SAN DIEGO (November 15, 2015) – Delivering meaningful information to consumers quickly and in a conversational way will help Realtors® position themselves as credible real estate experts and ultimately lead to more business, according to a digital technology and lead generation forum here at the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
Celeste Starchild, vice president of Move and general manager at ListHub, shared business intelligence about how consumers are increasingly using online and digital technology during the home search process. She also discussed ways Realtors® can utilize search engine optimization and targeted advertising to reach consumers at the time they are most ready to buy or sell a home.
According to Starchild, a majority of consumers today are what she calls “digital natives.” Mostly from either the millennial or Gen X generation, these are potential buyers who’ve been around technology their entire life and don’t remember a time when the Internet wasn’t readily available. She explained that as time goes on and technology evolves, there are increasingly more people who don't know how to do business without going online first.
“Consumers want immediate responses from their friends and family via email and texting. Realtors® risk missing an opportunity with this important buyer demographic if they aren’t responding in a timely, informative and personable manner,” said Starchild.
Explaining ways Realtors® can be more visible to consumers online, Starchild said it’s important to focus advertising efforts on performing websites like realtor.com®, and utilizing search engine optimization can ensure that a Realtor®’s name and brokerage show up at the top of the list on search engine sites. “Search engine marketing drives high quality and high volume leads,” she said. “If you have the budget, you can pay for the right to have your name and business visible to practically all consumers looking for an agent online in a specific location.”
Predictive advertising efforts on social media – especially Facebook – can also be an extremely successful and cost-effective marketing tactic for Realtors®. Starchild described scenarios such as marriage, job relocation and child birth as home purchase drivers that Realtors® can take advantage of by having an ad with their information appear on the right side of a potential buyers’ Facebook page.
“Reaching the right consumers at the time they’re most ready to buy is powerful and effective,” said Starchild.
Starchild pointed out that practically every interested buyer or seller will search online for information about a Realtor® and likely read reviews before contacting them. What comes up in those search results is what consumers will use to determine whether or not to reach out. “It doesn’t matter where on a search list a Realtor® shows up if they don’t have an updated profile with a professional headshot, listed contact information and a few client recommendations,” she said. “Failing to do so will ultimately lead to missed business.”
Once a potential client has requested more information about a listing, Starchild said data show a Realtor® can increase their contact rate by as much as 900 percent by responding to leads in the first five minutes. Whether it’s personally in a few sentences or in an automated message with a promise to follow-up quickly, that initial communication is crucial.
“Consumers are looking for facts and they want them now. How you respond and interact with them influences their decision on whether or not they’re your client forever, or they’re on to the next one,” said Starchild.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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