When you start your real estate agency or brokerage, there’s plenty to think about, including building positive relationships with your clientele, offering solid advice, understanding your current market, and getting your paperwork in order.
One of the most important focuses should be the website. According to research from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 44 percent of buyers look online for properties as their first step. This comes before contacting a realtor, contacting a bank or mortgage lender, or even asking friends and families for advice.
What’s more, nearly everyone (99 percent) in the millennial generation – which will become the largest group of people interested in purchasing a home in the next 5 years – looked online for a home at some time during their search. Additionally, 77 percent of the silent generation went online as well, showing that it’s very difficult to be successful in today’s real estate market if you don’t have a well-designed website.
When homebuyers and sellers enter your real estate website, they’ll be looking for certain things. Their needs go beyond the overall design. They involve a complex subconscious desire for imagery, interactive experiences, and signs that they can trust you as a person.
For higher conversions and a better real estate website, here are some essentials to focus on.
- Mobile Responsiveness
The NAR used their survey research to create a persona of the typical homebuyer and found that the majority of buyers use a mobile device to search for agents and properties online. They specifically look for websites that load quickly and offer information, home listings, and photos that aren’t distorted by an incompatible website.
Creating a design that’s not responsive is no longer an option for today’s online website design. Work with a template or designer that specializes in responsive design so that your site will work on any client screen.
- Photos, Video, and Details Are Everything
Success in real estate websites is in the details, according to NAR research. Visuals are hugely valuable for real estate websites. About 89 percent of homebuyers said high quality photos showing multiple photos of the home were very useful in their search. About 50 percent also said that the use of videos and virtual tours made all the difference in their home search.
Detailed information will also draw homebuyers. About 85 percent said that detailed information about the property (similar to what you would see on a disclosure) is most valuable to their home search. Nearly half also said that they liked to see information about the neighborhood and interactive maps.
- Social Media Integration
Real estate is no stranger to the essential connection of social media between business owners and clients, but some social media platforms perform much better than others. The NAR survey revealed that 80 percent of respondents saw great participation on Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 71 percent. About 30 percent of respondents said Google Plus, YouTube, and Twitter had good participation.
Use this information to integrate your own social media platforms into your website. Add a social media bar so that clients and home searchers can easily share blog posts, information and listings from your website.
- Fresh, Useful Content
As mentioned previously, detailed information is an essential part of the homebuyer’s online search. In addition to posting detailed information on your listings, write neighborhood guides for newcomers. You can also write blog posts with useful tips and tricks, news, ideas, and more for your client base. If you’re stumped for topics, just run a quick Google search, and you’ll find a long list of ideas to keep your blog fresh and entertaining.
The content on these pages does more than just educate and entertain your clients. It also helps your SEO. The content you create with keywords and quality links helps clients find you on search engines
- Pop-Up Subscription Forms
According to Sandra Manzanares, inbound marketing guru for Placester, increasing subscribers to your newsletter, blog, or other publications should be a top marketing priority for real estate agents. Email has a higher return on investment and higher conversion rates when compared to website visitor sessions. Since 91 percent of users check their emails daily, you’re obviously dealing with a higher chance of conversions.
Manzanares says that one of the best ways to get leads on your real estate website is through a pop-up subscription form. Depending on the layout of your website, these can appear as a sidebar, top bar, top feature box, floating box, end-of-post box, footer, or general pop-up. She recommends using multiple versions to maximize your conversions.
These are just a few essentials for a great real estate website. As you explore design options and get to know your clientele, be prepared to make changes for the benefit of your business and website.