Are you providing a home search experience that is unique? Is it one that is better than what people can get on the national sites like Zillow and Trulia? My guess would be, probably not.
Your site is probably like most real estate websites. It has a home search page. It has a quick search on the homepage. It may also have a featured listings widget on the homepage to showcase your listings. Does this all sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, these are all important parts of using an IDX service. In fact, many of our themes are laid out to accommodate those items. The problem is, if this is all you are doing with your IDX you are missing a huge opportunity.
Business is about differentiation. It is about showing your consumers that you are better than your competition. If you are not putting work into your IDX, you are the same as your local competition and not keeping up with the Zillows and Trulias of the web.
How Do You Differentiate?
This is a very simple question that should be asked about all aspects of your business. This includes your website and its top lead generating tool, the IDX. When it comes to your IDX, differentiation is simple. Show your expertise. Are you a neighborhood expert? Are you the king of condos? Then show that on your website through original content and IDX listings. Done right, you will have a resource the surpasses that of the national sites and your local competition.
Help People “Find”, Not “Search”
Think about the act of searching. It usually is a stressful experience. You search for your keys, your wallet or your glasses. It is the finding that is the goal and a positive experience. Instead of just offering ways to search for listings on your website, offer many ways to find a home on your site.
Create community pages with links for homes in specific price ranges or with certain characteristics (gated community, RV parking, in-law unit). Offer custom search forms to find condos where only the relevant fields show (example: lot size). Build email update forms specific to each area so sign-up is a breeze for website visitors. The idea is to make the use our your website as mindless as possible.
People don’t want to think, they just want to click. Instead of having people search on your site, you do the searching for them. Create those searches and place them a simple click away on your website. You do the work and you will convert more site visitors into clients.
Can Your IDX Do More?
Not all IDX services are the same. Some are very feature rich. Others offer little more than a basic search form. Before you begin planning your differentiation strategy, you need to make sure that your IDX service has the tools you need. Once you delve into your IDX service expecting more, you may find a lot of key features are missing. This may be a sign that you need to search out a new IDX provider.
Showing You How It is Done
We can’t just throw these ideas at you and walk away. There are a lot of concepts touched on that need more explaining and instruction. Over the coming weeks, we will publish a series of blog posts with detailed tutorial videos on how to properly implement an IDX service into a real estate website.
For our examples, we will use the IDX Broker Platinum service in conjunction with one of our themes. After working with many IDX services, we’ve found that IDX Broker Platinum offers the best set of features and flexibility. If you use a different IDX service, you may still find value in the tutorials. Implementation will be different, but the general concepts should still apply.
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