There are many websites trying to sell real estate agents leads such as, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and more. Those websites promise the opportunity to produce buyer and seller leads, without much work from the agent. Those websites do produce leads, but they are usually not high quality leads, and there are much better things agents can spend their money on. I run a real estate team of ten and we have tried many different lead sources. One of the best things we have ever done, is create our own website that generates high quality leads.
Why aren’t the leads from Zillow and other websites very good?
We have used Zillow for leads for a couple of years. We have also tried Trulia and other lead generating websites as well. The biggest problem with these sites, is the way they generate leads. They sell agents on the number of leads, not the quality of leads. Many of these sites generate leads by listing multiple agents for buyers to contact or trying to get buyers to fill out forms for more information. The websites are not always clear that the buyer will be contacted by an agent when potential buyers fill out the forms. To successfully convert these leads, agents have to respond extremely fast. Even when responding fast, from our experience many buyers are not expecting an agent to call them. It takes a lot of explaining and constant communication to convert these leads, because they have no idea who we are and they have no loyalty to us.
Why does a real estate agent’s own website generate more leads?
We have always had our own website, but we completely overhauled it a few months ago. In the past, our website was very similar to other agent’s sites with an IDX feed that allows people to search for listings on your site. We had some leads on our site when we focused on listings, and our site looked very similar to other real estate agent websites. When we changed the site, we completely eliminated the IDX feed. We changed the site to be about our team and who were are. We have a blog with many different articles related to the local real estate market. We advertise special programs and services our team offers. We decided we did not need another website where people could search for home listings, since there are about 10 million of them. I also thought that if people wanted to search for home listings, they may not trust a real estate agent’s personal site, thinking only that agent’s listings would be searchable.
When we made the switch, we thought it might take a few months or longer to see the results and start getting decent leads. It took about a week before we had two leads come in directly from our website, who have since bought or sold houses with us. The leads were looking for a real estate team, loved what they saw on our website and wanted us to help them. The difference between the lead from our own website and a lead from the lead generating websites was like night and day. The great part is that not having IDX saves us a lot of money and makes the website much simpler. We have had a steady stream of leads come in through our website since we switched over and even though we don’t have much traffic to our site, the lead quality is awesome.
How hard is it to create a website?
I am not very good at the technical side of websites. I know how to write articles, but I have no clue how to use HTML or any of that stuff. I was able to start a blog, because my friend helped me get started on WordPress. Since I started the blog, I have learned a lot about design and how WordPress works, but I am by no means an expert. If you have no idea how to build a website, don’t give up on the idea of having a website. There are many companies who can help you, and it is not terribly difficult to learn how to use WordPress. If you design your site yourself, it can also be extremely cheap to build and host a website. I am not going to give a tutorial on how to build a website, but I can recommend a site that helps agents create their own site here.
How do you get traffic to your website?
Creating a website is one thing, but actually getting traffic takes a little more work. I have had a ton of success with InvestFourMore, mostly from writing all the time about things I like to talk about. Many agents do not have time to write all the time. I don’t have time to write much for my own agent website. Writing blog articles is one way to get traffic, but you have to be consistent. If you want to use a blog to gain traffic, you need to write at least a couple of articles a week that are at least 750 words long. When you write an article you need to share it with Facebook, Twitter and any social media account you have. Don’t expect to see a ton of traffic in the beginning, as it can take months for Google to pick up any articles.
There are also ways to get traffic to your site without using Google other search engines.
- Facebook: Not only can you post articles on Facebook, you can create ads, boost posts and build a business page.
- LinkedIn: I loved LinkedIn when I first started my site. I posted articles in groups and posted updates as well.
- Database: Having a big database of past clients, current clients and potential clients is vitally important to any agent. Send your database to your site and give them valuable information to read.
- Google Adwords: This is how you advertise with Google. We use this to send traffic to our site.
Becoming a successful real estate is not an easy thing to do. Real estate agents are bombarded with companies who want to sell us leads. I think agents need to look at how they can create a valuable business. If you decide to retire or take some time off, would anyone care that you are paying Zillow $1,000 a month for leads? They could sign up with Zillow as well, but if you build an awesome website or an awesome database, that becomes a sellable asset. It takes a little more time and effort to build a website, but it will pay off in the end over simply paying someone else to send you leads.
I talk much more about how to build websites and get traffic to them in my Six Figure Real Estate Agent Success System.