Last week's post discussed how an awesome real estate website should capture follower information and offer something of value in return. Now on to Part 2.
An awesome real estate website should engage visitors and followers with interaction and valuable insight.
You know what is probably the number one weakness for a lot of agents when it comes to securing new business? Not being there. Buyers and sellers contact agents for help all the time, and you know what happens? Agents drop the ball. They don't follow-up, they don't keep their promises, so buyers and sellers move on to the next agent.
Of course, following up and keeping promises is the first level of "being there" as an agent. If you can master your follow-up and then add in one or two of these ideas, you could be the local superstar.
Host online tele-seminars.
You've probably already heard the idea of conducting seminars about buying and selling a home, but many times, the logistics get in the way. Planning and carrying out a complicated, in-person event might seem too overwhelming to tackle, but there's a way to get around those details and maybe even appeal to a greater number of potential customers. Conduct "virtual seminars" viatele-conference and web interface, and there's a free service that can help with this. It's called Calliflower, and it can conduct both parts of the seminar - the conferencing side (phone support) and the web side (online features). The free version offers several great features, like:
Unique Pins for Each Participant
This allows each attendee to upload his/her photo and allows you to track who is on the call (rather than having a "universal" access code).
Communication Management Tools
During the call, attendees can ask questions and contribute to the discussion by "raising their hands" or using the chat interface (see images).
But, what kind of seminar will you do? I'd say that depends on the local market and what's happening in it, but here are a few ideas.
- Find hot button issues and conduct "town hall" events where attendees can vent their frustrations and find a trusted professional to give them direction. One example I know of personally, Chinese drywall. Locally, there are issues cropping up surrounding Chinese drywall, and buyers (even those who just purchased recently) are worrying about it (and understandably so). A lot of professionals here are dodging the issue, not communicating and dismissing buyer concerns. If this is an issue in your area, you could put together a seminar with tons of resources and experts on the subject.
- Conduct monthly "Q&A" sessions where customers can ask you questions about buying or selling.
- Get help from other experts (mortgage specialists, inspectors, designers, etc.) to add variety, interest, and depth to your events.
The most important thing is to be informative, both at the event and when promoting it. Be specific about what information they can expect to learn and how you will help them, and provide a clear objective for the call so that people know what to expect.
Start an online podcast.
Start a real estate or area "radio show" as an informational source for your customers and clients. You could even use Calliflower to simplify the process (since podcasting can be a huge undertaking, if you're not careful). Calliflower can record each event, and then you can post the mp3 version to a podcast feed on your website - two birds with one stone! Plus, with this option, you can actually have "live call-in radio shows." In this case, I would recommend posting the dial-in number and a universal pin so that more people will participate (radio shows are more about anonymity, after all).
Cover information similar to that suggested for seminars, or you could get really fancy and have a more true-to-life radio show format.
Conduct live chats from your site.
Provide live chats from your website on a regular basis (examples, "Real Estate Wednesdays" or "Mondays with [Fill in Your Name]"). You could use theCalliflower service again, but there are also plenty of chat-only options. Google Talk, Live2Support, and Bravenet are just a few of them.
You could use an open-discussion format, like the "Real Estate Wednesdays," where visitors can just ask questions and jump into the current discussion, or you could have a more structured format like the seminars where you focus on a particular topic.
Create an online forum or discussion board.
For a more ongoing approach, you could have a forum or discussion board on your site. Set up separate areas (or threads) for different topics (examples, "Buyer Questions," "Seller Questions," "Investors' Corner," etc.). If you go this route, be sure to put a message (in a prominent location within the forum/board) about when you respond so that visitors don't think you're available around the clock or think they're being ignored.
Create video casts (aka vidcasts) for your site.
Find a house that's about to go on the market and do an instructional "how to prepare your home to get top dollar" video. You could even do this weekly or monthly and showcase a new property each time. Walk through the home, pointing out areas that could use improvement, making recommendations as you go. Then, if the seller takes your advice and makes the improvements, end with an "after the show" segment where you go through the new and improved home. You could even show how much the improvements cost and the sales price (and marketing time) for the home. You could even do "curb appeal" ones, too, where you focus on the outside of the home. (Note: Be sure get written permission from the seller to post all the info and the video online.)
Well, those are a few ideas for adding some interactive elements to your website.
Don't forget, this is an ongoing series, so keep an eye out for next week's post.
By Amber Riviere
Previous Awesome Website Posts
Part 1 - http://activerain.com/blogsview/1119217/an-awesome-real-estate-website-part-1-