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Old 12th March 2012, 02:10 PM   #1

Join Date: May 2011
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Default Turning Website Traffic Into Sales

Hopefully this is in the right section of the forum.

I have a real estate website that allows home buyers or renters to view homes for sale or rent free of charge. For home sellers or owners wanting to rent their home, there's a small yearly fee to list your property.

I have a few properties listed currently. Recently, I set up a Google Adwords account and my traffic was very impressive. I learned a lot about what my visitors are looking for. However, what I wasn't impressed with, was the amount of traffic that signed up.

I'm attracting the visitors looking to buy or rent a home but can't seem to get the traffic of the home owners to list their properties.

I'm not running advertisements on the site (Google Adsense), because I don't want it to look "cheesy" or reflect that my whole website is concerned with people clicking the ads.

So, with that said, I'm looking for ideas to turn the traffic into sales or find a way to find home owners that want to sell or rent their property.

Thanks in advance for the help,

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Old 13th March 2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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Can you post a link to the site? Sometimes it helps to see it in case there's anything going on that could be a problem.

It's hard in real estate to compete against something like realtor.com. What extra benefits are you offering that they don't? Maybe that's it - potential sellers aren't presented with enough value.

Also, have you considered doing an ad-based promotion, say 25% off for signing up through the ad click? You would need to create a separate landing page for that and have only your ads go there.

Just thinking out loud....

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Old 13th March 2012, 01:46 PM   #3

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Thanks for the reply.

I wasn't sure I could post my site, because I know most forums frown upon that. It's www forsorbo com, (For Sale Or Rent By Owner).

I originally set it up to be an owner finance/lease purchase site. Then, I figured it would be easier to set up a home rental site, with options to list it for sale and I recently added apartment complexes to the mix.

From reviewing my Google Adwords account, several and I mean several people are looking for homes for rent, mostly in Canada. So, from that information, I know there's huge demand for home rentals. The problem I'm having is finding the home owners or investors to list their properties.

I sent out hundreds of emails and postcards to home owners that wanted to sell or even rent their home, offering them free 3 month listings and couldn't get many takers.

I've been working hard on articles, social networking and other ways to help get backlinks in order to rank a little higher on Google.

I know in this economy, there's a demand for rental homes. Even trying to do a search of rental homes in Google, sends you to apartment rentals or you have to jump through hoops to view legit homes.

I do appreciate the thinking out loud, trust me, I've been trying to figure out how to increase traffic/sales.


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Old 14th March 2012, 06:55 AM   #4
Kevin H

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Hi Timbo,

You obviously want both to address both issues you mention, getting people to buy or rent, and getting people to rent out/sell their property but I'm going with getting the properties listed in the first place is your bigger issue.

You have hit upon the big estate agent (realtor in North America?) issue that I have seen in the UK; getting the properties onto the site in the first place.

You are in a very competitve market and competing against the big realtors with, presumably, good marketing budgets; so, short term, unless you are very lucky SEO will be a real struggle; especially if you can't identify the real convertable search terms.

Having said that, for the traffic (SEO or SEM) you do get, I would suggest that you have a form on your site's pages (all of them) saying something like 'What is your house worth?' or 'how much could you rent your house for?' then get them to complete email/phone and say you'll call back.
This may get those who visit your site to buy or rent to consider using you for selling or renting their existing property.

Then, go and see if you can talk to some people who are selling/renting through the local competition and ask them how they chose to use whoever they did. Web?, press advertising?, other?... this may give you some good ideas how to offline market to others, and help your online marketing ideas, especially for keyphrases. You could also perhaps do this in the form of a 'survey' (if you are braver then me!); 'if you were going to rent out your house, how would you choose who to advertise it with?', then follow up questions depending upon answer.

Email marketing I think will need many hundreds of thousands sent out to get any reasonable response; I don't favour it personally, but can work occasionally.

The rule of thumb for leaflet drops (postcards in your case) etc that I was taught was 1% of 1% - if the leaflet drop was untargetted then 1% may be interested and of those 1% will do business. Now for you, sending only to those who you KNOW want to sell/rent anyway you can probably just go with 1% (not sure how that % matches your experience) - from this you can get some idea of the spend and reach you need to be making to get your target numbers.

Working on the local angle may be the way to go to start with; rather that trying to be all things to all people, try to get the local angle going first - so then you can try to get interviews with local press about how, in these difficult times, you are offering a new, more economical way for people to sell/rent their homes, and as a new business you are hoping to expand and employ x people over the next 2 to 3 years as the business expands (ie PR); you could also look at spending some money on the local press advertising in the property sections... start building a brand locally, then put so much money aside each month to start an advertising fund as you spread your net wider.

Going local will also let you better target your SEM and SEO and face less competition. You can always have the Global forsobo.com, but then have region specific sites forsobo.com/michegan/chester etc.. (As a side point, looking at your site I have no idea where the properties are; Chester but where is Chester? - making me click on properties to even find out if I'm in the right county/state isn't great IMO - also, your search isn't prominent enough for me - and is lost competely on the property detail pages, I would look to move it to the menu bar somewhere - also, also, the examples in the search are for type of house; where I do search for town or an area?)

Very long, but I hope is more help than hinderance

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Old 19th March 2012, 10:59 AM   #5
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Could you offer a free trial? Your site looks a bit empty and in my experience, people don't want to be the first at a party.

If you could get more people listing, it might help.

Also, what are the benefits? What's in it for the owner? You need to tell them what they are going to get and make it attractive to them. This would entail fleshing out your sign up page.

Additionally, those visitors (owners) may not be on your site because it's not something they are looking for, since they themselves aren't looking to rent, etc. Are you using Adwords to drive traffic to your sign up page? It might be something where you have to physically go out and get them, or set up a program where your customers refer others to you.

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Old 19th March 2012, 11:10 AM   #6

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As I've stated in my previous post on this thread, I have Adwords, which have been very successful and I've also offered a 3 month free trial.

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Old 10th April 2012, 02:28 AM   #7

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I'm not sure that Adwords is the right tool for you. Sure it will get you traffic, but is this the right traffic?

Buying or renting a house clearly isnt your average discretionary purchase like buying a screwdriver or pair of sneakers. People might be interested in the Adwords and click through, but this doesn't make them serious about buying or renting.

I would try to focus on SEO rather than Adwords. That way you are capturing people who are actually looking for what you have to offer, rather than selling a message to someone who was browsing for something else.


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Old 10th April 2012, 08:47 AM   #8
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You only have 6 listings... The format of the site is not bad... I would focus on data... pick an area of the country, a particular state and do a focus group. penetrate the market and get all the listings and members that you can. keep track of what works and does not work and build your model to roll out to the rest of the country.

If you could make it easy for people to post the craigslist adds to your site.. to could have a steady flow of new properties.

If I copied my add content from CL and paste it into a form on your website could you process out the TYPE, Phone Numbers, Titles and Descriptions. User experience and ease of use will go a long way to you capturing the data

The only way you will be able to charge for listings would be to control the audience.

Once you have good content and changing content search engines will take notice.

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Old 6th September 2013, 12:53 AM   #9

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Hey why did you close your website. That site and content were having potential.
Most of the people nowadays are searching for real estate.

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Old 1st June 2014, 07:06 AM   #10

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Location: kendal, Cumbria, UK
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I might be a bit biased but I think video is a great way to keep people on your site. Have you checked what your bounce rate is? I'd assume that if you're getting relatively high volumes of traffic but no sales then your bounce rate will be pretty high. That's the number of people who click to your website then click away in the first few seconds because they don't like what they see. Either consider updating the design of your site to make it more visually appealing or putting something there to grab attention, like a video they can watch.

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