At some point, most real estate agents and brokers will pay for lead generation to target buyers and sellers in their area.
And for very good reason.
You see, marketing to attract more and new customers is a critical part of any business. In fact, without it, is it really a business at all? In real estate, it certainly never will be for long - especially in the age of apps, social media and Google search at the start of almost every transaction.
But too many agents who pay for lead generation are trying to catch more customers with a giant, gaping hole in their net: a bad website.
So, how does this happen?
Read on to learn 3 of the top ways having a bad website robs your lead generation spend of its return on investment.
- Pretty doesn't equal effective - Bad real estate websites too often focus on form over function. The "looks focus" seems to be in the very fiber of real estate, but the art and science of getting web viewers to engage with you have very little to do with what your site looks like and more to do with proven techniques for inbound marketing. Today, web visitors are experienced at using the web to find what they need. That means broken links, functions on your site like search that don't work, outdated or empty content, old blog posts and - most importantly of all - no real valuable info that helps them in their search for a home or why they need you as an agent will send them looking elsewhere. If you're paying for digital ads or any service that gets visitors to your site and it falls flat in these areas, they'll just bounce and you just got "clicked for pay."
- No lead capture - Today, inbound marketing drives most respected lead generation scenarios (of which paid ads and other tactics are also a part). With inbound marketing, you need to attract users with valuable information on your site, but also capture leads well once a visitor ends up visiting. Attracting them requires helpful, timely, and unique information, converting them (i.e. getting them to sign up or contact you) means special offers. Sometimes called "lead magnets," these are things like current market reports, invite-only emails, hot home listings, reduced price specials, special local info, off-market listings and the like that require the user to fill out a form to access. Pages or content that are "gated," meaning that the user must register to gain access, are also very important. Lead pages, lead popover boxes and landing pages are also critical tools for converting visitors to leads. Find a solid, easy-to-use offering such as https://www.leadpages.net/ and learn how to use it. Even popular sites that don't have lead capture tools and techniques are really like a car with no gas. Paying for ads to your site without them? That's just wasting cash, plain and simple.
- Sites with Poor Search Visibility - You may not think so, but your site's organic search ranking is still important even when you're paying for ads that link to your site. Think of how you find things on the web: research, research, and more research. Home buyers and sellers looking for agents go about it the same way. They search, see ads, click on ads, go to your site, then they search, shop and compare some more. Once a visitor gets to your site, they don't automatically trust you're the best. A big portion of visitors will hit your site, then Google things like "real estate in _____" and check out the top-ranked sites. More times than not, deficiencies they find in your site will pay double damage when they go there, don't find what they need then Google - and go with - a top-ranked competitor. Consumer research in this way happens now almost subconsciously. Rank highly or live with the risks. The biggest issue with this? Think about it. The lead generation you're paying for is actually helping your competitors get business if you don't rank well in search or have a bad website that can't capture leads.
Of course, these are only 3 of the many ways having a bad site hurts you when you think you're safe by paying for lead generation.
Too many agents think that because they're paying for ads or have bought into a service like Realtor.com or Zillow/Trulia they don't need to focus on their Google search appearance or their site's content.
Understanding that consumers always use the web to compare is the first step to knowing you must focus on the health of your site.
In fact, today, your website is THE key factor in the decision-making process used by web consumers looking to buy or sell. If it doesn't inform, attract, educate and differentiate, web viewers are a quick "Google" away from finding another agent's site that is.
More Resources for You
How Consumers Use Google for Decision-Making - https://www.brafton.com/news/more-than-94-percent-of-consumers-start-buying-process-with-google/
How Consumers Research with the Web Before Buying - http://www.adweek.com/digital/81-shoppers-conduct-online-research-making-purchase-infographic/
Why Lead Capture on Your Website is Important - https://www.process.st/why-you-need-to-capture-leads-on-your-company-website/
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About the Author
Jason Polancich is a founder and lead architect of HomePocket, a data-driven, residential real estate marketing and lead generation network making big data work practically and usefully for agents. Polancich also originally created SurfWatch Labs, a cyber analytics firm founded in 2013 that provides highly accurate, timely and actionable information to businesses regarding the cybercrime threats they face. Polancich is a serial entrepreneur focused on solving complex internet commerce, data analysis, and cyber-defense problems. Novii Design, a company he co-founded in 2005 with Rebekah Lewis-Polancich, was based on his contributions to cloud architectures, distributed computing, data analysis and systems integration. The company assisted the U.S. Intelligence Community and Department of Defense in building some of the largest data warehouse and analysis systems ever put into operation within the government and defense contracting sectors. Novii Design was sold to Six3/CACI in 2010.Follow on Twitter More Content by Jason Polancich