites for over a decade; our experts know the industry and the technology that powers it because we helped build it. We’d love the chance to talk with you about your goals and how you can reach them!

Real Estate Websites: Keeping Up!

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Today 9 out of 10 potential home buyers start their search for a home online. With the mega-budgets of big box real estate stores like Zillow and Trulia the individual agent – and even the larger agent real estate teams – struggle to compete and keep their heads above the waves, especially in regards to SEO and website visibility. The bad news: the search engines aren’t likely to stop playing favorites any time soon. The good news: there are things you can do to still remain viable and visible.

Be Mobile
As of April 21, 2015 Google announced that websites that were not mobile compliant would begin to be penalized — especially in mobile search results. Since over 45% of all website traffic these days comes from phones or mobile devices it is especially important to not only have a website that is visually pleasing but also easy to use on the mobile platform.

Tour Real Estate Inc offers several fully mobile responsive templates and we’re converting more of our classic designs every day; we also offer exceptional mobile responsive custom website design as well.

Be Visual
Humans are naturally visual creatures and it’s common knowledge that people online simply do not pay the same attention to text as they do images or video. So be sure to include plenty of eye-catching images in your marketing efforts both on your website as well as in your social media content. Videos are another great way to catch the eye; sites that make use of video tend to have longer “on site” times for visitors overall. Having a consistent and interesting youtube channel is an excellent idea also as it can give a healthy boost to visibility in general when done correctly.

Tour Real Estate Inc understands good design; we’ve been working in the real estate industry for over a decade. We can help you create a stunning custom look that will help you stand out from the competition.

Go Local
Again and again we have agents tell us “I want to be on the first page for Boise Idaho Real Estate” – which of course is the highest competition keyword on google – but what they really should be asking is: “What are my potential clients searching for?”. Optimize your website for local, lower competition keywords for better success. Fact is, unless you work with investors your potential clients aren’t likely to be searching for “Idaho MLS”, they will be searching for more common things that are relevant to them – maybe “affordable homes in Boise” or something along those lines. Be active in your local community also! For all the importance people put on social media one of the more powerful way to connect and get leads is still in the face-to-face world — so get involved in rotary, kiwanis or other local groups where you can shake hands and show your face.

Tour Real Estate Inc optimizes all of our websites from the moment they are launched, give you unparalleled content control,  and are glad to take extra time to talk with you about your specific goals and needs.

All is not lost! And while you may not have the budget to compete with the larger companies you can still claim your fair share of this market. It takes work and persistence but through using your website as the powerful tool it needs to be you can see results. Interested in standing out from the crowd and getting into the game? Let us help you create a dynamic online presence you can be proud of – contact TourRE today!