To the thousands of people searching the internet for information on neighborhoods, properties and agents, your online presence is your first impression and your best chance to impress. Here are some ideas to take it to the next level.

Virtual open houses, digital closings, conversations from behind face masks — what productivity looks like for real estate agents this summer covers new terrain for all of us. All June, Inman surveys the New Productivity: the tools, skills and insights needed to make it work now.

This article series is largely taken from the Real Estate Marketing Playbook with permission from the author.

Imagine that you are about to give a presentation to a stadium full of people who are looking to buy or sell a home. My guess is you’d show up prepared and looking your best, with up-to-date information and helpful ideas.

To the thousands of people searching the internet for information on neighborhoods, properties and agents, your online presence is your first impression and your best chance to leave a positive impact.

So, think about it. Does your website drive traffic, present your business well and help you sell? Just as you continue to hone your sales and presentation skills, it’s vital that you work on and evolve your website and social media presence to grow your business and increase your reach — and ultimately, your sales. Here are some ideas to take your online presence to the next level. 

1. Make your website yours

You want to stand out from your competition, and that means not having the same website as every other agent at your brokerage. If you must use the website provided by your brokerage, at least customize the pages to reflect your style and personality.  

Purchasing a domain name is a simple, cost-effective way for consumers to be able to find you more quickly. If you think that the average person will type in, you’re wrong.

Consumers are likely are not conscious of the broker relationship, or of the significance of connecting to your specific website, and they will just end up going to your broker’s site. Having a web domain consistent with your name, brand or local area will help consumers find you. 

Since it is your website, you should build and host it yourself, or hire someone to do this for you. Make sure you own the content and are the sole beneficiary of all of your hard work. You don’t want to build on the rented land, and you don’t want to build up someone else’s SEO, only to have them take it when you either switch brokerages or stop paying for that service.  

There are many real estate website companies that offer a full range of services. Picking the right one depends on your budget, tech abilities and goals. Think about what you need, and how much time you’re willing to invest before you make a decision. 

I personally spend about 10 hours a week maintaining our team’s website and creating new original content, including blog posts. A consistent flow of new material keeps viewers engaged and coming back to revisit the site. It also keeps the website fresh in the eyes of search engines, as I’m always adjusting content to match popular search terms.

2. Leverage portals 

Make sure your profile on your webpage is complete and up-to-date. Aggregate enough reviews to be on the first page of search engine results within your community, and ensure all your past sales are showing up. Having lots of citations which all display the same, accurate info about your business helps improve your ranking in local search results.

Other sites to leverage include Facebook, Google and your broker’s website. You can use a local citation tool like Moz Local, Yext or BrightLocal to find other directories and third-party websites you can add your listing.  

3. Get local 

Capitalize on the opportunity that comes with hyper-local content and long-tail keywords. Use your online content to become the local agent. When your target audience is searching your neighborhood or area of expertise, you want to be the first listing to show up that isn’t a brokerage or third-party website. 

Real estate is local, and your website is an excellent place for you to demonstrate your knowledge of the local market. If you’re adept at writing, blogs are a great way to engage your audience and talk about what is going on in your community.

In an ideal world, you would add a new piece of local content each week. Then, share your articles with larger websites and include backlinks to yours. You could also ask local businesses to share the articles you write about them on their site.

4. Make it mobile 

Think through how your clients are finding and experiencing your website. Mobile digital media time is now higher than desktop usage, meaning that people are most likely viewing your site on a mobile device like a smartphone.

That’s why you have to make sure your website is responsive and works when displayed on a phone or mobile device.

5. Add video 

When used correctly, video can be a powerful form of content that adds value for your visitors and makes a significant contribution to your SEO strategy.

Make sure to have a clear goal for what you want to communicate with your video, and keep it short, entertaining and easy to watch.

6. Allow for interactivity 

At a minimum, your website should include your contact information and home search, as well as some information about you, your company and the local area. I also recommend having testimonial pages and some buyer and seller resources. To add another layer of value and drive interactivity, consider incorporating different ways for visitors to interact with your site. 

Three frequent calls to action are “search,” “what’s my home worth?” and “how’s the market?” Allow visitors to search by community, neighborhood, schools, price point, open houses, new construction, luxury, waterfront or foreclosures, depending on your market.

Lifestyle searches are a cool new way agents in some markets are capturing more buyers. A chat bot is a great tool to engage people while they’re on your website. Also, make sure you utilize social sharing buttons and include links so visitors can follow you.

Make sure you’re regularly reviewing your website’s metrics to see where your traffic is coming from, what people are doing on your site and where they go next.

Your website has the potential to enhance your brand, deliver leads, and help you close more business. Consider investing some additional time and effort to ensure you’re making the most of the real estate you have online. 

It is essential for your website to be a reflection of who you are and the services you offer. Think of your website as your central business hub to which all of your marketing should flow. It’s where consumers will go to learn more about you and your company, search for homes and read testimonials.

Real Estate Marketing Playbook was inspired by observations and experiences over many years in the real estate business. This series includes example strategies from the playbook, and the full text is available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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