If you’re not investing in a custom, optimized, and lead generating real estate website for your RE awareness and growth you may be leaving money, listings, and leads on the table. Real estate is a personable and face-to-face profession, but what happens when all the new faces that are trying to buy homes are behind laptop and smartphone screens?
One’s website is their home in the cloud, their hub for all info, access, and testimonials, and their most important business card. Your website will be the only thing standing if all the big social media platforms, Google, and everything else vanished overnight because you own it (hopefully).
Difference between your website and your firm’s website
You may be reluctant to even consider building up your own website since your firm might provide one already. You have access to editing your images, contact info, listings, and you can make it your own little home on the internet. What is wrong with this?
1. You do not own it
You can either rent a home or buy a home — similarly, you can either rent space on the internet or buy it. Many real estate firms’ agent sites are merely a directory within a huge multisite involving everyone’s. This is obvious for a few reasons:
- You need to direct your own domain to the site or else it has the firm’s domain by default
- Take a look at your colleagues’ sites — they’re all nearly identical.
What’s happening here is the most basic cookie cutting web design. You provide a bio, image, and some links to your social media and a website is spun up instantly without any personality, personalization, or customization. To make matters worse, by not owning the website you’re at the mercy of the firm. If one server goes down, they all go down. If you switch companies, you have no more online presence and everything you invested into that site is gone.
2. They’re generic
If you look at other agents’ websites from the same firms, you’ll notice they all have so much in common — this is because they’re exactly the same sites. You may come across a few anomalies that have taken the initiative to get their own customized site. As displayed in this SlideShare, it’s obvious which realtor’s neglect to put effort into their online presence and fail to build trust online as a result.
If you’re doing any kind of digital marketing — which you should be — your website is the Rome that all roads are leading to. Your Facebook ads, Google Adwords, and even physical vouchers all link back to your website to ultimately capture the lead. This step in the sales funnel is extremely important to be customized to fit the clientele you’re attempting to target.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when having ads lead to your website is how the potential lead is going to feel when landing on your site. It’ll be much more difficult to customize your agency’s generic website with the proper copy, headings, and landing pages than if you owned everything to begin with — this brings us to the third and biggest difference.
3. They’re unoptimized for marketing
We’ve talked about what your marketing funnel looks like when trying to lure leads to your site and ultimately your open houses and such. When you’re stuck with a generic and non-customizable website it’s very hard to convert anyone. Your website should include things like custom copy in the right areas, pixels for tracking traffic, and a sitemap to be optimized for search engines.
None of these things are provided when sticking with the easy option of the firm’s website. Instead of tracking who comes to your site, you’ll be stuck guessing how people are navigating your website and be unable to optimize the wording, images, and even videos depending on what people are enjoying and what’s causing them to bounce.
Without the benefits of your own website, you’re unable to create custom layouts that might more effectively sell your services. If you’re describing your process and require a sectioned-off sales page complete with calls to action, images, links, and such, it may be vastly more difficult to accomplish under the restricted access and set-in-stone template of the provided website.
In addition to being unable to customize the site for selling and completing your funnel, you’re never able to truly brand yourself and always adhering to the boss’s brand. Building relationships and convincing people to do business with YOU is the main purpose of your website — it’s not only for creating an online business card to display your phone number and email address.
Ultimately, your website is used for many more things than what may be obvious on the surface. As your central hub and presence on the entire web, it’d make perfect sense to have all the control over it that you possibly can. By having access to the website you’ll be enabled to bring in more leads, more awareness, and ultimately more business.