How Much Should I Spend for Online Branding?

Budgeting for online branding strategies: What’s your internet marketing ROI?

Planning and implementing online branding for your real estate company is complicated. You need to do it right and within budget. Do you know how to determine your internet marketing ROI for your online branding campaigns?

  • You know you need to drive internet traffic to your website;
  • You know you need to engage visitors to your website; and,
  • You know you need to respond to internet inquiries immediately!

And yet you don’t know what to spend to achieve success in each of these areas because you struggle to determine what the baseline is from which to measure your internet marketing ROI. Let’s break it down and determine the metrics you should use in your online branding programs.

Driving internet traffic to your website—the first step in your online branding.

You do this through an integrated online branding strategy that includes blogging, social media, syndication, etc. But how do you know how much to spend on each one of these important areas?

  • Can you justify a full-time salary, benefits, etc. to have a person do nothing but drive internet traffic to your website through blogging and social media activities? Or alternatively, should you outsource the work? You used to spend your marketing budget in the newspaper and on real estate magazines. How did you know what to spend then and what your return was?
  • How do you know what return you are getting from your syndication investments? However great it sounds that your listings get in front of as many eyeballs as possible, you still need to be able to justify those investments. How do you do that?
  • Do you know what each lead that comes into your company is worth? If you know this, you start getting a handle on how much you can justify spending on driving those leads.

Engaging your online visitors.

How do you know how much to spend developing your website? If you do a good job driving traffic, you need to ensure that traffic is staying on your site and not bouncing out to a competitor’s site.

  • What kind of user features do you have on your website, and do they enhance your internet marketing ROI? Is your user interface strong enough to truly engage your website visitors and convert them into prospective clients for your firm? 
  • What kind of technology tools should you provide your agents? Do those tools ease the business transaction while saving your agents money? How do those tools help keep the consumer on your site so they want to deal with your agents and your firm?
  • Can you tie all this together and determine what each transaction is worth?  This enables you to accurately budget for website development and online branding. Developing a real estate website that engages consumers will ultimately pay for itself by increasing your online lead conversion rate.  In this case cheaper is not better, and will cost you more through the loss of website traffic and internet inquiries.  Eventually you will pay again to fix what is broken with your website.  Your website is essential to your internet marketing strategy; it pays to develop your online branding right the first time.

Internet leads:  Responding to your website traffic.

Do you know how many real estate leads you generate online? How about how much each of these leads is worth?  Lead management and customer care is critical to your sales pipeline. How do you determine your budget for timely and efficient lead response? 

  • Have you calculated the value of your internet leads to determine the potential upside you have in this area?
  • Do you know what happens to internet inquiries once they are submitted? Do they go to your agents or an e-team? What happens after that?
  • Have you calculated the negative impact that not responding to an internet lead promptly has on your brand’s reputation in the market? Internet consumers expect a response in 15 to 20 minutes.

Informative graphic highlighting the steps real estate brokers and managers can take to calculate internet marketing ROI in their online branding programs. Each of these issues, and more, should be analyzed in depth in order to truly understand what your internet marketing ROI is. Unfortunately, most brokerages are not doing this.  They either make investments blindly — or not at all — jeopardizing their standing in the market. It’s surprising, because in the end, it’s really not that complicated:

  • You know your average sales price and company dollar per transaction;
  • You should be able to easily determine how many leads come in through your website and other sources such as Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.
  • Google Analytics can tell you where traffic is coming from so you can get a sense of how your blogging and social media efforts are working; and,
  • Once you have this information, you can start estimating the value of your internet leads.

Your business operates in a culture where almost 90% of consumers start their home search online.  Social media is prevalent, and your consumers are sophisticated; they expect an immediate response to their online inquiries. And an overwhelming number of people say they will most likely do business with the first firm that responds to them. The real estate transaction has been commoditized; companies that deliver a great experience for both consumers and agents will have the advantage in their market. Completely understanding how your online branding affects your business is critical to your future success.

Position yourself to be a leader by understanding how to make the correct investments in technology and strategy that will truly make your website, and all the activities surrounding it, a profit center.

This article reprinted with permission from PCMS Consulting. The original can be found here.