A Proper IDX Solution is Vital to Your Online Marketing Success

By
Real Estate Technology with BoomTown

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?

Her reply:

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...

Check out:

Diverse Solutions

ARE-TEC

**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.

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Ambassador
553,975
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate

Jeff, I do have a question in that if I checked multiple cities is the site going to "authorize" $50 for each one or just have that much in my account?

Nov 06, 2008 05:38 AM #6
Rainer
11,164
ARE-TEC IDX Solutions
Applied Real Estate Technology - Tucson, AZ

I figured if I kept saying "it's all about the user" long enough, eventually someone cooler than me would help me repeat it. :)  Vast quantities of clients find their agents online.  We spend a good deal of time trying to please and better understand our client's behavior when we're face to face, shouldn't we do the same when we interact with them via our sites and IDX?

 

I'm always surprised how many agents have an IDX and can't trace a single piece of business back to it - and that's not limited to the techno-newbie crowd either, there are a goodly number of power bloggers out there who can't trace business back to their IDX, have no idea if it works, who don't know if it would even convert visitors to clients if they were to drive traffic specifically to it.  It's a wasted opportunity.

 

Bryant - pardon me for butting in, but I went over and looked at yours, had some thoughts.  Depending on how much control you have over that, there are some changes I'd recommend.  Happy to discuss with you if ya email me.

Nov 06, 2008 08:44 AM #7
Rainmaker
70,293
Jeff Corbett
BoomTown - Charleston, SC

@Larry: The $50 covers all your campaigns, not $50 per campaign...

@Kelley:  Thx for chiming in :)

 

Nov 07, 2008 07:07 AM #8
Rainmaker
262,083
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

I'm in the process of trying to change some things out with my sites...this info is so helpful...I'll be studying this! thank you so much for sharing this knowledge.

Nov 28, 2008 05:48 AM #9
Rainmaker
559,162
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |

Jeff, I can't believe you've only got 9 comments on such an incredibly important issue.

Home buyers (yes, those people we are trying to have contact us) are looking for one thing above all else: LISTINGS.  If we don't have an effective IDX solution, who cares how many other bells and whistles we have set up on our sites?

I admit that I am an offender in this regard.  I have used the same sorry free IDX solution offered by our board.  Yes, it searches, but it's not very pretty, user friendly, or effective. 

I need to get out there and search some agent sites so I can find one I like.  Thanks for the head start.

Jan 13, 2009 09:44 PM #10
Rainmaker
118,977
Brendan Winans
Winans & Associates - Bakersfield, CA
Professional Real Estate Services

This is great, very helpful,  thanks for the info.

 

-Brendan Winans

Jan 14, 2009 05:38 AM #11
Rainmaker
60,594
Jodi Bakst
Team Jodi Realty - Chapel Hill, NC
Team Jodi - Chapel Hill Real Estate, Durham Real E

Hi Jeff,

I am happy with my IDX solution for my web site.  I use IDX Pro.  I am excited about the new outside blog.  Now I need time to dig into this and get it all set up.  I hope to get to work on that this weekend.

Jan 14, 2009 10:29 AM #12
Ambassador
238,750
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Hi Jeff,

Great information, I am definately not doing what I need to do on my site to turn traffic into clients. Thank goodness for my son he is getting all this setup for me TODAY. I had no idea what IDX was but you, my friend, have shed the light on my darkness.

Thanks!!!!!!!

-Lisa

Jan 29, 2009 08:58 AM #13
Rainmaker
545,396
Jonathan Hall
William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty - Danbury, CT
Realtor - Danbury,CT Area Real Estate~203-417-0523

Great topic. I found this when I googled 'idx intergration to blog'.  I recently got an IDX feed through my MLS and I am going to going through previous postings on neighborhoods and setting up the idx frame into it and everything.

Feb 26, 2009 06:55 AM #14
Rainer
13,103
Dennis Pease
Coldwell Banker Coast Real Estate - Florence, OR

A great IDX should do many things beyond what the average IDX's offer. I have been sold for years on http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/ for my IDX. I will say that my IDX also drives a lot of traffic to my site. How many others can do that? I would be happy to personally discuss their system with anyone interested.

Apr 15, 2009 02:47 PM #15
Anonymous
Terry McIntosh

My company IDX Northwest (www.idxnw.com) serves member brokers and agent of the NWMLS in Washington with a competitively priced IDX solution that is constantly evolving new and expanded features based on direct consumer and client feedback.  We also can also create a completely custom solution unique to your brand at a surprisingly affordable rate as all programming is performed by the in-house developer.

Even if you have an IDX provider that you love I sincerely welcome and appreciate all feedback to make the product better, so don't hesitate to contact me and let us know your what's on your mind.

/end shameless promotion

Apr 15, 2009 04:31 PM #16
Rainer
3,700
Dan Hayden
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Media, PA

I know i'm late to the discussion but I stumbled in from your REALTOS suck post (also a good read).

I'm currently looking for a new IDX solution. It has recently dawned on me that my current provider hasn't captured one piece of business for me. That means it's time to stop waiting my money.

I will definitely be checking out the companies recomended here.

thanks

Apr 16, 2009 12:09 AM #17
Rainer
8,998
Josh Hunter
Longmont Real Estate - Longmont, CO

I too stumbled upon this from your Realtors Suck post. Both are great. Here is my $.02 on IDX Pro and DS.

I recently decided to go with Diverse Solutions and signed up. To my dismay I found they require a 12 month contract at $99 a month. ALWAYS READ THE TOS (Terms of Service). However they offer a 30 day cancellation period. Which I am going ot take advantage of this week.

I decited to try out IDX Pro one more time, I did their 2 week trial initially and thought it was good but moved on. Not taking full advantage of the trial.

After using DS for a few weeks I began to really think more about IDX Pro which is less than half the cost, no contract and currently offering lower "setup fees". Upon a new trial I learned that it really has similar things to offer for my business. Sure they have a list of "why we are better" but when you look at the actual functionality and benefit of some of the items, it was becoming apparent to me that I don't need a $60 a month zillow price app or school info link. The one big seller I liked with DS was the modules you can put on different sites to allow more searches in more places. However once again....worth an extra $60? Idx Pro mentioned they are developing that feature shortly.

 

All in all, I trialed many many providers and have to say I think IDX Pro was a solid solution for my business. Taking all things into consideration (COST, User Interface, Custom-ability, and lastly admin side) Admin side was last because, yes, consumer is first.....I am less concerned with how I log in to see their activity. Them having activity is key. 

Apr 16, 2009 05:27 AM #18
Rainer
1,620
Calvin Hanson
Design Smart Graphics - Greer, SC

The first step to a great IDX solution is to forget about the "Smart Tag" options these IDX solution sites are offering! The search engines don't see it on your site, because it is pulled from another site. A Customized IDX Feed is the way to go because the content is on your website.

I hope that helps someone out. GREAT POST!

Apr 16, 2009 06:54 AM #19
Rainmaker
123,304
Eliese Pivarnik
Colorado Group Realty, LLC - Steamboat Springs, CO
CRS, GRI, ABR, RSPS, Colorado Group Realt

I use IDX Pro and like it a lot.  Great source of leads.  I was trying to get my company to look at DS, which I also like a lot, but the pages load so slow lately that nobody will consider them.

Apr 16, 2009 07:14 AM #20
Rainer
27,275
Erica Muller
The Flamingo Group - Davenport, FL

I use Diverse Solutions, as you mentioned.  I shopped IDX companies for almost two months before making the decision to use them and I am so glad I did! Their IDX converts SO MUCH of my traffic to leads.  Here is an excerpt of a real testimony from one of my clients and what they said about my DS Search Tool: " By the way, I do love that DsSearchAgent.  That has to be the best real estate search tool that I've ever used.  Thanks!!!"

 

Apr 18, 2009 12:43 AM #21
Rainer
3,700
Dan Hayden
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Media, PA

Anyone have any experience with Ihomefinder.com ?

Apr 18, 2009 07:28 AM #22
Rainer
3,700
Dan Hayden
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Media, PA

I just signed up with Diverse Solutions. Can't wait to get that new search up and running. Good by old idx provider.

Apr 22, 2009 05:34 AM #23
Anonymous
martinanolsfod
hi tom if your still hanging around this is there site and details , they have 20% discount now,tell them marti give out there number
Aug 17, 2012 01:59 AM #24
Rainer
2,264
Wayne Bienek
Real Estate Web Design - Novi, MI

If you're looking for a custom website with google adwords campaigns set up for up to 800 subdivisions/communities, give us a look. 


Web Content Solutions - Real Estate Design

 

 

Oct 18, 2012 03:44 AM #25
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