26 September 2006

Capturing Leads VS Lost Leads

Some Tough Questions For Realtors And Real Estate Brokers

The real estate industry is in a major state of change. With the power of the Internet in the hands of consumers, consumers shopping for real estate Online are in the driver's seat more than anyone would have imagined.

Home InteriorWith the advent of Internet searches for listed properties, anyone with an Internet connection can now go shopping for the home of their dreams. They can look at comparables, view pictures of the interior and exterior of the homes, and even have virtual tours. All this can be done before a prospective home buyer ever steps inside the home.

Consumers are going to various places on the Web to do free MLS searches online. Many Realtors have a MLS search built into their websites, and with the added website choices for the consumer to search online at places like Yahoo and Realtor.com, Realtors that do not have MLS property searches are going to be left out in the cold.

However, for those Realtors that do have or plan to have MLS searches from their websites they need to really ask themselves how is the best way for it to be set up? Realtors have two choices, they can choose to have free MLS searches with no registration to begin with, other than for automatic email updates, or the other route is to have registration up front in order to search properties.

Which MLS search is right for the Realtor?

The answer seems to have two very polar sides. On one hand the Realtor that has invested significant dollars, time, and content into his/her website feels that they only want to have the serious buyers come to their website to do searches. Other Realtors feel that in today's Internet Empowered Consumer, who is concerned about privacy, or giving out their emails, to later get spammed with unsolicited emails, and with the availability of all the free property searches online, it doesn't make any sense to not give away the searches on their website in the first place. Still, anyone that would like to have emails sent to them with automatic updates, when new homes become available or properties change in price, would still have to register in some form to be able to receive the emails. It is difficult to tell which type of searches produce the most leads. The free MLS search sites would likely have more traffic, with less leads per visitor, vs. the one with registration up front. But, how many leads is a Realtor losing by making a consumer register up front?

Which MLS searches do consumers prefer: registration or no registration required?

Consumers have all the power. It is the old adage that "information wants to be free," in that the consumer is simply a mouse click away from either searching or not searching from a particular website. With the availability of MLS home search information at virtually hundreds if not thousands of locations around the country and the world why would a consumer want to give their names, phone numbers, or email addresses up front? I can only say what I would do as a consumer. I do not like giving my name or email address out unless it is someone that I trust. Or, having built up an establishment of some degree of trust; usually from reading their privacy policy on their website, or after having visited their website numerous times and gotten to know the person or business, then, and only then do I give out my email address. Still, the consumer is liable to give fictitious names, phone numbers, and even throw away email addresses in order to sign up for something online.

If you are a Realtor, what is your take on this? Put yourself in the mind of the consumer, and think how real estate has changed in just the last couple of years. What would you do?

It really all comes back to The Internet Empowered Consumer. The article, The Internet Empowered Consumer was written by: Jay Izzo a,k.a. "Dr. Jay". More of his writings can be found at: The Real Estate Psychologist, www.realestatepsychologist.com.

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15 September 2006

Internet Draws More Real Estate Ads

With the influx of new Internet marketing technologies for the real estate industry, most active home buyers are going to the Internet to do searches online for their next home purchase.

Here in lies the marketing issue with newspapers and other print media advertising that was once home to an exclusive advertising venue in the real estate industry. Realtors, specifically brokers and large real estate groups such as Coldwell Banker and Century 21 are moving their advertising to online media forms, with plans of reducing the number of ads in local newspapers in the future.

In an article in Business Week, by: Timothy J. Mullaney, titled:
Real Estate Ads Move to the Internet
Real estate listings are moving online, and newspapers are racing to protect their classifieds market by following them

Most Sundays, Bob Peltier buys six ad pages in the two Twin Cities newspapers. But Labor Day weekend was a turning point for the president of Edina Realty, Minnesota's top real estate firm. Instead of pages of open-house listings, Edina ran one page in each paper: The ad had a picture of a computer, but no information about houses at all. Instead, it told buyers to see Edina's Web site for open houses. "This is the start," Peltier says. "In 2007, I'll spend 50 percent less on the newspaper."

Newspapers are attempting to follow suite by buying up some of the online real estate portals in order to try and bolster their position. However, this strategy may not work very well for the newspapers in the long run. As consumers continue to flock to the Internet in increasing numbers, newspapers will have a hard time battling for market share. Additionally, as individual Realtors continue to use the new technologies available to them for their own real estate Internet marketing websites; to have a list of the open houses, MLS searches in their area, and more virtual online tours of homes, consumers will continue to migrate to the Internet to gain up-to-the-minute information, along with automatic email alerts for properties, which will continue to put increased pressure on the newspaper industry.

The newspaper industry has already lost significant ground in other forms of classifieds. Job postings and articles for sale at websites like Craigslist have put a major dent into the advertising dollars received by newspapers. This may be a case of both cause and affect. The affect on circulation because of the Internet is overwhelming. Newspapers can no longer deny that online sources of information are not affecting their print subscribership. People want instantaneous everything. Why should the news be any different? Because print subscribership is down, newspapers have a harder time justifying their ad rates and thus have downward pressure of what can be charged for a print ad.

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