As you read this, Suze is on a sailboat somewhere between Maui and Vancouver.
She wanted you to have some great content while away and she has asked me, Ali, her assistant visionary and efficiency person, to write three blog posts about the online world of real estate.
As this is not my area of expertise, I reached out to Melanie Piche of the BREL team at Sage Real Estate in Toronto. Melanie is, in my opinion, the most creative and effective mastermind behind an online digital strategy that I have seen in real estate anywhere across the continent. She and partner Brendan Powell lead a hugely successful team that has closed over $1.2m in the first half of 2016. They are a shining example of how real estate should be done in the new connection economy.
Melanie has graciously offered to share much of her experience and expertise with us here. This week we will be exploring The Website, next week, Facebook and finally, Content and Conversion.
According to Melanie, if you want to generate leads online, the most important thing is a website that is both high-performance and has smart and deliberate content strategy.
“That website should be on a WordPress platform because Google can most easily read WordPress websites – and if you want to be found by Google, they need to be able to read or index it. It should be custom – not just in design, but in content. Google knows when the content has been published elsewhere first, so canned content can do more to hurt you than help you.”
When it comes to content, Melanie and I agree you should be focused first on what value you can offer people exploring your site rather than on what they can give to you. By providing people the information they are searching the web for, you’ll both be found by people as they do their research, and build trust with them before you have even spoken.
“Too many agents fall into the trap of selling themselves online instead of trying to help. Buyers and sellers aren’t usually searching for an agent online – they are searching for an answer to a question they have, and great content can help build trust online, which eventually turns into a relationship!”
When potential clients are exploring online, especially when they’re finding the information they’re looking for and are curious about, they’ll be more at ease than when a realtor is trying to convince them to work together. The opportunity of a website is to let people guide their own experience. Given this, make sure they have some depth they can delve into, and give them an experience that aligns with the experience they would have working with you. This way, if and when they reach out, the trust will be maintained through the continuous positive experience.
A final few quick tips from Melanie:
- Have your cell number and email easy to find on every page
- People hate getting in touch through forms
- Respond quickly to online leads who reach out, within 30 minutes, and not with an auto-responder
In coming weeks we’ll develop these ideas further, talking about how to use Facebook, and then delve into the details of content and conversions.