What percentage of consumers start their home search online is a question I get all the time. Whether I am talking with an individual real estate agent or speaking in front of a group, it usually comes up. I am a former title rep for a national title insurance company in Phoenix Arizona. Beginning in 2000 I spent 10 years helping real estate professionals grow their business. I left the title side to co – found PRO-Found Marketing in 2011.
Back in the day, real estate agents used outbound marketing techniques – postcards and flyer’s and cold calls and door to door and billboards and grocery cart ads and bus stop ads etc. – to grow their real estate business. Outbound marketing relies on the consumer having a FUTURE NEED. Any consumer that received your outbound marketing message would need to:
- Have an immediate need for your offering
- See Value In Your Message
- Remember It
- Take Action
Without the stars lining up so to speak, OutBound Marketing techniques usually land on deaf ears. There are still a lot of real estate agents utilizing this method. I know first hand because I still receive their “its all about me” real estate marketing messages in my mailbox. If they only knew that the majority of consumers start their home search online, they may be open to “shifting” their real estate marketing.
What’s the majority? 94 percent.
94% of consumers start their home search online, 96% of First Time Home Buyers start their home search online. The discrepancy between 94% and 96% is Millennials, AKA Echo Boomers, AKA Generation AKA Next, AKA Millennial Generation, AKA Net Generation, AKA Generation Y. Regardless of what you call them, don’t “call” them. Millennials have cell phones but they are more likely to use them to text, surf the Internet or update a social network than they are to actually make a phone call or return one for that matter. The Millennial Generation is 80 million strong and represent the largest generation in the United States since the Baby Boomer Generation. The Millennials were raised with technology and are extremely comfortable with it. They are also referred to as “Echo Boomers”, because of the large increase in birth rates through the 1980s and into the 1990s. They are the children of Baby Boomers. According to NAR, the average age of 1st time home buyers in the United States is 31. [Echo Boomer].
The 1st rule of sales and marketing [mine anyway] is to be where the eyeballs are, where the consumers are, where your ideal clients are. If your ideal client is on the PTA, then you better get to filling out some paperwork to join it! As a real estate agent your ideal clients are on the Internet. When they have a need the majority of them will ask a search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing or even YouTube for information. If you want to significantly increase your real estate business you will need to be there. Period. End of story.
Getting FOUND online by your ideal client is critical to your real estate business – any business. If you are not getting “found” online, you are reduced to competing for the 4%-10% that obviously don’t have a computer. The problem is – most real estate agent websites are absolutely horrible. When I say horrible I mean just that. They are template websites with little or NO SEO value, NO unique content, NO engagement and to make matters worse, they are usually all about the real estate agent – TOP PRODUCER 2003, #1 AGENT IN TOWN, ETC. Properly optimized websites [like this one] get found online. I know some people are naturally confrontational and by nature like to disagree. I could sit here all day and throw statistics at you and point to your own behavior as evidence of how consumers gather information. Instead I will simply show you a little video we [PRO-Found] made where we asked random consumers in Scottsdale, Tempe and Goodyear 3 simple questions:
- If you were looking for a home, where would you go?
- If the answer was “the Internet” we asked: If you found a home you thought fit your needs, what would you do then?
- Do your receive direct mail?
- Do you keep it, do you respond to it?
How Do Consumers Search For Homes?
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You can help consumers find you online by learning about Inbound marketing for Real Estate. Inbound Marketing is where you help your ideal client find you online at the moment they are most receptive to learning about a product or service. There are millions of consumers online right now looking for the information you provide – homes for sale Gilbert, Homes For Sale Atlanta, 4 bedroom 2 bath homes with pool Philadelphia, short sale vs foreclosure, strategic default options, homes for sale near [X], homes for sale in 85248, employers, schools, taxes, lifestyle and on and on. You just need to know HOW TO help them find you.
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