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RealGeeks Websites, and the Secret Sauce (a totally biased review)

Real Geeks websitesI get a bunch of calls and emails every week asking for information about the RealGeeks website system we use.  I’m happy to discuss it, but I figured if I just wrote a review of our experience, it might save me a little bit of time in the future.

To be clear, RealGeeks doesn’t pay me, give me a discount, or any other benefits for writing about their product or sending them referrals.  I’ll give you the highlights because we wouldn’t stick with the product if we didn’t like it, and the lowlights because every product has somewhere that it could improve.  This isn’t a sales pitch–I’d love to hear the rest of your experiences with your providers.

We have SeattleHome.com, SeattleCondo.com, SeattleHomes.com, and BellevueHomes.com on RealGeeks because our focus is having technology do as much lead capture and follow-up as possible (you still need to call/email your leads).  There are other systems with more intricate CRMs, designs, etc., but this system is a really clean-cut platform that focuses on your ability to take on-site traffic and turn it into reachable leads.

It costs about $500 to get set up, and then $150/mo ongoing (you might have an additional MLS fee depending on your location).  This isn’t in the super-cheap website category, but it’s very affordable for a product that includes a lead management/distribution system on the back end.

RealGeeks has a forced registration system that allows you to require users to input their contact information before seeing listing details.  Quite a few providers offer this now.  You can set it to “off”, or to allow zero, 1, 3 listings, etc, that a user can view before the popup appears.

The popup requiring registration is where the differentiation starts.  To begin, it doesn’t tell the user “You must register now.”  It offers the user an account with some great benefits, while the bulk of the listing is viewable around the popup with photos scrolling past in the background.  It’s a really nice enticement to sign up.

Within the verbiage of the popup, the user is signing up for automatic listing updates.  When they fill out that form, they’ve already opted-in to receive property via email from you.

This is the “special sauce”, and it’s much different than the kind of drip you see in most websites.  Most systems require the agent to set up listing updates, but RealGeeks has been saving that user’s property searches, even before they’ve registered.  If they land on the website and search for condos between $300,000 and $400,000 in Belltown, the system saves the search.  When the registration pops up later, and the user sets up an account, they automatically start receiving new daily email alerts with condos in Belltown in that price range.

The agent or the user can always adjust the search later or add more separate searches for listing updates, but it takes the work of getting an initial drip set up out of the agent’s hands (especially if the user doesn’t want to talk right away).  As soon as you have a new registration, you have their email, phone number (which they use as their password), and are emailing them the best drip campaign possible–customized new listings.

The back end of the system has a nice way of tracking leads as well.  While that user continues to search on the website, the back end is recording every search and every property that the user views.  As an agent, you can get a really good idea of the kind of buyer you have before even making contact with them by viewing their online behavior.

The lead management system is fairly easy to set up for multiple agents, and to distribute leads to them manually or through a round robin system.  You can also have support set up a custom geographic lead distribution system (this would be a nice future enhancement right on the site).  Agents get email/text alerts when new leads are assigned to them. **Update – the lead manager is now mobile friendly and has integrated calling and texting features.**

As for the front end, there are numerous templates to choose from, and they all need some customization to look unique/modern.  **Update – The new Miranda and Molly designs are out, and they’re faster, cleaner, and more modern.**  You should expect to have a designer do some content/graphic work to flesh out the site.  We’ve spent a lot of time on ours.  No website is going to be sticky without some custom local development, so you should plan on this no matter what platform you’re using.

People always ask us about the SEO.  It’s “great for SEO” because it allows you plenty of flexibility and has on-site IDX listings that are indexable.  It won’t rank highly in search results though, just like any other site, unless you build a lot of quality content in an organized format and develop some traffic/organic links to it.  Don’t kid yourself, nobody ranks without some work.  That being said, it has an easy and flexible content management system that allows you to create some nice pages on the site, and really customize the details for SEO purposes.

The feed for listings works well for the daily updates that users get.  There are some other websites that have faster MLS updates, but the once/day IDX update works fine for buyers getting drip campaigns.  ** Update: RG sites are now pulling new listings via the MLS throughout the day now, so listings update frequently. **

RealGeeks is building integrations for automated import/export leads with Zillow, realtor.com, etc, and into systems like Infusionsoft and Mailchimp.  They’re working on customizing the listing drip campaign so that it will come from the individual agent the lead is assigned to (right now it’s just coming from the main agent on the account).

They also have an upgrade feature that puts a seller valuation tool on your website for $50/mo.  It’s tied into public property data and captures sellers’ addresses and contact info before delivering them a report on their property and a likely value range.  It effectively gets potential sellers to give you their contact information in exchange for a zestimate.  These usually work best with Facebook/Google ads targeting a single zip code for home valuations.

There are other good website products out there, but we chose RealGeeks, and continue to use it, because it converts far more of our traffic to leads, and follows up with our leads even when we forget to.  The pragmatic way in which they develop functionality with an eye on conversion first, and shiny features second, makes me think they’ll continue to be successful for those agents/brokers who are focused on hard results.

Now, you don’t have to call and ask me. 😉

About Sam DeBord

Sam DeBord is a former management consultant and web developer who writes for for Inman News and REALTOR® Magazine. He is Managing Broker for Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, and 2016 President-Elect of Seattle King County REALTORS®. His team sells Seattle homes, condos, and Bellevue homes.

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