Most all the hoopla about Web design and marketing these days focuses on attracting new buyers and new homeowners who are ready to sell. But as all experienced Realtors know, referrals make the best clients. So here are some ways to structure your Internet Marketing strategy so that you increase your referral rate.
Many Happy Returns
If you want your Website to help you increase referrals, you will need to structure your site so that people will want to bookmark it and visit it often or at least whenever they have a question about real estate. The trick is to have something on your Website that other sites do not have and to publicize it. Yes, it still revolves around differentiating yourself from your competition. Of course, this exclusivity is not going to be found in any template Web designs, as by definition these sites are not high on exclusivity. So, what can you possibly include on your site that others will not have?
Focus on Homeowners
Homeowners, whether they are thinking about selling right now or not want to know what homes in their area sold for. So, develop a plan to keep folks who sign up on your Website informed on a regular basis. If your MLS provides recent sales data, you will have an easier job but since most do not let you display that in your IDX you might have to do some updating on your site to make this happen. Believe me, it is worth the effort if you promote it. You can promote it on your home page. You can promote it on your AdWords ad if you use that type of marketing. Think about refrigerator magnets distributed to people in the area or areas where you work. Think about small billboards, ads at the movies and maybe even a sign on your car. Certainly think about adding a rider to your For Sale Signs. Create flyers to distribute to all homes in a certain radius of any new listing. These ideas should get you started.
Focus on Renters
Renters who are hoping to buy a home are interested in the same recent sales data as homeowners are. Since most all first time buyers start out as renters, this is another group of people who are likely to appreciate your information and they are likely to make a referral. Remember, folks like to feel important by being able to recommend a service or an agent. So, even if they have never used your services themselves, if they know your name and know you provide helpful information they are likely to pass the word along to a fellow renter who is ready to take the plunge.
Focus on Follow Up
The key to increasing referrals, of course, is follow up. This is not a new concept to any Realtor but it is a strategy that is known, talked about but often ignored. I understand. Over the years, follow up had become costly and time consuming. But today, follow up can be developed and then automated. Again, I am not a big fan of those template follow up letters. You have no idea how many other agents are sending out template messages to the same audience you are targeting. And duplicate messages make everyone look bad. So, the trick is to be clever, plan ahead and use your Website to help you build a massive database. Then do not ignore it.