Disclaimer: We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
As real estate agents, it is important that you have a presence online for new clients and past clients to find you, find important real estate information like properties, and find out more about you. In my R.E.M.E. system, a website is one of the central pieces needed to properly market yourself online as a real estate agent. But many times when I review a client’s website, they are using the broker issued websites, and I am sorry to say, they SUCK for you.
Why do broker issued websites suck for you? There are several problems with not having your own domain like ‘www.sandrasmithrealestate.com‘ vs ‘sandra.brokersite.com‘ (not real sites).
Branding, Branding, Branding
One thing is you don’t have much control of what your website looks like as well as the functionality of it. As a real estate agent, being able to brand yourself is key when trying to separate yourself in a crowded market of real estate agents.
Most broker issued website either have one design or a few options that don’t allow much change. Other than your logo and/cover image, there is not much flexibility on what the website will look like for your brand. I believe that real estate agent website should not be over-powering and minimalist, but having a clean design is important for look and usability. Because what’s the point of having a website if no one uses it right?
Your Website Domain Is Your Own
When you register your domain name online, that domain is yours and yours alone. So if you decided to leave your current brokerage, you don’t have to worry about changing much when it comes to links to content that you have posted on your social media and other websites. Many times, real estate agents have a decision to make when it comes to deciding if they want to move on to another brokerage because everything has been linked to the brokerage issued website.
When you have your domain name go to your own website and not just redirect to the brokerage site, you also don’t have to worry about if you decide to either move on or just change up the website. You have the control you need to redirect the traffic to the new changes on the website. Using platforms like WordPress will allow you to get a beautiful website that includes all of the functionality that you need (IDX, Newsletter, Landing Pages).
Also, you own the email address for your brand. So when you issue your email address for clients and leads, you can provide them with ‘email@example.com’ instead of a Gmail account (I do love my Gmail account). By having your own domain and using that domain for your email, it will help you with continuing to brand yourself. So when someone emails you, they automatically have your website, so all they have to do is just copy the domain name and paste it in their browser to find out more about you.
Shows Authority and Credibility
There is nothing stronger with branding than showing authority and credibility in your space, and by having your own website you will show that. Just think about how you decide to work with a new company. You will first go to Google to see if you can find, you guessed it, their website. And many times if they don’t have a website or a poor one, you may not decide to work with them. But a business with a professional looking website, you instantly think that they know what they are doing and have credibility.
Leads are doing that every day when thinking about working with a real estate agent that they don’t know. They are looking to find your website and if you don’t have one or using the generic broker issued website, they may be passing your over for the next agent who does have one. Of course, they will look for reviews on Google and Zillow, and also check out what’s going on with your social media accounts, but having that professional website helps to show your authority and credibility.
Having a website that you own allows you to have a place to link to content that you create on your blog that will help online leads looking for a solution to their problems in real estate. Having that content will also help you when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I talk about SEO some, but besides keeping fresh content and structuring your content with the right tags, it is difficult to get SEO to work for you unless you are consistently putting out good content.
When you post links to your blog posts from a website that you own, you don’t have to worry about if the broker issued website decides to change their link structure or sunset a feature that you were using that could affect to the links that you have out on your social media channels and other blogs.
Should Be Your Traffic Hub
I tell my clients that if you have resources or lead magnets, they need to use their website to send the traffic through. Why? Because you can use a Facebook Pixel to retarget these people later to continue to stay in front of this audience. And I will explain more about retargeting at a later time.
You can also use a Google Snippet of code so that you can remarket to this audience of people. This is similar to retargeting in Facebook, but what’s great about Google Remarketing as a real estate agent is instead of just staying in front of this audience who visits your website on Facebook and Instagram, you can stay in front of this audience all over the web, including Google Search.
Using your own website as a real estate agent allows you to have multiple landing pages that provide a way to capture lead information when using lead magnets. What’s a lead magnet? It’s a highly attractive offer (free online guide, resource, or properties) that people will want to exchange their contact information for (Name, Email, Phone).
For our team, we like to run ads that send leads to our IDX for properties so that we can retarget them on Facebook and Remarket them on Google. And soon we will begin to expand to doing the same thing in LinkedIn. Being able to have a place where we know the link structure and content as well as having the control to change what we need to, when we need to has helped us tremendously. You just don’t know how helpful it is to tell someone go to a specific link to get to a particular search on our own website.
The important thing is to have a place that you own where you are playing traffic cop and you control what information is collected, what information is given, and for you to not be out in the dark when you are ready to expand.
You Have More Flexibility
As technology continues to expand, you will need to be able to expand as well with your offerings. Think about a few years ago, everyone was talking about Twitter as the place to be for real estate agents, now it’s Instagram. Who knows where the place to be will be in the next few years, but if you own your own website, you are flexible enough to expand as technology expands.
Earlier I was talking about using pixels and code snippets and as more technologies come on board, you will need to have a way to include them easily on your website and also phase out outdated technologies on your website.
You won’t have to wait on updates to come to the broker issued website, and that may not even happen. I can’t tell you how many broker issued websites I have reviewed that don’t allow you to add the necessary code snippets needed to gather analytics and also understand the audience you have coming in to continue to stay in front of them.
Your Website Follows You
No one likes moving brokerages, but it happens and it doesn’t have to always be where the old brokerage was bad. It could be for something as simple as you are moving to a new area that your old brokerage doesn’t have a presence. But when those times come where some real estate agents have to move to a new brokerage, they are stuck because all of the links, SEO juice, and knowledge of them are tied to the old brokerage. So when they have to move to the new brokerage, they are essentially starting back from scratch.
But if you owned your own website, all you would need to do is update the brokerage info and logo and you are done. Anyone looking for you will still use your same domain name. If you were getting traffic from social media or search engines, that would still continue. So you pretty much wouldn’t miss a beat. And the real estate agent who didn’t own their own website would be dead in the water as soon as their old brokerage turns off their account.
But What About The Cost
Sure, having a free website is good, but if you aren’t getting a return on its use, then it isn’t helping you any. The investment in having your own website is worth it in the long run. It is a marathon and not a sprint, so as your business grows, so will your website reach. Getting a domain can cost as little as $3 a year, hosting $15 per month, IDX $40 – $80 per month, a nice WordPress template $59 one-time.
If you can’t install WordPress and the template, you can find people to do it for you for a one time cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
And being a professional real estate agent, we know that there will be a cost to operating and you know that if things are free, you get what you pay for. And if you aren’t getting everything that you need from your broker issued website, you need to take control and get your own branded website.
If you would like to discuss how this all works and how this fits into our R.E.M.E. (Real Estate Marketing Ecosystem) System for closing more deals, be sure to schedule some time for us to chat –