Mapping Out an Online Real Estate Strategy

By Christopher M. Leporini, REALTOR® Magazine

Breaking into the Internet era can be intimidating even to reasonably computer-literate real estate practitioners. ePOWERPRO: Online Success Strategies for Real Estate Professionals, 2001 Edition ($130 retail, $99 for NAR, CREA, or RECS members, RUSSER Communications) by trainer and columnist Michael Russer provides a useful tool for practitioners who want to develop an Internet strategy without getting bogged down in the details.

The book acts as introductory course in marketing real estate on the Internet, offering a comprehensive roundup of online strategies in one spiral-bound volume. Each chapter opens with background information on such subjects as FTPs, e-mail, and Web sites. Once you understand the basic concepts, the book shows you how you can use each technology to grow your business. For instance, one you’ve covered the nuts and bolts of Web site construction, then you can move on to a section on making sure your site reflects the right image for your company.

One of ePOWERPRO’s unique features is the “Action Plan” at the end of each chapter. Written in a checklist form, these segments serve several organizational functions–reminding you of major points made in the chapter and prompting you in the steps you need to take to before you’re ready to implement the ideas in the next chapter. In a section on building a successful Web site, for example, the action steps instruct readers to:

  • Determine your primary goals in establishing a Web site. Are you trying to use it as a tool to draw in potential customers online, or strategically use it as a selling point that differentiates you when you’re meeting with clients and prospects offline?
  • Examine several different types of template sites to determine which one most closely you’re your needs.
  • Build at one niche market specific template site.
  • Evaluate your primary Web site as to how well it conforms to the six qualities of a successful custom site: recognition, value, interactivity, trust, differentiation, and call to action.
  • Evaluate how well you score on all six critical traits necessary to successfully build and maintain a custom web site: sense of adventure, marketing savvy, discipline, flexibility, resourcefulness, and commitment.

Just because the book is written in an instructional manner, doesn’t mean that it is confined to the basics. In addition to reviewing fundamentals such as e-mail, Russer also offers tips on more advanced subjects, like creating virtual tours and optimizing your site’s visibility to search engines.

A word of caution, however, the book is intended to be read from cover to cover; skipping around can make it difficult to understand. But for readers who approach the book as a primer for mastering the Internet as a sales tool, ePOWERPRO offers an excellent guide to developing an online real estate marketing strategy while avoiding getting lost in techno-babble, gadgetry, and nagging details.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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