In this episode of Real Estate Pros, Josh Cobb shares the results of our recent study where we uncovered how buyers and renters search for property online, and why your real estate website might be losing you money if you’re prioritising your property listings.
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For the past six months, we’ve been on a mission to understand the behaviour of buyers and renters when they set out in search of a new home. While the results aren’t surprising, they point out a huge problem with most real estate websites today.
We surveyed buyers and renters from around the country who have searched for a new home in the past two years. First we asked where they started their property search and, not surprisingly, 94% named either one of the major portals: realestate.com.au or domain.com.au.
Then we asked if they visited a real estate agency’s website at any stage during their search for a new home.
A whopping 84% said no.
Yes, you read that correctly – 84% of people looking to buy or rent a home never visit a real estate agency’s website.
What’s shocking to me is that after presenting these results to the attendees of our recent Social Media For Real Estate Agencies Masterclass series in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, not one person in the room was surprised by these results. So instinctively, real estate agents know that tenants and buyers are not visiting their site but few are doing something about it.
Some web developers will have you believe you need to invest in all the latest website bells-and-whistles. Beautiful full-width images of your latest listings, sophisticated map searching and stunning photo galleries are just some of the common features that can cost thousands of dollars to build or have placed on your existing website.
I’m not saying those features aren’t important – they can most certainly add value to the experience on your website. But if eight in every 10 people aren’t looking at your site to find a property to buy or rent, why would you spend a small fortune to prioritise your property listings?
So who is visiting your website?
Most likely, it’s homeowners and landlords looking for an answer to a question they have about real estate, to discern your credibility and, possibly, to one day call you about selling or managing their property.
One particular agency in my own market has hired a freelance real estate journalist who works part time, writing about the specific questions their community is asking when it comes to real estate. They host this content along with helpful videos on their website, using social media to amplify this content with the purpose of driving traffic back to their website where readers can check out all of the other helpful content the team has produced and convert them into email subscribers for their weekly newsletter.
Unlike the majority of real estate websites, you won’t find property listings or photos of industry awards on this particular agency’s home page – instead they’ve dedicated their entire website to content that serves homeowners and landlords by creating educational, relevant and entertaining content. As a result, they’ve established themselves as the leading authority on all things real estate here in our area.
According to Google Analytics benchmarking, this agency drives 24 times more traffic to their site than the average real estate business in Australia – which is 19 visits a day by the way – and their email database is growing like crazy. This is just one example of a business in a marketplace – most likely just like yours – that understands the importance of building a website for the right audience.
So in closing…
If 84% of tenants and buyers are never visiting your website but are going to the major portals to search for property, does it make sense that your website is simply just a smaller version of your realestate.com.au or domain.com.au profile?
From the data we have collected, if you’re prioritising your listings, you’re losing potential revenue – lots of it.
You will never compete with REA or Domain for attention when it comes to buyers and renters. So instead, put your time, money and effort into serving the people who you know – for a fact – are coming to yoursite.com.au.
I recently wrote a post about the benefits of content marketing and one simple strategy that will help you become known as the trusted authority in your local market – you can check that out on our website if you’re stuck on ideas on where to start.
When we’re working on website strategy for real estate agencies, the plan and the deliverable is quite a bit more comprehensive than what you see above, but it’s based on this data and thought process. If anything, I hope this episode has kickstarted your thinking on how to drive actual business outcomes from the investment you’ve made in your website.
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