Last week the Realty Labs team got curious on how realtors from different communities across North America market themselves. We spent a bit over an hour each, Googling and researching, and our findings were surprising.
Most realtors in Canada and the U.S., some of them on top of their realty company’s list, either don’t have a website and seem to put all their effort into marketing themselves through social media platforms (mostly Facebook), or they have an outdated and poorly functioning website.
We found ourselves asking: Is it common that realtors think they don’t need a (great) website?
Is there perhaps a widespread belief that in a world of growing competition among realtors it’s pointless to invest in a great website, knowing that you’ll still have to work hard (and smart) to get people to visit your website?
A realtor’s website is their business card, portfolio, bio, and channel of communication with current and potential clients.
Based on our Realty Lab team’s research and what our clients have shared with us after their real estate websites were launched, here are 7 reasons why it’s important for realtors to invest in a great website.
1. Without a Website You Give Your Clients to the Competitors
From nearest coffee shop to dog grooming services, most people look for ideas and references online.
Recent stats show that roughly half (46.8%) of the world’s population accessed the internet in 2017. This means that on average Google processes 40,000 searches every second, over 3.5 billion searched every day, which sums up to 1.2 trillion searches per year.
According to a 2017 survey done by the National Association of Realtors, 42% of home buyers start their search online and 90% of sellers list their homes on the Multiple Listing Service.
People search on Google not only to find products and services, but also to verify that they’ve made the right decisions and decide whether they’re ready to spend their money. The same is true for realtors.
Regardless if a potential client found you through Google or a referral from a friend, they want to see for themselves who you are and whether you might be the one.
Consider also the benefits of Google Ads, the ads that show up in the Google search results at the top and bottom of each page. If a realtor (a.k.a. YOU) has a website, they can purchase Google Ads and show their services at the top of all other search results, ahead of competitors.
The ad will take potential clients directly to the realtor’s website.
This is where first impressions really count. The ad is merely a blurb without visuals that gets your potential clients curious.
After all, if your realty website is shown at the top, you’re the top realtor, right? Whether you can satisfy this curiosity with a well-designed website is up to you.
2. Your Website is Your Storefront
This closely ties in with the first point. There’s lots of noise in the world of realty and a great website is the first step to be heard.
Driving traffic to your website and getting potential clients interested in your services is quite literally a click away, and this click will land either on your website or your competitor’s.
Let’s say you’ve been doing great in the realty business and your clients are so happy with your work they refer you to their friends. (On a side note, according to a Nielsen study, 92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew.)
Or someone drove through their dream neighbourhood, saw a “For Sale” sign with your name on it and wants to know more about you.
Perhaps a potential client came across you on a social media platform and wants to find out more about how you do business and your listings. Social media drives roughly 31% of overall traffic to websites, but unless you happen to be extremely savvy with social media platforms and have been able to capitalize on it, your potential clients might be left wanting for more.
A sophisticated website is the first step to have your name and brand out there to create a great first impression, generate leads, and drive traffic by inviting potential customers to spend more time getting to know you. Even better, a great website invites your clients to go back and invite their friends and family to check you out as well.
3. Having a Website Creates Trust Among Clients
Clients these days rate trust based not only on referrals, but also a well-designed website.
Because anyone out there can create a website using affordable online tools, a professionally designed and tailored website that showcases you is more likely to make people feel like they know you.
Your website is your digital business card which allows potential clients to decide whether it’s worth engaging with you.
If you can’t be found online or your presence appears unprofessional, it hinders clients from verifying who you are or if you’re real at all.
You also have missed the opportunity to showcase your expertise as a realtor.
4. Without a Website Others are Creating Your Brand
This point is the amalgamation of what we’ve said before.
Your website is a place to tell your story, and the story of clients who found their forever home thanks to you or sold over the asking price.
Without your own storefront with your own branding, you allow competitors, social media, or less satisfied clients create a story about you.
5. Website is the Most Effective Way to Communicate with Clients
Back in the days before Facebook implemented a whole lot of new algorithms, doing business on social media was great. A free business page allowed you to advertise without many limits and you most likely appeared in quite a few news feeds.
Those days are long gone and unless you know how to tailor your Facebook presence to increase Likes and Shares, the organic (or free) reach you have is only about 2% of the users.
This goes back to the point that about 31% of overall website traffic comes from social media. While your Facebook presence is determined by algorithms, you can choose how to position and brand yourself on your website (remember Point 4?). You can tell you story in your own unique way.
And even though those who don’t use any social media are the minority these days, for some of your current and potential clients communication through your website might be the only and most effective way to reach you.
What’s even better, if you have a Facebook account for your realty business, you can use marketing techniques such as Facebook Ads to reach more potential clients on Facebook and drive more traffic to your website. The biggest difference from Google Ads is that you can have visuals in your ad, photos and videos, to make yourself stand out even more.
6. Create a MarketBoost Report to Increase Your Credibility
Your website is your storefront, business card, and portfolio, but it’s also a source of knowledge for current and potential clients. Let’s rephrase that.
YOU are the source of knowledge for your clients.
Most realty websites have an IDX integration added to their website which allows to add MLS listings to their website. As you add listings to your website with IDX, potential buyers and sellers who search the web for properties, will be directed to your site.
IDX imports, displays, and updates the MLS listings on your website, helping you look professional.
MarketBoost is a service that can be added to IDX. With this tool you can define your niche markets and offer anyone who visits your website to sign up for Monthly Market Reports and/or a weekly email with any new homes listed in your niche market.
These reports are automatically generated by MarketBoost based on what market filters you’ve selected in your IDX. Without much effort on your part, you can share these relevant key market reports with your visitors, build your credibility as a realtor, and position yourself as the expert in your niche market.
Even if your website visitors don’t become your clients right away, they get a chance to build trust in you and keep you in mind when they’re ready to sell or buy.
In addition, if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to pay for Google Ads or Facebook Ads, if you update your site every 2 to 12 hours with new listings, you’ll help your SEO. Regular updates will help generate a free and organic traffic to your website and get potential clients to notice you.
7. Ask Garet
Have you met our in-house web design guru Garet?
With over 14 years of experience working with agents, teams and brokerages across North America, he’ll be the first to tell you that when you invest in a website with a trusted company that specializes in web development for realtors, you’re one step closer to success.
When you bring your realty expertise to experts in web design, they can tailor a website to your vision, niche market, and desired client base. You’ll walk away with a sophisticated and modern website design, and the confidence that you’ll stand out in the crowd.
If it looks like we put together this lists to brag about what Realty Labs is extraordinary good at, it’s because that’s exactly what we did. We’re all about sharing stories, including our own.
We love what we do. We love to see realtors succeed. We love the websites we’ve created for our realtors.
And if you have any questions, we’d also love to hear from you. We don’t charge for meetings and coffee is free if you stop by our office.