I am finally getting around to putting up a website. Initially, I figured I'd have one website that would cover my rentals, home buying, and houses we have for sell. After research I am looking at LP and Carrot to keep it easy and quick for me but they're both set-up to have different pages for buyers and then rentals/sells. Through research here on the BP forums I've also seen a few people say it's best to keep your buyer site separate from your other sites. I wanted to get some more opinions on how people set-up their sites, do you have multiple websites for your business and if so why? How do you brand and market your business as one entity with multiple sites? For example, do you put multiple websites on your business card, google, facebook, etc? I'd like to build and market just one brand and K.I.S.S.
Not only should you have different sites for your buying, selling and renting, but I think you should go further and have different sites for each type of seller you're touching... But what would I know. Maybe having 18 websites is a bit overkill.
I'm old school. If you go to Monsanto's site, what do you see? If you go to Carol Jones Realtors....what do you see?
If you want an image of a big player, dealing in multiple strategies or areas, you have departments. The trick is, showing the department that can serve any client or prospect.
Learn the lingo, if you have sales, break it down:
First Time Home Buyers
and so on.
First, define your business, what is that you really do?
The branding goes to that endeavor, that business goal.
Break down your operation and look to the target market, who do you serve?
What are their needs? Desires? Then address it.
Ask yourself too, what are my abilities and capabilities, don't bite off more than you can chew.
What can make your services unique? Why should folks look to you?
People shop for value, benefits, quality, simply a better deal, how do you show that you can deliver that?
Added features in a property can identify you, it can be as simple as a custom touch on kitchen cabinets, a key stone arrangement outside, a custom door knocker, an igraved mantel or a decorative feature in landscaping.
When an appraiser drives up they can see, oh, this is an XYZ property.......nice! That's branding in real estate. :)
I don't know about the pros, but IMO having one great site is a lot more valuable than having several that are lacking in results. Keep in mind the biggest driver of ranking is content. By that, not only have lots of "stuff" but continually changing and evolving to drive more visitors to come back more often. You can have 100 pages of fluff, but if they visit once and never come back you will never rank high in the search engines. Ask yourself WHAT you can do to bring customers back often. If you can develop a site that has that demand, it will do well. Don't get too hyped by companies offering SEO services. The truth is, you don't need them. I am not a techie guy, definitely not an SEO guy, don't even really like all this stuff:)...BUT....one of my websites has been ranked between #1 and #2 on Google for years. I never paid one dime to get there.
When you're starting out, to me it makes sense to have a separate site for each type of business. The rationale is that you want people to know you specialize in that particular niche and want the website visitor to know that. Also, from a SEO perspective, as you optimize your site for just that specific function and add gobs of content you will see an improvement in search rankings.
Here's another way to look at it - let's say you need a plumber and you have the option of calling a plumber or a GC. Whom do you call instinctively? The plumber. Even though the GC may be able to do the same work and charge less for the work, your 1st thought is to call the plumber. The guy that specializes in what you need.
Next, let's look at Property Management for your rentals - do you want your tenants to know you work or manage a conglomerate that manages every aspect of real estate and have a bigger target on your back or just a Property Management company? Taking this a step further - would you hire a firm that specializes in PM to manage your property or a soup-to-nuts real estate firm. As you get bigger, you can change your strategy to suit your needs.
The discussion gets a bit murky when you get to home buying and selling. There's no right or wrong way but if there's a choice and the expense is low, try it one way for a few years and if it's not working, change it.
Off the top of your head, how many real estate companies can you name that do it all under one roof? That's also a clue.
Bill's points are valid too but to me at some point branding will become important as well but you have to decide if that's across all your companies or for each company.
BTW, there are many more pros and cons but was trying to keep this short. Alternatively, you can try both sets of strategies and see what works better for you and just keep what's working.
Account Closed thanks for the response, you've got some points. My thought behind one brand over all divisions is that it would convey legitimacy. If a seller goes to my one site and see I have houses currently for rent, can look at pictures of properties I've sold or have for sale it would make me and my company more legitimate and tangible to them. Not just another company with generic photos and minimal information other than "CONTACT US, WE'LL BUY YOUR HOUSE" solicitations.
Originally posted by @Christopher B. :
@Aaron Mazzrillo 18 sites.. I'll have to work up to that. I've listened to your podcast and like your perspective, I'll have to think about it. I figured it would be easier and better to have one brand to build and market, people would know I lease, I buy, and I sell... Just upfront and clear about that which to me sounds good but maybe the market says differently and that's what is most important..
My buddy Bryan is a fireman in Knoxville. You probably heard of or know him. He is the ultra runner doing all those 100 mile races. I don't know how big that city is, but unless it is a small town, trying to brand yourself as a buyer, seller and landlord, from my experience, isn't an endeavor worth pursuing. It might be good to have a reputation with agents as a closer who has funds and will buy anything though.
I personally don't want my tenants knowing that I also flip houses. It's none of their business and I don't like targets on my back. (Think unearned financial windfalls from frivolous lawsuits.) My wealthy, old landlord friend gave me some great advice a long time ago, "The whale that surfaces gets harpooned."
Account Closed I like the idea of having the properties I have for sale and lease on the same page as well which was my original intentions. Things to think about, guess we'll get into it a little more when we meet for lunch this week
I don't have any business cards. Haven't had them in a long time. It is unfortunate to say, but 98% of the people you'll meet in this business who ask you for a card aren't actually worth giving it to. The ones who do call will just want to waste your time taking you to eat some crappy lunch and barrage you with 100 absurd questions for their own gain.
I truly detest "Pick you brain" solicitations. Another successful investor friend once said whenever she hears that, she thinks "eat your brain" because that is basically what they want to do.
I get handed business cards all the time. They pile up on my desk and then get dumped in my recycle bin.
This is a strategic question. I first think you need to determine your purpose for even having a website.
You ought to ask yourself what the job of your website(s) should be. Is it lead generation? A landing page to capture leads? A VSL?
I have multiple businesses that reach different target audiences and don't overlap. They are both lead generators and designed to convert prospects (or pre-condition to convert more easily). They are B>B>C, B>G and B>C respectively.
I market my legal and gov't targets offline and tell then how refer clients and others online, in a very specific manner.
If you want to understand more about marketing, sales funnels, referral systems, etc., you can study others' systems and apply their logic (but not their copywriting) to your site(s) and repurpose the workflow.
Here's a good resource: Perry Marshall. Check out his Adwords for Google book. Google is a great way to find out quickly what people are searching for and Google Display Network is oriented to people finding ads but not necessarily looking for you, your product or service.
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