Before doing any ads or SEO, you need to make sure your website is built to capture those leads. Want to know how? I'm going to give you the keys to creating a real estate website optimized for lead generation.
Have you ever asked yourself: "How do I generate more leads with my real estate website?"
If so, you’re not the only one. It's a very important question to ask since the main reason why you have a real estate website IS to attract more leads. In fact, you would think it’s an answer that should be easy to answer.
And yet, the majority of real estate agents complain that their website isn’t generating nearly as many leads as they were expecting.
It’s for that reason that we decided to write this article. We want to give you a concise guide that explains what exactly you should be doing to have your website generate leads, and which tools are available to make it happen.
Why Isn’t My Website Generating Leads?
First of all, let’s address the big question: “if I have such a wonderful website and professional looking site, why isn’t it generating leads?”
That’s because having a beautiful real estate website with IDX property search functions is only one part of the equation. Having a website that generates leads is a multiple-step process. And this shouldn’t surprise you.
Think about it, selling a home is also a multiple-stage process. To sell a home, it’s not enough to just get a signed listing agreement. You also need to price the property to sell, take beautiful pictures, create a virtual tour, market the home to your sphere of influence, place a sign, etc.
You get the picture.
All too often we see real estate agents that approach their real estate website as a “push button, receive leads” solution.
“If I pay for a website with IDX, then throw a bunch of money at ads, then surely the leads will come rolling in. I mean, that’s how digital marketing works, right?”
The agent then sits and waits for the leads to come rolling in, thinking he has done everything he can to make his website work.
...One week goes by. Two weeks go by. Nothing happens.
At this point, the agent is both confused, angry at his website developer, and frustrated that he threw so much money at the problem, and has nothing to show for it.
But why does this scenario play out so often?
Because the agent doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle in play and doesn’t know how those pieces fit together.
Typically, real estate websites fail to deliver leads for three main reasons:
- Unethical And Incompetent Service Providers - There are a lot of companies and so-called experts that promise you to deliver you plenty of leads, either directly for a flat fee, or by doing SEO on your website. Many times they overpromise, use tricky legalese to avoid liability, or simply take advantage of real estate agents that aren’t as technologically savvy or don’t fully understand how digital marketing works.
- Incomplete Knowledge - Many real estate agents have incomplete knowledge of digital marketing best practices. Yes, throwing money at the problem of advertising IS a valid tactic. But you need to know WHERE to throw that money at to get actual results.
- A weak foundation - Your website is the foundation of all of your digital marketing efforts. But if your website isn’t properly set up, nor has the right tools to capture and nurture your leads, it will not capture any leads.
Of course, identifying the problem is only the first step. Now let's take a look at the solution.
Let's start with the actual structure of your real estate website and the tools you can use to prepare for generating the most amount of leads from your website as possible.
Real Estate Website Design
Looks matter in a real estate website. But there is one item you should worry about first and foremost: user experience (UX).
User experience can be defined as “how a person feels when using a program, app, or website."
If a website is easy to use, loads quickly, and the user finds what he’s looking for right away, we can say that it has good UX.
On the other hand, even if your website looks like it was created by Michaelangelo himself, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for, we can say it has bad UX. A website with bad UX causes its visitors to flee in a hurry and never come back.
There are tons of factors that influence UX. But we'll focus three of the most important ones: accessibility, feel, and loading speed.
The Accessibility Of Your Real Estate Website
Is your website optimized for mobile and tablet browsers? Is it easy to navigate? Can your visitors find what they’re looking for right away?
If you answered "no" to any of those questions (or simply don’t know), start by addressing those issues.
Mobile phone and tablet optimization is one of the biggest factors for improving your website's ranking on Google. That’s because more and more people start their property search right on their phones.
It's also why we put an enormous emphasis on it with every real estate website we build at AgentFire - and you should too. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re going to miss out on a ton of traffic and leads.
Navigating your website should be easy to use. Don’t reinvent the wheel; study what the pros do. Stick to a time tested website navigation bar that clearly shows visitors where to go.
Also, keep in mind that the most common tool that home buyers want to use is the property search. Make sure you feature it front and center on your website.
Home sellers want to know who you are and why they should trust you. That's why your “about me” and “buyer and seller services” should be easy to find as well.
The Feel Of Your Website
Does your website look and feel professional?
To quote Steve Young, “Perception is reality. If you are perceived to be something, you might as well be it because that's the truth in people's minds.”
So if your website looks professional, you will be perceived as a professional. Of course, we all have our personal tastes when it comes to design choices. But what we personally like may not necessarily reflect what your target demographic likes.
That’s why you need to test the look of your website and get both a professional opinion about its design and layout. Make sure you also get some feedback from clients, coworkers, and people in your sphere of influence about your website's appearance. That's because most people that come to see your site won't be graphic design professionals.
It's important to have a website that your target demographic finds appealing.
The Speed of Your Site
The faster your website loads the better. That’s not just a response to users with low attention span, but also with how well your site ranks on Google and other search engines.
Your website loading speed has very little to do with your personal computer or device. It’s a combination of how your website was coded, which plugins are currently running, the size of images you use, as well as your website hosting provider.
At AgentFire, (as well as on the websites we build for our clients), we try to minimize the number of plug-ins running.
That’s because plug-ins on Wordpress websites play a large part in how fast a website is. We control this by creating optimized plug-ins in-house.
As for hosting, we use RackSpace. It's one of the best hosting solutions available. Simply because it ensures our sites are always fast and our servers won't be hacked, like the hundreds of thousands that are each day.
Generating Real Estate Leads
Once your website has the user experience covered, you can move into the tools that will allow you to capture leads.
At AgentFire, we're data guys. We like to let the numbers tell us what works and what doesn’t. In our experience, some of our top producing lead capture tools we use are:
We’re not talking about those dreaded, flashing pop-up ads from the late ’90s and early 2000s
We’re talking about tasteful, mostly unintrusive pop-ups that anticipate what the user may need, and can be closed any time the user wants.
In the picture above, you can see how this pop-up looks in a custom property webpage.
Slide-ins are calls-to-action (CTAs) that slide into your users' view when they scroll down your page. With our AgentFire Arsenal tools, you can choose how far down the viewer has to scroll before the slide-in shows up.
Click magnets are pieces of content that offer a huge amount of value to your readers. But in order to access it, those readers need to provide some personal details such as their full name and email and agree to sign in to your newsletter.
Your newsletter will then provide you with opportunities to keep your subscribers in your sphere of influence, and you’ll be able to market your services to them in the future.
You can offer all kinds of content as a click magnet. And in fact, if you need some ideas, we have 72 here that you can use as a reference.
If you don’t know where to start, we’ve found that buyer and seller guides to be one of the most powerful lead magnets for real estate websites.
Your buyer’s guide could cover topics such as how to choose the right buyer, how to find the right neighborhood and property type, which mortgages are available, what the entire buying process looks like, and a short glossary of real estate terms they will encounter.
Here’s an example of a good buyer’s guide you can use as inspiration for yours.
Your seller’s guide could cover reasons why they should use a REALTOR®, what a listing agreement is, how to handle offers, your marketing plan, and what they can expect from the selling process.
Here’s another of a seller’s guide you can use as a reference.
Delayed Forced Registration (DFR)
If you have an IDX powered property search set up on your real estate website, you can use DFRs. DFRs help capture leads by only allowing your visitors to use your website’s property search tool a number of times (for example, 5 times a day).
After that, if they wish to keep using it, they would need to register, and agree to subscribe to your newsletter. Just like with click magnets, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to market directly to those that join your newsletter.
A quick note: Not every IDX solution is as good as the next. Some solutions only broadcast MLS data directly to your website, but don’t create a webpage for each property. These solutions offer zero SEO value for your website, meaning that they do nothing to help your Google ranking.
This is why we only work with specific IDX providers, like Showcase IDX.
Landing pages are purpose-made web pages meant to welcome visitors that are directed from offers, ads, social media, etc.
A popular kind of landing page is a comparative market analysis (CMAs).
Home sellers want to get as much as possible for their home. That’s why they are very interested in finding out how much they can get for their home.
You can offer your visitors a free home evaluation in exchange for their contact information. This estimate can either be an automatically generated one, using an algorithm, not unlike a Zestimate, or one that you calculate by hand.
If you offer one calculated by hand, the estimate will be much more accurate, though it would take more effort directly from you. But an automated one would save you a ton of time, and won’t take any direct input from you.
Subscriptions and Social Media Marketing
As a real estate agent, your future success depends on the strength of your network of contacts and staying on their radar until they need your services.
A good way to continue to grow this network is to add social media share buttons on your content, property pages, and your newsletter.
Also, make sure you update your social media channels often and interact with your followers directly.
This is a great way to generate leads, and build your list of fans so you can continue to market to them either directly, or indirectly.
Also, this additional exposure will help you build trust and brand recognition in your community with potential home buyers and sellers.
Schedule a Call & Click To Call
The majority of your website visitors will not be ready to buy or sell a home right away. But some will.
One of the best ways to get those clients to contact you right away is to have a clearly visible call to action (CTA) in the form of a “Schedule a call” or “Call now” button.
That way you make it easy for those truly serious about buying a home to reach out to you right away and get the process started right away.
Some visitors might want to get in touch with you, but don’t want the commitment of making a call, or scheduling one for the future.
Setting up live-chat on your website is a simple way to boost your credibility and convert visitors to someone you get the chance to talk to.
That way whenever they visit your website, they can talk to someone right away if they have any questions.
With Intercom we can be logged into our desktop or mobile phone and answer questions wherever we go. We've made many sales as a result of being immediately available using our live chat.
Conditional Call to Actions (CTAs)
You can dramatically increase your opt-in rates by ensuring your call-to-actions are relevant to your visitors.
Start with using CTAs targeting sellers on seller related pages, and CTAs targeting buyers on buyer related pages and blogs. Simple but effective (versus using one generic CTA across the whole site).
Use those buyer and seller guides to improve opt-in rates. You can also create even more specific CTA's based on the content in your blog posts. This is something I want to look more at going forward. Some examples below.
|"How To Know When It's Time To Sell Your Home"||"Still not sure about selling? Let's talk to see if the time is right for you"|
|"Where In [City] Should I Invest?"||"Interested in finding out the best investment opportunities? Let's talk!"|
|"Why Should I Use a Realtor?"||"Still not convinced? Let's talk about how I can help you get the most money for your home."|
This is a feature that senses when visitors are about to leave your site. Basically, it tracks their mouse movement and when it looks like they are going to switch tabs on exit out, the CTA pops up.
You can use this feature to pull out the last-ditch efforts and capture a lead before they leave. Try hitting them up with a "Wait, before you go!" type message.
Split Test Your CTA's
You can try your luck and hope that whatever CTA you’re using. Or you can test different ones out and use the ones that work the best. This is called A/B testing or split testing.
Split testing lets the data direct your design decisions, and choose only what works.
Re-market With a Facebook Pixel
A Facebook pixel is a piece of computer code you can set up on your website that allows you to track who is coming from Facebook to your website.
That data collected by the Facebook Pixel can be used to know what kind of people are coming to your site. That way you can better understand what the needs of your audience are more clearly.
You can also use this information to re-market to your visitors. In other words, Facebook Pixel lets you get in front of the same people again and again, and tailor your message so it will be more appealing to them. (You've probably seen this before too. Ever seen an ad and said, "Hey, I was just on their website!")
Testimonials on Your Home Page
Feature a juicy testimonial right on your homepage so that visitors see it right away. This increases credibility and thus the hesitation people would normally have before subscribing to your list for the first time.
While we clearly love the organic traffic that a good content marketing campaign brings you (in fact, most of the traffic that we get at AgentFire is organic), it takes a while to get that traffic momentum going.
If you need traffic right away, you need to pay for advertising. And yes, that includes paid ads.
Google ads and Facebook ads are a great way to bring in quick traffic to your website. We have an article on Google Ads here, and an amazing case study on how to do Facebook Marketing here.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of why so many real estate websites aren’t capturing as many leads as they should, and what you can do to fix that problem.
Building a real estate website that drives consistent leads isn't difficult once you figure out the process. But you do need to understand the process and what tools are available for you.
If you want to stay up to date on all of our free and valuable content, subscribe to our newsletter. We publish valuable articles and guides such as this one regularly. That way you can constantly improve your marketing skills, and become a more effective real estate marketer.
And if you want to dominate your hyperlocal real estate market, and have a website that uses all the tools we have seen in this article, check out AgentFire’s Spark Sites, #1 rated for several years in a row.
And the best part? You can try out all of its amazing features for free with our 10-day trial.
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