In the movie “Field Of Dreams” Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears voices from his corn field saying “If you build it, they will come”. Kinsella thinks the voices mean for him to build a baseball diamond. So Kinsella plowed under a portion of his corn field, built a base ball diamond and waited for them to come.
If Kinsella were a Realtor instead of a corn farmer, his interpretation may have been to build a website instead. When it comes to the web, a lot of Realtors think just like Kinsella did at the beginning of Field of Dreams, they think just building a decent website is enough to attract clients and customers to it. “If you build it, they will come” they think.
They leave their web site traffic generation strategy to search engine hits alone. But in reality that won’t work. Realtors need to advertise their websites to make them successful. While search engine hits definitely are in the cards, getting a page one search engine ranking takes some effort.
Page one rankings simply don’t happen by placing a few search engine strings on a site. The pages you see search engines return on page one have some common characteristics behind them. They have been around a while, they have very high traffic patterns, they have a large number of external links pointing to them and generally speaking they have very high content quality.
Most Realtors can come up with good content, and having a website age for a while is no big deal. But the other two factors, high traffic patterns and large numbers of external links stop a local Realtor’s web sites dead in its tracks.
The facts are that it’s tough to get lots of external interest in a local Realtors site. Who in Ithaca, New York, much cares about the real estate market in Des Moines, Iowa? Each market has an interest in their local market to be sure, but that’s the extent of it. For that reason the traffic patterns of a local Realtor’s site are by default, local.
Small amounts of local traffic are not going to get the links and traffic needed for a page one search engine ranking. Not ever. Even with killer content and great copy the search engines are looking for too much other information that a local Realtor’s site simply doesn’t have. But that doesn’t mean a local Realtors can’t be trafficked. It just means you need to advertise for the traffic.
Advertising a site has its benefits. You control the type of traffic you get, you can customize your site to a particular campaign and you can tie your site into your overall advertising image. You can establish yourself as the local internet real estate expert by driving that type of advertising in your local market.
When you set up your site, you set it up with some specific market goals in mind. You wanted to educate FSBO’s, work with expired listings and maintain a close relationship with your farm. In fact, the goal of your website has been to be your sales force when you can’t be there to sell. If you’ve built your site to these specifications, then specific advertising that complements it will work nicely to expand your sphere.
A pay per click campaign that targets For Sale By Owner in your local market is bound to get you some well qualified hits and because it’s local, it shouldn’t cost too much. If you’re unfamiliar with pay per click, it’s simple. You buy a search engine string that will pop up a link to your site when the string is entered and searched. Pay per click rates depend on the demand for the search string. The lower the demand, the lower the cost.
Print advertising is an effective method for advertising your site too. You can easily target a campaign that is designed to capture email addresses using your web site. Something like this would be beneficial if you wanted to do an email follow up that sells your services even more.
Just like in the movie Field Of Dreams, they will come. But like Kinsella, you have to make it happen. Relying on the search engines as the sole provider of web site traffic simply won’t work. When you build your website, you will still need to advertise it somewhere, somehow.