The following is sponsored, promotional content. This content is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of REM.
Your website should be your most powerful lead generating machine, working day and night to bring in more leads and more business. If you feel like your website isn’t living up to that expectation, it might be missing one or more of these 10 essential features:
1. SEO optimization
95% of home searches start online. The number 1 priority of your website is to make you show up high in search results for real estate in areas where you have listings. That’s what Search Engine Optimization is all about.
Real estate agents don’t need to be tech-savvy to check this crucial step off their online marketing list. Point2 real estate agent websites, for example, come with pre-set SEO, which includes:
- a proper sitemap – tells search engines like Google and Bing where all the pages of your website are and how they connect to each-other
- meta-title – helps search engines categorize your page as an agent website specialized on a certain area, or property type. That’s why it’s very important for your meta-title to contain the exact phrase you want to rank for in Google, for example single-family homes in the neighbourhood or suburb where you get the most business
- meta-description – in Google search results, the meta-description is the text that shows up right below your page title. The way it influences your search engine ranking is subtler, but it is crucial in getting more clicks to your website, especially if you use the keyword in the meta-title here as well. Think about it this way – Google reads the meta-title and meta-description to rank you in the right category, but users read the meta-description to actually go to your site!
- keywords – based on the information you provide when you sign up, Point2 creates a list of relevant real estate keywords, which can also contribute to your rankings in your area.
2. Responsive, mobile-friendly design
A recent report shows that nearly 60% of all Google searches, and 48% of real estate searches, come from mobile devices. Having a mobile-friendly website isn’t a perk anymore, it’s a necessity, as users that have trouble navigating your website on their phones or tablets will simply move on.
Take advantage of a service like Point2, with multiple mobile-friendly real estate agent website templates you can choose from, and don’t miss out on the many leads your website might otherwise be driving away.
3. Powerful home search box
A powerful search box helps you make sure that visitors can filter through your listings easily, based on their preferred locations, neighbourhoods, down to a specific address.
Give your visitors the option to search through all your listings from any page on your website, and make sure the search box is among the first things they see. People use the Internet to gather very specific information, and they don’t like having to play detective. The less time users must spend navigating to what they care about most, the better.
4. Visible and accurate contact information
Many real estate agent websites out there miss this crucial detail, relying too much on listings and other info, and forgetting the foundation of any business: letting your client know how to get in touch with you.
Displaying your work phone number is a must, but make sure you include the local area prefix too, so that leads from different areas can call easily. Also, set the phone number up so that visitors browsing from mobile devices can just tap it and call you right away.
At the very least, your website needs to have a Contact page that’s easy to find. Keep things simple, and link it to your home page, in plain sight. You’ll be missing far fewer leads if you’re easy to get in touch with!
5. Blog built around specific keywords
A blog boosts your ranking in real estate searches, if you write content based around specific keywords. This attracts visitors to your website, if you offer quality content – information about the neighbourhoods that leads are interested in, or about the local market. A well-constructed blog will bring you many more leads, and it will also reinforce your expertise and credibility as a local expert.
Make a list of things that people are searching for: neighbourhoods, property types, market data, focusing on the areas in which you have expertise. Do you know “123 Main Street” and the surrounding area like the back of your hand? Then that’s one of your most important keywords. Plan writing content about such keywords regularly.
SEO is just as important for your blog as it is for your website. You can learn more about how your blog can empower your online marketing efforts by reading this list of SEO best practices for real estate agents.
There are many other tutorials out there on how to find the right keywords, and which tools to use. Google offers an excellent tool called Keyword Planner, which can show you which specific phrasing people are using most often in their searches, helping you shape your keywords accordingly.
Keep in mind that you can write about things you already know very well – that information can be valuable to leads, and it will prove very useful in drawing them in.
6. Lead capture features
Your website needs to be designed from the ground up with one thing in mind: getting you leads. Here are two features that work directly to that end:
- Custom forms make it easy for you to capture leads and keep track of your website visitors. People are usually eager to get in touch, to get information they need. Make it clear throughout your website that you’ve got answers to burning questions like “How much is my home worth?”. Then, all they have to do is fill in a simple form, and you’ll keep in touch!
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) make visitors feel engaged, especially if you offer something of value to draw them in, like a monthly market report. They can either be buttons that prompt your visitors to get valuable information on your website, or phrases throughout your pages, which encourage them to engage with you and to spend more time browsing your site. This simply translates to more leads for you!
7. Social media integration
Let your website visitors help you in your marketing efforts with social media buttons. That way, if a prospect finds an interesting listing or piece of information on your website, they can easily share it on their network of friends. Their referrals are one of the most valuable assets you will have as an agent!
With this feature, you also streamline your website, blog and professional pages on Facebook or LinkedIn into one seamless online marketing presence – a great way to draw attention and bring in more leads.
No matter how carefully you word your About Me section, the good things former clients say about you will always have more value for new leads. Get quotes from happy clients and place them on your homepage. You can reinforce these testimonials with objective data, like the average sum saved for your buyer clients in the last year.
9. Site traffic tracking tools
Where your leads come from, what draws their attention most on your website, which device they’re browsing on (phone, tablet or desktop) and how much time they spend browsing your listings – these are crucial bits of information that can help you bring your website to peak efficiency and ultimately bring you more leads.
Make sure you integrate Google Analytics into your website so you can gather this information and more. Point2 Agent websites offer the option to install this type of tracking, whether it’s Google Analytics, Hotjar, Tag Manager and so on.
Sure, you could use the help of someone with a tech background to set all this up, but you can also spend a little time reading up on these very important tools – it’s not as daunting as it seems. A great place to get all the info you need to get started is this beginner’s guide to Google Analytics.
10. Powerful lead nurturing tools
CRM and automated emails are great lead nurturing tools which can be integrated into your website as part of real estate online marketing toolkits such as those offered by Point2. This is much more convenient than obtaining them as third party solutions, and having to hire IT professionals to set them up for you.
These features are designed to help you funnel leads via your website, into groups you can manage efficiently. There are many other lead generation ideas for real estate agents, but prospect management and automated emails are among the most effective.
- CRM works very well with the custom forms you’ve placed on your website. Depending on the information leads give you while filling in your form, good prospect management software helps you prioritize between leads that are more likely to be ready to buy (having spent a lot of time browsing your website, and visiting many pages, for instance), and leads that you should nurture over longer periods of time.
- Automated emails do just that: they nurture all the leads you gather through your system and allow you to send newsletters and send listings similar to what they are looking for, keeping your contacts engaged and bringing you that much closer to the sale.
These are essential features – without them, your website will simply not serve its purpose at the level you need it to. Fortunately, they are not difficult to obtain – Point2 is a cost-effective, all-in-one solution, and all the features and optimizations mentioned above can be set up from the Point2 Online Office, which has an intuitive interface.
You also get your listings syndicated on one of the largest real estate networks in Canada, including Point2 Homes, and many other benefits, like Featured Listing Ads and free customer support. This way, your website saves money, as you’ll have an easy time maintaining it, with no need for help from IT pros!