By Bob Corcoran
It's a vitally important statistic every serious real estate agent and broker should memorize: Eighty-seven percent of all home buyers and 94 percent of buyers aged 25 to 44 years use the Internet to search for homes, says the National Association of Realtors.
So the question you have to ask yourself is this: Is your online presence up to the task of capturing your fair share of that market?
If not -- or you're not sure -- keep reading.
To get new business today, it's imperative that you not just have an online presence but have one that demands attention - one that grabs prospects by the lapels, pulls them off their feet and says: "Hey, you can't afford not to read this. If you don't, you're losing out."
I have to tell you, most agent and broker websites I see are boring at best and a waste of time at worst. That's also what I hear from a friend who I believe has become the best consultant around when it comes to the Internet, and his moniker is richly deserved: Mr. Internet®. His name is Michael Russer and he's been helping agents with Internet issues from the very start of the web.
Russer says most agents are making a grave mistake with their online presence by not specializing. "They attempt to make their website everything to everyone and end up not being anything to anyone," he says. "Actually, they work hard not to look too different, but really that's precisely what they should be doing, looking different to get people's attention."
Niche marketing, he adds, is fundamental and real estate is the only industry that doesn't do this. Why? "Because they aren't business people, they're salespeople and have no concept of marketing. Marketing and sales are different. An online presence is about marketing, not sales," Russer says.
They feel if they specialize they'll lose all that business - but in reality they didn't have it to begin with. So with that in mind, Russer and I share these tips to make your website the envy of all your competitors:
Tip 1: Realize the online world is different - One problem many agents and brokers struggle with in the online environment is that they're not in control. Before the web, agents were face-to-face or on the phone with prospects and thus more in control of communication. But now, with the Internet, the consumer is in control and it often drives Real Estate Agents crazy. The key is to understand human behavior online, then to leverage that understanding into practical communication strategies that yield closed transactions.
Tip 2: Target, Target, Target - Targeting your website for a specific niche market is the best thing you can do to make your website effective at generating leads. If you're targeting first-time buyers, you might try a more relaxed, informal design. But second home buyers often respond better to a more sophisticated look and feel. Just remember: targeting is so important that without it your site will do little to bring in business.
Tip 3: Use copy that speaks to visitors - Headlines must grab their attention; otherwise the rest of the copy won't get read. Headlines need to scream to your target market. If you're targeting first-time buyers, tap into the fear and excitement and make the body copy build a one-on-one conversation with them as if they were sitting across from you. Visit www.facebook.com/onlinedominance, click on the "cool tools" tab for a sample of first response online scripts that have proven to work with prospects.
Let me hear from you. How are your online strategies working? Doing anything new? Have you changed your website recently? If so, how? Please send any comments or questions you have to http://www.facebook.com/CorcoranCoaching.
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent's existing practice.
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