How to Build an Online Presence That Impresses Buyers and Boosts Sales

By September 9, 2015 Blog No Comments

Real estate agents, your online presence is the new curbside.

Ninety-two percent of home buyers start their home search online, and the average buyer spends three weeks searching online before even contacting an agent.

Research also shows that younger buyers, in particular, are turning to online information sources far more often than traditional sources such as open houses.

That means home buyers are looking to get as deep into the buying process as they can online—and an optimal online experience is what’s going to differentiate you from your competitors.

Want to be the agent who gets the call? Here’s how to build a compelling online presence that will net you (and your sellers) both quality and quantity leads.

Go Mobile-First

It may not surprise you to hear that 89% of home buyers use mobile in their real estate searches. But did you know that 77% of buyers even use mobile from home?

In other words, home-shopping on mobile devices is the default, not a fallback. Even when buyers have access to a computer, they prefer to swipe through real estate information their phones or tablets.

Apps are one option for capturing the mobile market, but going mobile-first is even better. Mobile-first, responsive design allows your full website to adapt automatically for mobile use—without losing functionality.

That means home buyers can access all your listings and other information immediately, without the inconvenience of software installation, zooming, or pinching. And if that’s not enough to convince you, consider that Google has updated its algorithm to reward mobile-friendly websites.

Cover Your Online Bases

These days, it’s not enough to put up a website and walk away. You also need a social media presence.

Take the few minutes required to at least set up accounts on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. If you have time and inclination, add Instagram and Pinterest to your mix.

Then post regularly to build interest. It takes less time than you think: 30-45 minutes a day should be sufficient.

Use Professionally Produced Visual Content

I could flood you with statistics here because there have been so many studies that prove the effectiveness of visual content over plain text, both in general and when it comes to real estate marketing in particular.

For now, consider these highlights:

  • The human brain processes visual content 90,000 times faster than it processes plain text. (source: B2B Content Engine)
  • Professional photography increases the selling price of a home by $2,400 or more and reduces time on market by up to 3 weeks. (source: Redfin)
  • A picture is worth 1,000 words, but just one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. (source: Forrester Research)
  • Listings marketed with video generate four times the inquiries of listings marketed without video. (source: Domain.com)
  • Users spend 88% more time on webpages that contain video than they do on webpages without video. (source: Mist Media)

In other words, if you want to grab home buyers’ attention, hold it, and communicate a wealth of information all at once, quality visual content is the way to go.

Be a Thought Leader

In today’s online marketplace, content rules the day. But there’s one problem: technology changes so quickly that it’s often difficult for all of us to keep up with it. So as the industry searches for tech solutions that meet buyers’ demands for a quality online experience, don’t be afraid to make your voice heard.

Let your listing portals know that you want to integrate video and maybe even 3D into your listings—they need to know it’s worth investing the resources required to update their systems. And encourage your colleagues (or, if you’re a broker, your agents) to raise the bar in your market by offering a second-to-none, online-centered experience.

You’ll stand out from your competitors and, when they see the light, you’ll be known as the early adopter who led the way.

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