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How Much Should You Spend for Online Branding?

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By Jose Perez

Planning and implementing online branding for your real estate company is complicated. You need to do it right and within budget, but do you know how to determine your Internet marketing ROI?

If you’re struggling to determine the baseline from which to measure your Internet marketing ROI, the following breakdown will help you determine the metrics you should use in your online branding programs.

Driving Traffic to Your Website

You do this through an integrated online branding strategy that includes blogging, social media, syndication, etc. But how much should you spend on each of these areas?

• Can you justify a full-time salary, benefits, etc., to have a person do nothing but drive Internet traffic to your website through blogging and social media activities? Or should you outsource the work? You used to spend your marketing budget in the newspaper and real estate magazines. How did you know what to spend and what your return was?

• How do you know what return you are getting from your syndication investments? However great it sounds that your listings get in front of as many eyeballs as possible, you still need to be able to justify those investments.

• Do you know what each lead that comes into your company is worth? This information will help you get a handle on how much you can justify spending on driving those leads.

Engaging Online Visitors

How much should you spend developing your website? If you do a good job driving traffic, you need to ensure that traffic is staying on your site and not bouncing out to a competitor’s site.

• What kind of user features do you have on your website, and do they enhance your Internet marketing ROI? Is your user interface strong enough to truly engage your visitors and convert them into prospective clients?

• What kind of technology tools should you provide your agents? Do those tools ease the business transaction while saving your agents money? How do those tools help keep the consumer on your site?

• Can you tie all this together and determine what each transaction is worth? This enables you to accurately budget for website development and online branding. Developing a real estate website that engages consumers will ultimately pay for itself by increasing your online lead conversion rate.

Internet Leads: Responding to Website Traffic

While lead management and customer care is critical to your sales pipeline, how do you determine your budget for timely and efficient lead response?

• Have you calculated the value of your Internet leads to determine the potential upside you have in this area?
• Do you know what happens to Internet inquiries once they are submitted?
• Have you calculated the negative impact that not responding promptly to an Internet lead has on your brand’s reputation in the market?

Each of these issues should be analyzed in depth in order to truly understand what your Internet marketing ROI is.

Your business operates in a culture where almost 90 percent of consumers start their home search online. Social media is prevalent, and your consumers are sophisticated; they expect an immediate response to their online inquiries. An overwhelming number of people say they will most likely do business with the first firm that responds to them. The real estate transaction has been commoditized; companies that deliver a great experience for both consumers and agents will have the advantage in their market. Completely understanding how your online branding affects your business is critical to your future success.

Position yourself to be a leader by understanding how to make the correct investments in technology and strategy that will truly make your website—and all the activities surrounding it—a profit center.

Jose Perez is the founder and chief visionary of PCMS Consulting. PCMS provides innovative solutions leading brokerages require to enhance their market position and profitability. For more information, please visit www.pcmsconsulting.com or email jperez@pcmsconsulting.com.

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