5 Reasons Why You Need Internet Marketing

The Internet is here to stay—find out why its essential for you to use it for your marketing campaigns.

May 1, 2003

The Internet is changing the face of real estate, allowing consumers to become better informed and prepared before they ever set foot in your office. However, some real estate professionals remain resistant to change. I already do well using traditional advertising to market my listings, they say. Why do I need the Internet? Here are five reasons why you should incorporate the Internet into your marketing strategy.

The Internet is where the buyers are.

In 1995, about two percent of buyers used the Internet to find a home. By 2001, that number had skyrocketed to 41 percent, even-steven with newspapers, which have lost ground for the same period. The Internet was the only medium to go up in use while print, yard signs, and television all went down . The percentage of buyers using open houses, referrals, and relocation companies also fell. This information is straight from the 2002 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

You can capture Internet buyers (and sellers) before they choose another salesperson.

Buyers need to prepare themselves before purchasing a home. They turn to the Internet to research privately, obtaining information to better decide what they want to do.

Imagine making the momentous decision to buy a home. Would you know the answers to basic questions such as: what is the market like?, how much house can I buy?, when will I be ready to buy?, and how will I know a good deal when I see one?

Internet-savvy real estate professionals cast themselves as an information source, assisting sellers with answers via e-mail, market conditions reports, school reports and more.

Although it's true that consumers don't typically go to the Internet to find a real estate professionals, according to the California Association of REALTORS’ survey of Internet buyers in February 2002, 79 percent of Internet buyers chose their salespeople from the Internet.

If you wait for traditional media to deliver prospects, you may find they are already working with someone else – someone they met on the Internet.

The Internet can not only deliver answers quickly and easily to consumers, it can also dazzle them.

Online display and information technologies such as virtual tours, multiple photos, mapping, and crime statistics can deliver rich, detailed information about listings which is invaluable to consumers.

Compare that to what you can put in a typical classified ad, and you can see why consumers prefer the Internet. It saves them time and they get more information, and that saves you legwork.

The CAR survey quoted above also noted that Internet consumers take longer to get prepared, but once they engage a real estate professional, they view fewer homes, act more quickly when they find a home and buy a more expensive home than traditional buyers.

The Internet is an ideal communication medium.

And don’t underestimate the importance of the Internet as a communication tool. The Internet is the only medium where you can engage in a dialog with your prospect directly from your ad.

CAR also found that Internet consumers communicated primarily with their salespeoplevia e-mail – 88 percent of the time. Realtor.com found that they also call straight from listings. According to an internal survey of Realtor.com visitors, first published exclusively by Realty Times, out of every 100 visitors:

  • 80 are presently active in the market or thinking about buying or selling
  • 66 visit more than once a week
  • 34 contact a Realtor (that’s one in three visitors)
  • 8 of 10 contact the Realtor by phone

Advertising is cheaper, more innovative and farther-reaching on the Internet.

Where else can a prospect view your listings and find out all they need to know about you, too?

According to the NAR's 2001 Member survey, salespeople are spending approximately one-tenth of their earnings on advertising. It's clear that if you are tithing that much, you want to be certain you are spending your money in the right places.

Internet exposure is a bargain compared to most newspaper advertising, but many salespeople feel strapped by having to spend money on both. Newspaper advertising is more targeted, but it is very expensive because space is sold by the inch, and newspapers target jobs, real estate and cars very heavily.

Because they are targeted, they are more likely to get consumers who are closer to buying a home than in the information-gathering stages. These consumers, however, may already have a relationship with an salesperson because those are the people looking for open houses and listings in the classifieds.

The Internet has more areas to advertise in, search engines, listings portals, and so on, while there may be only one major newspaper in town. However, for the cost of one week's newspaper ad, most salespeoplecan fund their listings, virtual tours, and personal Web sites and some Internet placement for about the same costs.

There are also new ways to advertise that hit consumers with exactly what they want to know--what the local market conditions are like. You can supply consumers with your expertise with a report that includes access to your e-mail, newsletter, and Web site.

In short, you can find a program that suits your budget whether you are a salesperson or a buyers' representative, or whatever specialty you have.

Real estate is local, but what is happening is that it is the locals who are going to the Internet for information, as well as relocating families who are buying outside the famous 50-mile radius.

(c) Copyright 2003 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

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