Using WordPress for Real Estate – Part 3: Power with Plugins
WordPress stands alone as a really amazing website and blogging platform. However, like any software solution, WordPress does certain things really well and doesn’t do other things at all. That’s not a negative statement, as no software can do everything that every user might want. BUT, WordPress opened its software up to third party developers because this brings innovation and new features.
Tens of thousands of theme and plugin developers are constructing add-ons for WordPress, and if you want to do something in a WordPress site and can’t figure out how to make that happen, there’s usually going to be a plugin to get it done for you. In today’s post we’ll review plugins that can help tailor WordPress for use as a real estate website.
Widgets only where you want them
When it comes to an effective real estate website that generates qualified leads, you will want to place offers and calls-to-action to entice your visitors to fill in a form on various pages and posts on your site. Before we talk about the plugins to actually create the forms, let’s talk about a really powerful plugin that allows you to place offers and content in WordPress sidebars precisely where you want them.
By default WordPress normally takes any widget you place into a sidebar and displays it on every page of the site. This isn’t optimal when you want to make offers and set forms specific to the content of certain pages and posts. So, along comes Dynamic Widgets, a plugin that allows you to create sidebar widget content and have it display only on the pages or posts where you want it. So, you can have an article, page or post about a specific community or property type and include a widget or sidebar next to the content with data specific to that page.
Site stickiness + lead capture forms = conversions
Too many real estate websites are simply billboards – signs sitting next to a busy highway. While the site owner may get visitors to come through, most will simply view the site’s pages and posts and drive on. If you are happy with that, then stick with it. However, if you want visitors to slow down, read your sign, and take action that will move them from “suspect” status to a prospect, then you want to offer reports, listing data and other extra premium information to your visitors – along with forms to collect their name and email in order to deliver those offers.
There’s another very valuable tool to slow down those visitors and keep them on the site and engaged, called “site stickiness.” This is the IDX search function, and you want a sidebar “Quick Search” form on most of your pages. Sure, you have a regular IDX search page, but a visitor can arrive on any page of your site from a Google search, so you’ll want to have property search functionality on every page to get them involved.
So, we have two major requirements for sidebar content: 1) make our sites more “sticky” and 2) offer premium content in exchange for their email address and name.
The Regular Solution
Some agents tackle this by combining a basic IDX search (such as a free service provided from their MLS) along with a form builder/lead capture plugin tool used to generate the lead. Then they take that name and email and enter it a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) to begin the process of building a relationship with prospects through follow-up and drip emails. However, because websites play such a vital role in real estate lead generation, many agents turn to an all-in-one solution that provides property search, lead capture and CRM functionality.
The Diverse Solutions End-to-End Solution
Combining the excellent Diverse Solutions WordPress IDX search with their dsAgentReach CRM, suddenly you have everything you need already integrated and all of the tools you need to attract visitors, keep then involved on your site, offer them incentives to fill out your forms, and have their contact information automatically loaded into your CRM system for automated email follow-up.
IDX for Lead Capture – The Diverse Solutions WordPress IDX offers the searcher the option to save their searches so they’ll be ready and updated when they return to the site. This is valuable, as people return often until they find the property they want. To save their search, they must provide name and email address.
- Forms for Capturing Leads – Throughout your site, you can place your premium content and other offers to entice visitors to fill out your forms. The dsAgentReach forms will collect their information and pass it through to the integrated CRM solution. There your first email can deliver the requested content, and then your pre-written drip email campaigns kick in.
- Tagging & Groups – Segmentation of your leads will make your follow-up marketing even more valuable. When your lead form asks questions about their interests, you can then have them automatically tagged and placed in groups, such as Buyers, Sellers, Agents, Residential, Commercial, Condos, etc.
The plugins provided with the Diverse Solutions products are easily constructed, and you’re given the code to copy and paste into your WordPress widgets in minutes. These plugins can make your site a powerful real estate lead generation resource…and that means a powerful commission funnel.
If you have still not switched over to WordPress and are still on the fence, be sure to read the first two articles in this series for a better understanding of why WordPress is perfect for real estate websites:
WordPress for Real Estate Part 1: Installing, Domains and Hosting
WordPress for Real Estate Part 2: Big Picture Decisions
If you’re on WordPress but not already using our IDX for your WordPress site, it’s free to try: WordPress IDX free signup and you can experiment with the property search, listing pages and widgets on your site for as long as you’d like. If you like what you see, you can buy dsIDXpress for most MLS areas for as little as $30/month.