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online_trafficThe Top 5 real estate websites combined now attract over 100 million visitors each month. That’s an astounding number, considering that in any given year, there are only about 5 million home sales in the U.S.

This means that 95 percent of the visitors to portal websites each month won’t be buying a home any time soon. Agents should focus their efforts on the 5 percent that are ready to buy.

How? Real estate agents can benefit from an online marketing strategy that recognizes that real estate web traffic can be broken down into three classes. Let’s call them Lookers, Loafers and Loyalists.

These are the “lookie-loos” of the Internet that make up the majority of monthly traffic on real estate websites. Lookers like to look at, with no intention of buying, houses. Some are window shoppers, who someday, when they have enough money for a down payment, will buy a home. Others are doing research: Looking to see what the neighbor’s house sold for down the street, what the price is of the one that just went on the market, or what a ‘guesstimator’ says their house is currently worth.

These are the great time wasters of real estate agents. As buyers, they love surfing the Internet to look at houses. They also show up at a real estate office, bringing a list of homes with them so an agent can take them around to see. They are also sellers, keeping tabs on real estate prices and always “thinking about” selling. However, both groups are fence sitters that seem to take forever to move off the fence.

Among the hundreds of millions of eyeballs that are looking at homes on the big portals every month, there are 5 million people that will buy a home this year and these are the ones agents need to reach. They are the Loyalists of real estate web traffic: ready and eager to buy a home this year, not next. Loyalists are the best kind of leads because they can quickly turn into a client, and if an agent has the right marketing program to attract Loyalists, these potential clients can be moved from one of the big portals directly to that agent.

How do agents secure the Loyalists while avoiding the Lookers and then put the Loafers on autopilot?

The key is to offer a service that only serious homebuyers want and one that can automate time-consuming tasks.

Don’t try to compete with the portals, instead give their best traffic, the Loyalists and the Loafers, the ones that have the greatest potential to transaction, something that the portals can’t offer.

At Listingbook, we have discovered that Loyalists want to “search like an agent.” They want to see all of the new properties listed for sale as soon as they come on the market. They want to see listing changes such as a price reduction or a home that is now pending sale immediately. Loyalists want to see sold property data and local sales trends.

Loafers want attention, so agents put them on a Listingbook account to let its automated lead nurturing systems do the heavy lifting. When the Loafers are eventually ready to buy, agents are able to see that shift in behavior inside their Listingbook accounts, as the Loafer becomes a Loyalist.

Offering Loyalists and Loafers benefits that move them off the public websites and keep them with local agents is the key. The agents that offer these potential clients features that they can’t get from public websites are the ones who will be successful in tapping into the 5 million website visitors that are ready to buy.

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