With the advent of new technology and the expansion of the Internet, companies around the globe have had to adjust the way they do business. While brick and mortar foundations are still relative, and the primary hub for a lot of industries, the Internet and subsequent technologies are making their presence known. In fact, it can be argued that the Internet has supplanted traditional stores. As a real estate investor, your online presence might as well be considered your curbside – a digital storefront if you will. And it’s true: Today, 92 percent of buyers start their home search online and the average buyer spends three weeks online before even contacting an agent. Younger buyers, in particular, are not even inclined to consider traditional approaches. The Internet serves as the start and the end of their home search.
The Internet, for the better part of a decade, has served as the window into the majority of home searches. At the pace of the current industry, the number of people using the Internet will only continue to grow. It should come at no surprise that those with the best online presence are the ones positioned to land the most business. Having said that, real estate investors are advised to invest in their website. Building an online presence will not only impress buyers, but also serve as a catalyst for more deals.
Here’s how to build a quality online experience that will net you a large quantity of quality leads:
Technology has made it easier than ever to gain access to information. Even the smart phone in your pocket is perfectly capable of browsing the Internet – and real estate inventors realize that as well. Approximately 89 percent of buyers use mobile devices in their real estate searches. It is a potentially lucrative population to tap into. You are essentially harming your business by not optimizing your website for mobile devices. Real estate applications, or apps as they are often referred to, are used by 77 percent of homebuyers. That’s right: Even when they have access to a computer, more than three-quarters of buyers like to swipe through real estate information on their phones or tablets. You need to make sure you are getting their attention. If your website does not translate well on mobile devices, you are potentially losing business. So what should you do?
Apps are one option for capturing the mobile market, but going mobile-first is even better. A mobile-first, responsive design allows your full website to resize and reformat automatically for mobile use – without losing functionality. Perhaps even more importantly, Google updated their algorithm once again to favor those pages that are “mobile-friendly.” If your site is not optimized, consider switching to a hosting platform that includes the feature in their price. There are plenty out there to take advantage of.
Utilize Social Media
Some investors fail to realize just how lucrative of a platform social media can be for their business. That is unfortunate, as the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to make new connections and expand your business. For all intents and purposes, social media is a marketing platform without limitations. The amount of people you can reach is only limited by your imagination. The return on investment (ROI) is encouraging to say the least. For next to nothing, you can reach as many people as you like.
It is worth noting that creating an active, engaging social media community does not happen over night. It takes time, creativity and commitment to gain the attention of the masses. Setting up your profiles won’t immediately attract large numbers of followers, so your goals should be ambitious but realistic. Just know that with the right attention, growing your social media presence is something anyone can do. Done correctly, your pipeline will be fed for now and for the foreseeable future.
Elevate Visual Content Standards
For as strong of a tool that the Internet can serve, it can also work against you. It is absolute imperative that you captivate your audience and get them to engage. However, that is easier said than done. The attention span of the average web-goer is relatively small. Your job is to get them to your website and keep them there. So how do you do that? Provide them with content that is visually appealing. However, it is not enough to simply have pictures. The quality of the photographs on your website are critical.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nine out of 10 house hunters initiate their buying experience on the Internet. Twenty-five percent admit that online real estate photography led to the acquisition of their current house. Studies indicate that quality real estate photography is more likely to generate a higher price per square foot as well. According to information provided by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “listings with nicer photos gain anywhere between $935 and $116,076” more than those that neglect to implement the necessary techniques and technology.
In addition to quality photography, videos can help drive sales. While a picture is worth 1,000 words, just one minute of video is worth a lot more. Consider incorporating a captivating video. Your viewers will thank you.
Content Is King
Not only will Google reward you for quality, original content, but your viewers will be more inclined to do the same. In today’s market, viewership favors the ambitious. Your content needs to serve a purpose and not just be filler. You need to make sure you are providing web traffic with the best content you can. In fact, your goal should be to become a “go-to” source for whatever your particular niche is. Be a thought leader and facilitate the needs of those that have come to trust you.