The role of internet marketing in real estate has grown profoundly over the past few years. In an industry that once used print media as its primary form of delivering the marketing message, there is now an urgent need to have transitioned to the internet in order to reach today’s homebuyer. So what does a real estate company do to get the message out to today’s real estate consumer?
First of all, we have to understand the process that our customers utilize when it comes to selling a home in Tallahassee or buying a home. A recent study by the National Association of REALTORS found that 94% of homebuyers are using the internet when they buy a home. That means the best way to reach homebuyers is through the internet, thus the need for knowledge and experience in internet marketing.
Most real estate companies have not caught on. They are “advertising” on the internet, but they are failing to reach the vast pool of internet consumers. Just think about your own personal experiences on the web, do you “click” on ads? Do you even notice them there? From my experience, advertisements on the internet are a great waste of money.
Homebuyers on the internet are looking for answers. The millions of visitors that have reached the Tallahassee Real Estate Blog and my other internet marketing websites have taught me critical lessons in the behavior of consumers on the web. This study in homebuyer behavior has allowed me to completely re-engineer the marketing of homes for sale by our company.
The graphic on the left was created from a real estate internet marketing study which showed that homebuyers go through 3 distinct stages during the prolonged process of buying a home. They start out as “information seekers” who want to know more about the types of homes that are available. They look at properties on the large aggregate real estate sites which spend millions of dollars each year to get them to their sites.
These information seekers are not buyers. Some will buy within 9 months, others were curious or were interested for reasons other than buying. The real estate internet marketer must fulfill the needs of this shopper or most likely there will be no return visit. Ironically, most of the internet marketing I see from real estate companies is designed to lure this information seeker, yet nothing on their websites is geared to answer their questions and gain a return visit from this seeker of information.
After several months, the information seekers either loses interest in real estate, or they become a more serious type of visitor, which I refer to as a “comparison shopper.” These people have decided that they want to make a move, so they start gravitating towards regional websites that have local information that the large aggregate sites just cannot produce. Information about neighborhoods, local real estate market analysis, map-based property search engines, and many key tools are the most often utilized resources that comparison shoppers want on a real estate company website. They will return often to utilize these tools that help them fine tune their needs and wants.
Finally, these visitors become ready “Buyers.” After months of researching the processes and tools, as well as their needs and wants, the ready buyer is just waiting for the emotional trigger that will push them to make a move. A real estate internet marketer who understands the ready buyer will have just the right devices ready to assist, but only when this buyer is ready.
The role of internet marketing in real estate is growing at a feverish pace, and techniques and processes that are working best continue to change on a near-daily basis. Internet marketing is not something one learns, rather it something one studies all the time and the learning process never ends. Expect to see the world of real estate brokerage change in the coming years, perhaps in a similar fashion as the stock brokerage industry experienced starting more than ten years ago.
If you have a home to sell, it would be prudent to ensure that you select a real estate company that is working feverishly to find homebuyers in all three stages of the real estate purchase cycle. They should have a large following of buyers in all three stages and they should be able to sell your home fast, even in this most difficult of housing markets.