We’re sharing information that will help your real estate business and have brought in our friend and marketing expert Vicky Wu with Vicky Wu Marketing to answer your marketing questions.
“One of the most common marketing questions we get from clients – in all industries – is do they really need a website,” says Wu. “The answer is a resounding YES, yet there are some additional considerations for real estate agents to explore.”
Why Every Business Definitely Needs a Website
All businesses need a website. One of the worst pieces of advice is that any business doesn’t need a website since they can just use social media.
“Any time you are relying fully upon a third-party platform, like social media, as the primary marketing piece for your business, you are risking too much,” noted Wu. “Because you don’t own or control these platforms, at any moment they can make changes that negatively impact your ability to do business – including closing your profile with no ability to recover.”
This has happened to multiple businesses who approached Vicky Wu Marketing to try to recover. “Unfortunately, you may have no ability to regain what you lost. This could mean losing all of your customer and prospect list and that historical data.
“In the case of some businesses, this extends to even their website platform. We had one business come to us that was using Etsy, a popular website platform for hand-crafted businesses. Etsy shut down her website that was making her over $10,000 per month. There was no appeal. She lost all of her historical customer information, all of her product listings, information on orders that were currently in process and had to rebuild from scratch.”
Wu said to never rely upon any third-party platform for such an important piece of your digital presence.
“Even in the case of word of mouth referrals from a trusted friend or family, one of the very first things a prospect will do is research you online. Your own website is one of the few pieces of your online presence where you have full control over how your business is presented,” emphasized Wu.
When You Need Your Own Website as an Agent
One of the things most real estate brokerages now offer their agents is a website, especially when it is a franchisee of one of the large national or international brokerages.
In most cases this is a template where the agent can make some customizations, such as adding a bio and other personal information, and then the rest of the site is pulled from corporate or MLS feeds. Many offer back-end systems such as CRMs, which can help you automate as well. Yet you also balance this ease of using a free option provided by your brokerage with the limitations of what is essentially another third-party platform.
These can be a great way to get your online footprint established. So how do you know when it’s time to get your own website outside of the one provided by your brokerage?
“There are a few points at which you may want to consider a full website of your own, beyond what your broker can provide,” observed Wu. “The question really revolves around the point at which you are wanting to grow your own real estate business, such as through growing a team, or even expanding into your own brokerage.”
For a real estate agent who is looking to add a team, the basic functions provided by most broker-provided websites are usually only really built for a single agent. When you’re ready to expand into a team model and add another real estate agent (or more), at that point it’s probably a good point to consider expanding into having your own website as well.
Growth opportunities like these should have you start researching your website options before you move into the growth stage.
“Luckily for real estate agents, there are lots of options for websites. One of the most popular platform is WordPress, because all of the website code is ‘open source’ – meaning that a third-party platform doesn’t own the site. You install this free website framework on your own website host, like Bluehost or GoDaddy, and you can be comfortable knowing that you have full control.
“WordPress is one of the most-used website platforms among businesses in all industries, and in the case of real estate specifically, you can easily add an IDX plugin to pull in all of the MLS property data. Most of these have a monthly subscription of around $50 per month.
“All of the rest of the website will be completely up to you. You can choose the appearance, the functionality, and all of the other aspects to truly make it best represent your brand and your business,” explained Wu.
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