Tammie White provides a guide to getting the internet to bring agents new and experienced leads and clients. It works for her, it works for me, it can work for you too. Just remember it's not a set it and forget it part of your business.
When we get into the real estate business, we think it's all about helping people buy and sell homes. While that's our ulitmate goal, we first need to learn ways to generate that business. That's probably the hardest part of our job and the reason why so many agents get out of the business so quickly.
Some agents call for sale by owners (FSBO) and expired listings. I was never very good at that. I had to find another way to generate business. Fortunately, ActiveRain helped me to discover a better way to generate leads.
The single most important thing a new agent can do is create a website. However, I've outlined 10 steps every new real estate agent should take to generate leads:
- Develop a website - This is an absolute must. The National Association of REALTORS® states that
92% of home buyers begin their search on the Internet. Marketing dollars are tight that first year. Direct mail is expensive. Developing a website will be your most cost effective way to get the word out. If your broker offers a free website, don't do it. Invest in a website with a template site developer or create a Wordpress site. Don't think you have to spend a lot of money on a website for it to be a productive lead generator.
- Choose your website domain name wisely - Believe it or not, the domain name you choose matters. Don't use BillyBob'sWebsite.com. Instead choose a keyword friendly name. Think the way buyers think. Names like masonohpatiohomes.com, franklinmanewhomes.com, sellingwarnerrobins.com, franklintnhomesforsaleonline.com, are great examples. Include your target market in your domain name and Google will love you.
- Use Internet Data Exchange (IDX) on your site - Buyers are looking for listings. If you don't have available properties on your website, they'll click off almost as quickly as they clicked on. Two of the companies offering IDX are IDXBroker and Diverse Solutions. Or you can opt for a website that includes IDX in the package, like Market Leader.
- Visit neighborhoods and preview properties - To create neighborhood pages on your website that will attract buyers, you need to get out into the neighborhoods and preview properties. You want to provide information to buyers that no other agent in your area is doing. The best way to do that is to see these neighbhoods firsthand.
- Take photographs - While you're previewing properties take photographs of homes in the neighborhood, amenities offered there and nearby parks and common areas. These photos will be used on the neighborhood pages you'll create. Remember the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words. That is especially true in real estate. Buyers want to see what neighborhoods and the homes there look like. Make sure every photo is high quality. Don't include things like cars in the driveway, children in front of the house or garbage cans at the street. I usually go out on sunny days with fluffy clouds in the sky to preview properties. As you can see, the photos taken on days like this look great on your website.
- Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - This will be a must to build up your website and blog properly. You want to write posts and pages that will attract Google to your site. Take advantage of the education offered here and learn how Search Engine Optimization can help you rank highly in the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for both your website and your blog.
- Create neighborhood pages - These pages should contain a brief explanation about the neighborhood, what the homes are like, what's nearby and what schools are zoned for this neighborhood. Include at least two photographs; one of a home there and the other of amenities like a pool or park. You may want to include a map of the neighborhood that you can create on Google maps. Then use your IDX to create a completed search of the available homes in the neighborhood. Buyers will be able to find all they need right on your neighborhood page without ever having to click away. Be sure to use keywords in the ALT tag for your photos. Those ALT tags help to rank you in the search engines.
- Start blogging - There is a lot of debate about whether you should use ActiveRain or Wordpress. Use both. Once again, if you aren't tech savvy ActiveRain is a great place to start. It's easier for your ActiveRain posts to rank highly on hyper-local posts than general real estate information posts. Blogging about neighborhoods is a great way to rank quickly on Google. Use these neighborhood posts and market reports to drive traffic to your website. They all work together to boost you in the Google rankings.
- Require registration on your website - Required registration on your website gives you an opportunity to get email addresses and phone numbers from people who are actually looking to buy or sell. This contact information is a great way to build your database quickly. If you are providing good information on your website, consumers will be happy to give up their information to get on your mailing list.
- Create a database and use a Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) system - If you've created neighborhood pages with valuable content, beautiful photography and a completed property search, consumers will register on your site. When they do, you want to have a way to manage your leads and contact them regularly. Email marketing is less expensive than direct mail. Use something like MailChimp or Constant Contact to generate mailings that you send regularly. Your website will already have sold them on you as an agent, it's your job to keep in touch with them to convert that website traffic to actual income.
There's so much we need to learn as new real estate agents. Lead generation is just one facet. The best part of creating a website--it works 24/7/365, even when you are not. Your website should never be a static site. Continue to add content and neighborhood pages to expand your reach. This content will help you rank in the organic search results and will attract visitors to your site for years to come.
Take these 10 steps every new real estate agent should to generate leads and you'll be way ahead of the competition.Tammie White, Managing Broker/OwnerFranklin Homes Realty LLCFranklin, TN(615) 495-0752GET REAL. GET LOCAL.This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.