13 minute read

 

Is your digital marketing profitable or wasteful?

I recently caught up with the team over at Openn Negotiation to discuss:

  1. 3 easy ways to optimise your website for lead generation
  2. How you can beat your competition on Google rankings
  3. The number one BEST way to convert your leads

Get clear on where you should invest your time and money online post COVID. Check out the highlights in the video above or read the transcript below.

Video Highlights: 

  • 0:19 – 3 easy changes you can make to your website to increase lead generation
  • 3:49 – The plan of attack to convert leads once you get them
  • 5:27 – Why you need to have a Google My Business listing
  • 8:21 – Top 3 things you can do to outrank your competition on Google

Head over to Openn Negotiation here to get the full video >

Transcription:

Sean:

The three, pretty easy fixes that you would be able to provide to an agent or agency or principal that they could look into making their website today relatively easily, that would improve their chances of getting more visitors, more conversions, more leads.

Josh:

My first tip would be to get Google analytics installed if you haven’t. Ask your marketing team or your web developer, whoever looks after that for you, I want to know how many people have been to my website in the last 30 days. Just measure it. Last 30 days, how many people have gone there? How long are they staying there? What’s our average time on page or time on site? And also, what’s our return percentage? So how many, if we get 1000 people to our website a month, what percentage of those 1000 people were there the previous month? And that’ll quickly tell you whether your website is, one, getting a decent amount of traffic, two, that people are sticking around, so your time on page will tell you that. And also, how many people are coming back because if people aren’t coming back, where are they going? Are they going to your competitors? Are they going back to Facebook? Are they going to the major property portals or review website with other agents?

Josh:

So those three things very quickly will tell you where you sit right now. So that’s number one. Number two would be to make it hyper-local. So this is something that it’s not all that difficult to do, Sean, but so many people, when they build a website, they spend so much time picking photos and videos that have nothing to do with their business or their market. They go to Shutterstock and they download a whole bunch of the cheesy, corporate, thumbs up group of people shaking hands or handing out keys. And everyone’s laughing probably right now because they know it’s true, right?

Sean:

Yeah.

Josh:

So make it hyper-local, make it about your market. So before you do anything, if you’re creating a website right now, go and do this. If you have already got a website right now, still go and do this, build a library in Google Drive or Dropbox of pretty much three things, local landmarks or aerial shots, so photos or videos of things in your community, so that when someone goes onto your website, instantly, they make a connection. They’re like, “Oh, that’s the markets,” or, “That’s the such and such a street,” or, “That’s the roundabout down on such and such.” It makes enormous difference to how the community connects with your brand when they feel like you get them, you get the local market. You’re part of the fabric of that community. Nothing does that better on a website then really good hyper-local imagery. Don’t go and steal it from Google images, go and get your photographer to go out for a day and just get some really nice photos and video. Make sure it’s original. That’s my tip number two.

Josh:

Number three would be if you’re sending people to your website, sorry, if you’re not sending people to your website right now because you’re ashamed of how it looks or the listings don’t look quite right, or there’s a lot of people running Facebook ads right now and sending traffic to the listings on the major property portals. If you’re spending, if your vendors are spending money on Facebook advertising, and you’re not sending that traffic to your website, then that probably means that you’re ashamed of your website or you might need a redirection in strategy. But if you’re not driving people to your website right now and you’re ashamed of it, go and rebuild it.

Sean:

We’ve ticked all those boxes and we’re getting some good traffic to our website. We’re starting to get some leads through. That’s all good and well, but what about the next step?

Josh:

So the first thing in any lead generation strategy with digital marketing is to pick up the phone, right? It’s the best lead conversion tool still. And there’s a lot of… I’m 35, I think, last time I checked, and I’m not that old, but I’m not that young. And a lot of these younger guys that have grown up with social media believe that social media and video ads and Facebook lead ads, and all this stuff, if you are looking at high value clients and high value relationships, the phone is still the best conversion tool, hands down. You talk to any great agent in any market, regional, metropolitan, selling, writing $4 million a year or $100,000 a year, it doesn’t really matter. The phone is still the best conversion tool.

Josh:

So getting leads is one thing, you’re right. But the plan of attack to engage with those leads when they come in is to pick up the phone and give them a call. The agents who are building relationships the fastest with the community are the ones who are going to win. And there’s no better way to do that than when a lead comes in, all the digital marketing has worked, it’s now your job to pick up the phone.

Sean:

How does Google stack up in terms of importance? I noticed it wasn’t one of the first things you suggested you’d do if you were going to help my agency to grow, probably because it’s maybe a longer form type of a tactic. Where do you see it fitting in and how much attention should an agent or agency be paying to Google?

Josh:

Yeah, a lot of attention, much more attention than what the industry is paying at the moment, and for a couple of reasons. But the reason, here’s what, I’m going to share some statistics with your viewers to argue the point that Google is one of the most important digital marketing platforms on the web right now for a real estate business.

Josh:

First things first, is that a huge amount of people in your market right now, in every market in Australia, Google is the first place they go when they’re ready to sell. They’re going to Google, they type in real estate agents, insert a suburb after that and they hit search. 75% of those people, 75% of the people that go to Google to make that search, will click on the first three results underneath all the ads underneath the maps, and the results for most real estate businesses in this country is the major portals and the review platforms.

Josh:

It doesn’t have to be that way, Sean. We are absolutely in the box seat to win that game. It is not a difficult game. A lot of people think, I can’t beat the major portals and these third party platforms on Google. You absolutely can for one very important reason, is that you have an office in your local market and they don’t. So Google will prioritise local businesses who are investing in getting people to their website, getting their Google My Business profile set up correctly, getting lots of Google reviews. So if you’re not doing those things and you’re getting reviews on another platform solely, or you don’t put any effort into Google reviews at all, you’re not going to compete in those top three search results. If you’re not driving lots of traffic to your website, you’re not going to compete in those first three search results.

Josh:

So with all of those people going to Google, I would absolutely want them on my website because they are ready to sell. They want an agent right now, or they’re at least in their consideration phase where they’re, “Well, these are the top three agents on Google, so I’m just going to invite those three into my lounge room and talk to them about selling my house.” So every real estate agent’s mission, or every real estate business’s mission, should be to be in those top three search results under the ads and under the map with the brands on that map. So with all of those people going to Google, that’s why Google is so important, is because still I’m going to make an educated guess here, the majority of homeowners who are ready to sell, who don’t have an agent in mind, or don’t know someone or aren’t refer to an agent, they’re going to Google. They’re going to Google first. And they’re going to the websites in the first research results second. So you absolutely want to be in there.

Sean:

Can you run through those top three things they can do to improve their rankings?

Josh:

Sure. So these are things, first and foremost, that you can do yourself, most of it you can do yourself. And you don’t necessarily need your marketing person or your consultant or web developer to do this. So, first of all, I’m going to assume that your viewers have Google My Business set up. If they don’t or if they don’t know, go to Google, type in your company name, and if a big thing next to the Google search results doesn’t come up with your name or your brand and your reviews and photos, you need to set one up.

Josh:

So I’m going to assume that everyone has one set up. And if you do, there’s a feature inside. If you go into your Google My Business profile and click on the info section, there’s a little section there that says service areas. So what suburbs do you service? You can add up to 20. And what I want you to do is go in and put all of the 20, at least 20 suburbs. If you live in a regional area, it’s a little bit different. You just obviously put in the suburbs that relate to your town.

Josh:

But the reason why that’s important, Sean, is if your office is in, say, Perth. Let’s say you’re in Leederville, your office is in Leederville, but you manage and sell properties in East Perth or Subiaco or wherever, right? Putting your service areas into Google My Business is a signal to Google search engines that it’s saying, “”Hey, don’t just rank me in Leederville. We also sell and rent property over in those suburbs as well. If someone’s searching for a real estate agent or a property manager in those suburbs, we want our website and our agents to appear in a Google search there as well.”

Josh:

Now, that is not a silver bullet. You absolutely still need good amounts of traffic to your website and lots of Google reviews to help you rank in those suburbs. But adding your service areas is one really important step and sending a signal to Google that you service those areas. All right?

Josh:

Number two is encouraging Google reviews. So there’s a lot of online review platforms where real estate agents are gathering reviews, getting reviews, and that’s pretty much it. They stay there, they live there, that’s the only place that they put their reviews. Now, as we were saying before, if the majority of homeowners are going to Google first, would you rather have your reviews as the first thing they see or mixed in with a whole bunch of other real estate agents on a platform that has a vested interest in you driving traffic there, right? So, absolutely get lots of Google reviews. You still want to be on those third party review platforms, but Google reviews are important for visibility, so people will see you straight away. And the more reviews you have, it’s been proven that that’s actually a search ranking factor. So the more Google reviews equals better Google rankings. That’s a proven fact.

Josh:

But also, you should be responding to them. Good and bad, good reviews, bad reviews. It doesn’t matter. So if you’ve got a potential vendor, and they go to Google and type in real estate agents, Perth, and they click on your reviews and they see a whole bunch of positive ones and a few negative ones with no replies at all, then it’s kind of like, “Well, these guys don’t really care.” But if they can see you’ve responded to every review, and I’m practising what I preach here. Every review that we get, good or bad, we respond to. And it’s from me, it’s not from the marketing team, the social media team, Joe in accounting, it’s from me as the business owner. So I take the time to read those and we respond.

Josh:

And when someone clicks on your reviews and they can see you’ve responded to the good and bad reviews, it tells those people, those potential clients, that you care. Some believe that responding to reviews is a Google search ranking improver. The jury is still out on that. We’re not sure whether that’s the case. But it says a lot about your brand if you’re taking the time to respond to someone that has taken the time out of their day to tell you what they think about your business.

Josh:

And number three is creating suburb profiles on your website, and this is a big one. So in our article, we shared a case study of a business in Brisbane who looks after property in a suburb six kilometres away, or lots of suburbs, but this particular suburb six kilometres away from their office, they were able to get to position three on page one of Google by simply having a suburb profile on their website about that suburb. So that’s essentially food for Google to say, “Oh, okay, these guys are talking about this suburb on their website.”

Josh:

The Google bots, let’s get technical for a second, their bots or their crawlers have gone through the page. They can see it’s a suburb profile about this suburb. And they’ve pushed it up into Google search rankings. And now this office, even though their office is six kilometres away from this other suburb, they’re now ranking position three on page one, where before they were not even on the radar, page 10, page 11. So suburb profiles on your website are really, really important as a signal to Google that you are talking about those other suburbs on your website.

Josh:

So just one last thing to add on that, Sean. In that article, if people want to have a read of it, we talked about using some API integrations with different platforms to pull in that data dynamically. So you can create a separate profile. I don’t want people to just put a little blurb about the suburb and leave it at that. You have to go in depth. Just putting a little blurb about the suburb, that will not help with Google rankings. But if you go in depth and provide a lot of value on that page, it will absolutely help.

Author: Josh Cobb

Phone Number: 0427 184 183

Email Address: josh@stepps.com.au

Stepps was founded by Josh Cobb in 2014. Josh has advised more than 100 brands since starting the company and hundreds of agents who have attended his workshops. He is the host of the popular Real Estate Pros podcast, oversees digital strategy for top performing real estate agents and teams, and travels the globe with several international speaking engagements each year.

Recently, Josh was named as a finalist in the 2017 REB Awards for Industry Thought Leader of The Year and the winner of  Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 – Marketing, PR & Events.

In addition to web development and digital strategy consulting, the company also runs Stepps Media, a fast-growing education company that produces an iTunes top-ranked podcasttraining events, email and webinars.