Ensure your real estate website design is responsive and modern, offer valuable content on each and every page, and include lead capture forms site-wide: These are the three main elements of a high-converting IDX website. As BrandCo CEO Ken Granger notes, though, there are many intricate optimization tactics and techniques you need to complete to achieve these goals for your IDX website.
Granger has joined the Placester team for a couple of webinars, both of which detail how today’s real estate professionals can enhance their websites for lead conversion through savvy design, beneficial content, and well-placed and -optimized lead capture forms.
While we advise listening to both webinars — “Designing Your Website for Conversion” and “Converting New Business with Your IDX Website” — you can glean many of Granger’s real estate website insights below. So, keep reading to learn how you can turn your site into a high-performing, lead-generating machine that can take your business to the next level.
Optimizing your IDX website is considered hard by some … but it’s actually easy — when using the right site provider.
Granger, whose firm has helped innumerable agents and brokers create beautiful sites (including Placester customers), knows a thing or two about what makes for an amazing real estate website design. Before industry pros can focus on optimizing the aesthetic of their web presence, though, he noted they need to push their sites live — the critical first step to constructing a comprehensive digital foundation.
“You have to start somewhere,” said Granger. “I think a lot of agents are ‘getting ready to get ready.’ They’re trying to be perfect the second they push the ‘launch’ button on their websites, and they end up being paralyzed by that kind of fear that it’s not perfect and it’s not ready to go.”
While many real estate pros may think they ought to wait before launching their sites to make sure they have all of the site components they need to succeed, Granger stated they’re actually doing themselves a disservice by holding off.
“Starting and just getting the site live is a really important first step. It sounds simple to say, when we’re talking about conversion, that setting up your IDX website is the first step, but for so many people, they kind of freeze there because they’re just not ready. They feel they don’t have the perfect imagery or photos or their bio’s not exactly the way they want it.
“Getting the site up and running is a critical first step, regardless of whether it’s what you consider to be perfect or not. The sooner you start, the sooner you can make those incremental changes as you go, and the better off you’re going to be from a search engine perspective and from a branding and marketing perspective, and it gets easier once the site is launched.”
Focus on relaying your brand story first and foremost, then worry about your real estate website aesthetic and visuals.
Back in the day, successful real estate advertising meant plastering your face in newspaper and magazine ads and on bus benches and billboards. Now, according to Granger, it’s far more about explaining how you can help your real estate clients than promoting yourself — and doing so mostly via online methods rather than through offline channels.
Getting your site up and running is a critical first step, regardless of whether it’s what you consider to be perfect or not.
“It’s really critical … that your [brand] identity is something that looks modern and current,” said Granger. “If we look at traditional real estate marketing, where it’s very agent-centric — it’s the agent’s picture everywhere — and we look at where branding and marketing are going online, there’s a big change away from that. It’s less about the agent bragging and [the marketing] being all about the agent and more about what’s in it for their clients and their consumer.”
As Granger indicated, the evolution of branding is something modern real estate agents and brokers need to pay attention to, as doing so will not only ensure they promote themselves in the best possible light online, but also better understand their niche audience’s needs.
“Branding is more than just your logo and the color choices you’ve made,” Granger continued. “I consider those to be more of your identity items — you can recognize the logo, and the color palette you choose kind of signifies your identity. But the brand is so much more than that.
“From an agent’s perspective, when we talk about their brand, it goes back to who’s your client, [and] more importantly, what’s in it for them? What are they going to get out of visiting your website, their relationship with you, out of your skills in negotiating the transaction, out of your follow-up, out of how well you manage your vendors and partners to make the transaction painless … and what does the relationship look like after the transaction? All of those things I think are … important to think about and position yourself when we talk about building your brand.”
Original, compelling content is how you will win over your visitors — and get many of them to convert into new leads.
You may be familiar with content marketing for real estate — and you might even have mastered many of its concepts for your own digital promotion — but if you haven’t figured out a way to publish unique, valuable pages and blog posts that you’re primary demographic(s) find interesting and helpful and that distinguishes your business from others in your market, Granger noted, you won’t have much of a chance to earn new site visitors, let alone transform them into brand new prospects to work.
“First of all, your product as a real estate agent is expertise. If you’re not demonstrating that through all of your channels, but specifically online, [and] if you’re not demonstrating yourself as a local expert and someone who really has their client’s best interests in mind and guide them through this purchase, then the question really has to come down to: why would someone choose you then?
“If you’re just … pointing them in all different directions to find their information elsewhere and not consolidating that [info] and adding it and digesting it and kind of regurgitating it with your own expertise, why would someone want to be in business with you, if you’re just linking out to third parties or not going through the effort of telling people what it’s like to live in a particular community and what the lifestyle is like? Your clients are looking for that expertise — that’s why they would hire a real estate agent.”
Granger stated that, without this detailed buying and selling information shared across your IDX website, your online lead gen opportunities will dwindle and many site visitors will look elsewhere for representation (or possibly end up just buying or selling without the aid of an agent).
Make gradual improvements to your IDX site design, and, in time, it will yield the desired results (a.k.a. many new leads).
The idea that real estate website design is a one-off marketing activity for agents and brokers is one that needs to be put to bed. Yes, while maintaining and perfecting your IDX website requires effort, Granger declared, it’s a never-ending task that will ultimately continue to help you achieve your goal of becoming the preeminent agent in your market, as doing so will get your site found atop search results over the long haul.
“When we talk about websites, they’re not a one-and-done thing,” said Granger. “You can’t just build this website and expect that you don’t have to go back and do anything. You have to nurture this thing over the course of weeks, months, years for you to expect it to be successful. You may be a brand new agent, but if you launch with an amazing-looking website … you can look like an agent who’s been working for years or decades.”
With the right design knowledge and enhancements, Granger added any agent can ensure they are perceived as a 21st-century real estate pro — meaning one who knows how to market properties and find the right listings for clients and, ultimately, know the ins and outs of how to close deals for their clients. Without this web presence, though, he admitted it’s nearly impossible for modern-day agents to thrive.
Watch both of our in-depth webinars with Granger to learn how you can make the most of your IDX real estate website and earn far more home buyer and/or seller leads through ongoing optimization activities: