Web Marketing and Real Estate in 2014

Image courtesy of John Bergman

Image courtesy of John Bergman

Like any other service-oriented business, the web has completely changed how people search for their next home. According to a survey conducted by realtor.org, 90 percent of those people looking for a new place to live used the Internet, 87 percent used a real estate agent and 53 percent relied on a yard sign. Only 27 percent of the respondents used a newspaper ad as an information source for their search.

With the Internet being such an important tool for home seekers, real estate agents would be wise to better tailor their marketing efforts to meet this need. However a simple static web site is not enough. That may have worked back in 1995, but today’s real estate web sites need to offer visitors much, much more.

Make it mobile friendly

Global tablet and smartphone Internet traffic grew to 20 percent of the overall web traffic in December of 2013 and shows signs of taking over even more. Having a mobile friendly site is no longer an option; it is a necessity. Using responsive design, mobile versions of the standard website or even mobile apps are ways that real estate agents can reach customers who are out looking at properties. These technologies make it easier for the customer who is driving around in their car or walking around a city neighborhood to access information designed for their small screen and reduced data stream.

Real time marketing

Not only does a realtor have to go mobile on the web, but they have to offer real time information to their visitors. And this goes much further than making sure your listings are up to date. Incorporating tools like Google maps can give customers a look at homes in the area surrounding them or in specific neighborhoods like Keller Williams New York’s web site does. Other sites have taken current trends and statistics regarding a neighborhood to their customers. By offering up to the minute data on recent sales, price reductions and other statistics customers can grab a more accurate picture of where the market stands in a particular neighborhood or city.

Learning a lesson from Pinterest

One of the reasons so many home seekers turn to the Internet first is because they want to see pictures of their next home. “With a traditional Web site, you’re limited to 20 or 30 photos,” explains Mike Gardner of Prudential Malibu Realty East. “There’s never been a place on a traditional Web site to add 30 or 40 additional photos that show the details.” But he knew pictures are what was going to sell a Malibu mobile home he had listed so he turned to Pinterest for help and the property went into escrow five days after being listed. Because he was able to use more images than usual to highlight the homes luxury components and custom work he was able to reach the right market for this property. Sites now not only need to store more images for their listings, but have a way that makes displaying them easier on the visitor.

As the market rebounds and home sales continue to climb realtors need to assess their current web strategy and see where they can improve to meet the needs of a more mobile, and social, customer.

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