7 tips for attracting leads

Realtor Magazine just did a big story on internet marketing and here are seven tips that the article ended with. Although the leads swirling around the Internet seem limitless, it takes skill and persistence to turn them into customers. Here are strategies that are reaping returns.

• Add more photos to your listing.
A study by REALTOR.com found that a home listing with six photos got 300 percent more views than a property with one or no photos, says REALTOR.com President and CEO Allan Dalton.

• Improve the content portion of your Web site,
even if you use a pay-per-click model, says Justin McCarthy, Google Inc.’s business development manager for real estate. This top search engine determines search rankings half on what you’re willing to pay and half on the depth and quality of your site’s information.

• Make your site sticky—with deep content and free offers—and visitors will stay.
Because he sells second homes and retirement properties in a rural area, Charlie Winfree’s site
(www.mtnhome4u.com)includes not only listings and maps but also a “You’re in the Country Now” section that tells city dwellers how to test well water and septic tanks and cope with other mysteries of rural living. The results are more than 400 unique visitors a day and first-page positions on top search engines for the sales associate at Coldwell Banker Home Town Realty in Keyser, W. Va.

• Offer high-quality information—such as listings—
and then ask visitors to fill out a form for more in-depth data or other benefits, says Joel MacIntosh, CEO of Web and technology vendor WolfNet Technologies (www.wolfnettech.com). Require only a name and e-mail address, but give visitors the option of completing other fields. A surprising number will provide additional information.

• Multiply your chances of being found online
by developing Web sites targeted for various niches. Thomas Cowan III, CRS®, e-PRO®, of RE/MAX Professionals in Atlanta, has Web sites geared to renters, foreclosure investors, lease-purchase buyers, and traditional buyers. Together, they net him 7,000 to 8,000 unique visitors each month. With the help of three assistants and an average monthly Web site investment of $3,000, he converted that traffic into 200 sales in 2005. Cowan estimates the Web consumes 90 percent of his marketing budget.

• Lower your keyword costs for paid searches by focusing on a niche
where there won’t be so many bidders, suggests Veronica Hicks of Condos Etc. in Irvine, Calif. The broker, who used to be a marketing director at Coca-Cola Co., found that 90 percent of her sales last year came from Internet leads. After spending “a ton of money” using words targeting renters, Hicks says, she now chooses the names of particular condo communities in her area.

• Blog it.
The almost daily updates of real estate news and sales data at Dewita Soeharjono’s blog on urban living in Washington, D.C. (http://metrodcliving.com)has netted her free placements as high as fourth in Google searches and about 25 percent of her business (see “Blog World,”).

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