08 Oct How Your Real Estate Online Presence Directly Impacts Referrals
In spite of the growing prominence of social media as a marketing tool, many Realtors® still neglect to build a coherent online presence that properly represents their business. While it’s true that direct person-to-person referrals are at the core of the real estate business, Realtors® often fail to understand that in this day and age, their various social media profiles are often the first thing the public engages with when researching your business. Simply gaining a referral just isn’t enough if the would-be client searches your company and finds a mis-managed social media feed or, worse yet, a non-existent one. A well-maintained online presence draws potential clients in, allowing you to capitalize on leads and referrals like never before. If the quality of your various online channels matches the quality of service you provide, you’ll soon end up with droves of positive reviews to validate any individual referrals you may receive. Here’s a few ways in which a strong online presence can solidify existing referrals and create new ones through digital word-of-mouth.
People no longer rely on recommendations alone.
People certainly count on the suggestions offered by their friends and neighbours when making a decision on hiring a Realtor®. However today, there are countless ways in which more skeptical clients can further investigate their Realtor® online rather than acting solely based on the recommendation of a friend. Clients demand substantial evidence of the agent’s skill and reputation before employing their services, and the more positive reviews and client testimonies you can display on your various digital channels, the more likely you are to win over the trust of even the most doubtful customers.
Google facilitates easy access to reviews of your business.
What could be better than individual recommendations? Hundreds of recommendations in the form of online reviews of your company. Just being told by a friend that a business is good isn’t enough for the average consumer anymore. Before making the all-important decision of who to trust with their business, people will want to see what Google has to say about a Realtor®. They would likely check out everything from the business website to the various social media accounts of the Realtor® before deciding based on what they see whether the agent is right for them. Of course, there’s a flip-side to all this. If your business has overwhelmingly negative reviews, it’s unlikely that a single testimony from a friend, no matter how close, will overwhelm the opinion of the general public. It goes without saying, but ensuring that every single client walks away satisfied is more important than ever in a time where negative feedback is so easy to publicize
As a Realtor®, even more so than with most professions, it is vital to cultivate a positive brand identity and encourage your existing clients to leave you positive reviews on prominent online platforms, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Zillow. The real estate industry is built largely on trust and reputation, and your online presence is becoming an increasingly important facet of how a Realtor® represents these qualities.
Your website is a vital piece of the puzzle.
While these days social media is likely the first contact potential clients will have with your business, their next stop will almost always be your business website. Clients want a functional website that actively engages them, presenting bold statistics and clear examples of why your services are right for them. A properly designed website is such a crucial part of a business’ public face that that poor design and usability will quickly drive customers away. Not only do websites have to work well and contain pertinent information, but they have to stand out from your competitors’. A drab website that doesn’t provide up-to-date information and listings is an automatic red flag for most discerning onlookers. Clients want their Realtor®‘s website to clearly display the marketing savvy that they hopefully have in order to sell properties quickly and for the desired price.
SEO generates referrals.
Many Realtors®‘s believe SEO matters only so far as improving the ranking of their business website. What they don’t realize is that SEO is equally important in the research conducted by a prospective customer. SEO helps you in spreading your name on the web, and the better executed it is, the more likely customers are to come across you. It’s important to ensure they find full information about you and your services through the Google Business page even if they don’t immediately see your website at the top of their search results.
It’s practically a given amongst Realtors® today that their customers will, at some point, search them up online. The easier you make it for your customers to find you, the less likely they are to keep browsing until they stumble across your competitors. However, this is only possible if you’re able to rank above your competitors on Google. In the real estate industry, the market has become fiercely competitive, and you must fight even for online referrals. As the business landscape continues to move online, it’s more important than ever as a Realtor® to build and maintain an online presence that generates referrals.
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