Promoting Your Listings Online
Everyone knows that in today's market, it's not enough just to get the listing -- you need to have an aggressive marketing plan.
While printed flyers, signage and the basics will always have their place, over 70% of home buyers begin their search for a new home online. Thus, the first step in successful and aggressive listing promotion is to make sure your property is featured where home buyers are looking.
More and more real estate agents already have a web site and are likely using it to promote their listings. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your web sites listings:
- Add listing details. A picture is worth a thousand words, and with many real estate web design services, you can add up to 100 photos.
- Promote listings on your home page, make a featured property listing highlighting a particular property, and make sure that there an easy-to-access slideshow at the ready.
- Keep your hot news hot -- announce your newest and most-desirable listings.
- Update your open house page drive traffic from the web into your open houses.
- Add a summary to your home page with a dedicated link to your listing page.
Can Your Site be Found?
Once your your web site is optimized, you have to make it something people can find. Your web site address is very much like a phone number -- if they can't find it, potential clients won't be able to connect with you!
Make sure your property is included on all real estate web sites used by home buyers to search for their dream homes. Some suggestions:
Submit listings to your multiple listing service (MLS). The property will be included in the IDX feed for that MLS; many brokers and agents offer a full MLS search direct from their web sites leveraging IDX feed using services like iHOUSE's IDXPro MLS Search Solution.
Submit listings to popular sites for house-hunters There are a handful of top national search websites:
- Realtor.com is the #1 real estate website, and was ranked as the 70th Top Website in any category in the U.S. by Alexa.
- Yahoo! Real Estate Classifieds- The most visited site on the Internet offers real estate classified ads.
- Trulia Real Estate Search Engine provides its visitors with summary listing profiles that include prominent links back to agent's site to get more details.
- Oodle Real Estate Classifieds Positioning themselves as the online classifieds website, Oodle indexes current listings and sends web visitors directly to your website for details. Explore local classifieds websites These are usually pay-per-listing submissions.
- Craigslist.org the first and still the most-popular online local classifieds, Craigslist.org is a top 10 destination web site in the U.S. and in some markets is the go-to online classified resource.
Local Newspapers -- Your local papers may include listings online as part of their classified services, or they may have a separate online classifieds program.
Property search sites can help. Research specialty property search web sites . There are specialty sites for commercial, farms/ranches, luxury, rentals, and so forth. Often these use a pay-per listing model, and may require a membership or charge a referral fee.
- LoopNet.com #1 -- Commercial online real estate website, paid listing service.
- EscapeHomes.com -- Promotes second-home listings, membership fee/referral fee.
- Land.net -- Promotes land and commercial real estate available for purchase or lease.
- Rent.com -- An eBay company, Rent.com claims to be #1 in online rental traffic. Listings are free, but you pay $375 with a completed lease.
- Leverage national nroker web sites If you belong to a national broker franchise like RE/MAX, Prudential, Coldwell Banker, or Century 21, don't miss the opportunity to include your listings on their national index hosted on their corporate websites. These web sites capture a lot of traffic, and can be useful in capturing relocation leads.
Youre Listed, Now What?
Once you're listed, it's time to focus on grabbing the attention of prospective clients with a compelling presentation. Once you've secured the listing, it's time to capture other agents and potential buyers. Heres how to get started:
- E-mail an electronic version of your property flyer to local agents with the latest open house schedule and include a link to the listing's web page in the body of your email.
- Use an e-mail marketing program to create pre-formatted flyers and open house invitation eCards to get the attention of other agents.
- Add a virtual tour. Sites with virtual tours have been shown to keep visitors three times longer and listings receive 40% more views than they would otherwise.
- Stake out the next frontier: single property websites are becoming the new differentiator. Stand out from other agents during the listing presentation by offering a professional, stand-alone web site dedicated specifically to your client's property.
These steps will get you to a place where you can offer your visitors the most information-rich experience, and will help them to remember you, and thus to return to your site again and again.
(Paul Sheng is CEO of iHOUSE Web Solutions.)
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