Since launching Listing Router there has been much discussion around if the 'pay to direct traffic to your IDX website' is worth the price. Its a very valid question and the answer really depends far less on the dynamics of how Listing Router works and far more on where the traffic lands, in this case an agents 3rd party IDX website.
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange that represents a class of websites that redisplay property listings from an MLS (or multiple MLS'). All IDX sites are NOT created equal.
The pay-per-click model of driving targeted traffic to ones website has proven to be very effective. It's a main component of Googles revenue model and they do pretty well, which thus means that there are many individuals and businesses using the service who are also seeing great results.
Pay-per-click success does not exist in a vacuum. Simply by engaging the Listing Router service does not guarantee anything except some additional traffic to your IDX site. You can receive a million visitors per month to your site but if it's clumsy, aesthetically challenged or antiquated, you're not likely to convert much (if any) of that traffic into a genuine lead and ideally a client.
Look at it this way. You want to buy a nice business suit for about $1000. You walk into a store that sells $1000 suits but they're thrown on the floor, men's are mixed with women's, customer service is non-existant, the lights flicker on and off and no store hours are posted (sometimes they're open, sometimes they're not). Sure some people will rummage through the disarray but 99% will probably leave within 5 seconds of entering.
Compare that experience to walking into Nordstrom. The store is impeccably clean, 'Suits' are clearly labeled, categorized by size and manufacturer, and the sales staff measures you into a $1000 suit that fits perfectly. They're open from 9am-9pm Mon-Sat and 10am-6pm Sunday.
Where are you likely to buy from? Which store are you likely to recommend to your friends in the market for a comparable suit?
A simple IDX solution with an easy to navigate User Interface is the difference between traffic and leads (clients) for an agent in today's real estate market...it goes without saying that 80% of all home buyers start their search online...however the disparity between what is acceptable and what exists is in the property search software market is jaw-dropping. I'm absolutely baffled at the low quality of IDX solutions that exist and are still used by many agents today. Some are downright awful or just don't work. If you are a practicing real estate agent and have hopes of staying in business, much less achieve a modicum of success, having an IDX solution that is clean and intuitive is mandatory...as in not an option to consider, but REQUIRED.
Some may dismissively wave their hands at me as someone who doesn't practice real estate and therefore consider me preachy or accuse me of having an agenda, so I solicited an opinion from a 'real life' agent that I think very highly of. I asked Kelley a simple question:
Why is a good IDX solution important to you as an agent?
A good IDX is important and makes my life easier as an agent, because it generates business. People appreciate and return again and again to a home search that is comprehensive, easy to understand quickly, and easy to use. A good IDX also allows me to integrate listings and home searches into places where my site visitors can quickly get to those homes - into blog posts and market reports and on neighborhood pages. IDX doesn't have to be just a single page on your old static site anymore. It's a whole system and method of integrating home searches into your complete web presence, so that it is always obvious to those site visitors that they can look at homes if they want to, and that you've anticipated their needs by integrating those home searches where they most want to see them. That's an incredibly powerful tool. If you take care of your site visitors by showing them something clean and simple to use, that addresses their needs at the right time, they'll love you for it.
Kelley put it quite simply: It's always about the user, always.
Technology may be daunting to many real estate professional (and other) members here on AR. A good number of agents cut their teeth in regards to new technologies and how they work with support from the network, which is a good start however, this is a fast paced world that waits for no one. Granted, no piece of technology will replace a good real estate professional but the agent that learns and embraces technology will replace the ones who don't. Fortunately for those who may not be technologically inclined there is a tremendous amount of support available, here in AR and the (good) companies that support their products.
There are too many widgets, gadgets and other 'Social Media' tools out there to count. Very few of them will produce a measurable return for time and money invested. A good clean IDX site is one piece of technology that can be the difference between traffic and clients.
If you are taking the time to set up and spend money on Listing Router campaigns I implore you to personally as well as have others review your IDX website. If you don't know what IDX is or don't currently use an IDX solution, RUN, don't walk to find and license a good one. You don't need to buy the most expensive model out there, yet the saying goes: You get what you pay for...
**I am in no way compensated nor was I solicited to link to the above sites, they are company's either run by or have products used by people I personally respect.**
If you have an IDX webiste provider that you reccomend, please do so in the comments with a link and a quick testimonial, Not Just A Link. I will delete any comment spam or links w/o an original testimonial from a professional using the IDX solution they're linking too.