By Kayla O’Brien
RISMEDIA, April 16, 2008-Ryan Hukill’s website is a constant work in progress. As team manager of the Hukill Group within Paradigm Realty in Edmond, Oklahoma, he realizes that having an average knowledge of the Internet and its opportunities is not enough to stand out in today’s marketplace. To his benefit, he understood this at the start of his career-partnering with a la mode, inc. to help him establish a notable Web presence. Ever since, he’s been finding great results by utilizing his site to keep consumers up-to-date about his market.
“I wasn’t comfortable enough to create a website from scratch,” says Hukill. “So being able to get something already set up, and then being able to go in and modify it, really appealed to me.”
To get Realtors like Hukill started, a la mode offers a substantial amount of training. What’s more, says Hukill, the company also consistently sends e-mails about upcoming webinars and classes to learn about the different aspects of the website and ways to use it. Having somewhat mastered the technologies provided by a la mode, Hukill uses his website as a tool to educate consumers. By providing the information consumers are looking for, Hukill gains their trust, enticing them to meet him face to face.
According to Hukill, a successful consumer website starts with its navigation.
“The navigation is how people are able to find what they’re looking for, so I’ve separated the information into ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’,” he says. “Personally, if I go to a site that’s difficult to maneuver, I go back to Google and find another site.”
Because consumers are increasingly more knowledgeable about real estate, Hukill says he’s careful to keep information on his site that gets them interested and keeps them coming back. Hukill includes steps for the home-buying/-selling process and local information about particular communities, neighborhoods and local builders.
“I focus in on the Edmond area specifically,” says Hukill. “None of us have the time or knowledge to have information on an entire city like Oklahoma City. This way, whenever someone goes to search about this specific area, they find me.”
“I’m even creating individual pages on my site for my farm communities, outlining distances to banks, post offices, school information, nearby parks, restaurants, shopping-and that’s drawing in consumers,” says Hukill.
According to Hukill, his efforts utilizing a la mode have been paying off, as he says 20% of his business was derived from the Internet in 2007, helping him to double his business from 2006. Better yet, he says, out of the leads he’s currently working on, close to 40% are a direct result of his Web presence-helping his business to gain more momentum in 2008.
“It’s a substantial increase,” he says. “But that’s where the buyers are looking. You’ve got to have a presence-consistently.”
With its user-friendly tools and backend platform, a la mode enables Hukill to make edits, which, under normal circumstances, would require a bigger time commitment.
“To update or post listings, or even to create a new-information page, it doesn’t take me a lot of time and I don’t even have to create a lot of code to make those changes,” he says. “It’s made my job easier in the sense that it’s also cut down on the time I’ve spent re-explaining general real estate information. Consumers can take their time to learn at their pace.”
Moving forward, a la mode is a technology provider that Hukill plans to continue using. At a time when it’s easy to get outpaced by a competitor, he says that a la mode is constantly looking to add new technologies and ways to increase exposure.
“My rankings have increased tremendously due to the website’s ease of use and its search engine recognition,” he says. “As I learn more and more, I’ve been able to do more-it’s a great site for the beginner. Even an expert can go in and get as creative as they want. It’s always a work in progress.”