When house-hunting, walking through homes is essential. Buyers want to feel the solid floors beneath their feet, check out the yard, and make sure that the basement doesn’t flood or that the attic is well-insulated. While physically inspecting properties is a must, more buyers are starting their journeys in the virtual world. Real estate agents need solid online marketing strategies to reach these people and succeed in this incredibly competitive industry.
According to the National Association of Realtors:
- 42% of buyers took their first step in the buying process online, searching for properties
- 92% used the internet as an information source.
- 82% said agent websites were a valuable source of information. 87% found photos extremely helpful, and 84% reported that detailed descriptions were helpful.
- Over three-quarters of internet buyers drove by or visited a home they saw online.
Strategies to make online marketing work for you:
- Create valuable, relevant content. As the statistics above reinforce, people look online for information. When you are the one to give it to them, it establishes your authority – and puts your listings at the top of homebuyers’ minds. In addition to providing details about properties, give visitors information on the home buying/selling process, tips for inspecting properties, moving tips, etc.
- Optimize your content for local markets. Search engines love local content, so take advantage. Use keywords containing the location(s) that you serve and which have properties you are handling. Use your content to create content on topics such as “Top 10 Things to Do in City X” or “Must-See Attractions in Your New Hometown,” “Best Restaurants in City X,” “Top Schools,” “Senior Centers” – whatever the area offers, highlight it for interested buyers. Include your keywords naturally in your content, titles, subheadings, and metadata.
- Ask for reviews and ratings. Another darling of search engines, reviews and ratings can help your website rank more advantageously in search results. They also establish credibility and a great reputation. Eighty-eight percent of recent buyers would use their agent again or recommend him/her to others. They are satisfied, so do not hesitate to ask them for reviews on sites like Zillow, Yelp, and Trulia, and re-post great ones on your website and social media profiles.
- Use great images. Most online buyers found photos helpful – and they increase the power of content. People respond to photos, and fortunately, with listings you have a wealth of opportunities to share them. Invest in a professional photographer to take high-quality images to use as cover and profile pictures and to include in a gallery on your website.
- Make sure your website design in responsive. This means that the design responds to the screen on which it is viewed. A home-buyer can view the website on a computer, tablet, or iPhone. This maximizes convenience and capitalizes on the growing use of mobile devices. Responsive websites can increase conversion rates, which helps you see a great return on your online marketing investment.
If you are not employing online marketing techniques, you risk getting left behind as web-savvy agents scoop up listings and buyers. These five steps will help ensure you reach these buyers where they are.