Marketing strategies in the past
Marketing strategies for real estate agents were always the same: print tons of fliers, put out more newspaper ads – a typical numbers game. The more phone calls, fliers and newspaper ads you’re doing, the more chances you have to pick up new clientele. However, in our 21st century, full of new technologies, these strategies are likely to fade away. These tools are becoming obsolete for reaching a bigger and broader audience of seller and buyers.
Based on the latest market analysis by the National Association of Realtors (N.A.R.), 80% of buyers used the Internet to help find a home. Amazingly, only 15 years ago that wasn’t possible. Information on properties wasn’t available to the public, since all listed properties were stored in printed multi-listing system books. Buyers didn’t have any choice, but to get help from licensed agents. Back in those days, looking for properties took a lot of energy and required more than a regular “real estate” license. Agents had to remember various codes that Multi Listings Service (MLS) companies were using. For example, agents needed to memorize that property type CONDO1 represents a condominium with 1 bedroom. In addition, agents were required to page through heavy hard cover MLS books. Both of the previously mentioned skills were often described as “dealer maker” qualities. Sellers and buyers were blind to these books and only agents had the power of knowledge. This all happened of course, before the WWW era.
Marketing strategies nowadays
Nowadays, the same information is found on thousands of real estate web sites. Customers are given the power of knowledge. According to the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), nearly half of the REALTORS® said that their business originates from Internet. In our “Google this” age, more consumers are spending their time online to do their own due-diligence prior to looking for a real estate professional. Real estate market customers ask for more information that is publicly available from anywhere and at any time.
Introduction of public Internet access greatly contributed to this change. Internet users started to ask for everything with the “click of a button”. This eventually pushed local MLS companies to change their rules regarding sharing listing data. With MLS changing their rules, real estate professionals were given the opportunity to own their own listings portal – their own web site. In the beginning, the only adapters of the new technology were big brokerage firms. As the years went by, technological advancements and high demand reduced the cost of ownership. From this very moment, having a web site became a standard for every real estate agent. Furthermore, having a Web site became as much of a necessity as having a cell phone.
Benefits of today’s tools/strategies
The major shift to “e-shopping”, is benefiting all involved parties in a real estate transaction:
- Buyers are spending less time to look for listed properties. They can find available properties on a user-friendly Listing Search web page that offers access to hundreds of listings based on search criteria. Select city, state and optional bedrooms and bathrooms and wait for the listings. Clicking on a particular listing that got your attention, will bring more detailed information about this property. Most of the time a regular listing information will be accompanied by:
- property photos
- virtual tours
- quick loan calculator
- community information
- comparable sales
- local schools
- property on the map
- send an email to the agent
- an option to schedule a showing with the listing agent
- Sellers are benefiting from faster transactions, since every listed property transforms to a property that is visible on “every block”. Since most of the web sites are taking their listing data from the same centralized data center, such as MLS, a listing that is uploaded to MLS will turn up on all sites that are sharing the same MLS data. More exposure, of course, means more prospects and a faster sale.
- Agents are taking advantage of lower marketing costs. No longer do agents need to rely on expensive fliers and newspaper campaigns, since the cost of electronic media is much more affordable than its “hard-paper” rival.
Today’s standards for a web site
To accommodate e-commerce growing needs, real estate professional agents required knowledge that associated with building web sites. This required a prior knowledge of various computer related technologies such as: domain name registration, web hosting, web design and much more. Luckily for them, a variety of Web services companies came up to fill up these growing needs. These tech-oriented companies made it easy for real estate agents to maintain, update listings, and even to keep their web site complaint with most recent MLS rules. Agents that took advantage of such professional help were given more time to represent their clients in real estate transactions.
Agents and web service companies, the demand and supply of real estate industry, created some “must-to-have” features in the industry. These features became the foundation of any web site that each web site should follow:
- Fair graphic design of web site’s pages
- Convenient and easy of web site navigation
- Web page that offer to search for available listed properties
- Property detailed description that features agents that own the web site
- Option to customize different personal and office details: photos, email accounts, phone numbers, etc…
- Automated email notifications feature that sends listed properties information as soon as they become available on the market to a specified email address.
- Free Real Estate industry reports
- Real estate news
New standards for a web site
Starting from 2004, web site strategies changed and just a having a web site became irrelevant. Having a web site and having a web site that translates to leads, are two totally different ball games. Since the introduction of the first real estate web site, the Internet has greatly changed. Real estate web sites started to pop-up like mushrooms in a rainy forest. A world full of real estate-related web sites, signaled that competition for Internet visitors had began.tmw maxwell