Creating a platform (your website) is essential for the long term success of your real estate business.
So, what do I mean by ‘platform’?
Your platform is an independent, personally-owned, central hub for your real estate business. It is the center of activity for marketing, database (list) building, communicating and nurturing relationships with your audience.
Your platform is a domain you own, a website you create, hosted on a server you pay for.
And why do you need a platform? That is the question. And, here are 5 reasons.
1. Ownership & Control
Ultimately, you want to create a platform where you make all of the decisions that are beneficial to you and your business.
You control who can interact on your platform. You can censor disruptions. You control content, emails, look and feel – everything belongs to you.
On the other hand, if you rely solely on a Facebook business page for your business, you are somewhat limited. Facebook controls their platform, not you – and more importantly, they can change their rules at any time.
Sure, use all of the social platforms and directories (Facebook, Yelp, Google Plus, Twitter, etc.) but always drive traffic back to your primary ‘platform’. This way, you control all aspects of your prospects’ experience.
2. Personal Brand and Brand Awareness
Your platform projects your personal brand. But what is your brand?
Your brand are more than a logo, they are ideas, images, messages, areas of expertise that people think of when they think of you. All of these brand items are things you want your audience to think of when they think of you.
If you rely on your broker’s ‘freebie’ website, the broker’s branding is typically the dominate feature of your web presence. Your personal branding is secondary or non-existent.
This goes for social media platforms as well. You control your content to a certain extent, but you are still stuck within the look-and-feel of someone else’s platform.
The key to building your personal brand as a real estate agent is to use the best features of various platforms but always direct user traffic back to your personal platform. This way, you have the best opportunity for your audience to experience your complete personal brand.
Having your own platform allows you to emphasize areas of interest and expertise. Establishing authority translates into more leads, more referrals and possibly dominating a particular niche.
4. Lower Lead Costs
Generating real estate leads can be expensive. In most markets, there is fierce competition for hot leads – and that’s why the cost per lead can be high.
As your platform matures, the cost per lead decreases.
Imagine for a second that you invested in building your platform over time, you’ve built a sizable audience and traffic is consistent. Your market visibility is good and you’re building lots of growing interest in your brand and service.
Ideally, this is a good place to be. You’re less reliant on outside sources of leads (Zillow, Trulia, etc.) and you can easily grow your list and scale referral leads.
When you have a mature platform you have more flexibility and options. In other words, when you have your own platform, you are in charge.
One day, you may decide to change brokers. Naturally, you want minimal disruptions in your business as possible. From your audience perspective because they know you (and your brand) it may be uneventful.
But let’s say you want to go out on your own and start your own brokerage. You may have a strong enough audience that it could be a big event and a big leap for your business.
Your own platform is a top priority for the long term success of your real estate business. Yes, use other social platforms to engage your audience but always drive traffic to where you control the brand, message and platform while growing your audience.