4 Mistakes That Cost Agents $264 Million Last Year

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 — Today, over two-thirds of all Realtors reported having a website, one in ten reported having a real estate blog, and more than half are using social media. Sound good, right? Not so fast.

According to the National Association of Realtors Member profile, the typical Realtor brought in only four inquiries and did only 3 percent of their business from their website. Since the average agent did only 7 transactions, that means that most agents did statistically no business from their websites, while a few did a lot.

Not surprisingly, those who spent the most on websites also got the most inquiries and the largest percent of their overall business driven by website traffic. But what is most notable is that while agents spent a reported $264 million on their web marketing, most produced literally no business for their investment.

Here are the 4 Common Mistakes most agents make in their online real estate marketing, costing them from hundreds to thousands of wasted marketing dollars. See if any of them surprise you.

1. Website Content Is King. Since the very first online marketing seminar I attended, I have heard this common theme: Content is King. Because of that advice I continued to add content to my website until I had the most content of any real estate website in my market.I added articles on buying and selling, advice for first time homebuyers, information on every type of mortgage program, community information, relocation information, schools, recreation, and even weather forecasts. Over 2,000 pages of content! Guess what? My visitors yawned. Now many years and millions of visitors later, and only after having extensively tested every possible configuration of content-based websites, we’ve learned the hard way that content is not king. Okay, so what is king? The home search is king. Make it easy for your customers to search the entire local listing they will love your site.

2. Web Traffic Is Everything. We’ve all heard that it is important to have lots of traffic to your website. After all, it only makes sense that without high traffic you can never generate any real business, right? Wrong. It really doesn’t matter if you have thousands of visitors to your website; if you never capture any of them, you are no better off than if you had no traffic. What really matters when evaluating your website presence is the capture rate. You can have very low traffic and still capture a large amount of business if you have efficient web capture.For example, if you have 1000 visitors to your typical real estate website and and manage to capture 0.87% (the typical capture rate) then you have a potential 9 customers. On the other hand, you could have only 100 visitors but have an efficient LCM gateway and capture 25-35% of your visitors, giving you 25-30 customers.In other words you could have only one-tenth of the web traffic and still generate over three times the business, simply by having a high capture rate. Traffic is not everything. Efficient capture rate is everything.

3. Search Engine Ranking Is Crucial. You’ve probably been told how important it is to have a high search engine ranking. In fact, some companies exist for the sole purpose of improving your Google rankings .The entire search engine optimization (SEO) industry is based on this very idea. While building and managing your website to improve your search engine rankings is certainly better than having poor search results, organic searches is only one way of generating traffic to your website, and as explained in paragraph 2 (above), traffic is not that important.Moreover, search engine optimization is expensive and ongoing. Generally speaking one can plan on investing several thousand dollars up front and several hundred dollars every month forever to obtain and maintain good search engine placement. SEO is an ongoing expense if you plan on maintaining a good search engine ranking.

4. You Get What You Pay For. Let’s face it: A Rolex watch is better than a Timex. A Lexus is better than Kia. A Coach handbag is better than a Walmart special. But then again, the prices are not the same. And as a general rule, the more we spend, the more we get, all other things being equal. In other words, we get what we pay for. But when investing in technology, that rule is not always true. An agent could spend thousands of dollars on a fancy website and search engine optimization to maximize his internet traffic, but by investing in the wrong things, his results could still be poor.At the same time you could take a very limited budget, investing only pennies a day in the right technology and generate a hundred times as much business as that other agent with the huge budget. In that case you don’t get what you pay for — you get much more.

The Bottom Line. If you noticed, the key to successful online marketing comes down to having the right technology. In other words, investing smart, not investing big. Most agents today just throw money at their online marketing and then wonder why they have such poor results. Not so with the new breed of internet-savvy agents.

What today’s sharper agents are doing, is guerrilla marketing, internet style. They are first putting in place the critical technology and then they are advertising smart, not big. And the results are astounding. Most are generating 2-3 new inbound customers every day without spending so much as a dime in advertising or search engine optimization. Some many times more. Here are a few letters I’ve received from those very agents:

ForrestalOMG!!!! I wasn’t ready or expecting this!! I posted an ad to Craigslist less than 1 hour ago (40 minutes to be exact!) and I already have my first lead! The link I want them to get to isn’t set up yet completely so it startled me…

To accommodate them I emailed them the link and will follow up by phone tomorrow when I can gather my wits about me to talk to them!! Thanks for all the help! – Lynne Forrestal, WI

RosenbergJust to update you on a previous email I wrote, I signed up with you in mid-March and after a few days of trial and error I actually began. I received my fourth lead on March 20, and today, May 10, we closed. A total of 51 days — not bad!

Of the 35 leads I’ve gotten, I set up 14 on automatic listings (by email) campaigns, had 2 hangups and 5 wrong numbers. Others I have not been able to get in touch with. I expect to make at least 1 listing and 1 sale in the next 2 weeks…Alan Rosenberg, CA

GabossiI started your LCM Success program just over a month ago and should be closing on my first lead the end of this month. That’s results! I was able to get this client by first responding quickly to the text alert that the LCM sent. My client had already contacted the listing broker before I called her, so my timing was critical.

My advice to anyone is to not over think, over plan, over spend and especially to not procrastinate! Why re-invent the wheel? This is a proven program and I am totally in. I know I have a lot more to learn, but that’s part of the fun and challenge.Ben Gabossi, CO

The Big Risk. At the end of the day, investing in any technology is a gamble. In the case of my LCM gateway, it is a gamble of less than a dollar a day, with no activation fee and no long-term contract. You can try it and cancel immediately and for any reason if you’re not totally satisfied.

On the other hand, not giving it a shot is a huge gamble. Why? Because either you aren’t doing anything to generate business from the largest of all customer pools today and you are watching as your competitors are getting the first shot at 94% of all new real estate shoppers who are beginning online.

Or maybe you are investing as much as several hundred dollars a month in online marketing and yet getting little or nothing in return. Add it up: Over the course of this next year that could be thousands of dollars that could be producing literally thousands of new sales opportunities.

“But it’s a huge learning curve!” you’re thinking. No, it really isn’t. Most agents are up and running in less than an hour and most of these agents have very limited internet experience. The LCM gateway system is designed to be super-simple and it includes a coaching staff that holds your hand until you start making money. How cool is that?!

So if you aren’t using LCM gateway technology, give it a try today. What do you have to lose? There’s no long-term commitment, no activation fee, and the pricing is ridiculously low. Check it out and start having more business than you can handle in less than an hour.

If you enjoyed this article, take a minute to check out my LCM technology -- the online lead generation tool that I pioneered over a decade ago and that started a real estate revolution.

Matt Jones is the founder and CEO of, nationally syndicated columnist, broker, and best selling author. He has been profiled by major media outlets as an innovator and a pioneer in the industry, and CNN's Pulse on America claimed he and his company were "changing the way real estate is done in America."


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