Internet Marketing for Real Estate Professionals
Talk to real estate agents and brokers and you will find out quickly that by far and away the top source of leads for both buyers and sellers are referrals and repeat business.
These two lead sources are the life blood of any real estate professional. The Internet rounds out the top three most important methods of generating leads which should not be surprising given the role the Internet plays in our buying journeys.
The Role of the Internet in Real Estate Marketing Online
- 94%of consumers start their home search online,
- 96% of FSBO (First Time Home Buyers) start their home search online,
- 76% of Internet home buyers drove by or viewed a home they saw online,
- 41% of buyers first found their home on the Internet,
- 32% of FSBOs used the Internet to help sell their home,
- The average age of first time home buyers in the United States is 31.
2013* Real Estate Technology Survey
For the last several years, The Center for REALTOR® Technology (CRT) a department within the NAR, has conducted the REALTOR® Technology Survey Report.
This survey is conducted annually from a random sample of realtors solicited via email. Below is the full report for 2012 released in March of 2013. 2013* Realtor Technology Survey Report
For those interested in comparing the detailed results of this years report with last year, see the 2012** Realtor Technology Survey Report [pdf].
*Study conducted in 2012, released in 2013 and referred to as 2013
**Study conducted in 2011, released in 2012 and referred to as 201
Key Findings in the 2013 Realtor Technology Survey Report
The remainder of this post will examine the findings relative to technology and real estate marketing online.
Social Media & Networking
- 80% of real estate professional us social media in support of their real estate business. This is not surprising given how popular social media is in general, making it an important channel to reach consumers.
- On average, real estate professionals are comfortable using social media. In fact, 29% of real estate professionals say they are comfortable with using social media. 20% say they are extremely comfortable.
- The comfort level has decreased among agents and brokers in the past two years. Brokers in particular appear to be less comfortable with social media than two years ago. This could be due to the increased complexity and he proliferation of social media channels available to market real estate online.
When asked why they use social media, the most common responses were:
- Increase visibility and exposure through amplifying word of mouth,
- Viewed as free, perpetual online advertising,
- Facilitates and streamlines communication enabling them to stay in contact with multiple clients efficiently,
- Clients expect it to demonstrate credibility,
- Great tool for networking and relationship building,
- Use social media to promote listings to broader audience.
Lead Generation & Listings
Agents and Associate Brokers were asked what the single best marketing software is for generating new leads. Many of the responses were “don’t know/haven’t found one yet.” Some of those survey mentioned mention using the following real estate online marketing tools, including:
- Company website,
- Personal website,
- Buffini’s CRM system,
- Constant Contact (email marketing system),
- Market Leader.
Realtor.com®, Zillow and Trulia are the top three websites where survey responds indicated that they display their listings when asked the question, What are the web sites where your listings are displayed?
Majorities also display their listings on their broker’s site, their own websites, and on IDX sites.
Real Estate Websites
The survey results found that:
- 72% of agents and broker associates have real estate agent websites,
- 79% of brokers and managers have company web sites.
When asked the question How much do you spend annually on your website?
Brokers spend of a median of $697 per year on their websites whereas agent and broker associates spend a median of only $303. Perhaps the difference in spending between brokers and agent and broker associates can be attributed to differences in Real Estate Website ROI (Return On Investment) perceptions. In fact, Brokers rate the ROI of their real estate websites significantly higher than agents and associate brokers.
Wen asked, In general, what kind of ROI do you receive from your website?
When asked, How much time is invested on your website on a monthly basis, 52% of respondents spend up to 5 hours per month on their websites, versus 48% in 2011. This increase is likely due, in part, to increased competition among real estate professionals marketing online.
There was no measurable difference between brokers and agents/associate brokers in terms of time spent so the survey results were not broken out by these two groups.
Other questions about real estate websites included:
- Do consumers (website visitors) have to register to access listing information on your website?
- Do you have listing search capabilities on your website?
- Are you satisfied with the amount of web leads you receive?
Here are the results to the questions about real estate website capabilities and performance:
While brokers have relaxed the requirement for consumers to register to access listing information on their websites, agents have increased this requirement, most likely in efforts to increase lead capture and website ROI.
An overwhelming number of respondents indicated that they have listing search capabilities on their websites (91% of agents, 80% of brokers).
Satisfaction with the amount of leads received for both agents and brokers declined slightly from 2011 (1% and 2% respectively) likely representative of increase competition in real estate marketing online.
While the top source of leads for both buyers and sellers are referrals and repeat business, savvy real estate professionals understand that their target market is increasingly turning to the Internet during their real estate buying journey.
Social media, when used effectively, can be a great mechanism to amplify word of mouth which is at the heart of referrals. With social media, a simple like, share or tagged photo can help spread the word faster and farther than is possible with traditional (in person) lines of communication.
A real estate website is the cornerstone of successful online marketing programs for agents and brokers. Those who recognize that adding value to consumers during and along their buying journey are likely to become the biggest benefactors of real estate marketing online.
We are experienced in assisting real estate professionals in all aspects of their online marketing programs. Why not contact us to learn how we can help you enhance your revenue through online marketing strategies and tactics?