The benefits of marketing online are particularly clear in the real estate industry, where agents are constantly looking for the next lead or referral to keep their commissions rolling in (especially as the holidays approach!).
Today, internet search plays a vital role in the home buying process. This means that real estate agents can’t afford to miss out on online opportunities.
Here’s why marketing online is now a major stop on a buyer’s journey, and how agents can incorporate this new customer behavior into their marketing plans to attract, capture and close more leads.
1. Home buyers start their search online
The best way to make yourself valuable to a new client is by educating them on what to expect, right as they begin their home purchasing journey. And increasingly, that journey starts online. The National Associate of Realtors has found that 44% of buyers search properties online as the first step in their home buying process.
Even if home buyers don’t initially start their search online, the internet still plays a major role in their quest for a new home. NAR says that 95% of homebuyers will use online websites throughout the buying process.
Whether they start their search online or incorporate digital components later on, at one point or another home buyers will likely turn to the internet for resources, advice, and reviews. Make sure your real estate business is front and center for them to find as they navigate the web looking for helpful information — and ultimately, a real estate agent.
2. Your competition is already marketing online
Real estate agents know better than anyone that the competition for business can be fierce. You can’t afford to let competing agencies dominate such an important platform for attracting home buyers.
Just how many of your competitors have an online presence? According to NAR, 93% of real estate firms have a website.
The fact that so many real estate firms have a website means that they’re likely marketing online to other channels as well.
It could be worthwhile to investigate your competition’s digital presence and find out whether they’re also promoting their services in the following areas:
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Video (YouTube and Vimeo)
- Real estate listing sites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.)
If you do spot your competitors involved with any of the platforms listed above, then it’s time to up your digital game so you can also be seen and heard online.
If launching content on the same channels as your competitors is not within your immediate reach, it’s important to keep their online activities on your radar so you can come up with strategies for reaching the same audience of potential home buyers.
3. Clients value real estate agents who are digital
Marketing online won’t just help you attract the interest of home buyers; it will help you communicate with them as well.
The home buying process can be complicated and confusing, so it’s essential to provide leads and clients with multiple ways to get in touch with you. Some people prefer to communicate via email, phone, or even texts; and while a phone call may be appropriate during the day, your number alone doesn’t provide people with a way to reach out to you if a question pops into their head at 2 AM.
By being present on social sites, email and through your website, home buyers will have plenty of ways to get in touch, according to their preference. For example, a potential client with a question outside of your normal business hours could easily tweet their question to you, send you an email, or fill out a contact form on your site.
How important is marketing online to your target audience? You may be surprised that 53% of buyers told NAR that they consider an agent’s skills with technology to be “very important.”
Failing to provide leads with a way to digitally communicate with you sends a signal that you haven’t adapted to newer technology. This assumption can be fatal to your business, especially since 89% of buyers surveyed by NAR said that agent communication skills were important to them.
A good first step to improve your online communication is to set up a website with a contact page featuring an always-available form. Social media is also an ideal way to provide home buyers with a platform where they can ask questions and express concerns 24/7.
4. People are talking about you online
Even if you’re not online, your past clients are. Many of them may even be posting reviews, letting the world know what they think about your skills and service.
For many home buyers looking for a real estate agent, these reviews can help them decide if they want to work with you. Zillow’s report on the relationship between buyers and agents found that online reviews and ratings of agents are important to 49% of home buyers.
Regardless if these reviews are good or bad, you need to make sure that you’re part of the conversation. Thank clients who leave you positive reviews, and address poor ratings. Don’t attack reviewers who say bad things about you; instead, apologize, ask them to provide more information so you can correct that mistake, or provide context for their criticisms (especially if it involves a factor that was beyond your control).
Don’t be left out of real estate’s digital revolution!
The world of real estate has found a new home: marketing online. If you haven’t yet migrated your business to digital platforms, you are letting valuable leads — and ultimately commissions— slip through your fingers.