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"Capturing Business on the Internet"

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12/7/01 Interview with Dan Gooder Richard

Gooder Group
2724 Dorr Avenue, Suite 103
Fairfax, VA 22031

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The Impact of the Internet on Real Estate Agents

  1. The Internet adds another medium to the marketing mix; a successful Realtor needs to use the Internet along with the traditional lead-generating sources of print, direct mail, broadcast, signs and publicity.
  2. Failing to use any portion of the marketing pie excludes you from a whole segment of buyers and sellers.
The Typical Internet Prospect

  1. The Gooder Group has maintained a profile of the typical Internet prospect by analyzing email responses of consumers to agents; over the last five years, the typical Internet prospect has evolved.
  2. The 3,000 emails looked at between 1996 and 1998 showed that 63% of prospects lived in the same zip code as the agent; in 2001, 3,000 emails examined over six months showed that percentage at only 45%.
  3. Point-to-point prospects (neither whose origin nor destination coincided with the agent's zip) rose from 11% to 22%; the group of consumers who search the Internet for a Realtor regardless of location is growing.
  4. Referral networks are becoming more important tools for Realtors, who need nationwide links as the Internet profile changes and as search engines become easier and more efficient for consumers to use on their own.
Strategies to Increase Internet Business

  1. Use email and a good web site interdependently for effective e-marketing; email is necessary to drive people to the site, and the site is necessary to capture email addresses of new people.
  2. Have useful, practical site content to make your site worth visiting; the content is what impresses a prospect.
  3. Develop a 'trophy database' of email addresses from your database of postal mail.
Ways to Capture Email Addresses

  1. Use a response form on your web site - the latest version is a 'pop-up' window that allows the consumer to complete the response information without leaving the page being viewed.
  2. Respect the desire of many consumers for anonymity; give people the option to submit only name and email address.
Visitor Registration

  1. Some real estate professionals allow open access to their web site, while others use gateway pop-ups that require submission of name and email before accessing information.
  2. Richard recommends the latter, more aggressive strategy for collecting contact information; a moderate approach is to offer visitors something of perceived value and invite them to receive it by email or regular mail.
  3. The Gooder Group has two web site content products: Rainmaker Leads Online contains 20 printed reports to offer prospects by mail; Electronic Reports requires the consumer to submit name and email address plus optional information to receive online reports.
Online Buyers vs. Sellers

  1. Most Internet prospects are focused on buying a home not on selling; the Gooder Group profile shows that the ratio of owners to renters is 50/50, but interest breaks into 65% for buying and only 15% for selling.
  2. Sellers tend to shop for another home first to see if there is something they like and can afford; the lesson for agents is to ask buyers the critical question, 'By the way, do you own a home now?'
More Tips on Building an Email Database

  1. Ask your postal database for their email addresses and let them opt for email contact.
  2. Use contests to get people to register for a prize; base the drawing on reaching a certain number of entries rather than on a time period.
  3. In your offline advertising, give people the option of responding by email to get information; offer one-stop-shopping send them information on their choice of multiple properties in one email package.
Maintaining Contact with Past Clients

  1. Keep in touch with previous contacts regularly by email an electronic newsletter and a follow-up message system are two techniques.
  2. To get contacts to return to your web site, consider offering 'Home Services' include plumbers, electricians, maid services, lawn care, etc. charging the listed providers a small fee can even generate revenue.
  3. Sources for prepared e-newsletters include the Society's Real Estate Cyber Tips and the Gooder Group's Real News and E-HomeLetter; e-newsletters are cost effective compared to postal newsletters.
  4. Postal letters remain in use because not every consumer has or wishes to use email; the USPS will forward mail and alert the sender to address changes.
Converting Prospects into Clients

  1. E-prospects invert the traditional adage of 'ready, willing and able' into 'able, willing and ready;' online consumers begin their process with information gathering.
  2. Have a drip system to stay in touch with prospects through regular email contacts, keep offering the prospect information; end every message with a reminder that you are there to assist whenever the prospect is ready.
  3. A key tip is to get an answer to the question, 'When do you want to move?' intensify your marketing as that date approaches.
Favorite Spots on the Web

  1. For learning HTML:
  2. Good agent sites: John Brown's YourHomeLasVegas; Jamey Richer's IndyRealtyGroup; Lucy and Bill Rudolph's
  3. Regular sites to visit:;; Key Advice for Getting Started with E-Marketing Build a trophy database for email; keep up with maintenance because 10% of email addresses go bad per month.

Order a personalized, signed copy of Dan Richard's book Real Estate Rainmaker for only $20 (reg. $25) plus $5 shipping/handling. Use the phone number or email address at the top of the interview, and mention the Real Estate CyberSpace Society to receive this special offer. Contact Information for Dan Gooder Richard:

(v) 703-698-7750
(f) 703-698-8597

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

The Gooder Group:

HTML Goodies:

Good agent sites:

Sites for regular visits: