Technology: Niche Websites
June 20, 2016
Founder and Owner, Open House Hunters
Educator, Arizona School of Real Estate & Business
Over recent years, the real estate industry has discovered firsthand that technology is changing the way to conduct business – and it’s just the beginning of advancements ahead. Keeping up with technology is now a key factor of business and professional success.
Websites are now the modern day business card for the real estate agent. However, with so many website platforms to choose from today, it becomes a challenge to know which version is the “best” option. Attention spans of humans are decreasing each year (the average is 6-8 seconds – now lower than a goldfish), making web design, navigation and relevant information critical to grab the digital prospect or client’s interest. Consumers have a digital expectation – they will simply stray away from sites that are unorganized and hard to navigate through during a search.
Agent branding has become crucial to the business model – niche marketing connected to the agent can be a way to help stand out above the rest. While most website platforms come with an IDX (Internet Data Exchange), many will have consumer search limitations. Today, website costs are fairly low making it possible for agents to have multiple sites targeted to a specific audience or purpose – creating an easier search process for the consumer. The cost for a website can be as low as 10 dollars per month – making multiple, targeted sites a feasible tactic.
When designing a website, agents should consider their business model and determine what the end goal is for prospects and clients.
If websites are the new business card, would it be more effective to have one business card for a seller and another for a buyer? This concept may help a consumer identify an agent for selling their home or buying a home more easily. In digital terms, real estate websites are typically geared toward the home buyer – limiting the full scope of business offerings to the consumer. Two websites may be a solution to this problem: one focused on the listing side promoting “why list with me” and the other focused on finding properties for the buyer.
Creating a website specific to a neighborhood an agent is farming is also a great niche – showing surrounding neighbors the involvement in that community. These type of websites can have a web address that is specific to the neighborhood – to help the consumer’s search. It’s not uncommon for consumers to Google neighborhoods as part of their home research. The website address can be hung on sign riders below for sale signs and advertised on marketing pieces as well for a direct link to the site. The website itself can be relatively simple and low maintenance – featuring a video and photos of the neighborhood including local amenities like nearby retail centers, schools, parks, etc.
Remember, the key here is to have a website that is targeted and to the point. If it’s multiple sites or just one, keep it simple. It’s also very important to advertise the website to consumers and to make it a positive experience when they get there. Too many navigation links and content that is not relevant can often leave the consumer confused and overwhelmed. It can also cost the agent much more than 10 dollars a month in lost business.