Following in the footsteps of other "small business aggregators," (e.g., Yellow Pages publishers, Web hosts, Newspapers) real estate vertical HomeGain.com has launched a simplified search engine marketing program for local brokers and agents.
Dubbed "SearchMaximizer," it will encompass Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL, among other sites. HomeGain currently has a wide variety of marketing and lead-generation programs and SeachMaximizer is a recognition of the increasing role that search engines are playing in the home-buying process.
According to HomeGain, roughly 77 percent of home buyers begin their search on the Internet. The California Association of Realtors conducted a consumer survey in early 2004 in which it found the following:
- 56 percent used Internet as a €œsignificant part€ of their home buying process
- 70 percent used Internet to preview property
- 81 percent used Internet to locate/investigate a specific property
- 85 percent used Internet to locate a specific agent
But for the widespread usage of the Internet to find and preview homes, local brokers and agents would not be as compelled to be online in front of those potential homebuyers. Accordingly, real estate is reflective of the direct connection between consumer and SME advertiser behavior.