I remember when I used to advertise my business on the local papers weekly, that real estate ads and job postings dominated most of the advertising space. And what’s a trip to the mall without a new pamphlet of housing projects in your hand? Real estate agents know that they also need to cover as much advertising real estate to reach more of their intended market. But in the past decade, the advertising real estate has gone mostly online. To succeed as an agent, follow where most of the people are at or be left in the dust.
The emergence of the smartphone or mobile technology, for instance, has contributed significantly to this shift. People are more mobile and have less time actually to engage. Old tactics may not be as effective anymore because people’s routines have also changed over the years. Increasing traffic problems have disrupted people’s lives significantly to the point that more people are working remotely. With more than half of your viable market working at home, that affects traditional advertising methods like distributing brochures in the malls and the like. At most, you’ll get lots of foot traffic on the weekends.
Not every real estate agent can afford to pay for a banner or maybe ad placement in magazines. And besides, forecasts are showing that newspaper revenues will be further cut in half in the years to come. Magazine revenues are likely to drop from $20.6 billion in 2012, down to $6.6 billion by 2024.
People are not looking at print ads as much as they used to when they are looking for real estate. Just like the rest of the global market, their search begins online. It’s where they gather information, scrutinise properties, compare different products, and, ultimately, make purchasing decisions. It’s probably the only time potential buyers will meet with you face-to-face.
So, if your market is mostly online, are you following?
It’s how your real estate business will survive and thrive in this digital era. You need to integrate your print into digital campaigns and pour more ad campaign funds into the latter. Here are current trends you can adapt to make your real estate business thriving in the now.
1. Start Your Website
With more than half of the global population on the internet, 4.54 billion people should be a number big enough for you to lay down any second thoughts on creating a website for your real estate business. Out of this, there are 3.8 billion users on social media sites.
That is why it is even better if your website has an accompanying mobile app or social media accounts. That’s just the kind of business world you are a part of now. You need a strong online presence to get some level of authority in your target niche, even before online visitors and customers can even begin to trust you.
With the 3.5 billion Google searches done daily, why exclude yourself from all the action?
Owning a website, then, is more than just riding the digital bandwagon, but a wise and profitable decision you can make that will turn your business around.
Make sure your website is appealing, professional-looking, and excellently-made. Learn about website trends, use free tools if you are on a budget-crunch, or hire a professional.
A website is like your business card on steroids. With your website, people can decide in a moment if they will trust you and do business with you or not. And for something as big an investment as real estate, people need to trust you, and you need customers that you can also trust. It goes both ways. Having a website makes it easier for you to vet clients as well, so you can be sure you are dealing with real people who are sincerely looking for properties to either rent, buy, or sell.
And in these trying times, having a website now has taken a whole new meaning. Virtual property tours can now be done online to minimize health, privacy, and security hazards so prevalent these days. Having a website ensures that you can keep running your business in times of crisis, such as community quarantine and the like.
Businesses with a web presence can bring higher revenues for your business and allows you to cover more ground than having a brick-and-mortar office or personally going out where the people are to promote your product.
Websites can also level the playing field even for newbie real estate agents so they can compete with big-named realtors and agencies.
You wouldn’t have to break the bank just to open your website, so prioritise producing a good, high-quality website as soon as you can.
2. Target Local Keyword Phrases
Keywords are the starting point of every SEO strategy, so you must use the right ones on your website and the other content that you publish. Be resourceful and use tools available online so you uncover the right keywords you need to be targeting to bring your target market into your website. Tools available now are Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, and SEM Rush.
Use keywords seamlessly and strategically. Overstuffing keywords can make your website appear as low-value and spam-like. A safe amount would be 1-2% of the page in strategic places like URL, page title, meta descriptions, and image alt tags.
Discover the words your market often use when they’re looking for real estate. This is the search intent. Your real estate property has to rank well in local searches, too, so you need to find the right local keywords based on the areas of your service.
4 out of 5 consumers will go to search engines to find local information. The same number also want their ads customized to their city, zip code, or nearby locations.
Out of those who search their smartphones for nearby businesses, 76% visit within the day, and 28% result in a purchase.
It’s something to consider when starting a website. You need to optimise your efforts to hit the local market to get more engagements and conversions.
When you start your website, focus on the main city you do business in first, and then begin to build other pages or links that will direct people to different locations or projects you cover. This way, people who visit your site will not be confused or find your page too busy, having way too much information.
Optimise your pages for search terms such as:
- [City] real estate
- [City] homes for sale
- [City] real estate listings
- [City] realtor
- [City] real estate agent
Use these keywords or phrases throughout your site or pages, seamlessly or organically. For example:
Smallville Homes for Sale
- Living in Smallville
- Smallville Real Estate Testimonials
- About Your Smallville Realtor
3. Make your website more valuable.
Make your site more useful as well. Make every content of high-quality. If you are producing an ad copy, let it be compelling. If you are producing a blog, let it be well-written. If you are releasing photos or videos, then let them be of high resolution. If you are publishing some graphics, let it be well-designed.
Whatever you do, make it of high value so you can attract more traffic to your site. Google and other search engines prioritise high-value or high-quality websites any day than low-value, low-quality ones. Producing content this way gives you more chances on landing on the first page of SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Add value to people’s lives by giving information or writing extensively about topics that will help them.
For instance, let’s say you are marketing a town called “Smallville.” Aside from property listings, also provide a step-by-step guide to their first three months in Smallville and what are the first things they should prioritise. You can also release an infographic on the history of Smallville to instill sense belongingness for your buyers and the new residents of the town. You can blog about local favorites and give honest reviews. You can produce a whitepaper article on taxes in Smallville and important dates for filing.
Make your website like a resource or reference material when it comes to Smallville. Give information on school districts, public transportation, and other facts the average homeowner must know.
Foot traffic to your site gets increased organically and remarkably this way. When you write blog posts containing specific properties, for example, and you include that particular property’s address, the address becomes the keyword. It can be included in the meta description, title tag, and alt tag on that specific page.
In short, don’t make your website a digital brochure or flyer, where you just always “market” your market. If you are not careful, people will find your website spammy because all you do is sell, sell, and sell some more.
Hard-selling is no longer the trend in any industry. That is one effect of the global market and with the internet bringing information so close to people in real-time. The majority of audiences have advertising fatigue and would get turned off at the slight sign of hard-selling.
So, think about your locality and discover what is most important to them that’s related to your niche and offer those solutions to your website.
Since Google won’t index IDX (Internet Data Exchange) as part of your site, add additional unique content about the locality you are targeting to give other factors for Google bots to index your site. Add extra facts and features of properties you market, testimonials page, photos, and videos. These types of content send out more “signals” to Google that you are a real estate business in the area. If you do SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) correctly, you will be able to achieve high rankings on local keyword phrases.
4. Link up with the community.
To be more credible to your audience or readers, you need to have links with your community, both online and in real life. For instance, when you write about a particular property, include nearby schools and restaurants and other businesses. Contact the companies, for example, that you have featured them on your website, and if they have a website, ask if you could backlink to them from your article or blog about the property.
Backlinks not only increase your trust rating but also helps your customers navigate within your website and through your site with great ease. Do not be insecure as to contain your customers just in the space of your website. It will be better for you if you can connect them to different sites that would also bring value to their lives.
It gets others to talk about your website too. Google gives better rankings if other relevant websites are linking to your real estate business. It increases your domain authority also. To be successful with link building, you need to reach out to trustworthy review and niche websites, as well as your local partners and media.
5. Take Advantage Social Media
Social media is dominating the market in more ways you can imagine. How everything one may need is curated through social media has made it so much popular with consumers of digital content, young and old alike. As a result of chasing after the market, businesses are also building silos of their digital marketing campaigns on various social media platforms.
The real estate business is one of them. Take advantage of social media and even social media ads. A little investment here actually goes a long way. You can also make your social media campaigns much more effective than your PPC campaigns because social media is just a much more in demand content platform.
Photos and videos, then, are vital. Even in your websites, using multimedia makes your site more engaging. When you expand to social media, all the more it becomes crucial.
Homebuyers love seeing a video tour of the inside of their prospective new homes. In addition to video tours, consider capturing testimonials on video as well.
Whenever you sell a home, get a testimonial. Try to get the testimonial recorded on the spot, to optimise that moment of excitement when you give the new homeowner the keys to their new home. That’s a great time to ask for a review as well.
You can get 403% more inquiries for listings accompanied by video than those without video. Adding a video to a page triples the number of inbound links as well. You don’t have to worry about making professional-looking videos. There are tools like Veed.io and similar web apps that can help you quickly edit and produce excellent-quality videos. For images, you can use Canva.com for free. There are also a lot of photo-editing apps to choose from so that every time you put an image on your website or your social media accounts, it will be of top quality.
6. Make Your Site Mobile
Statistics show that 90% of real estate businesses have websites. It is not surprising because close to 60% of buyers found their properties online. Less than 20% contacted a realtor first, too. That is why investments in the real estate management software market will reach $12.89 billion by 2025.
Since home buyers are searching for real estate on mobile devices, then it follows that your website needs to be mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive as well. The average homebuyer makes this critical life decision at the comfort of their homes, at the tip of their fingers, and you need to have an online presence that excels in all platforms or devices your prospects may be using.
Homebuyers visit real estate websites for various reasons, such as:
- Get general information about homes through articles, pictures, videos, and the like
- Get map details or directions to visit a home
- Compare prices in the market
- Compare features of properties
- Search company listings
- Locate and call realtor or broker
- Read reviews and testimonials
- Research on mortgage financing
Making your website mobile-friendly increases your traffic. Doing otherwise can drive your traffic away. Google also prioritises responsive designs on its SERP rankings.
What brings in the traffic for your real estate website is to dominate in local search. Implement these real estate SEO tips to help you get found online much better, connect with your market much faster, communicate more efficiently and establish rapport, and eventually turn these prospects into homeowners, investors, or even happy renters.