Useful Real Estate Websites That Generate Leads

1
Is Your Website Just a Billboard

Billboards for websites
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We can agree that a real estate website should showcase the services and expertise of the agent or brokerage. It should present the agent as a local real estate expert. We can present this information as articles and blog posts on our website. You're demonstrating your expertise for the site visitor.

The Drive-By Website

The problem is that many sites simply stop there. They may do a great job of convincing the site visitor that the site owner agent/broker is indeed a very knowledgeable real estate professional. A site like this can be compared to a billboard alongside a busy highway. A lot of cars go by, but many of their occupants do not even notice the billboard. Of those that do, fewer read its content, and even fewer decide to take some action on their own to contact the agent/broker.

Looking at the image, compare the many lighted billboards to real estate websites, each vying for the attention of the drivers speeding by. You may be doing good SEO and traditional marketing of your site and generating pretty good traffic. Like in the image, it's just traffic. Few if any of the passengers in those vehicles will ever identify themselves to the site (billboard) owner.

Real estate websites have a great advantage over billboards however. They have the visitor's attention (at least short term) and the space to present some calls-to-action to get them to tell the site owner who they are and make contact to start a relationship. The problem is that few do so or they do a lousy job of it. In the next step we look at the relationship of site content to calls-to-action.

2
Real Estate Content and Calls-to-Action

Online call to action
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All of that great content you've been publishing is definitely not wasted. Not only does it show your visitors that you know what you're doing, it also provides great opportunities to offer them something of value in exchange for their contact information.

Premium Content and Special Reports

Consider offering "premium" content or information that they will value enough to tell you who they are. Here are some quick relationships between your regular content and what you may offer to get them to take the action you desire.

  • Article or post about title insurance: offer email delivery of a sample title insurance policy or binder/commitment.
  • Content about surveys and encroachments: a sample title binder and survey via email that shows an encroachment and how it becomes an exception.
  • An article about home inspections: offer an email PDF of a portion of the summary of a home inspection.
  • Repair negotiations after the inspection: PDF of a sample objection or demand document used to negotiate with seller for repairs or compensation.
  • On the IDX search page: offer a customized alert search with their criteria that will deliver alerts of new listings and price reductions.
  • Next to an article about setting the right listing price: offer a report of the last six months of price reductions on the MLS to show how too many homes are listed higher than they should be and shows long days on market.
  • Just about anywhere: offer a quarterly, semi-annual or annual report of all sold properties by MLS area to show market activity.

Of course, any documents should either be totally fake examples or have all recognizable names, addresses or properties blacked out. Privacy is important, but a real document with the explanation for the redacted content is powerful.

There are more. Go through your site and read your various content pieces. When you read each one, think about what a visitor may have for a question about that article. Is there a "special report," MLS report or other information you can offer via email that would answer that question and others.

In the next step, let's talk about the logistics of creating and delivering reports and information.

3
Call-to-Action Forms and Delivery of Promised Materials

Getting a lead on tablet computer.
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This section is not going to get too specific because there are so many solutions out there to build website forms and to have material automatically emailed, such as auto-responders. Some website vendors include forms capability and email followup, so you'll be able to get started right away. If you don't have that capability, there are other ways to get the job done. I'll share a couple of examples to help you in research and getting started.

Email Marketing and Forms for Real Estate Websites

Mailchimp.com: Mailchimp is an email campaign solution for drip email and auto-responders. There is a free level plus enhancements with upgrades and payment. Mailchimp allows you to upload a report or document and have it delivered with your email. You design your form in Mailchimp and are given the code to have it dropped into your website.

ConstantContact: Services very similar to Mailchimp, including building forms for your website. Responding to forms, as with Mailchimp, automatically adds the prospect to a mailing list and you can auto-respond as well.

You can find other solutions by searching the Web for "drip email forms design." Without call-to-action forms to capture leads, your website is still just a billboard with many drive-by prospects.

You will create your special reports or premium content documents and upload them to one of these sites or your own website. A response email is automatically sent when the site visitor submits the form. Make it clear in the form text or where it is presented that they will receive the requested material automatically 24/7 via email.

Next, let's talk about creating the premium content and reports in PDF format for universal compatibility.

4
Using the PDF Format for Your Premium Content Deliveries

Notebook, tablet and smart phone
Leland Bobbe / Getty Images

In setting up your website lead generation plan using premium content and calls-to-action forms, you want to be sure that everybody can receive and open the content that you deliver. The format to use for your documents needs to be one that virtually everyone can open without buying any special software. Adobe PDF, Portable Document Format, fits the bill. If their hardware doesn't come with a PDF reader installed, it takes just a couple of minutes to install the free Adobe PDF Reader.

You can't use the Reader to create a PDF, and you probably do not have any software out of the box with your computer to do so. However, there are various ways to get the job done, from free to expensive. Here are some links to get you to some of the solutions that are cost effective and you'll definitely use them again in the future.

There are many you can find with a search. Just get something to convert your files so every recipient can open them.

Now you only have one step left. Create the reports and documents. Start with the easy ones, such as reports you can print right out of the MLS software. They are usually the most popular anyway. Place the forms next to relevant content on your site, and sit back and watch the leads come in!