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Blueprint for Creating Real Estate Content

If you want to achieve online success with your real estate website, then creating engaging and well-optimized content is a key consideration.  Otherwise, the chances of your real estate website or blog being found by potential customers via search engines is next to none.

Search Engine Optimization helps you to improve your brand’s visibility thereby, making it easier for both search engines and potential customers to find you online, helping to bring more traffic and leads to your site.

Follow these simple steps, and you’re on the way to creating content better than your competitors.

 

Real Estate Content

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Increase Real Estate Leads

Lead Generation Ideas for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Lead generation is financially necessary for real estate agents and brokers, but producing quality leads has gotten more competitive with the growth of technology. Technology-driven business is the future for most companies, especially as the number of people who rely on their mobile devices and for information and recommendations continues to grow.
So, how can we reach people and get them to act via technology? They already have an inclination to use their latest devices to find information about local restaurants, the weather, and qualified dentists. It shouldn’t be that hard to get them to use that same technology to learn about real estate opportunities and become new leads for you.
Here are just a few ideas to entice people to act on your messages, website, and social media platforms.

Awareness

If a potential client cannot find what they are looking for easily and quickly, you will lose business. Awareness is a critical component of generating good leads, and it should be the central purpose of your website. Potential clients need to be aware that you are on the web, and that you have important information on your site that directly answers their questions and concerns.
Studies have repeatedly shown that more than half of your website visitors will spend a mere 15 seconds looking for quality information before moving on. If your site speed is slow or if your website could use a renovation, you will need to look into a simple, customizable website that will address these problems. A customizable experience like this can provide simple ways to improve business with customers.
More importantly, if they have a good experience on your site, i.e., the information they need is readily available and the website as a whole performed up to the expectation of a tech-savvy generation of homebuyers, then they’ll be more likely to spread the awareness of your website or brokerage.

Action
Each post on your social media platforms, website, and blog should have a call to action of some kind. Your online activities should always be focused on driving traffic to a landing page or offering a simple step to get them to act later. You need to make it easy for them to take the next step, and you need to give them a reason to do it.
Landing pages should vary, depending on the call-to-action in your post. Be sure you offer the potential client a solution for their question¬— this builds trust and clout for your business and gets them to come back to your site. More importantly, this is where you can start to qualify your leads by the actions they are willing to take.

Conversion
Lead generation without conversion will leave your agency or brokerage floundering in a high-tech environment. The people visiting your website want some very specific answers to some very specific questions.
Be the answer for each potential client.
This means doing your research on your local market, housing costs, or even the concerns people have and may want more information on. It could be the prices of the homes in a certain area or even tips on choosing a home. If you provide an unbiased opinion, people will trust you and be willing to work with you.
All the content you create content should lead to a conversion, soft or hard. Entice them to sign up for a newsletter, an info session, or something else to get them interested and interacting with you a little bit more.
Modern home buyers have very specific needs, wants, and expectations. The most important thing we can do in the real estate industry today is work to keep up with those expectations and create an amazing experience. As technology changes, so will your potential clients. If you want to continue to generate leads and find success for your company in this technology-saturated market, you need to work smarter, not harder, to find new ways to grow and adapt.

How to get Real Estate Leads

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Featured Client- Morris Raney Real Estate

Featured IDX Client

Introducing Becky Morris and Morris Raney Real Estate

Becky Morris has a team of 4 agents that comprise the Morris Raney Real Estate team, who all work for Beacham & Company, one of Atlanta’s top Luxury Real Estate Companies. Through the first 10 months of 2015, Becky and her team sold 70 properties valued at over $30 million dollars. She attributes much of this to her local knowledge of Atlanta and her ability to work with key buyer types such as those relocating from out of town. Becky has been an agent since 2002 and has managed her own website ever since.

The Evolution of Becky’s Website

A few years ago, she and her team jumped on the WordPress bandwagon. She loved that WordPress offers a customizable site design.

As more and more visitors accessed her site via smartphones and tablets, she knew that she’d need a fully-responsive, mobile site which her current site did not have. Through Google Analytics, Becky could see that site visitors on desktop stayed on her site for over 6 minutes, whereas, on mobile, the experience was under 20 seconds.

In the spring of 2015, Becky began analyzing the IDX market in hopes of upgrading her website. The site needed to be customizable, incorporate a fully responsive design allowing smartphone and tablet users to effectively use her site, and offer an elegant look and feel that helped provide a great first experience. Equally important, she needed to exhibit a trusted look and feel that rivaled the major consumer portals and ultimately drove visitors back to her site again and again. Lastly, although Becky isn’t a technophobe, she is not a programmer. Any IDX package she selected would need to be fairly easy to implement.

Making the move to iHomefinder

After a thorough search, Becky moved forward with iHomefinder’s Optima Express plugin. Optima Express offers considerable flexibility and is compatible with her WordPress website. During implementation, Becky found the setup documentation to be clear, concise and easy to use. In addition, when she called iHomefinder Support, the team was responsive and not only addressed her issues but offered additional tips helping her get up and running fast.

Becky was also able to set up searches by area, price range, school district, and neighborhoods. She quickly implemented over 400 saved searches to the new website in under 2 weeks.


Initial Results

While many real estate agent websites focus on the agent, Becky designed her site to focus on the communities she serves in North Atlanta. Her site provides not only real estate information but also includes information on schools, shopping, restaurants, arts festivals, farmers markets and community videos. Buyers and sellers use the site as a resource for gathering information before, during and after a move. The site is especially helpful for relocating buyers.

The level of site customization offered by WordPress, coupled with a responsive experience for site visitors helped propel site session length dramatically. Becky found that the average smartphone session time spiked from under 20 seconds to over 4 minutes. Breaking that down further shows tablet session lengths of over 6 minutes! As expected, this led to an increase in leads from mobile devices. Needless to say, Becky is pleased with the performance of her Optima Express site plugin. In fact, another team member is in the process of migrating to iHomefinder as well.

Find an IDX Real Estate product that works best for your needs starting at $39.95.

Service Available for Fayetteville Regional Association of REALTORS®

The Market House, built 1832, in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina.

iHomefinder IDX is available for North Carolina - Fayetteville Regional Association of REALTORS®.  Our IDX service now includes a NEW Facebook App for Business Pages.  Realtors can choose between our standard IDX Property Search product or our IDX for WordPress Plugin.

Fayetteville Regional Association members can add iHomefinder's premium Property Search and Lead Capture to their websites, and start developing valuable online relationships with leads and prospects around the most accurate MLS property listing information.

There are so many great ways for Fayetteville REALTORS® to start better serving their clients online with iHomefinder IDX.  Impress your Fayetteville area clients online with Email Updates, Top Picks/Hot Sheets, the NEW Facebook App, Mobile Search and much more.

 

 

 

Widget Spotlight: Yelp

Yes, we're still wild about widgets for Real Estate Agents. We have two more options to enhance your iHomefinder IDX or real estate website.  Both of these options are through Yelp.  If you are not already familiar with Yelp, it's a great way for consumers (e.g. home buyers and sellers) to both find local businesses and share their experiences with local businesses through ratings and reviews.  To learn more, here are 10 Things You Should Know About Yelp.

Yelp has two widgets that you can use to dress up your website or IDX.  If you are on Yelp already, and have a great ratings and reviews that you'd like to showcase on your website, you can create a Yelp Business Widget.  Here's an example of a restaurant in San Francisco that has placed the business widget right on their homepage.  Click here for a site using this widget or see below two examples of this widget.

 

If you would like to set up a business widget, you'll need to go to Yelp for Business Owners and follow the instructions for generating the code for the widgets we've displayed above.

If you don't yet have a business rating that you'd like to post on your site, you can demonstrate your intimate knowledge of the local area by showing off all the reviews you've made for local businesses like restaurants, other real estate related businesses, or other neighborhood services and amenities that are important for families moving into a new neighborhood.  You can do this with the Yelp Bling widget.  Share with your clients or prospects what businesses are great or not so great in your area.  They'll appreciate it and see that you have your pulse on what's happening in the neighborhood.

How to create the above Yelp Bling widget.

1. First login to Yelp

2. Then, go to Yelp Bling

3. Choose the color scheme, copy the code and input into the Widget Text section of iHomefinder IDX or your website.  See below for the custom html widget section of the iHomefinder system.

Have you been staying up to date on our other Widget Spotlight posts?  If not, click on: Twitter, Facebook, or Altos Research to see how to add these great widgets to your site.

Have a fantastic weekend!

 

Widget Spotlight: Creating a Facebook Badge

Our last post on widgets showed you how to create an Altos Research custom widget in Optima 950.  Now we'd like to show you how to create a Facebook Badge using the same custom HTML sidebar widget.

Creating a Facebook Badge is another great way to help clients and prospects find you on Facebook and stay connected to you and your expertise.

First, go to Facebook Badges and select the Badge that you would like to display on your site.  Note: you'll need to log in to Facebook to access the code for the widget.  For this example, we selected a Pages Badge.  Then, clicked on button labeled Other, which will display a thin rectangular box with code for your Facebook Badge.  Copy the code and paste it into your website or sidebar widget within Optima 950.

Here's the screen within Optima 950 where you'll want to paste your Facebook Badge code.

Once you paste your code and save, you'll have a nice looking Facebook Badge on your IDX page or website similar to the image below.

More widget examples and other tips for your real estate websites in future posts.  Have a great weekend!

 

 

Wild About Widgets for Real Estate Agents

We’ve been thinking quite a bit about widgets recently.  With the release of Optima IDX in 950 pixel-wide format, we’ve added a whole array of great sidebar widgets to our platform.

A widget is a small piece of software code that you can easily place on a page of your website. Generally, they display interesting content from other sites or other portions of your own site.  Widgets are an excellent way to quickly add new content to your site, engage your visitors, and make your content more shareable.

If you are just getting started with widgets, here is one you can use with our new custom HTML widget and should consider using on your real estate website.

Market Trends Charts:  Altos Research, a real estate data firm, offers free market trends chart widgets that you can place on your website. To create your widget, go to Altos Charts and click the TRY IT NOW button at the bottom of the page. Then, select your favorite city, choose your stats, and simply copy the provided HTML.

Next, login to your iHomefinder Control Panel, go to Account Setup -> Design/Branding Setup ->  Widgets. Select the IDX page on which you wish to place the widget, and then drag the “Custom HTML” block to the Selected Widgets area.

Click the little down arrow, paste the HTML you just copied, and click Save.  That's it!  You’ll now have a nice market trends widget on your chosen page.

These is only one great example of an HTML widget that you can easily pop into your iHomefinder Optima IDX pages.  If you need help, contact us at support@ihomefinder.com.

In addition to custom HTML, we’ve added a bunch of other great widgets to Optima IDX, including featured property galleries, hot sheet galleries, contact forms and more. We’ll cover these and other custom HTML widgets in future posts.

Agents Start Your Blogs: Connect and Expand Your Reach

Often real estate agents and brokers ask us or our reseller partners for surefire ways to increase their website's ranking with the search engines (e.g. Google and Yahoo).  While we have built Search Engine Optimization (SEO) right into our iSearch Optima IDX platform, we also stress to our clients and partners the importance of creating fresh content that will both delight their clients and prospects, and allow the search engines to index their website.

You may have seen our post back in October 2010 on 101 Things for Real Estate Agents to Blog About.  We still think this is a great list, and we took one topic to create a sample post that we could share with you for possible inspiration on content for your blog.

Number 3 on our list of things to blog about is Local market trends & statistics.  We selected the city of Kensington, CA as our subject for our post, and wrote up a post as if we were an agent or broker in Kensington creating content for their WordPress blog.

See below for our sample blog post:

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Home Prices Holding Steady in Kensington

Recently, I reviewed the statistical information for the area and found that the Kensington real estate market is holding its own compared to other sectors of the Bay area. Per square foot, the average price of a home in this community has only risen a token 0.7% in the past year. Although some agents are pricing homes 7% or more above last year’s average listing amount in the hopes of profiting from a naive buyer, savvy consumers aren’t biting. The actual sales prices aren’t showing the same type of increase, but it’s only a matter of time before we see an upward trend.

What does this mean for my clients? If you’re in the market to buy, you can find a bargain in Kensington. In addition to stable home prices, this exclusive region of Contra Costa County features charming properties with great schools, exceptionally low crime rates, and expansive views of the San Francisco Bay. Whether you’re looking for a home you can really settle into and put down some roots or a lucrative investment property, you can’t go wrong with purchasing a property in this area before the prices finally start going up.

If you’re in the market for a new home, you can’t afford to overlook this area. While the highly-acclaimed school system is one of the first things that draw buyers to the area, the Bay views are often the deal maker. If you’d like to see what Kensington has to offer, give me a call today to schedule a viewing.

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There are many great sources for inspiration on blogging out there.  Books like Content Rules and other resources like the Content Marketing Institute that publishes great articles like "10 Ways to Write Like A Content Marketing Jedi."

Happy blogging, folks! Share with us really interesting blog posts that you've written or found from others out there.  Let's get creative about communicating with our clients and prospects.