Real estate consumers aren’t just looking for “Open House” signs—they’re browsing online. According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of real estate buyers today found the home they purchased online.
The online real estate market has become crowded with competition as more agents want to attract Internet home buyers and sellers. To capture leads and increase sales, you have to find a way to reach online leads more quickly and powerfully than other agents. Your listings have to be attractive and click-worthy, and your communication has to be targeted to capture these consumers.
To stay ahead of other agents online, you’ll need a strong digital marketing plan. Here are four digital marketing steps that will help you win more online clients and boost your sales.
Step one: Build your website
The single most important element of any digital marketing campaign is your website. Your other digital marketing efforts are typically intended to shepherd qualified visitors over to your website where you will seal the deal. If your website isn’t attractive and user-friendly, leads won’t be motivated to stay when they land on it.
Few real estate agents have the programming skills to build a website from scratch, and, even if you’re an exception, you probably don’t want to spend the time it would take to build your own website. Luckily, there are numerous platforms that can make setting up and maintaining a website quick and easy.
Web design platforms
WordPress is one of the best-known web design tools given its usability and versatility in accommodating so many types of websites. It offers a wide range of plug-ins for nearly every conceivable purpose, as well as real estate agency templates you can use as the basis of your new site.
As an alternative, Placester is a real-estate-specific website design company. The power of this platform is that it’s optimized for the industry with built-in real estate SEO, advanced property search features, and more.
Whatever web design option you choose, make sure that your site includes IDX (Internet Data Exchange) integration. IDX will allow your website to automatically pull listings from MLS (multiple listing service) and display them, so site visitors can browse through a wide selection of listings.
If you go with a WordPress-based site, you can choose from numerous IDX plug-ins with a range of features and price points to add to your site.
Placester sites already include IDX search that covers 99% of MLS listings. With this feature, IDX sites offer accurate property photos and data directly from their source.
With the IDX integration on your site, site visitors can browse through a wide range of listings and have a greater chance of finding their ideal property.
Check for mobile responsiveness
More and more website visitors are browsing online through smartphones and tablets. According to the Pew Research Center, one in five American adults are smartphone-only Internet users, meaning they just use their phone rather than a home broadband service. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll lose out on all of that traffic.
The free Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to measure the responsiveness of your site design. Enter your website URL, and Google delivers feedback and reports on whether your site is mobile-friendly.
Step two: Equip your site with SEO
Some people will visit your site directly because they’re already familiar with your business. But many of your visitors won’t know about your work, and they’ll find your site through a search engine. To attract more of these leads, you can improve the ranking of your site in search results through SEO.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of maximizing your site’s visibility in online search results. By adding keywords throughout your site that target buyers are frequently searching, engines like Google will rank your site higher in those visitors’ results. The inclusion of their favorite keywords indicates to the engine that your site is a relevant result, so they rank it higher for the buyer.
To determine how frequently keywords are being searched, you can use one of the following SEO tools:
These tools will allow you to check the monthly search volume for keywords, so you can determine which ones are worth targeting.
Be wary of keywords with massively high search volumes and high difficulty scores. Many other users are going after these keywords, so they’re tough to rank for. As a solution, aim for more specific keywords with slightly lower search volumes. These will be less competitive, but their specificity will attract qualified, valuable leads.
Once you have a list of keywords, distribute them throughout the copy of your website. Let’s say, for example, your market is the Los Angeles area – specifically, the suburbs south of LA such as Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Torrance. You would include the phrase “manhattan beach houses for sale” and keywords relating to it throughout the Manhattan Beach page to rank higher for buyers searching in that area.
Following these SEO tactics, you’ll be able to rank higher in your target buyers’ search results and draw them to your site.
Step three: Attract leads through ads
Compared to SEO, paid promotions give you a bit more control over how well you reach potential clients. By spending more on your ads, you can increase their visibility and attract more leads to your listings.
Your campaigns don’t necessarily need to be expensive though to be effective. To maximize the value of your ad spend, you want to carefully choose which platforms you’re advertising on and how you utilize those platforms. Here are a few platforms and strategies to consider for launching worthwhile real estate promotions.
Facebook’s large user base makes it an ideal space for agents to place ads and attract buyers. In fact, Facebook is by far the most popular social media site for real estate agents, according to Placester’s 2018 survey.
Facebook ads are most effective in reaching high-quality leads when they’re targeted. Great targeting lets you reach buyers with the perfect demographics for your properties, such as salary and age range.
By placing your promotion in front of people who care about your listings, Facebook ad targeting plays a huge role in boosting sales.
The steps to setting up targeting for Facebook ads are somewhat tricky, so we set up this guide to ease you through the process.
Don’t have enough time to promote and target buyers through Facebook? Use an automated digital marketing platform, such as our tool Boost, to take care of the work for you. With every new listing you post, Boost gathers property details to generate a Facebook ad.
While creating the promotion, Boost optimizes the ad copy, targets audiences, and more to your set goals. Once your campaign is running, Boost tracks engagement metrics to help you measure the performance of each listing.
With your Facebook ads set up—either by yourself or with a tool like Boost–you’ll be able to reach high-quality leads and drive more sales.
Outside of social media, you can attract leads who are searching through Google using AdWords. This platform allows your site to rank higher in Google search results based on the keywords you select and your ad spend.
Here’s how Google AdWords works—you tie your campaign to specific keywords, so your ad is shown when people search for those phrases. You only pay Google when someone clicks on your promotion, so your ad spend is always valuable.
You can maximize the value of your campaign even further by selecting keywords that are highly targeted to your most promising leads. This specific keyword usage makes it more likely that users will continue engaging with your site after clicking rather than quickly abandoning your page.
The AdWords Keyword Planner is a great tool for choosing targeted keyword phrases that won’t break the bank.
Whether you’re utilizing AdWords or Facebook, promotion platforms when used strategically are a great way to boost your listings’ visibility and engage with high-quality leads.
Step four: Managing your leads
Gathering leads is exciting, but it isn’t the end goal. To make the most of your online leads, you’ll need a way to nurture them—otherwise, they’ll lose interest and move on to another agent. Here are a few suggestions for handling and nurturing your leads as they pour in.
Drip Email Campaign
A drip email campaign allows you to nurture leads by following up with them about your business. These emails are sent out automatically using a schedule you determine in advance, so it minimizes the amount of time and money you have to invest into the process.
In a typical drip email series, your first email might introduce yourself to a new lead, the second one might clarify the services you offer, and further emails might provide useful information for home buyers or sellers (you’ll probably want to have a separate series of emails for each). A drip email series will generally be four to seven emails long, sending a new email once or twice a week.
Here are a few great email marketing software options for your drip campaign:
- MailChimp is a great email marketing provider for first-timers since it offers a free plan for subscribers with fairly small lead lists (you’ll have to include a MailChimp logo on your emails, though). Once your list grows beyond the free plan limit, you can buy one of MailChimp’s paid plans.
- Constant Contact is another great email marketing software with plans ranging from $20 to $300+ dollars per month. It offers customizable templates, contact management, and scheduling to help you send professional drip campaigns.
Drip email campaigns are optimal lead management—they require little work yet are a powerful way to stay in touch with your leads and remind them of your value as an agent.
Our app HomeSpotter is a convenient communication platform for real estate agents and home buyers. Rather than needing to use multiple tools—texting, Google, social media—to find and share listings, HomeSpotter allows you to connect with clients and facilitate home searches from one single app.
- Edit listings and upload photos quickly from the app.
- Message your clients and other agents directly from the app.
- Conduct reliable home searches by MLS number, address, and more, and you’ll be able to quickly access listing information.
- Share your app content easily with text messages, and recipients will receive a link that automatically displays your information.
- Use HomeSpotter’s mortgage calculator to quickly give your clients affordability information on listings.
Our app facilitates quick communication with leads and gives them access to useful tools. With these perks, HomeSpotter helps you add value to the home buying experience and stand out with exceptional service.
Follow a Plan to Attract Online Buyers
The value of listing properties online is an undeniable aspect of the real estate industry today. Buyers increasingly want to conduct home searches online, so agents are all trying to win clients through the Internet.
To stand out, use the strategies outlined in this digital marketing checklist. Following these steps, you’ll be ready with tools and services to build an online presence as an agent, attract leads to your listings, and boost your sales.