I get a lot of calls from reluctant agents who are on the fence about getting their own commercial real estate website.  I understand, it’s a big expense when done correctly.  But it’s not 2014 anymore!  Nowadays, 80% of commercial real estate buyers agree that they rely on the Internet for their commercial real estate information needs now more than three years ago (source).  You’ve probably noticed that nicely worded sales letter that used to bring in 1-2 clients per mailer isn’t working.  I’ve got news for you – if a potential client can’t find you easily on an Internet search, your mailer gets thrown away.  It’s a bull market – you’re missing out every day you don’t have a website.

1. My broker / parent company has a website. Great! But, at max, they have 1 page dedicated to you.  It likely has your photo and a simple bullet-point resume.  Not very impressive.  Most brokerages have not invested in an SEO plan that focuses on their individual agents coming up in search engines, so it’s likely you’re also not getting many views – let alone any leads!  I’m a big proponent of not relying on your broker for marketing.  It’s fine to allow them to market your properties (that’s their job) but it’s your job to bring in leads.  One page with a short resume isn’t going to cut it.

2. My brokerage has a strict branding standard. Even if you’re obligated to use Collier’s color scheme and logo, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the website your own! Focus on your industry specialty, list your available properties, showcase a portfolio of your closed deals, write a blog, all within their branding standards.  If you ever decide to leave, simply change the color scheme and logo and you’ve got new branding!

3. Clients need to find you to give you deals. If you have left a brokerage, you know that the moment a former client calls your old business line they’re immediately pressured to change agents. If you have your own website, clients will be able to find you much easier than blindly searching through “John Doe’s” on LinkedIn.  Without an easy point of contact, clients may give up and switch to another agent.

4. Everything should point back to your website. If you’re active on social media, participate in online marketing, and join online communities, without a website to point back to (no your Facebook account doesn’t count) you’re losing leads. Why?  If I need to search through 100 twitter posts to figure out what services or industries you specialize it, you’ve lost me.  If you post something clever and I want to learn more, I need a website to fall back on.  A website provides potential clients with clear list of services, what you have available and deals you’ve done in the past.  It’s the cornerstone of all your online marketing.

5. Lead generation. Offer something on your website that your target market would like to read. IE 5 Tips to Selling your Property and require name, company, phone and email in exchange for your PDF.  You can automate follow-up with MailChimp. Automate a “thank you” and several emails explaining your services and offering additional information.  Consider a monthly or bi-weekly newsletter to keep top-of-mind with your potential clients.  They’re obviously interested – they downloaded your PDF!  Follow up!

6. Things to consider. 60% of all online searches are mobile. Be sure to find a designer who can provide a responsive website (desktop, tablet, mobile views).  Even if you don’t have the system in place currently to make your website into a lead generating machine, consider it in the near future.  Your website should be churning through deals on a regular basis.

7. The Internet is dark and full of terrors. (1) BE WARY of someone offering a website for $500. It likely comes with a $100 a month plan that’s equivalent to Bluehost’s $5 a month plan. (2) Don’t pay 100% up-front.  I’ve been scammed myself from seemingly super-nice guys who provide a GREAT deal if only I’m willing to pay a lump sum.  After I pay, their phone number doesn’t work…their website disappears…and YEP, this has happened to me during an app development project!  (3) Be afraid of designers that don’t provide links to the actual, live websites they’ve designed.  This usually indicates that deals have fallen through, projects go unfinished, or they’re brand new.  (4) Everything is an “extra fee”.  Those small fees add up quickly, so be sure you’re 100% clear on what will be provided so your expectations match the budget.  (5) Templates are used.  That cheap website may be tempting, but what happens when 20 competitors in your market get the same idea.  You’ve been reduced to “nothing special” all to save a few bucks.

When you’re ready for a website, Calico Marketing offers lead generating websites!  Whatever your website needs, we can make it happen!