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Artifakt Digital, a Toronto, Ontario-based marketing agency has more than 120 real estate clients and an average project cost of $25,000. According to the company’s CEO, Andre Bodnar, 70 percent of his business comes from agents in the United States.
“We’re thinking of opening a second office in the U.S, probably in six to nine months,” Bodnar told Inman in a phone call.
Another website developer that has been experiencing similar success, Luxury Presence, a website and marketing agency for high-end real estate agents and eight-figure listings, earned $2.13 million in funding recently and often sells custom website designs and integrated marketing strategies for $30,000 or more.
Luxury Presence will soon launch a more robust marketing solution to assist its clients with expanding their online business.
Bodnar wants agents to believe that a website can earn them plenty of business when approached from a different angle. Think brand, not leads.
“We don’t try to compete with Zillow, and we don’t want our clients chasing people just searching for homes,” he said.
Bodnar wants agents to start with a singular brand promise, and to understand their target audience. In other words, look at a website as a business builder, not a lead chaser. Agents have to be comfortable with the idea that not every person wanting to buy a house is their customer.
“We have a client I can think of right now doing more than $3 million GCI a year, 80 percent of which comes directly from their website,” he said.
Artifakt digital was started 10 years ago. Bodnar didn’t set out to create a creative agency for real estate agents, but he noticed a severe lack of understanding throughout the industry on how to build an online presence after he happened to land a real estate client.
His team goes so far as to not allow clients to write copy, “even if they’re good writers,” said Bodnar.
Artifakt often pushes back on clients when they make suggestions, especially when the comments are clearly based on an unverified trend or in some way don’t overlap with the business goals established for the project.
“I think that helps differentiate us,” he said.
The company provides an array of creative services to support websites, including, SEO and keyword strategies, print designs, custom content and general graphic design.
Bodnar cites his entire team’s tenure and deep resume of happy clients as a reason for their ability to understand what agents need to compete.
Here are a few example websites from Artifakt Digital:
“We have clients in rural Texas and Manhattan, we understand how markets differ,” he said.
The agency model differs from faceless, off-the-shelf website solutions, the popularity of which helps explain why so many real estate agents’ individual websites don’t produce much business.
The “agency model” refers to a team approach to each facet of a creative effort, combining specialists in various disciplines, from copywriting and graphic design to development and SEO strategy.
Like all other forms of business, real estate agents need to decide how large a role their website should have in revenue generation.
For some, a small online presence might be all that’s needed. However, evidence shows that for a website to produce leads and generate revenue for a real estate agency, it will most likely cost more than a few dollars a month.
Customer reviews of Artifakt Digital can be found on the company’s website.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe