While we don't have exact figures, it's estimated that 85+% of all real estate web sites are ineffective at actually bringing in active buyer and seller client leads to your business. It's really unfortunate considering the time, effort and money many agents and brokers put into web site design and maintenance. What's really sad is that the corrective action necessary to make your web site a commission generator can be quite inexpensive and generate income in a fairly short amount of time. Here are seven reasons that are preventing your site from generating commissions for you.
1. Most agents don't expect much.
There are a great many real estate agents out there that set up a web site because they perceive it to be required by their listing clients and a necessary evil of being a listing agent. It is true that seller prospects expect a web presence from the brokerage and/or the agent. If your only goal for your site is to appease these listing prospects, then it's not a problem. However, if you decide that your time and efforts in site design and maintenance should do more for your business, it's quite possible to make that happen.
2. The site doesn't provide what the visitor wants.
Real estate agents want to apply their print and personal marketing tactics to the Internet and that just doesn't work. The first-time visitor to a real estate web site is generally interested in only a couple of things. Both buyers and sellers want to search all the local listings, though for different reasons. Then buyers want area info and sellers want to know about the listing process. Note that we haven't mentioned that they want a sales pitch for your great sales abilities, nor do they care about how well you care for your clients. Get them what they want fast and first.
3. Agent websites pester the visitor for contact info. You'll get arguments on both sides, (we have strong opinions on this one and a compromise) but you can bet that the Internet buyer or seller wants certain information from a web site and they don't want or expect to have to give up personal information to get it. IDX search registration works for some, but it can drive away site visitors. You can provide other types of reports and information via email delivery and still get good leads. In fact, they'll appreciate the fact that they can come to your site to do research without a login and feel free to sign up for more information later when they are ready.
4. Agent's typically don't understand the longer time line involved. The Internet has stretched the time line from first research to a transaction. Buyers and sellers expect to be able to research markets and information anonymously without sales pressure. So, they start their searches earlier and research the results longer. Rushing a web client (or any client) doesn't work, nor does ignoring them until they're closer to making a decision. We hear stories every day from buyers who said they emailed an agent that they were thinking of buying in six months to a year and they didn't even get a response. Work with your leads and stay in touch or lose them to the agent who will.
5. No lead capture mechanism in place on the website. If you'll buy into not forcing sign-up for searching listings, then you need to have something of value to offer the site visitor in exchange for their contact information. Develop some custom reports about special facets of real estate and transactions in your market. This could be information about stringent local codes, septic regulations, property sales statistics, etc. These need only be a page or less, and can be set up for automated email delivery. Allow them to sign-up and save their searches and other research information. Site visitors will give your their information for information of value returned by you.
6. Visitors who sign-up are inundated with drip emails.
Even if you've done everything right and grabbed that important contact name and email from your site visitor, you'll lose a lead in the first couple of weeks if you're not careful. Too many agents think that an aggressive drip email campaign, with an email every week or so is what works. Worse yet, they use a canned approach with emails developed by a third party on subjects like "How to make get your home ready for better for showings." After receiving the third one of these emails from you I guarantee that you'll get an "Unsubscribe" email from your valuable prospect.
7. Prospective Buyers and Sellers don't know your website is out there.
Most folks new to the world wide web don't realize that just purchasing a domain name (URL) and launching a website will absolutely guarantee that no one will find it. That's right, it will be floating around in cyberspace with literally billions of other documents and no way to find it. Unless you strive to drive prospects to your site with aggressive marketing of your site, it is sure to attract no one; or worse, attention you don't want or need. Web site marketing, Search Engine Registration and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are crucial to placing your site in front of those Buyers and Sellers looking for real estate help in your area. We'll talk a lot more about these critical processes in future posts.
Want to learn more about creating a low cost effective lead generating website? Just visit www.PSSPROS.com and click on "Internet Marketing" for more information.