By Marc Siden
It’s not just the grappling housing market that has troubled our industry over the past few years. Threats on the online technology side have put smaller real estate companies in an odd position when third-party providers have a business model fueled by stealing web traffic away, and in some cases, end up selling leads back to the broker.
As web content providers and consultants in the real estate space, Onboard Informatics has seen the recession single-handedly through several angles. Having an array of clients ranging from a majority of the top 10 largest brokerages to medium-sized technology agencies has allowed us to observe the various ways in which our partners were impacted.
We spend a great deal of time helping clients position themselves to progress as the market starts to turn around. Here are four approaches to ensure that your business propels toward a prosperous future.
1. Find ways to innovate by cutting costs in other areas
Open the opportunity to embrace and heed to your client. Agents could save time while hearing their home buyer’s interests. As an example, our Lifestyle Search allows visitors to search for neighborhoods based on what is important to their lifestyle. When an agent receives that lead through the website, they will know their home buyer is interested in an area that is pet-friendly, with lots of shopping and nightlife, and be able to quickly assist them.
2. Put the power back in the consumers’ hands
Giving consumers the information they want has provided great returns for our clients. Ninety-seven percent of home buyers will not compromise on the quality of schools, and yet so many real estate websites lack school information. We’re not talking about the proximity of schools to the property, but rather the details of the school, parent reviews, ratings, curriculum, and extracurricular activities. Get the consumer excited and they are more likely to contact you for the next step.
3. Stretch your investments
The most profitable investments you can make are building blocks. Going back to the idea of putting power in the consumers’ hands, investing in useful information will allow you to maintain contact throughout the entire process. Our most innovative clients don’t just buy home sales and community information; they make it come alive on their websites and through drip email campaigns to keep in contact during the 3 months (on average) buyers spend searching.
4. Think outside the website
When we talk about online real estate, the first word that comes to mind is “website.” But real estate companies are going to need to adopt a multi-platform approach that may start with a website—but that is just a small piece of the interactive presence.
In 5 years, the device won’t matter to consumers, but the cross-platform experience will. So when I’m browsing for homes on my home computer, I can log in to a saved search on my iPad and stay engaged throughout that entire process.
Marc Siden is the Co-founder and CEO of Onboard Informatics, providing leadership, vision and focus to the entire company. He saw a need for a company that transformed traditional local information on home sales, communities, schools, and neighborhoods into powerful online tools for real estate professionals. Marc brings over 20 years of diverse technology, information services and finance experience to the culture of Onboard.
For more information, visit www.onboardinformatics.com.