This is the next post in our series on how real estate agents can improve their marketing. My last article gave an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also mentioned the fact that many realtors fail to make money after entering the profession. If you want to set yourself apart from those who fail, and actually make money instead, then it is important that you not be following the same business model that they follow. It pretty much goes without saying that following the model of someone who’s failing may not be the best idea. One of the things that will make you different from other realtors is having your own web presence. There are three big benefits to maintaining your own website, as opposed to using the template page that many brokers provide. These benefits include making you appear more legitimate in the eyes of potential clients, having more control over the content of your website (and how it will appear in search results), and the ability to take your web presence with you if you switch brokerages. Capitalizing on these benefits, and having a quality web presence, can help you to look like this:

woman with money

while other agents continue to look like this:

businessman asking for change

I’m assuming that you’d rather look like the former. If you prefer to look like the latter, then…well…ok.

If you need assistance with a real estate website then contact us online or by telephone today. We work with companies throughout the United States. Now…to the meat of this article.

Realtors appear more legitimate when they have their own website (especially with clients listing their home for sale)

Realtors can appear more legitimate than their fellow agents by building a quality website. Many studies show that people tend to look at the online presence of a business before purchasing goods or services from that company. This means that many people, after hearing about an agent, will look up that agent’s online presence before reaching out. If they cannot find a quality online presence, then they become less likely to contact you. In other words, someone may have clicked your ad on Zillow, read a mailer you’ve sent them in regard to listing their home for sale, or they may have been referred to you, and you never hear from them because they looked for online validation which they did not find. To make matters worse, you’re unlikely to know that you’re losing these potential leads as you really have no way of knowing that someone was exposed to you but didn’t call. By taking the time to build out your website, you make yourself look like an agent who takes their business seriously. Failing to do so can result in spending quite a bit of money on lead services and mailers but getting fewer leads than one should due to a lack of online validation.

Consider the following example. Mary Beth Downing is an agent for Keller Williams Advisors and we will be featuring her later in this series. She finished third in production for her brokerage in 2021 and did roughly $4.7m worth of real estate transactions in southwest Ohio (where homes are cheaper than the national average). It is common for her to receive compliments on her website from potential buyers and sellers. Also, it is common for her potential customers to tell her that they found her online. The fact that people take the time to comment on her web presence when calling shows that it leads to actual sales. This is a great example of online validation. By making it more likely that people who discover her will actually call, Mary Beth is able to be a successful agent while spending relatively little on lead generation.

The need for legitimacy is especially important when it comes to getting listings. An experienced agent knows that working with sellers is far more preferable than working with residential buyers. To this end, many agents spend significant amounts of money on mailers and cold-calling programs in an effort to get listings. Think of what this means, however, if one does not have a strong web presence. You’re spending money on mailers, but those mailers don’t have as high a chance of succeeding because the people reading them want to look you up online before calling. They then see that you lack online validation when they attempt to look you up. This lack of validation results in them not calling you. This means that, while yielding some phone calls, those mailers are not as successful as they could be. By building out a quality web presence, an agent could a) spend less on mailers but still get the same number of listings due to increased effectiveness, or b) get more listings without increasing the amount which they spend on mailers. If you’re sending someone materials saying that you’re the person to sell their home then you need to have a presence that stands out from other agents.

Real estate agents have more control over their website’s content (and search results) by building out their own presence

It’s common for brokerages to provide agents with a template page which they can then add basic information to. That’s pretty much where the functionality of these one-page templates ends. Such templates are less likely to appear high in search results even if you are looking for the agent by nameThey are certainly less likely to appear for people who are performing generalized real estate searches. By having your own web presence, you are able to control the number and types of pages you put on your website, the inclusion of IDX (which we will discuss later in this series), and you can ensure that your site includes necessary SEO (such as including relevant metadata, etc.). This, in turn, provides you with the tools you need to give yourself a better chance in search results.

Mary Beth, the realtor mentioned above, primarily deals with investors. As such, she has devoted pages and other content on her website to providing information relevant to that client base. This has given her a level of performance in the search results which simply would not have been possible with the template page provided by a brokerage. Just as an example, the following search of “Dayton realtor for investors,” yields the following results (Mary Beth’s website is each of the top two-organic links):

Realtor search results showing Mary Beth Downing at top

While no website is ever guaranteed to do well in search, the truth of the matter is that one’s chances at good search performance are greatly limited if they don’t have control over the content and design of their website. Having this control means building out your own online presence and not relying on the tools provided to you by a brokerage.

Having their own website means that a real estate agent can switch brokerages and maintain their online presence

If you utilize the template web page that many brokerages provide then your online presence is the property of the brokerage. When you switch brokerages, you lose this web presence. By owning your own web presence, you can take it with you from brokerage to brokerage. Mary Beth, the realtor mentioned in this article, started her real estate career with Coldwell Banker and then switched to Keller Williams after being recruited by the latter. We were able to quickly re-brand her site for the new brokerage but little else on it had to change. This allowed her to build up a quality online presence with the assurance that she could take it with her to another brokerage. If you want to build your business over the long-term then owning your own marketing assets is an important part of doing so.

If you are an agent or a brokerage then contact us today regarding our website development services. We are able to work with businesses throughout the country and we pride ourselves on providing the highest levels of service.

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