Placester makes it easy for real estate professionals to build a website. While this sounds good, does the product live up to the claim? Read on to find out what we think.
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- What Is Placester?
- Placester Sites in Action
- Customer Support
- Our Take
What Is Placester?
Looking to build a website for your real estate business but don’t want the hassle of working with a web designer? Then you may want to take a closer look at Placester.
Placester is a company that builds IDX websites to help you capture and attract more leads. They stand out from the competition by offering simple websites with the click of a button.
When you sign up with Placester, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create a beautiful website that will drive traffic your way. Here’s what you need to know about the services Placester has to offer in order to decide if it’s the right solution for you.
While Placester offers many benefits, we think there are a few standout features, which we’ll highlight in the section below.
The main reason you’d want to use an IDX website is that it’s turnkey. Traditionally, you’d need to hire a web developer to custom build your website.
With Placester, simply buy a domain, pick a template, and let them do the rest. You can realistically have a website up and running in as little as a few hours.
All websites are mobile optimized and responsive, meaning they are built to adapt to both computers and mobile electronic devices.
This is extremely important because Google ranks propertly optimized sites higher than those that aren’t, which often is the difference between you getting the lead or not.
Let’s face it — it’s the Digital Age and most people begin their home search from their laptop or computer. And you want to have the best chance of showing up in these search results.
With IDX functionality, you’re able to display 99% of MLS listings on your website. From what we’ve seen, this is the new standard for websites. Chances are that if a prospect finds your site and doesn’t see any listings, they’ll leave.
The point is, you want to organically reach as many prospects as possible, and integrating property listings into your site gives you a chance at being the go-to source for local property listings.
Ultimately, this keeps you top of mind for someone when they end up needing an agent to work with.
Search Engine Optimization is the art of building and promoting content with the goal of showing up in a user’s internet search history.
For example, if a prospect is searching for information on the Bay Hill, Orlando neighborhood, you can create “hyper-local” content to match that search.
Placester’s content library makes it easy to build blog posts (with a little tweaking of course) to help showcase various technical and complicated topics.
Social Media Marketing
With the social media scheduling tool, you can pre-write blog posts, listings, and other shareable content. Then, the scheduler will publish it to your social media accounts automatically.
According to Hubspot, 78% of people use their Facebook to find interesting content, and you can capitalize on this. Simply source content from the library, put it in the scheduler, and get back to work. It’s that easy.
Placester makes it easy to capture leads by offering a number of landing pages to include on your website. While they don’t include any mortgage calculators or CMAs, they do let you build forms.
What you can do is use the drag-and-drop builder to create forms prompting users to give you their information. Say you’ve created a digital guide to selling a home.
You can build a popup that appears during a search prompting them to input their information. In return, they’ll get your guide. By doing this, you’re building a funnel to collect information.
It’s one things to get leads, but it’s another to effectively utilize them. After all, what’s the point of spending money on lead generation if you’re going to let them sit idle?
Placester understands this, and includes an integrated CRM. Using this tool, you can easily manage your contact with prospects. They can be grouped, tagged, and put into drip campaigns.
With the click of a mouse, send one or all of your contacts and email. Maybe you’ve dropped the price of a house, or listed another. Let them know.
After all, you already know about each prospect’s preferences based on the information they submitted to you on the lead generation pages.
Open House Sign In App
We’ve written extensively about the need to include an open house sign in sheet during your showings. Placester includes a mobile sign in app to do just this. They really have thought of everything.
The RealSatisfied Agent PRO is an interesting real estate agent review tool offered by Placester. It automatically sends surveys to clients and creates a review aggregator you can share on your website.
Drawbacks to the Platform
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to using Placester. We think it could use some improvement in:
Lack of Customization
As we previously mentioned, not having a lot of options available to customize your website with Placester doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
But it’s important to mention that you won’t find a lot of options when it comes to fonts, color schemes, and logos for your website.
It simply doesn’t allow you the freedom to make a completely customized website. So, even though the website will look nice, it’s not going to look a lot different than any other Placester-based website.
The setup fee charged by Placester can be are quite hefty. We’ll explore their pricing structure in depth in a bit but suffice to say that the Premium and Team plans do charge a steep set up fee.
Limited Tools for Collaboration
If you want to use their Team plan, then you can create groups of agents in the CRM and lead management modules, but the options available are still not as good as some of Placester’s competitors.
Plans and Pricing
Placester offers different pricing plans for realtors and non-realtors. However, for the sake of our base pricing, we’ll focus on non-realtors. In the fine print below, we’ll outline what NAR members can expect to save.
Placester’s features are staggered across the plans, so it’s important to choose the one that has everything you want in it.
The more advanced features are, of course, only available in the more expensive package or may mean you have to pay extra for an add-on.
The Agent Pro Plan — $125/month
This package provides you with everything you need to create and launch a real estate website. It includes:
- MLS/IDX integrations
- Refined search features
- Pre-filtered listing features based on criteria you select
- Map interfaces to help clients browse easier
- Customizable landing pages
- Home valuation pages
- Customizable site templates
- Built-in blogging feature
- RealSatisfed Agent PRO
- Email and phone support
The cost of this plan is $125 per user per month with a $125 set up fee if you pay monthly. If you pay yearly, they’ll waive the set-up fee and charge you $1500 per user for the year.
If you’re a member of NAR, then it’s just $99 per user per month with a $99 set-up fee and $1,188 per user per year with no set-up fee.
The Broker Pro Plan — $250/month
You get everything included in the Agent Pro plan with the Broker Pro plan, but it adds on agent management tools for up to 10 different users and lead distribution tools that can help you manage your leads.
This is the plan you want if you have a team of people that need to collaborate in order to help your business run a little smoother.
For Non-NAR members, this plan costs $250 per user per month with a $250 set-up fee. If you pay yearly, then it’s $3000 per year per user and the set-up fee is waived.
For NAR members, you’ll pay $199 per user per month with a $199 set-up fee or $2,388 per user per year with no set-up fee.
You can customize the services you get through Placester with additional add-ons to your plan.
For the Agent Pro plan you can add:
- Content library access for $50 per month per user that allows you to choose two article per month from their library to add to the blog on your website
- Open Home Pro Premium for $25 per month per user
- Content credits for $50 per month per user that allows two more monthly credits to the content library for use on your website
- Data migration that allows Placester to import data from your old website to your new one for a custom price
For the Broker Pro plan you can add any of the add-ons mentioned above at the same price point but also the ability to add on 10 more agent accounts for $50 per month.
Placester offers a free demo to help you decide if it’s right for you. Just go to their website to find out more about it.
Free for Realtors
One of the best things about Placester is that if you’re a member of the National Association of Realtors, you can get a Placester site for free. It’s their basic site plan, but that’s still a nice feather in your web presence cap.
This may vary by association, so check with your local NAR contact to see if you’re included in this promotion. If anything, you’ll get a discount, as we highlighted above.
Placester Websites in Action
A lot of real estate businesses use Placester for website creation. If you’re interested in getting your eyeballs on what your website can look like with Placester, here are some examples.
The Placester website created by Perdue Properties highlights the beauty of the island of Kauai. They also include some interesting animations to help engage visitors.
It also uses beautiful images that serve to make this island paradise even more appealing – if that’s possible! Notice their interactive map feature and client testimonials section.
Liza King Luxury Lifestyles
Liza King uses Placester’s Plymouth template as a home for her custom logo and pre-filtered search pages on her luxury real estate website. Check out the power of Placester’s templates on this site!
This website was created using Placester’s Highland template. Notice how it provides visitors with an easy way to find the listings and content they need right from the start.
This site also runs a blog with helpful homeowner tips, something that can help to drive traffic to a website.
Placester’s Customer Support
Signing up for any product may leave you with questions from time to time. Placester has you covered with all kinds of customer support tools available through their website.
You can use their Real Estate Marketing Academy to find tutorials, webinars, and e-books geared toward helping you to expand your marketing knowledge.
They also have a ton of articles available to help guide you through the most common processes and issues associated with using Placester.
The helpful support staff are also available by phone or email when an issue arises. We like that they have a chat feature on the site to instantly reach an agent.
Placester is more than just a website-building platform, it’s really an online real estate business solution that helps real estate professionals establish themselves.
With the plans and add-ons you have to choose from, you can build an attractive website without a lot of effort on your part.
And though you don’t have much control over the look of your website due to its limited selection of templates, the functionality of your website makes up for it.
If you have a healthy budget and are ready to take your real estate website, CRM, and marketing campaigns to a new level, then Placester is worth looking into.
Should You Use Placester?
If you’re seeking a simple website without any special landing pages, this product offers a good bang for the buck. But if you already have a website and CRM, you should look at IDX Broker.
Their simple plugin offers IDX functionality for existing websites through use of a WordPress plugin. Pricing is reasonable and the product is solid.