Internet Presence Considered Critical to Effective Marketing

A new survey of brokers and salespeople shows the increasing importance of using the Internet to attract new clients.

August 1, 2003

Real estate professionals say an online presence is second only to posting a For Sale sign for generating sales leads, according to a survey just released by Next Phase Media, a Web-based referral company. Due to the small sample size, the findings probably cannot be extrapolated to be representative of the whole industry, but they provide some interesting perspectives of a small group of real estate professionals who participated in the survey.

“Seventy-two percent of all salespeople and brokers who responded say to stay on top of their market, they need an online marketing program,” says Payam Zamani, chairman, president and CEO of Next Phase, which generates sales leads for the real estate, home/property improvement, and automotive industries. Two of its brands, and , market the names of consumers who have expressed interest in a home sale or purchase to real estate professionals.

Earlier this year, the company sent questionnaires to approximately 10,000 real estate salespeople and brokers throughout the United States. The company said it had compiled the database of real estate professionals from various sources during the past two years. Through Aug. 1, 207 real estate practitioners had responded, for a response rate of 2.1 percent. (Due to the low response rate, caution should be exercised in interpreting the survey results.) Click here to see the full survey results, which are still being updated.

Of the survey respondents, 63.4 percent identified themselves as salespeople, 36.6 percent as brokers. More than a third (34.8 percent) said they had more than 15 years’ experience. Almost two-thirds (65.2 percent) said they were affiliated with a real estate brokerage while almost a third (30.9 percent) said they were independent. Most said they were bullish on their local market: 21.9 percent expect a very strong and 42.8 percent expect a strong sales year.

The 21-question survey invited participants to rate tools for marketing their services on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most effective tool. Fifty-one percent cited a “For Sale” sign in front of current listings as the most effective tool to generate additional sales leads. That was followed by Internet Web presence, at 29 percent, and holding open houses and direct mail campaigns, each cited as the most effective tool by 20 percent of respondents.

When asked if the Internet has affected their business, 71.4 percent said an Internet campaign is now integral to remaining at the top of their market, and 28.6 percent say providing the MLS on their Web site has resulted in new clients.

Other survey questions asked respondents to rate factors that most affect the appeal and salability of a home. Participating real estate professionals overwhelmingly regard spring as the season to put a house on the market, with 80.4 deeming it best. When asked to rank the rooms most critical in motivating a buyer’s decision, the kitchen ranked highest, followed by the master bedroom and family room.

The top three improvements that the survey respondents felt homeowners should consider before putting their homes on the market were: remove clutter, deodorize the house, and paint the interior. Almost a third of the respondents felt that beige was the best color to paint a house before putting it on the market, followed by white and taupe.

For companies like Next Phase Media, future opportunity is tied to whether real estate practitioners will be willing to use Web-based services as sources for finding new clients.

If companies like Next Phase are successful in generating quality leads, such services could become increasingly important to attracting buyers and sellers in the competitive real estate marketplace taking shape in cyberspace.

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