Can you improve your IDX lead generation on your real estate website? The answer for most real estate websites is a huge YES. We already know that the words “real estate” are by far included in more searches for homes than others, usually combined with a town or area, such as “yourtown real estate.”
Dominating the top results on the search pages are the listings, most of which are now IDX search utility pages. People want to see home listings, so those IDX pages end up being the most visited areas of almost all real estate websites. When a home buyer or potential listing client ends up on your IDX search page, what will they find and what will be their likely actions? What they do is very dependent upon what you offer.
Goal #1: Have Realistic Expectations
Let’s assume that you may be doing well at SEO, maybe doing some PPC, Pay-Per-Click, and you’re marketing your website in direct mail, on business cards and just about everywhere else you advertise. You’re getting visitors to the IDX search page, but you’re not satisfied with the leads resulting from those visits. Understand first, that it is rare for an IDX searcher to give you any information their first visit.
Action #1: Know Your Site Statistics
You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. You need to watch your site statistics to see how many people are visiting your IDX search page, how many are first-time visitors versus repeat visitors, and how many leave that page to visit another page on your site versus leaving your site completely. Depending on how your statistics determine a “bounce,” it could be a visitor that leaves your site after visiting only one page or it could be a visitor that leaves the landing page within a certain period of time.
You’ll probably have a high “bounce rate,” as most count a bounce as leaving from the page on which they arrived. That’s to be expected, as they came to search, they did, and when they finished they left. However, what you can do a better job of is getting them to return. They can search listings on many local real estate sites, so you need to make your IDX search a feature-rich experience.
Goal #2: Get More Repeat Visits
You want more of those visitors who search on your IDX page to come back to search again, as it is likely that you will not get a lead from the first visit, though it happens. You must create an experience that stands out, as they are visiting other sites to search as well.
Action #2: Have a Feature-Rich IDX
You want them to bookmark your page and come back every time they sit down to search listings. So, before any specific lead generation strategies, make your search function really useful and a great user experience with as many of these features as possible:
Search by Map Location
Refine Results on the Map
Search by Property Type or Style
Search by Address, Zip, Neighborhood
Community Info & Demographics
Social Media Integration
Variety of Map Views
Compare Listings Feature
The more features you have that are easy to use and of value to the searcher, the more likely it is that they will bookmark the page and return to your site over and over for searches.
Goal #3: Get Registration
While you can force registration after a certain number of searches, it will run off as many or more visitors than it will get to sign up. People know they can search elsewhere, so it’s risky to invite them to do so. You want to pull together a plan that offers more power, features or information in exchange for registration.
Action #3: Offer More Features
Offer them more search power and/or features that come with registration. Some may be removed from the free features already mentioned, while others are upgraded searching features:
- Compare listings
- Save listings
- Save searches
- Additional information fields (such as Days on Market)
Often these will entice a searcher to give you their information to take advantage of more information and search power.
Goal #4: Other Lead Generation Tools
If you still don’t have them in your prospects database, there are some powerful offers you can use to get their contact information. You need to place calls-to-action alongside search results that are hard to resist when a searcher wants as much information as possible about one or more listings.
Action #4: Build Irresistible Offers
Few MLS systems or IDX search utilities will offer sold property information and those that do often allow you to turn that function on or off. The best way to generate leads with sold data is to offer a report in PDF format of property sold prices for a past period. Monthly is great, but a lot of work to keep current, so quarterly is better. Offer a free sold property report for the previous quarter with a call-to-action like “See what homes like these have sold for recently.” Create the report and offer it via automatic email when they submit the form.
Another really powerful lead generation tool is to offer new listing alerts via email. When they sign up, they will receive email alerts when new listings are entered that match their search criteria. This is especially valuable to you, as when they get to the stage of wanting to know quickly about new listings, they are often close to a decision and a transaction.
There you have it. Take these actions and you’ll be successful at IDX lead generation. Then all you have to do is to keep them and build a relationship that leads to a transaction.