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Search engine optimization, a critical component of any comprehensive business marketing strategy, has long been a challenge for the real estate industry, largely a result of the immense, geographically condensed competition.
However, a newly launched education product, SEO Savvy Agent, is designed to help real estate sales professionals learn how to build their brands online to land organic, workable leads, according to a July 19 announcement sent to Inman.
The video-based course was developed by HomeLight’s former head of agent content Matt McGee. It’s become very challenging for agents to compete with the SEO reach of consumer portals, McGee said in a statement.
In case there is any doubt as to how critical web search is to homebuyers, know that the National Association of Realtors found in a 2021 report that “the internet serves as a tool for all generations of home buyers; 97% of all homebuyers used the internet in their home search.”
McGee said in the announcement that “The big portals are using SEO to attract buyers and sellers to their sites, then sending those leads out to agents for a 30-40 percent referral fee. I’m teaching agents to break free from that and keep 100 percent of their commissions.”
Lead generation has become immensely difficult for brokerages and the agents they serve, especially in market conditions that do not overlap with seller motivation. Agents often resort to third-party lead providers, who often provide little more than a “phone book” list and unproven social-media proliferated gambits.
“There’s a lot of bad SEO advice in the real estate industry,” McGee said. “My goal is to help agents and their marketing staffs understand what really works — no gimmicks, no tricks and no snake oil.”
The three-hour course consists of 32 installments. Some topics include the type of content that Google wants to rank highly, how buyers and sellers search for information online, how to create and optimize website content that answers buyers’ and sellers’ searches, how to write blog posts that will generate new leads and specific blog post topics to bring in new buyer and seller leads.
Inman Select profiled the challenges of proptech sales in which multiple technology executives said they’re constantly asked about how a product generates new leads as opposed to other enterprise benefits, such as speeding transaction times, improving the customer experience and automating legacy processes.
ListedKit founder Derrick Magnotta said he’s forced to bring up referrals and “extra commissions” in sales calls and meetings, because that’s the message proptechs are always up against. His software helps agents manage the deal experience and keep clients linked to the progress.
“In order for this [our product] to resonate, we have to speak to incentives,” he said. “Just saying that, ‘You’re going to save time,’ doesn’t really translate into dollars and cents, we have to take it one step further in order to compete against the broader marketplace because it’s so saturated [with lead pitches].”
It can be argued that slower periods, like the one the industry is facing at the moment, offer ideal windows for agents to up their business acumen and technology skills. There’s little doubt that committing to better understanding how the internet can be used to unearth more qualified leads would be time well spent.