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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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How to Generate Real Estate Leads

HowToGeneratLead-2   Consumers now have many options for exploring real estate listings online. To compete in this market and acquire new leads, it’s critical to have an effective lead acquisition and nurturing strategy. In this article, we’ll review methods for acquiring new real estate leads to help you grow your business. Some of these methods are simple while others will require more planning and follow-through, but they can all help you acquire more leads. We’ll talk about best practices for nurturing your leads in a future article.

Website Optimization

Does your website need an overhaul? An optimized website will engage buyers and sellers and convert more of your visitors to leads. Website optimizations will generally fall into two categories: aesthetics and content.

Website Aesthetics

Consumers form an opinion about your website in a fraction of a second. The following key points can make a dramatic improvement in how well your site engages consumers:
  • Professional, uncluttered look and feel
  • Quick loading time
  • Friendly user experience with simple navigation
Ask your family, friends and colleagues for their honest assessment and make adjustments if needed. Your business depends on it!

Website Content

Here are some considerations for content on your website that will help make your site sticky and convert more visitors to leads.
> Unrestricted Property Search
Allow consumers to search and explore listings without prompts for registration. Or consider allowing a number of searches and property views before asking for registration. The simpler your default property search form is the better. Consider offering a separate advanced search option so users don’t have to face lots of options they don’t need.
> Listings Pages and Galleries
Make it easy to access and browse listings organized by local communities, neighborhoods or even specialized categories such as water view, golf course, distressed, etc. These can also help your SEO (discussed in the Seach Engine section below).
> Email Alerts
Make sure you prominently feature an option to sign up for new listing email alerts. These emails provide your leads with listing links to your site for new or updated listings that match their search criteria. Consider adding an eye-catching graphic to your site that points out the benefits of Email Alerts with a link to the sign up form.
> Hyper Local Focus & Unique Content
Your website is your opportunity to present yourself as a local expert – something the large portal sites can’t provide! It’s also your opportunity to differentiate from other sites that simply have listings with no other useful information. Consider adding helpful community information, links to resources, and pictures. Search engines will index this content, bringing you more opportunities for free traffic from search engine results pages.
> Value Proposition
Put yourself in the shoes of your site visitors. Why should they consider working with you? If you don’t clearly answer this on your website, you can expect fewer registrations from your site visitors. Include some brief bullets on your site that point out how your services, experience, and knowledge will help them with their next transaction. Featuring testimonials from satisfied clients can help build trust with new visitors and influence how many register on your website.

PPC (Pay-per-Click) Online Ad Channels

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Bing can all deliver advertisements to consumers using demographic criteria, time of day settings, and more. Each service will let you track your ad performance and modify your campaigns accordingly. Get Started with PPC: Google: https://www.google.com/adwords/ Bing: http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/home Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads Twitter: https://biz.twitter.com/ad-products

Social Media

Social media is an essential component of lead generation. There are several different platforms, each with their own benefits and tactics. We’ll discuss social media strategies in more detail in future articles.
  • Facebook – This is the most common network and building a strong presence here can really boost your lead generation. . Start by including a lot of facts about neighborhoods and properties to show off your local knowledge. Use lots of pictures and encourage people to share them. Don’t flood the newsfeed with your listings, though. You’re on a social network to attract and engage new followers with content .
  • Twitter – This is a quick and simple way to get people thinking about moving and buying homes. You can link to important resources on your website and use hashtags to get in on the active conversations.
  • Pinterest – This network is all about the best looking pictures. Create your own boards and fill them with pictures of the homes and yards as well as interesting images of the neighborhood and city. Make sure you have a good description of each image that is short and to the point.
  • YouTube – This is the #2 rated search engine! Maximize your exposure by creating a channel and posting virtual tours or consider even simple slideshow videos using listing images.

Email

A lot of people think that email is no longer an effective marketing technique but studies continue to show that this is one of the best ways to get a response from potential clients. In addition to automated new listing email alerts, you can send email newsletters with tips on finding homes, local community news, market information or any other content your leads might find helpful.

Search Engines

When someone finds you through a search engine, it’s safe to assume that this is a lead that definitely has home buying or selling in mind. When they search for general terms like new homes in a specific area, you'll obviously want your website to appear as high as possible in the results. Establishing an SEO strategy that brings you more search engine traffic takes time and effort and is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint. You can either consult professionals to build a strategy for your site or take a look at the wealth of content available online to get familiar with best practices. The SEO Starter Guide from Google below is just one example of the many online resources available and is a great starting point. Download the free "SEO Starter Guide" from Google >>

Events & Conventions

Out-of-town real estate conventions are a great way to contact agents from other locations and let them know that you’re open to referrals. You can establish yourself as a trustworthy agent so they’ll be willing to send you clients who are looking for something in your area. This is where you can also make contacts with other professionals such as lawyers, lenders, bankers, and insurance agents might all have relationships with potential real estate leads.

Direct Mailers

Postcards are simple and eye-catching and you can send them to people in specific locations. You can include information about listings or just focus on getting them to your website where you can invite them to contact you or sign up for new listing Email Alerts.

Referrals

Happy clients are the best place to look for new leads. If your past clients had a good experience with you, they’ve probably already shared the story with friends and family. In your next email blast, consider asking them about anyone they know who is interested in buying a home.

Nurturing

Don’t assume that a lead who isn’t quite ready to buy or sell is a dead end. The vast majority of your new leads will probably fit in this category. Once you have a new lead, you can send personalized mailers, set them up with new listing email alerts and send newsletters to keep them engaged and remind them of your services until they’re ready for a transaction. What do you do to generate leads? Is there something we missed? Let us know or share your thoughts!

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Feature Updates – February 2015

Keep reading below to learn more about these updates that were just released!  
  • New Facebook app design
  • Shortcode option for adding Valuation Request forms
  • Search engine friendly "Listing Not Found" pages
     

New Facebook App Design

iHomefinder Facebook apps now use the same new design we recently introduced with our Responsive IDX. The new Facebook app design will be applied automatically when your Optima Express, OmniPress, or Optima IDX account is set to use the Responsive design option. If you haven't set up your Facebook apps, visit our Knowledge Base for instructions >>. Facebook App Example fbook-responsive

Shortcode Option for Adding Valuation Request Forms

The Responsive versions of Optima Express & OmniPress now offer a shortcode option for easily adding Valuation Request forms to any page or post: [optima_express_valuation_form] Optima Express clients will need to update the Optima Express plugin to version 2.5.0 or higher. Shortcodes are available for adding the complete content of other IDX pages as well. These are listed in the WP Shortcode Selector or visit our Knowledge Base for the complete list >>.

Search Engine Friendly "Listing Not Found" Pages

When a listing is removed from your MLS® System, a "Listing Not Found" page will now return a 404 error. This error is beneficial for your SEO as search engine crawlers will no longer attempt to index the page where the listing information was once found on your site. This happens automatically when using the Responsive versions of Optima Express, OmniPress, and Optima IDX.

New! Site Activity Reports

You may have noticed your iHomefinder account is now sending you email reports with information about your site activity. If you have not received these new emails yet, you will receive them soon! The following activity information is provided in the reports, dependent upon the lead activity on your site. Most Active Leads Properties Saved Email Update Click-Thrus Saved Searches Total Searches  Total Properties Viewed Emails are sent daily by default as long as there is new data to show. You'll find options at the bottom of each email to change your delivery preference to weekly or monthly, or you can unsubscribe to stop receiving these emails. You can view these emails on all devices, and links are provided that login to your mobile-friendly account Control Panel, where you can access all lead information in your account. You can also email your most active leads right from the report, without having to login to your Control Panel.   siteactivity_post2 sample1   sample2a

Display IDX Listings Under Your Own Domain Name

Our Optima IDX accounts provide the most comprehensive set of IDX search and lead capture features available for custom websites that are not on WordPress. The IDX pages in Optima IDX accounts can be hosted on a subdomain of your site at no additional cost, giving your domain the SEO benefit of all search engine indexing on your site. If you already have an Optima IDX account or you are in the process of setting one up, make sure you request a custom subdomain for your account. In addition to using your custom subdomain, Optima IDX accounts have lots of other SEO features to help search engines discover and index your site. Click here for instructions to get started with using a custom subdomain with your Optima IDX account. If you have a website using WordPress, Optima Express is a plugin for WordPress that will put IDX directly on your domain without framing and without the requirement of a subdomain.

iHomefinder Optima Express Brokerage: WordPress IDX for Brokers

It's a great day for brokers! Optima Express Brokerage, iHomefinder's IDX WordPress plug-in for brokers, is now available. Now the powerful search and SEO of Optima Express is combined with broker-specific features that will turn WordPress sites into lead-generating office solutions. Optima Express Brokerage includes all the features of Optima Express Power, with the addition of Agent and Office rosters and pages, Lead Routing and Management and more. Learn more about Optima Express broker features. Unique to the Brokerage package is the ability add Property Galleries of an office or agent's Featured Listings to pages or posts within a WordPress site. It's simple to use the iHomefinder-provided Office and Agent Bio pages on your site, but if you choose to build your own, you can easily add current Featured Listings: just click the icon to add a Property Gallery from the text editor menu, select Office or Agent Listings, and then choose the specific agent or office from the dropdown menu. The agent or office's current Featured Properties will display on that page.

New Templates Styles for Agent, Power, and Broker IDX Accounts

We added a new "white text" template option for web developers in the Design/Branding setup for Optima IDX (Agent, Power, and Broker) accounts.

Text color in Optima IDX accounts could always be controlled with CSS but these new template options will set the default text color to white while also doing some other things "under the hood" to make sure dark backgrounds will look really great.