Chances are, you already have a website. The National Association of Realtors reports that more than 90 percent of real estate firms do.
But does your current website do a good job of selling you to potential customers? In a service-based business, YOU are the product, and many agents are uncomfortable (or simply don’t know how) to promote themselves online.
In this blog post, we will explore:
- Why “looks matter” when it comes to websites
- The crucial jobs every agent needs their website to perform
- The three most important elements for personal promotion
According to the National Association of Realtors, the majority of buyers begin their home search online. Even clients who were referred by a friend or relative are probably going to visit your website before they call you. Your website is often your first chance to make a good impression, so don’t waste it.
WHY “VINTAGE” DOESN’T WORK FOR WEBSITES
Would you put an old, decrepit yard sign in front of your new listing? Hopefully not. And you shouldn’t use an outdated, poorly-designed website to represent you and your business.
Much like you would advise your client to regularly maintain their home and make periodic updates, you should make adjustments and improvements to your website on a regular basis.
We launched this cutting-edge, state-of-the-art website at GoodLife Realty in 2005:
Obviously, our 2005 website would be considered obsolete by today’s standards. For comparison, here’s a preview of our current website:
Between 2005 and 2018, we launched several new website designs to keep up with changes in technology and design preferences.
If your current website looks more like our 2005 version, you may be long overdue for an update.
According to a website credibility study by Stanford University, 74 percent of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. Here are some tips to ensure your website has a modern design aesthetic:
- Stick to Four or Fewer Colors
Too many colors can make your website appear juvenile and unprofessional. Instead choose a small but coordinated palette that reflects your brand identity.
- Apply the Same Filters to All Photos
This will give your website and listing photos a cohesive look
- Keep Fonts Consistent Across All Media
Select fonts that are easy to read but also showcase your brand personality, whether it’s strong, simple, elegant, formal or funky.
- Utilize Responsive Design
Ensure a good viewing experience across all devices, whether it’s a mobile phone, desktop or tablet.
PUT YOUR WEBSITE TO WORK
Even if your site has a modern design aesthetic, there are probably things you could do to enhance its effectiveness. Your website can (and should) have the necessary functionality to help you bring in new clients.
At a minimum, your website should do the following three things:
- Educate Visitors
Visitors are most likely coming to your website to learn about 1) you and your business and 2) real estate. This is your chance to let them know who you are and what you can do for them. (We will detail how to do this in the following section on Personal Promotion.)
- Capture Traffic
This is generally done through a lead capture form that requires your visitor to enter their name and contact information. A lot of agents force visitors to register on their website if they want to search for homes. What do they do? Go to Zillow.
Instead, offer your visitors something of value that they can’t easily find somewhere else. (For tips on how to create a compelling offer, see our post on 3 Keys to Creating Effective Real Estate Landing Pages.)
- Convert Leads
According to Google, two out of three real estate searchers research prospective agents extensively online prior to working with them. Make sure what they find online helps you rather than hurts.
So how do you “sell” yourself to potential clients on your website? Ensure you have these three elements:
- Client-focused Biography
You might think your bio’s main purpose is to tell your visitors about you. However, clients are more interested in what you can do for THEM. Your bio should answer these questions:
- What do I do that’s different?
- Why do I do what I do that’s different?
- How will you benefit from working with me?
- What is it like to work with me?
Make sure the tone is warm and friendly and avoid “corporate speak.” No one wants to work with a boring real estate agent.
Complement your written biography with high-quality, professional photography. This should include:
- Photos of you
- Photos of you with your clients
- Photos of homes you’ve sold
Good photography plays a crucial role in marketing. It serves as a visual representation of you and what it’s like to work with you.
- Social Proof
Both reviews and testimonials are powerful tools for offering “social proof” of your effectiveness as a Realtor. Clients who weren’t referred to you by a friend or family member will often rely on reviews and testimonials as third-party verification of your skills and abilities.
Reviews are typically featured on external sites, like Google and Yelp. You have no real control over their content or presentation. They play an important role in online marketing because they are perceived as credible and unbiased. The more reviews you have, the more believable they will be, so you should encourage all of your satisfied clients to submit a review. If you have a number of good reviews on a site, you can (and should) link to them from your website.
Here’s a sample template you can use to ask your clients to submit an online review:
Congratulations on the sale/purchase of your home!
You really made the difference in helping me achieve my goal of giving you a 5-star experience.
Without your help in letting me know what you wanted during the entire process, it would not have been possible.
But there’s one more step necessary to confirm the 5-star experience I strive to provide you with … your review of us working together!
By authoring this review, you’re doing me a HUGE favor, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you for it.
You can rate your 5-star experience and write your quick review here (it should only take a few moments).
P.S. If there’s anything I can do to help you get situated, please let me know.
P.P.S. If you feel as though I fell short of a 5-star experience, please tell me now by simply replying to this email.
Testimonials are a different – but equally important – element to marketing yourself online. You have more much control over testimonials because you choose which ones to feature on your website and how to present them.
To increase the credibility of your website’s testimonials, we recommend including:
- Client’s Full Name
- Property Address
- Client’s Photo
- Property Photo
- Video of the Client Giving Their Testimonial (if available)
Don’t leave it up to your client to determine what to include in their testimonial. Instead, let them know specific skills or attributes about you and your work that you’d like them to mention. For example, do you want them to highlight your negotiation skills? Communication style? It’s a good idea to have a handful of testimonials that speak to your different strengths.
And be sure to get written permission before you post something on your website. The easiest way is through an email exchange.
Here’s a sample template you can use to solicit a client testimonial:
Hi [Name], hope you’re doing great!
I wanted to enlist your help.
My business is built on working with good people such as yourself.
Can you send me a quick testimonial about what you thought of the negotiation skills you observed during the time we worked together?
This would be a tremendous help in growing my real estate business.
- Real Estate Blog
A well-executed blog can showcase your expertise in real estate and your knowledge of the local market. While many large companies use blogs as a way to increase their organic search engine traffic, most individual real estate agents don’t have the time or expertise to do this effectively. Instead, focus on posting once or twice a month simply as a way to build credibility and give your visitors a reason to come back to your website.
Popular blog topics for real estate agents include:
- Local real estate market developments
- New listings and inventory changes
- Market statistics
- Tips for buyers, sellers and owners
- Neighborhood insights
At GoodLife Realty, each month we post a market update on our blog. Here’s a template you can use to create a market update for your blog.
As a bonus, you can record a video explaining what it means for buyers, sellers, and homeowners. For tips on creating video for your blog, see our post: Real Estate Marketing Videos in 5 Simple Steps.
Now that you know which elements are required to turn your website into a personal promotion power tool, you can start assessing your current site to see where it excels … and where it’s lacking. Make a list of the changes and improvements you’d like to make, and then tackle them one by one.
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