Editor’s note: The Rookie Realtor launched a new online chat forum called RookieTalk where real estate agents can answer questions and give tips and advice. Inman News will publish responses in this column each week.

Hi, I’m the Rookie Realtor and I need your help:

Someone today wrote a letter that was published on Inman News, and suggested I need to use the Internet more to build my business. I have a Web page that looks great, but I’ve had a grand total of one (yes, ONE!) person visit it over the past 30 days.

I put my Web address on my business cards and letterhead, but that’s clearly not enough. How do more successful Realtors drive traffic to their sites? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. –The Rookie

Mike Gala, Prudential Fox & Roach, Pa., said:

1. Add yourself to search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN so that your name appears as soon as someone types in name of your county.

2. Setup the referral relationship with other agents in other states so that you point to each other’s sites.

3. Add your Web site on your listing pages (e.g., when it appears on Realtor.com, etc.).

4. Add your Web site on your broker’s Web page for your office.

Join RookieTalk!

Amy Bugée, RE/MAX Premier Realty, Tucson, Ariz., said:

Driving traffic to your site is only half the battle. I use pay-per-click services like Overture (which is now owned by Yahoo!) and Google Adwords. While they can be expensive, you can do them on a budget. Also, if you conduct an open house at another agent’s listing, make up your own flyers with your contact info and Web address on it.

However, you mentioned that you have a great looking Web page. Is it just a page on your company’s site, or do you have your own site? (I’d love to see it, but I understand your desire to remain anonymous.) If you don’t, you should have your own. (And, great looking isn’t enough. If that’s all it is, it’s like a billboard in a forest of billboards.)

But the most important aspect of whatever you use, is that you need to capture the leads. Offer special reports or information that requires the prospect to enter at least a name and e-mail address. Then follow up immediately–no more than 24 hours on business days (I typically don’t do so on weekends). The sooner you follow up the better. If you capture a phone number, call; it’s an easy one to make. Make sure they are a real, solid prospect. Then, make sure you have some sort of “drip” system of follow up. Most Internet prospects are longer term. You need to nurture them. Stay in touch and they will contact you when you’re ready.

Order “The Rookie’s Toolkit

Kat Sanders, Keller Williams Realty, said:

My background is marketing, so even though I’m a rookie, I’ve got some ideas. Generate a reason for people to go to your Web site. Put it on your farming/marketing materials; i.e., “go to my Web site for more detailed information on…” or have a contest where winners’ names are posted (or a coloring contest where kids can see their pictures online). On my Web site (which I’m still working on), I have posted links for my three geographic farms. You can click on the link for a market update.

Make sure your Web site address is easy to remember and plaster the name everywhere–magnetic car signs, for-sale signs and open house signs (if it’s not restricted).

***

Got tips, ideas or advice for the Rookie Realtor? Send them to Rookie@inman.com.

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