So you might have a real estate website that’s doing well… But chances are if you’re reading this article, your website isn’t generating leads in significant or reliable counts. The point of this blog post is not to tell you some “magical formula” which will transform your website into a lead-generation machine. In reality, there isn’t a way for any site to somehow magnetically attract their preferred target demographic, although we can certainly give you some pointers as to what real estate buyers and sellers are looking for in general. Knowing that will help you make informed decisions about how to frame your business as the best resource in your market using both search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO).
Listings, listings, listings…
Especially when people are first considering selling or buying a home, they are going to want to research prices in their area, and have an effective tool handy to do that throughout their decision-making process. This is where your well-stocked featured properties and capability-enhanced MLS solutions will really shine in helping you generate leads. Even though more and more people are savvy to the free search and listings tools that are out there, most of those eventually require registration of some kind. If you’re running a sponsored campaign, creating a landing page that acts as a barrier between your prospects and the home listings they want to access on your website can still be a great way to get people to submit their personal information. Of course, if you have the best selection of featured listings and top-notch MLS tools (that offer perks like automated email listings updates), it makes your case for getting emails and phone numbers that much stronger.
Whether you know it or not, your real estate website needs a lot of original information about your local market. This is because when people are thinking of making a real estate transaction, they want to be fully “in the know” about the area. If your website has the best, most comprehensive info available anywhere, then you will be seen as the authoritative expert by those who visit your website… Including the search engines! This is where SEO can play a big part in lead generation; adding many pages of unique, relevant content regarding buying, selling, investing, financing, and so on will lead to natural traffic. Once you get users on the site, then this copy, which also has a subtle sales pitch integrated into it, will help steer them to the appropriate lead capture form that they will fill out, provided they are ready to take the first step. They may very well bookmark your resourceful website at one point, only to register with you at a later time when their search for a Realtor gets more serious.
This is something that can apply in both the paid and organic search marketing spheres; does your website deliver value propositions that are convincing and unique? Now what constitutes an original promotion will vary from market to market. In some markets, where search traffic is not highly competitive, it may suffice to stick to some “standard” offers like sending a free printed map of the area with your business branding on it, or direct access to the MLS. In areas where competition is tough, however, these basic offers probably won’t yield you much traction, or leads. This is when you need to get creative! Maybe come up with a killer new idea for a real estate tool on your website and have it custom-developed, or give away free tickets to a local sporting event. We’ve even seen real estate professionals offer custom travel itineraries, and discounted lodging (for those travelling from out of town to view homes). Your imagination is the main limit, although you always want to balance your ideas with what is practical and will really entice people to consider working with you.
We hope you enjoyed this overview of some SEO and SEM strategies that can help generate more leads from your website. Please drop a comment and give us your thoughts!