It’s no secret that buyers love searching for homes online. For many years, research has found that this is how the overwhelming majority of buyers begin their search. Once buyers are ready to get serious, how do they select an agent?
While referrals play an important role, it’s hard to deny that the internet has gained prominence. Buyers are going online to find houses and screen agents. It’s foolhardy to assume that an agent can ignore the importance of their online presence, starting with their website. How can you make sure your site is connecting with buyers?
- Make sure it’s up-to-date. If your site displays stale content, looks out-of-date or doesn’t work well on mobile devices, many buyers will scratch your name off their list. It’s not a question of your age or experience, but a matter of being out of step with today’s market. Just as unfashionable clothing or hairstyles are undesirable, agent sites should reflect today’s standards.
- Include a “personal” introduction. Real estate may be about houses, but at its core, it’s about people. When searching for a house, buyers want to feel relaxed and comfortable with their agent. A stiff, formal biography won’t encourage buyers to reach out. Instead, use conversational language to extend a warm, personable handshake.
- Focus on your experience. While liking you is important, this isn’t enough to win business. You also need to demonstrate—in words buyers can easily understand—that you have sufficient knowledge and experience. Without bragging, explain what you bring to the table and how you can help them. Include any specific benchmarks for success and advanced training, such as the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation or other areas of specialization.
- Highlight the experience of others. Testimonials and reviews are still one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. Even if a buyer’s best friend says, “Trust me, she’s great,” that buyer will still want to see evidence that other people agree with their friend’s recommendation.
- Provide a top-notch search experience. If your site offers local property searches, make sure it’s set up to facilitate buyers’ preferred search criteria. Unless you’re providing access to information not easily found elsewhere, stay away from requiring a registration to search.
- Make it easy to get in touch. Make sure buyers don’t encounter any difficulties reaching you. Make the contact button easy to find by positioning it in more than one location on every page. Test your contact form to ensure that it works and that inquiries are answered.
No standalone website? While agents should take advantage of every marketing tool offered by their managing broker, don’t stop there. If this is the only place buyers will find you when searching online, many may think you’re less invested in your career, less experienced, etc., than other agents.
Make sure all other online profiles are up-to-date, with matching photos and similar marketing messages. Search for yourself online to see how consumers will find you, and what their first impressions will be.
Use these tips to generate more connections with online buyers. To learn more, check out the one-day Real Estate Marketing Reboot course, which can be taken online or in a classroom, and counts toward earning the ABR® designation. Visit http://rebac.net/content/real-estate-marketing-reboot for details.
Marc D. Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.
To learn more, please visit REBAC.net.
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