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Today's Tip: Using The Internet to Your Advantage

Your web site can be reached anywhere on Earth where there is access to a PC or TV with Internet connection to a phone line or mobile phone. In a plane or car on a train or ship - your site can be accessed by billions of people at any time of day or night.

Over 3 billion web pages have been indexed by the search engines and this is only part of what makes up the Internet. There are millions of additional pages that require passwords to access the data and therefore can't be indexed by the search engine spiders.

The American NAR reports in their "2002 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers" that 62% of buyers with Web access used the Internet to shop for a home.

The web is working for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By presenting your property listings on the web, prospects can have access to the information about your properties when they want it, and as soon as they want it.

Excite Prospective Buyers
Your website should be like all of your marketing material: excite people to want to see (and buy) each property. You therefore want to ensure that your listings are presented to best advantage. It is particularly important to have many photographs, and with the web you must ensure that they are large enough to be clear but also small enough to transfer quickly. (Which HouseFlash does automatically for you.)

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Electronic Brochures
A website is like an electronic brochure that people can interact with. It can also be much more than this, presenting lists of information, asking questions and gathering responses.

Quick, Quick, Quick
Most people 'skim' the web for information (hence the term surfing the web). They want information available quickly, and they want to understand it quickly (photos!). You want them to be able to see everything on your pages in just a few seconds. The information must be presented concisely. And they must be able to get to what they're looking for in less than 3 clicks.

Company-Provided Sites
Many of the big firms provide website services. Check that the pages aren't confusing to navigate, with lots of buttons, pictures, and ads that have nothing to do with you and just distract your clients from you. Check how difficult it is for clients to find you. Check what control you have over the information you present about your properties.

Exclusive Listings?
Some sites let you 'pull' from the MLS system, saying that you don't have to double-enter the information. But this limits you to what the MLS will let you enter. HouseFlash lets you promote any property, including your exclusive listings. You don't have to wait for another system to update your information before you can pull it.

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Completed Transactions
Another big plus of the HouseFlash system is being able to keep a portfolio of sold and leased properties available online. People coming to your site can recognize the experience that you have. And HouseFlash automatically ensures that your active properties are presented first.

Search Engines
A recent search for the phrase "real estate listings" returned more than 276,000 matching web pages. There are so many pages on the internet now, it's difficult to be pulled in a search. It's similar to getting a particular property noticed amongst all the others available. To get good positioning typically requires a lot of work. (Hiring a professional who specializes in search engine positioning is recommended if you feel it is necessary.)

Not Search Engines
Instead of hoping that people find you by searches on the web, use it to leverage your other marketing. Make sure that you put your website address everywhere you put your phone number. Many people will take a quick look at a website if they're at all interested.

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Leverage Your Marketing
When you put your website in an ad, people who visit the site will automatically see every property you have available. This is like being able to advertise every property in every ad - for the price of one! You may also reduce the size of your ads because they can see the details (and more pictures) on the web.

Always to Your Site
Make sure that you also put your website in your MLS listings and on your company postings - get the people to come to your property listings and away from all the rest.

As always, if you have any questions about HouseFlash, please email us at info@houseflash.com any time.

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