Real Estate Internet Marketing – Focus on Traffic and Conversions

I’ve talked previously about why you should use direct response marketing – specifically, because with direct response marketing, there is no guesswork. You can test everything, measure your results, and choose the methods that get the best response. Internet marketing is no different – it’s just direct marketing on the web.

There are two fundamental components to any internet marketing campaign:

  1. Traffic – You need to get targeted traffic (people who are likely to have a need for your products and services) to your site.
  2. Conversion – Once someone is at your site, they must take a specific action that you can measure. This might be opting in to your mailing list, subscribing to your RSS feed, downloading your free guide, or calling a specific phone number to request a consultation.

You need both. It’s pointless to get lots of traffic if they leave as soon as they get there.

The beauty of the internet is that you can easily tell what types of people are coming to your site, how long they stay, what percentage of people are new visitors vs repeat visitors, which pages are most popular, and so on. You simply need to install a web analytics package – which you can get for free from Google Analytics.

Once you sign up, Google will give you a script to copy and paste into your website’s code and you’ll be able to start tracking your visitors within the hour. Then, it’s just simple math – of all the people who come to your site:

  • What percentage visit a specific page (whichever page you want them to visit)?
  • What percentage join your mailing list?
  • What percentage download a free report?
  • What percentage call your special number for a consultation?

Once you know baseline numbers, it’s time to start testing. What can you test?

  • the page headline
  • the page’s copy
  • the page layout
  • your offer

You don’t have to guess what will work best – let your market tell you. If you increase your conversion rates from 1% to 1.5%, that’s 50% more conversions! Small, incremental changes lead to big results.

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8 Responses to “Real Estate Internet Marketing – Focus on Traffic and Conversions”

  1. Tony Hilton January 5, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    I think this is an excellent way of explaining Internet marketing but I do however feel that there is one are which has been missed off and that is Internet marketing for the purposes of brand building. The Internet is an excellent direct marketing medium but it can also work well in terms of building up brand awareness. Everyone slates banner adds for having poor click through rate but at the end of the day that’s not what they are about. By placing a banner add on a web site that is well respected you can increase the awareness and creditability of your brand. Internet marketing in my opinion should be considered a mix between direct response and brand building as with off line marketing. I do however acknowledge that online brand building through banner ads is not cost effective for smaller companies.

  2. Krista January 5, 2008 at 10:30 am #

    Tony – small businesses don’t build their brand through banner advertising. They build their brand through getting people to their site, having them to opt in to their mailing list/RSS feed/etc thus getting permission to continue marketing to them, offering them valuable content over time to build a trusted relationship and hopefully, eventually, getting people to convert to paying customers.

    Branding is about shaping how others think about you. It’s about differentiating yourself with your USP and building trust and credibility with people who have no idea who you are so that they feel comfortable doing business with you.

    Can you do that online? Yes, absolutely. But it’s not a one time deal and it’s certainly not done by placing a few banners on websites. The people that have built up solid online brands are high profile bloggers who continue to share useful information each day or people that run regular, highly successful mailing lists. Yet even those people have agendas. You don’t “build a brand” for the heck of it. You “build a brand” for more leads and referrals, to sell more books or get more speaking engagements, to make money from your website via advertising or affiliate marketing, etc.

    Perhaps banner advertising works as a branding tool for Fortune 500 companies who everyone already knows and who are trying to sell more physical products at their stores, but for anyone that is relatively unknown and offers an intangible service, direct response advertising is far superior and cost effective.

    That said, banner ads can certainly be designed with direct response advertising principles. If you are going to run banner ads on a site, you do so because that site’s readers are your target audience. By using a good headline and making a great offer, you can increase how many people click over to your site. When they get there, the page they “land on” should be a special page that reiterates that special offer and asks them to do something (join your mailing list, fill out a form, call, etc) that you can measure.

  3. Tony Hilton January 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    I completely agree with what your saying and it is a very well explained response. Perhaps banner adds are the not the best example. I merely wished to point out that there is another side to Internet marketing that is not just direct response. The brands that you build on line effect what you do offline. Banner ads, article writing, blogging etc can all be very effective tools as part of your overall marketing mix particularly when operating in niche markets. I believe that by utilizing these tool correctly you can not only drive traffic to your web site but also build your brand both online and offline. Congratulations on an excellent blog by the way.

  4. shelby January 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm #

    This is a great article, but how can website conversions be measured? Yes, we can track all the “google” information but when it comes down to actual property sales that’s a different story. Since my company Greiner-Maltz is one of the largest and most well known commercial and industrial real estate companies in New York, we have people joining our website to view property information and receive reports. Greinermaltz.com, which also has streaming real estate media information, is also used as an industry reference tool. In actuality, when someone purchases a property, how can I accurately measure whether our website was the conversion factor in making the sale happen?

  5. Joseph Bridges February 22, 2008 at 12:44 pm #

    I do believe that conversion tracking is key to success and free tools such as Google Analytics can make things easy to do.

    To Shelby in response to your companies website. It is a lead generator for you guys and that is great. If a buyer ended up buying from your site and the lead came through the Internet and no other way that would be a big point toward conversion. We track leads to buys or leads to sales through our site as well.

  6. Laurent December 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    How do you track people who call you after visiting your website? This has been a problem for me as most people would rather call than e-mail. It makes it hard to track the conversion rate of the website.

    When you say “special number”, do you mean setting up a phone number that will only be displayed on your website? That hardly seems practical.

  7. Krista December 6, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    Laurent – yes, set up a special 1-800 phone number that is only displayed on your website. It’s actually quite affordable and practical.

    I use RingCentral.com – you can get a toll free number for about $10/month and can forward any calls you receive to your office or cell phone numbers, so you don’t have to worry about an extra line. They also give you call logs so you can identify which numbers go through your 800 number, thereby giving you a way to track your results.

  8. Prince Ade-Johnson December 8, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks guys for this comments. I have been able to learn a great deal from the main article by the Admin and contributions from all the comments. The knowledge gained will help me in my consulting business to offline clients especially in the real estate niche.

    Thank you.

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