Spend 5 minutes Googling “Real Estate Agent Marketing” and you’ll find a plethora of website providers who tout their website templates as being the “best in the business” and how their IDX plugin capabilities will revolutionize your website and turn it into a “lead generation machine”. I suppose this rhetoric sells well, but we believe our clients deserve better. To understand our philosophy, we need to give some thought as to how sellers and buyers find a real estate agent.
Put yourself in the shoes of an average seller or buyer. Their primary residence is their largest asset. Would you Google your way toward finding a broker to buy or sell your largest asset? Nope. This prospect will talk to friends, relatives, and co-workers to seek trusted broker recommendations. Those recommendations will sound something like:
“Yeah, our agent Sally Smith took amazing care of us when we sold our home. She was super professional and handled all the details. She also got us 5% over asking! You should check her out, she’s with ABC Brokerage.”
This prospect will now Google “Sally Smith ABC Brokerage”. If your Real Estate Marketing Agency has performed SEO for your website, then your site should show up toward the top of the results. This prospect is then going to look over your site to vet you before reaching out. Will IDX on your site convince them to go with you. Unlikely. A templated website with canned IDX properties will feel like every other broker website and in no way will set you apart from the competition.
Intersect Marketing Group takes another approach with our custom websites, we manually add listings and sold properties to our clients’ websites. This allows us to create custom website designs that do NOT look boxy and boring. Our clients stand out because they look unique. Also, having these properties natively a part of the website improves SEO and gives our clients flexibility. Some issues with using IDX to show properties include:
- You cannot show “Coming Soon” properties. They must be added to MLS before they can appear on your website.
- You cannot show all of your sales history (IDX sites will show only a portion of your sales history).
- You cannot selectively remove properties so as to better represent your business. As an example, you are not able to remove the one-off foreclosure sale that you did nor remove the sale you did for Uncle Joe that was three towns over from where you normally work.
- You cannot have property description language that is more appropriate to a website as compared to what you wrote to preserve character count in MLS. Does it look better to a website visitor to see BDR or Bedroooms?
What about property search?
Don’t I need IDX so that site visitors can search for properties on my website? Truth? No one will use it. Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, and others spend millions of dollars on their search tools. Put plainly, they have out-spent you on their websites and it shows. Why would a buyer use your 3rd rate tools if they could use AMAZING tools on another site?
So this leaves us with a terrific question, why do so many marketing companies push IDX for their websites? Because it keeps their costs down. They charge the same or often more than what Intersect Marketing charges, but they have lower labor costs and therefore more profit. Intersect Marketing focuses on what is best for our clients, not ridiculously high profit margins.
If you look closely, you will find some of our clients who do use IDX on their websites. Possible uses could include creating neighborhood pages with IDX supplying the available properties for those specific neighborhoods. In other words, unique possibilities for use of IDX on websites is available. Intersect Marketing is happy to include IDX as part of a client’s site. But, now that you have more insight on WHY the industry pushes IDX integration, likely you’ll decide it isn’t worth it.