“Should I invest in my website?” It’s a simple enough question, but the answer comes with some complexity. In short, the answer is yes, you really should invest in your website—but it’s not as straightforward as you might think. Below are some factors to consider when investing in your website:
What Is Your Budget?
The first thing you must consider is your total marketing budget. Often, I see REALTORS® spend money in different areas without a concise, all-inclusive plan. As a result, money is spent inefficiently, which can lead to frustration, as no single component works as anticipated. Before determining if you want to spend money on your website, you need to establish what your total marketing budget is.
What Is the Goal?
The next important questions to ask yourself are, “What is the purpose of my website?” and “What is the goal of investing in it?” Most people will tell you that a website is necessary to have an online presence, and those people would be correct. In 2017, if you don’t have a website for your business, you don’t have a business. For some, having a website simply to satisfy that is enough, while for others they expect more from their website. Many agents desire to have their website be a lead generation source. If this is the case, then consider why lead generation is important. More leads equals more potential clients equals more potential deals. So really, the goal for your website is to have more closings.
What Are the Other Options?
Now that we know how much money is available to invest and what our goal is, we need to examine what the other options are. While your personal website may perform well and draw a lot of traffic, in the grand scheme of things your site is nearly invisible when compared to the major real estate search sites. Zillow, Homes.com, and realtor.com® are the primary real estate search sites (as is Trulia, but since Zillow owns them, I leave them under the Zillow umbrella) and get the vast majority of the search traffic.
Each of these sites offers the ability to appear on listings or to promote yourself on the website for a fee. These fees vary, and can be very large, in some cases. The return on investment on these sites also varies greatly, and they often require a large monthly investment to truly make them worthwhile. The benefit of working with sites like these, however, is that the work has already been done to capture the traffic.
Another source of online leads that is often missed is social media. While most real estate agents have a Facebook profile and many also have a Facebook business page, only a small amount invest into Facebook ads and promotions on a regular basis. While this is a little different than the more traditional approaches, my article “Is Social Media Advertising Actually Effective?” discusses the many valid arguments in favor of social media marketing.
Which Makes Most Sense?
So which option makes the most sense? Does it make sense to do both? To best answer this, you must consider each one of the above questions. If, for example, you have $500/month to spend on your web strategy, you may find that putting that into something like Google generates you some traffic but not enough to notice a direct increase in your business, whereas $500 on Facebook marketing has a more significant return. Conversely, you may find that $500 to protect your listings on Homes.com and Zillow is a better approach for lead generation.
Perhaps you have an extremely large budget, and you would like to invest in both your website and a major search site, or maybe you would like to buy impressions on one of the major sites.
As with most things in business, to ensure the best return, you will have to do some research. You must always consider your ROI. Be sure to consider the above questions before plunging into an investment on your website.
Michael Darmanin is COO of Sellstate Realty Systems Network, Inc.
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