In a recent interview, Agent Image Co-founder and Managing Partner Jon Krabbe shared his insights on how agents today can build their digital presence. We also spoke about the need for today’s agent to shape a tech stack that meets their goals.
Jon, are there specific tech solutions that agents should be using for their business?
I get asked this a lot. For years, companies have strived towards an all-in-one solution because it was the “easy” solution for agents. Usually, it’s in the form of a licensing agreement where all of your software (ie: IDX, web hosting, and CRM) is under one roof. And while that may be convenient, don’t put convenience at the forefront of your business. With this model, you run into that old adage of “jack of all trades, master of none.”
I feel that a “best-in-class” model is the ideal approach for today’s agent. For example, your IDX. If one company is the best at building websites, but another creates a better IDX, why not integrate the two for optimal performance? You must be extremely selective about what works best for your business.
But don’t people choose an “all-in-one” solution because it’s easy and cost-effective? Can you explain what the true cost of this kind of model would be?
This is where you need to look at long term costs, similar to the costs of leasing vs owning. When you are tethered to an all-in-one solution and you want to take your business elsewhere, you lose everything you’ve built due to lack of ownership. Over time your website would have built up valuable SEO with Google, and possibly amazing rankings with top results for competitive keywords. But if you leave your host and lose your website, you can lose all of your rankings. In this case, some opt for an SEO migration, but two things happen when you do this: it’s never quite the same, and the cost to export is often exorbitant. So when you think you’re saving money in the short term, you risk losing so much more in the long term.
Additionally, if you’re working with a “jack of all trades, master of none” solution, you’re not working with the experts. These companies are spreading their resources over several products as opposed to a company who is focusing on one product. Therefore, the convenience sacrifices robust functionality. Their product will never be as great as a company that has its entire business built around one product or service.
How do agents know they are working with a best-in-class provider? What should they watch out for when finding the tools to build their business?
First, you can avoid a lot of pitfalls by doing your research. Really, the best information will come from your colleagues. Who is most successful in your office? Ask what tools they use to better their business. And don’t be afraid to ask people like us who are vendors in this space. I am the first person to support a competitor if I think they do great work and will work best for a client’s needs.
Second, only invest in technology you will actually use. If you try out a product for a month or two and realize it’s not working out, don’t force yourself to use it. If you discover you’re spending more time trying to figure out the product or working around its limitations rather than using it for its purpose, then maybe it’s not for you. Do some testing and find the best solutions for your business.
Third, and probably most important, know your numbers. What is your cost per acquisition and which marketing campaigns are producing viable leads? For example, if you look into your Google analytics, you might find 80% of your leads are coming from one marketing campaign and only 20% are coming from another, even if both are comparable costs. With this knowledge you can take the budget from your underperforming campaign and either 1) allocate it to your successful one, or 2) experiment with other marketing solutions. Knowing your numbers will ultimately make you more aware of your marketing effectiveness.
Jon Krabbe is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Agent Image, the #1 real estate website design company in the world. He began his career as an agent where he saw the need for uniquely branded websites and marketing in a template-saturated industry. With over 20 years of industry experience, Jon has overseen the creation of over 20,000 websites and has worked with top-producing agents to develop award-winning designs. He has found a way to combine his passion for real estate, branding and design into a service that is committed to helping real estate professionals from around the world grow their business and succeed.
Since 1999, Agent Image has specialized in branded website solutions and online marketing for real estate professionals. Known for creating award-winning real estate websites for REALTORS®, agents, and brokers, Agent Image has launched over 20,000 websites for top producers throughout the country.