Re: ‘Rookie Realtor lost in cyberspace‘ (July 13)

Dear Rookie:

If I were a buyer or seller, why would I want to go to your Web site? Have you given me any reason to go to it? Do I even know it exists?

Re: ‘Rookie Realtor lost in cyberspace‘ (July 13)

Dear Rookie:

If I were a buyer or seller, why would I want to go to your Web site? Have you given me any reason to go to it? Do I even know it exists? Where would I have seen you market your Web site?

Remember: W.I.F.M. (what’s in it for me?). The client’s concern is just that. They need a reason, some motivation, some information they can get…before they enter your Web site. And before they even get that far, they need to first see your Web site, along with “reasons” to get right on the ‘Net to view your site.

Larry Mekus
Mekus Team Real Estate
California

Dear Rookie:

As a Web designer in Toronto working with Realtors and mortgage brokers (and having had my own Web design company for eight years), I am familiar with some of the Rookie Realtor’s questions about promoting his Web site. The process of getting your site seen on search engines like Google and Yahoo! is not instantaneous – it takes some work, but the results are worth it. Some tips include:

  • Constructing and tagging your site so that search engines will find it. Make sure that your page titles and page copy include the key words that you want to highlight, such as “real estate,” your city, your specialties, etc. Google, which is the largest search engine, looks at page content, title line tags and “description tags” in the background code of the site.

  • Registering your site with directories such as www.dmoz.org, which Google and Yahoo! both use to augment their listings and submit your site to Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AltaVista.

  • Advertising your site on ALL your promotional material, including business cards, sign riders, ads, and anything else you hand out.

  • Get reciprocal links from mortgage brokers, home inspectors and other related professionals. These links also boost your page rank on Google.

  • Make the site interactive by including sign-up forms for newsletters, e-mailed listings, etc. Give people something for the time they spend on your site.

Be patient. It can take 4-6 weeks initially to appear on Google and other search engines. Make sure your site is targeted to your area. Instead of labeling your site “Real Estate by the Rookie Realtor,” use a title like “Real Estate – Homes and Condos in Boston” or wherever you are, so that surfers typing in “Boston real estate” will find you. Use different title lines for different pages.

A Web site will not instantly make you money, but it is a valuable tool in the long run. Like a garden, it requires some patience to grow, but the results can be very satisfying.

Mike Anderson
Wineva Oak Communications

Dear Rookie:

You missed out on what could possibly be your best and most reasonable Web site developer–your local high or junior high school! Kids aged 12-18 are mostly fluent in HTML, JAVA, etc. Many of them are nerds of the first order and would be delighted to design, and maybe maintain, your Web site. (Imagine the gratification they would get seeing their name as the designer). Price? $100-$200 might get you an excellent starter site. You would have to provide information to links, such as your MLS, but the potential is there. Who knows, you might just launch a career for some aspiring Web designer. Contact your local schools for names. Good luck.

Mike McCutcheon
Coldwell Banker
California

Dear Rookie:

What exactly do you expect to get from a Web site? People falling in your lap from the sky just by your presence? I don’t think so. In your business model (you have one, don’t you?) you need to decide how you plan to use your Web site. Is it meant to create leads? Absolutely. But you have to advertise it in a way that drives people there. Holding an open house? Create a page that has information about the home you are holding open (the new listing of the busy agent who already had other commitments). Then run an ad in the paper advertising the open house with YOUR Web address in it. Put a name rider with your Web address. And that address should be www.YourName.com. Buyers may not call you about the ad, but they will go to your Web site to find more information on their own.

When they come to your site, they will find information about your services, as well as information about the house. They will also find useful information that you will refer them back to as you guide them through the transaction with you! Mortgage lenders who will pre-approve them so they are ready to make an offer on the house (and be sure to only list those you are affiliated with who won’t be adding a referral fee to send the buyer back to you); information about inspections after your offer is accepted; real estate-related service companies to handle repairs…get the picture? Saves you from constantly running back to your office to hand this type of information out! Refer them to your Web site to find the information while you are out selling another home! Web sites attract prospects, but they also should help you be more efficient in delivery of day-to-day information during the transaction.

Build your client list by offering to set up prospects to receive automatic e-mails about new listings. Of course, the e-mails will link back to your site to see the details about the new listing. When they spot their dream house…who are they going to call? You! It’s your name on the listing information! The Web host you selected offers that, don’t they? Advertise your Web site on flyers, name riders, business cards, your car and the home magazines, and you will see the prospects start to roll in!

Martha Hale
Agent Training and Marketing Services
RealtySouth
Birmingham, Ala.

Dear Rookie:

There comes a point in time when you have to step back and re-appraise the direction and results of your efforts. I think it may be time to move on to hopefully greener pastures. I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who went into the business just a year ago and has only closed two transactions. I initially urged her to join a team as a broker’s assistant, and one that offered a mentoring program. She was headstrong and decided to hit the pavement on her own and now regrets that decision and will probably drop out of the business by the end of summer.

These have been exceptional times and the absence of having any viable results does not bode well. These have been “heady” times and not likely to continue at the same pace, especially with the specter of higher interest rates looming in the near future.

Good luck.

Bob Miller
Broker/Realtor
ZipRealty

***

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

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