Establishing a compelling digital footprint is increasingly paramount for real estate agents and brokerages in an age characterized by virtual home transactions and digital-only interactions.

Nevertheless, many fall into the pitfall of assuming that a visually appealing website is the ultimate ticket to visibility and client acquisition.

It's not. It never has been, actually.

Regrettably, this notion is causing the real estate industry to forgo substantial revenue yearly, as they overlook the immense potential and necessity of comprehensive digital marketing strategies.

This is particularly true for smaller local agencies and brokers, where a lack of market visibility directly results in missed potential clients and income.

Many believe the digital marketing task ends with launching a website – a “box-checking” mentality. However, this false sense of security (colloquially known as "ostriching") can gradually and stealthily lead to an agency's downfall.

Expanding any real estate business online requires the persistent practice and refinement of a diverse marketing methodology, in which a website is merely one small component.

If your agency relies solely on its website for leads or sales, expecting results is like anticipating you can drive across the country in a car without an engine.

Simply put, it's a non-starter.

The Cost of Local Invisibility

A recent study by SOCi’s Monica Ho and Damian Rollinson underscored the crucial significance of localized marketing and the hefty costs real estate agencies endure due to local invisibility.

Original article here.

According to their Local Visibility Index (LVI), the average U.S. real estate agency is virtually invisible in two out of three local searches.

In other words, you don't show up 75% of the time people search Google for real estate help.

75% of the time.  

Also, these same agents and brokerages reply to only half of their client reviews, leaving the other half to wallow without recognition. This lack of engagement and visibility costs the U.S. real estate industry a staggering amount annually.

So, why is this happening?

Many attribute it to the presence of an expensive, aesthetically pleasing website that they equate with superior visibility and engagement.

Misconceptions About Digital Marketing

Numerous real estate agents and brokerages labor under the illusion that a visually pleasing website guarantees a strong online presence. However, the reality is that digital marketing extends far beyond merely owning a website.

A robust Inbound Marketing strategy encompasses various elements such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media presence, online reputation management, digital ads, landing pages, and customer engagement, all of which are crucial to a real estate business’s overall digital marketing approach.

Setting up an attractive website without these other elements deprives your agency of the following:

  • Being discovered in Google results when clients search for properties or agents.
  • Advertising your services to engage potential clients on social media.
  • Generating website leads with effective copywriting and content.
  • Growing sales by reaching the right audiences for listings.
  • Upselling, reselling, and keeping clients loyal with email outreach.

Again, a visually appealing website without these components is like a car without an engine or wheels – it’s going nowhere.

The Power of Search, Reputation, and Social Media

The potency of search and reputation in driving growth can't be overstated. The LVI discovered that real estate agencies that excel in these areas grow their revenue twice as fast as their counterparts.

Despite this, many agents still struggle to utilize local business schema on their landing pages, a critical component of SEO that helps search engines understand the content on a page and thus enhance its search ranking.

Regarding reputation, you need more than positive reviews; agencies must also interact with their clients by responding to them. This demonstrates that the agency values client feedback and presents an opportunity to address complaints and optimize operations based on client feedback.

In addition to search and reputation, social media is another vital area where real estate agencies can significantly boost their local visibility (but often choose not to).

Building a local audience on social media platforms like Facebook can cultivate loyalty and repeat business, contributing significantly to a real estate agency's overall visibility and success.

However, most agencies post sporadically without a well-defined, goal-driven strategy. I call it “posting for the sake of posting” or “peer pressure posting,” wherein agents mimic their competitors.

An effective social media strategy for brand awareness, sales, or lead generation needs consistent, highly-targeted messaging aimed at a select audience with engaging content, enticing offers, and calls to action.

Additionally, agents must engage in continuous measurement, analysis, and course correction for all these efforts, or they will fail to generate results.


The idea that digital marketing is solely about having an attractive website is a perilous misconception costing real estate agents and brokerages considerable revenue annually.

Real estate professionals must focus on enhancing their visibility in local searches, engaging with clients on social media, and proactively managing their online reputation to exploit the potential of digital marketing fully.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to digital marketing; it necessitates a multi-faceted approach considering various elements of an online presence. Real estate agents and brokerages must understand this and adjust their strategies accordingly to avoid missing significant revenue opportunities.

After all, in the digital age, being invisible is not an option for real estate professionals.

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