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The 2 Most Important Things To Consider About Your Real Estate Blogsite-Website

JugglingOn nearly every call with a real estate blogger looking for advice, I end up having them consider both of the following.  Everything else is at best tertiary to these concerns and can probably be satisfied by simply keeping these primary items in mind.

1. Why Are Your Visitors On Your Website?

What brought them there, and what are they expecting? 
Did they do a search on Google and find an article that you wrote? 
Did they click from a link in your email signature?
Was it a Tweet? a Facebook status update? a YouTube video?
Did you tell them to go there? Did someone or something else?

You need to consider the reason and the context of every actual and potential visit.
This understanding will help you determine the 2 most important things about your online marketing strategy.

a. Am I reaching my Target Audience?

b. Are my visitors getting the experience that they came for?

The root of all significant Bounce Rates is based on this immediate experience.

If you fail to satisfy your target audience’s need, instantly, then you should consider your site a failure.

Defining your target audience is up to you, but I can help a little with the “experience that they came for”.

There are 2 reasons that most visit a real estate website:

1. Listings. Listings. Listings.

Both buyers and sellers need a place to live.  
Make the ability to search for and sign up to receive new listings a huge priority in your navigation and/or clear calls to action.  This is a no-brainer… no excuses.

However, listings are not a unique commodity.  Every real estate site worth a darn has an MLS search feature. 
They come for the listings but stay for the content.  Build value beyond the database.

2. Finding A Resource They Can Trust

Looking from the outside in, the real estate industry is one that often suffers a bad rap, but much like the legal industry, it doesn’t eliminate the need to for a capable consultant that buyers and sellers can count on to:
Clearly answer questions
Provide expertise
Offer savvy opinion
And make the whole experience as low stress as possible.

From a website, this can only be achieved with content, content and more content.
The content needs to be incredibly well organized and it needs to be focused on the target audience’s needs.
The same applies for the Calls To Action – You need to make it clear to your audience that you are there to satisfy their needs, and you can only do that if you are connecting with the audience that you are reaching.  More on this later.

TertiaryI can’t present examples for all potential RE topics that attract an audience, so I’ll just use one.  Take for example a website that is geared to satisfy the needs of someone in need of Short Sale advice and information.

The Short Sale is not your average transaction, and requires a whole different set of skills, knowledge, experience and communication.  (Disclaimer – I have no experience with short sales, I only know what I have heard… but humor me with this example, and apply the lesson to your own niche.)

Upon their landing on the site you want to present solutions to the things that keep Short Sale Buyers and Short Sale Sellers up at night.  Anyone who has been doing short sales knows that there’s a lot of that.  You need to make it as clear as possible that you are there for their needs. 

My suggestion would be to create calls to action for something like the following:

For the Buyer:
1. Search Short Sale and foreclosure listings
2. Search all available MLS listings
3. What you need to know before investing in a Short Sale.

For the Seller:
1. We’re here to help; learn about our Short Sale services.
2. Testimonials of successful Short Sales.
3. Do you qualify for a Short Sale?

With those 6 Calls To Action, you can cover the needs of almost all your short sale traffic.  Make them make a decision to dig deeper into your site, whether it be a database of listings, or articles positioning you as the expert on the niche.

From there, it is all about the quality of your content.  Once the organization of connecting effectively to your target audience is tackled, win them over with your knowledge and experience.  The more questions that you are able to answer directly and preemptively the more trust you will build.  Trust leads to contact, and contact leads to relationships.

Bottom Line: Create the experience which provides the best access to the reasons that your visitors are there.  Everything else is tertiary.

More info on the topic:
Giving Away Trade Secrets Is The Secret To A Successful Blog
How Does Blogging Actually Generate Leads?
Why Blogging Makes You A Better Realtor® 

The second thing that you need to consider about your web presence is: 

2. Are Your Visitors Getting Any Closer To Doing Business With You Because Of Their Experience On Your Website?

Close the dealOf course if you blow the “Why are visitors on your website?” question, then this one becomes irrelevant.

Nobody is managing a real estate website or writing a real estate blog just for fun, they’re doing it to improve their business.  If it is fun, then that is because it improves their business.

Consider an inbound phone call, an opportunity to gain a client.
How do you handle the situation?

Appear professional
Have an engaging personality
Clearly answer questions
Provide the resources they seek
Gain trust
Close on opportunities

It is the Closing Opportunities that makes the whole thing work for you.  In a “selling” situation (e.g., getting someone to agree to make an offer… or accept one) you have to close the deal.  Just providing all the information in a complete and easy-to-understand manner and waiting for the client to make the decision is not going to get the deal done.  When you are connecting on all points, and they trust you, it is your opportunity (read: responsibility) to BRING them to make a decision.  Walk them to the other side of the deal.

Your website can have this power as well.

Create opportunity that makes it clear to the engaged visitor that you are here to WORK WITH and FOR THEM. 

Calls-To-Action that specifically explain how you can, will and are already helping them. 
(Sticking with the short sale theme)
“I am here to help you with your short sale, contact me NOW.” 
“Subscribe NOW to our weekly newsletter educating you on everything you need to know about short sales.”
“Subscribe NOW to receive instant updates of new short sales that hit the market in your criteria”

Coffee-is-for-closersEverything else is just a shiny object to distract them from following through with you, for the reasons that you connected with them in the first place.

More Blogging Success Tips:
Simple Marketing Tip: Engage The Audience You Create To Avoid The Headache of Lost Opportunity.
Don’t Be The Ignored Real Estate Blog, How to Avoid The Starbucks Mistake
How A Strong Finish Has A Real Estate Blog Article Generating Leads
How To Approach Real Estate Blogging And Ensure Your Success, Guaranteed

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Comments

These are definitely great insights! Many forget that the point of their website is to reach their target audience, and if they don't, the website is pointless in existence. A resource-rich website is also a very positive thing; many people coming to a real estate site might not be completely versed in what is going on in the real estate environment, and having a place to go and to trust for information is a great thing.

I really liked the tip about using the website to walk the client to the other side and close the deal; I never thought of using a website to help do that in real estate.

Great info.

Another thought: Most realtors overthink their web site. Most real estate professionals don’t need a site with any more than a half-dozen pages: A Home Page, a page showing each of your listings, an About Me page, and a Contact Me page. And that’s it.

You don’t need to cram your site full of tools that are available everywhere else. In fact, the more distracting your site is, the less chance your visitor will actually pick up the phone and call you!

If insist on having a mortgage calculator, some articles about buying a home, latest mortgage rates, and so on, fine — but put them on a single page called “Tools/Helpful Info.”

Tod Maffin

Tod,

That's right on. Everything that is outside of the scope of most important is mostly unnecessary to accomplish the goal of generating business from your website. Unnecessary, as in deserves very little dedicated space.

Nice article! I believe good real estate site needs personality. Visitors are tired of photoshoped property pictures and even more photoshoped smiling faces of realtors. I decided to be different - I have green lifestyle section, where people can find info about eco events in their neighbourhood, there is parking pads in Toronto section, I have even movie reviews section - nothing to do with real estate at all, but helps to create relationship with your vistor. They see you are not just a picture, but a real person with hobbies, believes, family...and that's good!

Julie

Wow. Nice tips. Much thanks for this.

This is an amazing article and a great website. Do you offer "blog school" or seminars for Real Estate Professionals. I am a Realtor in Portland Oregon, and frankly I would love to take a 2 or 3 day class on internet marketing for Realtors. I have had a website with my name http://www.brianporter.com for the past 7 years, but I need to take my website to the next level.

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