Now that we are in the new year and everybody has their goals established, it’s also a good time to conduct a major review. Not just of your website and marketing strategies. But your competitors. Since so many home buyers and sellers turn to the internet for information, the beauty of the web is that you can clearly see what your competition is doing to attract customers. You can also go on the other side of the country and learn what other real estate websites are doing to attract customers. It is always smart to search firms in highly competitive markets because as you can imagine, those firms are looking for any edge they can get.
How to Review Your Real Estate Competition
First, compile a list of competitors you want to research. Once you have your list created, create a list of specific questions, such as the following:
- How does this website attract visitors?
- What are their rankings on Google and Bing when you type in relevant search terms for your market, such as “Homes for Sales in XYZ Town”?
- How are they ranking for more obscure keyword searches, such as “Golf Communities in ABC neighborhood” or “Homes for Sales in Desirable Acres Country Club”?
- Do they run paid advertising campaigns on Google and Bing for target keywords?
- What neighborhoods do they seem to target?
- Which neighborhoods are they missing?
After you have your list of questions, check their website itself to see how they are marketing their services and providing information to their customers.
Questions to Ask When Analyzing Competitors’ Websites
What type of keyword related content are they posting on their website? For example, do they have an entire section dedicated to “The ??? Estates?” How is their website designed? What is their branding and logo like? Is it outdated or modern and appealing? Check the navigation buttons. Is it easy to find what you are looking for? How are their home listing displayed? Are the photographs large and appealing? Do they have easy to use photo galleries?
What type of additional information do they offer about homes and neighborhoods? Do they offer School Data? School attendance zones? Neighborhood demographics? Cost of living information? Crime ratings? Boundary information? What sort of tools or real estate plugins do they use? Do they have charts on recent home sales for each neighborhood? Do they offer charts on trends in home prices for each neighborhood? Do they offer a Home Value estimate tool for each neighborhood? (And as a lead generation tool).
How do they promote offers to provide homeowners with a CMA? What tactics are they using to generate leads? What type of call to actions do they use? Is their contact information easy to find? How well do they present themselves as real estate professionals? What do they cover on their About Us page? Check out their social media websites – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. How do they promote their social media icons on their websites to share listings and content? Are listings and content easy to email? What are they posting on their websites?
Tools for Competitive Analysis
There are tools you can use to evaluate competitors as well. Most tools offer a free limited evaluation of competitor real estate websites. SEMrush is one. They will let you look at data for a handful of sites for free. For more sites, there is a subscription fee. A Moz.com bar that you add to your browser is another. If you have a large brokerage, it might be smart to pay the monthly fee to use one of these tools for an in-depth look at what your competition is doing. You can also use these tools to examine what other large successful realty firms do in larger markets.
Here’s another resource that can help you evaluate websites that is absolutely free but very valuable and highly recommended: People. Ask other people for perspectives on your competitor websites. Not just family and friends. Try to find someone who can give you an unbiased view. Sometimes people in the business are so used to looking at the same websites that they get a myopic view of them (including their own).
Ask someone to check out a competitor’s website. Maybe a friend who knows the business. Even some clients. Stand next to them, and ask them to talk out loud about their experience on the website. Ask them to find a specific type of listing say a $500,000 with 4/3. Ask them to search for homes in a particular neighborhood or zip code. Ask them to complete other tasks, such as looking for a lead form, neighborhood information, home sales trends, etc.
Take notes. You might be surprised at what they discover. What impresses them about a website…or what frustrates them. Obviously, it is also advisable to conduct the same impartial examination of your own website. Outsiders will most likely see obstacles you may not notice. Or, they might see a feature on one website that they like and suggest you add to your website. Don’t forget to ask other agents or employees. They might have a perspective or a suggestion you totally overlooked as well.
Finally, ask a professional real estate website design company. Sure you can ask any web design company to review your website and offer suggestions. But a company that specializes in real estate website design will have a more in-depth knowledge of your industry. They know what works and what does not work for real estate companies.
Home Junction, a real estate technology company with more than two decades in the business, offers FREE website reviews. They also offer an array of real estate plugins that you can instantly add to any website to add features, data and content that your competitors might not have. That would include School Data, School Attendance Zones, Maps integrated with MLS listings and Points of Interest in the community such as Schools, Parks, Highways, Etc. They can also add a home value estimator tool that is a proven generator of leads and brand awareness.
As we said, also look at leaders in the industry. If an agent is interviewed on a national network TV show because they are a major force in a major market, check out their website. You can learn a lot from them – for free. Here’s one more important point: We are fully into the Digital Age. The days of taking months to create a website or program a new feature are over. There are many new features and improvements you can add to your website very quickly. These websites can help you differentiate yourself from your competition.
And, even better, the cost of many of these additions have come way, way down in price. A large number of real estate plugins have already been developed by companies such as Home Junction. They are off the shelf and ready to go. The real estate world is changing out there. Rapidly. Take the time to look around and see what others are doing.
Ask experts to review what you are doing. (As we said, the experts at Home Junction will be glad to review your website and offer suggestions. They also have the experience and data to support their findings). For example, in 2018, the company’s Home Value Tool on client websites generated more than 1 million requests for home estimates.
Do this now. Don’t wait until the middle of the year to find out you may have missed opportunities to enhance your site and generate more leads and subscribers. Start the new year feeling confident your website is up to date with the latest real estate plugins, lead-gen tools and marketing plans to secure your share of the business in your specific neighborhoods.
Ask yourself this final question: Does my website have all the latest tech bells and whistles plus tons of hyper-local real estate plugins with great mobile functionality to appeal to today’s modern consumer and optimize lead generation? If not, call Home Junction at 858-777-9533. If you are not sure, don’t face the possibility of getting left behind. Call us anyway.