According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2007 Member Profile, a full 60% of all 1.3 million REALTORS® have websites — nearly twice as many as just five years ago. Read the report overview. As I read that statistic, I was truly glad to see our industry moving in the right direction…
And then I read another statistic from the same report: “The typical REALTOR® received four inquiries from their Web site accounting for about 3% of their business.” When I read that I was stunned. Truly stunned. With over 780,000 real estate websites and 7.5 million homes selling (15 million transaction sides) in 2007, that means that there was a full 19.23 transaction sides available per real estate website!!
Why was I stunned? Here’s why: because during that same period of time, there were an average of 462 website visitors per real estate website. These were not “tire kickers” as so many like to think. The tire kickers were extra. These were visitors that ultimately bought either new or existing homes. Do the math on that one. It means that on average, real estate websites capture customers at a stunningly low percentile — at a rate of 0.87% of all visitors!
So in other words, a full 60% of all agents have websites and yet for all the money and time we spend on them, they are absolutely ineffective. Why are they ineffective? Because real estate websites, for the most part, are designed to give out information, and not to generate business. How sad when you consider that an estimated 94% of all real estate customers begin their searches online and yet our average online marketing is so bad!
What if a Walmart had less than 1% of all its store visitors make a purchase? How long do you think the manager would have a job? Not long! But we continue to allow our online strategies to become less and less effective, year after year, while more and more of our customers are going online! No wonder so many agents are failing in this business!
I would propose that we as agents begin to think carefully about our online strategies. I know that many of the agents my company works with do the bulk of their business with customers they generated from their online marketing. That’s why I was so stunned with the latest numbers — I thought things were beginning to change. Our agents are capturing business from their websites at roughly 30 times that average rate, using very inexpensive and simple online tools. Our agents are doing real estate the new way, and by doing so are producing as much as 75-80% of their business online.
So, how are your online efforts doing? Do your numbers look more like the NAR report? Or do you do the bulk of your business online? If you’re not doing a large amount of business from your website, you are leaving huge sums of money on the table. What if you could use the same online advertising budget you are currently spending, and generate 30 times as much business? How would that change your practice?
Finally, while I am on the subject of online real estate practice, don’t forget that the new DOJ/NAR Settlement agreement requires that you make some modifications to your website if you offer MLS or IDX listings to the public. Last week I posted a blog article about it, and gave any reader a link to build a free DOJ/NAR Compliance Gateway. If you haven’t taken the steps to make your website compliant, don’t forget: the clock is ticking.