The Internet is changing the way that Realtors do business and market themselves to such an extent that some will just not be around in a few short years. Survival of the fittest is the way of the world, and the fittest in real estate will be those agents and brokers who understand the new Internet consumer and how to engage them from first contact through a commission.
The very first contact that most of you with websites or blogs will have with a consumer will usually be their visit to your site to search for listings. And, you will probably never know that they were there. They come anonymously, and they want to stay that way. They want to find homes or land that meets their requirements and, on this first visit, they do not want to be contacted or to talk to you. If you ever want to talk to these people, ever, then pay heed to the TEN COMMANDMENTS OF IDX.
1. Thou shalt not underestimate IDX.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a buyer or seller visiting your website or blog for the first time. Surveys have shown that 95+% of first time visitors for listing searches want to see all of the listings in the MLS, not just yours. Not having IDX will cost you huge amounts of future web-generated business. Again, no IDX, no leads, no business.
2. Thou shalt not make assumptions about your visitors.
Successful Web real estate lead generating site owners will all tell you the same thing. They have had clients tell them that the business came to them because other online Realtors dismissed, ignored or underestimated them. They were visiting the sites months before they were ready to talk to anyone, and the site owner didn’t serve them well in this phase. Though they aren’t ready to get into the car with you right now, they do not want to be ignored until you think they are a “hot” prospect.
3. Thou must take ownership of your IDX.
Do you think you’ve diverted a bullet, getting an IDX link for your web presence by linking out to your broker’s site? Would you take every one of your walk-in prospects into your broker’s office, introduce them, and leave them there to be served? Don’t send your prospects off to be served by others by not having an IDX solution ON your site.
4. Thou shalt not secret away your IDX.
How does a site visitor get to your IDX search page? Don’t make it a tiny button, or make them go through several clicks to find it. If you’re doing PPC, bring them straight to the search page if that’s the key phrase you’re marketing. Make it a highly visible one-click link from your home page.
5. Thou shalt make IDX easy to use.
Web visitors are not patient people. They want to locate listings by characteristics, location, price, school systems, and in other ways. Make the search process easy for them to find homes the way they want to find them.
6. Thou should be generous with other information and tools.
If you were buying a home in a new area, what would you want to know? Give your visitors interactive maps, calculators for mortgages, gadgets for climate information, shopping and banking locations, and more. Give them easy access to information and tools to determine what it will be like to live in the home on the screen. And, lots of photos!
7. Thou shalt deliver.
Once a visitor has decided that your IDX search is a good one for them, don’t lose them to another who makes it even easier to use. Give them the ability to create custom searches with their criteria and have new listings delivered to their email. This is the delivery that will keep them coming back and keep you on the top of their mind when the timing is right.
8. Thou shalt promote your visitors to management for leads.
Once these visitors are using your site and IDX, give them the ability to log in to manage their accounts, including multiple saved searches. This is great for them, but it’s even better for you … now you have that email address lead to market.
9. Thou shalt always be right there.
No matter what screen they are looking at, no matter how many homes they view, always have an easy one-click link to email you. When they are finally ready to ask a question and get personal, don’t make them search around for contact information.
10. Thou shalt never sit still.
The most difficult target to hit is the one that’s moving, and the Internet and your prospects are moving constantly. Use an IDX solution provider who understands this and stays on the leading edge of Internet consumer engagement.
There you are. If you can live by those 10 IDX commandments on your website or blog, success will be yours in online real estate business generation.