do-real-estate-agents-need-idx

Do I get IDX with my website? Do I need IDX? These are questions I get asked all the time from real estate agent clients. It’s always a frequent debate that is constantly arising when agents are interested in setting up a website.

First let’s start with defining what IDX is. IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange and, put simply, it’s software installed into an agent or broker’s site that is used to search the MLS. Most agents seem to think that by having IDX they automatically have an instant lead generating machine. However this is quite the contrary.

The IDX myth debunked

We recently did a study of 100 real estate agents that have an IDX installed into their website. The results to the study were remarkably staggering. After reviewing the data from Google Analytics heat maps, 96% of sites showed an extememly low usage rate for the IDX search function on websites. An even more remarkable statistic is 1 in 10 community focused IDX landing pages actually receive any organic traffic (this does not include focus driven ads).

Understanding what works and what doesn’t

As the Jay Z lyrics go, “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” It’s time that us real estate agents start facing the facts. If someone is interested in looking for a property, they will look at websites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com. An agent’s website should be used as a branding and marketing tool to help supplement any marketing efforts already in play. Prospects are more interested in looking at an agent’s identity online rather than if they can search the MLS on their website. A real estate agent should concern his or her website more with high quality imagery, functionality, for sale/sold properties and testimonials. When a prospect lands on your website they want to see who you are, what you’ve accomplished and what you can do for them in the nicest way possible.  Many prospects decisions are based on the initial first impressions of an agent’s website and not an IDX search.

How about using my website as a lead generating tool?

Agents and brokers can in fact use their website as a lead generating tool but the concept requires much more strategy. The goal should not be to get a lead that automatically wants to list or buy a home but instead to get someone to opt in. The idea is to provide someone with a free asset they can download or receive from your site in exchange for their email.

Email is often viewed as the ugly step sister but is really Cinderella. Email still remains the background to any online marketing strategy today. Once you have someone’s email, you no longer need to spend money on marketing to them. It’s a remarkable fact.  A simple email opt in is an obvious penny saver to Facebook Ads, Google PPC, social media budgets and SEO strategies.

Once a prospect opts in, its just a matter of sending thoughtful drips and staying at the top of mind until that person is ready to buy or sell. It’s a very simple strategy and is quite frankly often overlooked. There is also a direct correlation with the size of your email opt in list and your success as a real estate agent.

At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their opinion about the usage of IDX. What do you think? Is it still worth it to get an IDX? Do you have any questions? Feel free to reach out! I’ll be happy to continue the discussion.  Until next time..

-e