Everyone knows how to handle commerce, but put that little “e” in front of it and most of us have to start back at square one. Let’s face it, the Internet came along and swept the world away in a torrential flood of information; only those with the ability to harness that information have been able to stay abreast of the waves.
This is true for every market, especially real estate. It can often be a challenge to garner actual face time with prospective clients when virtual tours and photo galleries of properties are cropping up all over the web. Nowadays, home buyers can attend an open house from home or work. You’ve already tapped into this, perhaps. Now, how do you stand out among the competition? Higher search ratings equal higher sales potential, so check out these tips to help you increase your online presence and, ultimately, your revenue streams.
Give Clients What They Need
Search engines want traffic and so do you; it’s practically a marriage. The Internet is buzzing with information and making sure yours is audible above the din is crucial. Your site should be rich with content that is not only useful for visitors, but relevant to current trends. This is an ongoing process that is constantly changing and that’s ok. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to high page placement, so don’t waste yourself trying. Even if you can pull it off, search engines’ constantly changing algorithms will soon phase you out. So, as always, put the customers’ needs first and provide them with quality content. Worry about search engines later.
Build Effective Internal Links
Once you’ve established an informative body of content on your site, link to it internally. Search engines love this because they thrive on information. The more information you provide easily to clients, the more the engines will reward you with rankings. Plus, customers will enjoy easily identifiable links to more in-depth information you may be providing elsewhere on your site. Operations Manager with Home Star Search, a rent to own real estate website, agrees with the sentiment. “Raising conversion with internal linking is absolutely critical. When a visitor finds exactly what they want, it is a positive experience.” It’s also worth noting blogs are perfect when it comes to linking to relevant content. If your company maintains a blog, link from each post to supplemental information on your website.
Bide Your Time
Thanks to the distance shopping methods the Internet affords, customers are engaging in their home searches up to a year in advance of purchase. You may not want to deal with someone this far in advance, but ignoring them could hurt you long-term. Successful agents who cultivate business from their websites say it’s beneficial to assist shoppers an average of eight months prior to their actual purchase. Furthermore, that practice requires minimal effort on the agent’s part; all they have to do is provide information until the client is ready to buy.
A Little Email Goes a Long Way
When clients make initial contact, greet them with the start of an engaging email campaign. Email campaigns for real estate brokers can be the most effective tools when converting online visitors into customers, especially if you generate most or all of your commission through Internet sales. As long as the emails are concise, informative, and infrequent, your chances of converting visitors into dollars will be outstanding. Best practices suggest the following strategy for an effective campaign:
- Welcome the client and let them know what to expect in terms of the quantity and quality of the emails you’ll be sending them.
- Write short, meaningful emails that promote your services, helpful info on your site, or your supplemental blog.
- Keep the emails spread out so that the client doesn’t feel bombarded with information.
Realize Your Blog’s Value
Blogging is crucial to establishing an online presence. If you don’t already have one, you’re missing out. Blogs yield higher search results for a few reasons: they’re abundant in number; they contain quality, relevant content; they’re keyword rich. Many web users read blogs regularly and frequently link to them, creating an influx of inbound traffic for any given blog. If your website is linked to your blog, the increased amount of visitors could mean an increased amount of business.
Of course, these methods require time and a bit of finesse in terms of execution. As mentioned previously, there’s no easy, overnight way to drum up instant sales, but a persistent, consistent maintenance of these principles will pay off.
About the Author
JD writes on a variety of topics ranging from real estate to online marketing. JD enjoys investigating where these two elements intersect in a manner that is maximally engaging.