Real estate has been on a slow recovery for a few years now, fueled in part by the Web and a more competitive buyer’s market. Agents and sellers have found it much easier to sell and rent properties by advertising directly to consumers online. Sellers don’t need a network of personal connections to find someone interested in buying a home, they can create a Web presence for their business and advertise properties in their catalog at their own discretion.
Buyers now have more ways than ever before to connect with new property. They can search by area, reviewing real-time statistics on things like property value, comparables and property history. Savvy sellers are learning to monitor the market and reach buyers directly with personalized sales pitches.
Every great sales person needs leads to pitch his products to, and agents are learning to secure their own leads through organic and paid traffic to websites they control. Agents can use PPC traffic to send visitors directly to property profiles matching their location. Extensions allow sellers to get more phone calls by spending less money with “click to call” and phone number listings. Sellers can also link customers directly to the relevant page, like property or mortgage calculator, so the visitors that do reach your website do more with their time.
Tools like Alexa can help sellers find communities to advertise their properties based on the income level of those visitors. Use monitors to identify websites you should advertise on, which can be cheaper than running search ads.
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Mobile-optimized websites delivering content to users is far more likely to encourage action. Those users are likely to make a phone call or show up at a location because they are already on the go. Many WordPress themes are reflexive in design, changing the style of the site based on the device the user is viewing.
Agents can brand themselves on the search engine by taking advantage of semantic search, which draws from public knowledge resources to form an idea of what the user might be looking for. Coding your phone number and address into a Web page will help Google display contact information for you without a user having to click on your page. It saves them time, and you still get the lead.
This also means that your Yelp reviews, blog comments and public posts become a lot more important as key identifiers of you. Tools like Brand.com help keep tabs on the feedback sellers receive across the Web. Sellers can mark articles they want to follow while the program actively seeks out new Alerts.
Buyers also have more control over seeing new property, with multiple search engines listing different properties. Sellers can stand out by creating a mailing list that sends personalized recommendations to users in their local area and at their local price range. Using an email service provider like iContact, MailChimp or Constant Contact, sellers can segment their email list based on criteria like approved loan amount or credit score.
Sellers now have more control over their listings than ever before, but that also means more responsibility over Web presence. Sellers must be hyper conscious about image, and about services which may list a property without the seller’s consent. Always claim listings wherever possible, like on Zillow, and provide contact information where buyers can make offers or appointments to see a home.