While it’s not even 25 years old yet, the web has profoundly changed how people communicate, learn, work, share, and indeed, sell homes. And that means talking to your REALTOR about how the web fits into your overall marketing strategy should be at the top of your to-do list. That’s the easy part.
The hard part is knowing the right questions to ask, to ensure that your REALTOR is effectively leveraging every relevant tool, platform and technology to present your home in the best possible light, and to attract the widest possible number of qualified buyers.
Fortunately, we’ve simplified and streamlined the task for you by highlighting the 5 essential online marketing questions to ask your REALTOR now – and not later, when it may be too late:
The channels through which your home is marketed (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are important, but it’s only half the picture. The other half is the presentation, which includes photos, videos and descriptions – all of which must be professional, targeted, complete and compelling.
To help you answer this question, most of the industry partners that REALTORS work with have their own websites, which you can visit to check if the presentation values are of high quality. You can also ask any prospective REALTOR for samples of work that he or she has done with previous clients.
The term “using social media” can mean many different things, and it’s frankly not enough for a REALTOR to casually say that he or she “uses Facebook” or “uses Twitter” to help sell your home. Yes, as noted above, those channels are important – but you want to know HOW they will be used.
To help answer this question, check to see if a REALTOR has his or her own following on these channels. Keep in mind that it’s possible to “buy” likes, fans and followers (believe it or not!), and so you should dig deeper to verify that your REALTOR’s online community is, in fact a community full of real people like you – and not a façade designed to impress people with lofty, yet artificial numbers.
Also, you should ask whether your REALTOR will use paid advertisements. This can be significantly beneficial, because it drives “targeted traffic” to your listing (i.e. people who are actively looking to purchase your type of home in your neighborhood).
You want to ensure that your home has a dedicated URL or “online HUB,” which not only helps your home appear in Google searches, but also makes it easier for buyers to find vs. having to wade through pages of listings.
Plus, a dedicated URL allows your REALTOR to analyze how people are reaching the page. For example, if your REALTOR sees that 85% of the traffic to your home’s online HUB is coming from Facebook, then it would make sense to pause any ads on Google, and focus more resources on Facebook.
The larger point here is that, when it comes to online marketing, you don’t want a REALTOR who “sets it and forgets it.” You want someone who is going to manage and monitor the process, and constantly optimize it so that you’re getting the best possible results, at the lowest cost, in the quickest time.
To make your home stand out from the crowd, you need a website that highlights its unique selling features. For example, if your home is in a very desirable location, then your online HUB should emphasize this through photos, videos and text. Or if your home has a beautifully finished basement, a large yard, great window placement that brings in plenty of natural sunlight, or anything else, all of these should be highlighted accordingly. Compare this to a boring “one size fits all” website that makes your home seem like every other one on the market, and you can see why a unique website is essential – not optional!
To help you get a sense of whether your REALTOR appreciates the importance of a unique and customized website, start by checking out his or her website. Is it easy to navigate? Is it personal and engaging? Does it look and feel like every other REALTOR website?
An increasing number of buyers – of all ages, including seniors! – are using tablets and smartphones to view home listings. However, if your website isn’t designed to display properly on these devices, then instead of finding a professional presentation of your home’s top selling points, they’ll be greeted with a messy and confusing mix of symbols, pictures, text…everything that makes them leave very quickly and never return!
Ensure that your REALTOR is ahead of the curve by creating your home’s online HUB that is ready for mobile viewing (the technical term for this is “responsive design”). A helpful clue here is to see whether your REALTOR’s website is accessible via smartphones and tablets. If so, then they likely understand the importance of responsive design. If not, then they likely don’t!
Just like all forms of marketing, promoting your home online can be done in a multitude of ways – but not all means of online marketing are created equal! Frankly, it’s not enough for your REALTOR to say “I use social media to sell your home.” In this day and age, that’s like saying “I use marketing to sell your home” – and that could mean almost anything!
Fortunately, you can use these 5 questions to get an informed idea of what your REALTOR will – or, possibly, won’t – do to present your home in the best possible light, and attract the widest possible number of qualified buyers.
For more than 40 years, REALTOR Niraj Sharma has helped families across Toronto get the enjoyable, straightforward, successful and satisfying home selling experience they deserve.
If you have questions, and need advice and insight that you can trust, call Niraj today at 416.762.8255, or visit online at www.nirajsharma.ca.