Archive for June, 2009

10 things you should know about blogging

Are you looking for ways to take your real estate blog to the next level? Over time we’ve written a lot about blogs and how to blog for your business. As a matter of fact, we consider it to be fundamental to a successful online marketing strategy. It’s a way to connect to and communicate with your readers and followers, generate leads, and improve your organic search results (and since you’re reading this, then I assume you are trying to achieve just that).

Without further ado, here are is our advice about blogging best practices:

  1. SEO 101 – How to SEO my Real Estate Blog
  2. SEO 101: Blogging Part 2
  3. Answers to common Real Estate blogging questions
  4. Starting a conversation
  5. SEO Army – A Real Estate office working together
  6. How long should my blog post be?
  7. Redesigning your blog? Keep SEO in mind
  8. Top 10 sites to submit your blog
  9. 10 ways to optimize your blog for Real Estate SEO
  10. Blogging instead of spending
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Have you seen this?

Here’s a little something I bet most Googlers probably don’t know about.

Conduct a search in Google…say for “real estate seo” then select “show options”. That will open an entire panel of goodies.

real-estate-seo-search

Within that left hand column, towards the bottom, is an option to choose search via the infamous “wonder wheel”. Select that! Now watch…this is really cool. To the right of the wonder wheel are still your search results for “real estate seo” and then you can choose any of the options the wheel presents; realtor marketing, real estate search engine optimization etc.

real-estate-seo-wonder-wheel

With each new choice your search results will update and allow you to quickly drill down to something new, maybe even something you had not thought of before.

Quick tip: this fun little tool can come in handy when doing keyword research.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

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You can have your very own customized blog

We recently featured a blog post on how to optimize your real estate blog for SEO in 10 steps. This is your personal tour inside Boston Logic’s ONE System—showing you how customizing your blog is essential to successful real estate marketing online.

Previously we took you inside WordPress as a blog platform. A platform that we highly recommend for blogging. The only thing better than WordPress for search engine optimization is a customized solution.  It just so happens that we offer such a platform. The blog is only one component of the Boston Logic ONE System, a comprehensive real estate website platform, but it is a crucial component for SEO.

It is important to customize your blog from head to toe to represent your business. Everything from the blog name, URL, titles, meta tags, images, content, links and categories should reflect how you want to have your business represented online. For example, this blog (Real Estate SEO by Boston Logic) talks about search engine optimization for real estate. The URL www.realestateseo1.com and title ‘Real Estate SEO, Our SEO blog for Real Estate Brokers, Agents, and Developers’ makes it clear you won’t be reading about dog haircuts. Notice also that you are reading a post about customizing your blog and how it’s the key to success in real estate online. All of these items reflect Boston Logic’s mission to provide market leading tools and services that enable real estate professionals to acquire, retain, and develop clients–go figure.

Here’s a bare bones example of what Boston Logic’s blog application offers (see image below). In addition to giving you all the great blogging features that a mainstream platform (like WordPress) provides, the ONE System makes it easy for your readers to find their way to the property search–the part of your website where you ultimately want all traffic to go. By having the option of a static “quick search” tool on each page of the site  (including your blog), you gently  guide visitors to your listings.

boston-logic-custom-blog

Cabot and Company, a Boston Real Estate company recently had their website redesigned by Boston Logic and are using our online marketing – SEO services. As part of our SEO services we recommended our customized blog platform and all it has to offer. Joseph Palermino, a managing partner at the company, is now a regular blogger and to his surprise, a really good and engaging writer.

sample-real-estate-blog
Our recommendation to Cabot and Company and others is–learn your blogging platform and use it well. Write as often as you can and have fun with it – or find someone to do it for you. Our clients consistently see increased traffic and visitor retention by writing new posts and keeping loyal readers coming back for more…and you can too!

PS: here are a few more Boston based real estate companies that use the Boston Logic blogging platform;

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Making some good points about Real Estate Marketing

So, every once in a while, I read an article that makes some great points.

Mike Parker, who I’d never heard of before, wrote an article for Broker/Agent Social network and it touches on a lot of good facts and points. The web address and a link to the article are below.

The article is entitled Traditional Agents Earn $36,700 Annually; Internet Agents Earn $100,000+ Annually. It’s an attention getting name for sure. The article goes on to tell how real estate agents have a lot of trouble existing solely on the money they make from being in the real estate biz. That is, accept for the folks who have embraced the internet.

Now, I don’t agree with everything Mike said. Intelligent and reasonable folks can disagree. That’s fine. But I’m going to highlight some of his points and I also want to look at some of the comments he received.

The best part of the article is that Mike tells us that the average “Internet Agent” makes more than $100,000 per year. Now, I’m not sure that the numbers are quite that high, but let’s assume that the Internet Agent does make a lot more than the average agent. Who is this agent? Well, they get 70% of their leads online. They sell more than one home each month. And lastly – and I don’t really agree with this statement – Mike tells us that they have a positive outlook for the future because, “There are no economic downturns online.” That last quote is not completely true. That said, there’s a reason why we’re seeing Boston Logic’s real estate clients growing in a down market. The reason is online marketing: SEO, SEM, and social media. A general embracing of online strategies to succeed in real estate marketing.

Mike tells us that the AVERAGE Real Estate agent doesn’t get many leads from their website. Well, regular readers of our blog will tell you that we’re not surprised to hear that at all. In one of the comments, a reader says that they have a website and haven’t seen results. Again, no surprise. Mike’s comment in response is really quite spot on. Mike says that it’s likely that the strategy wasn’t implemented properly. Just having a website isn’t nearly enough. Yes, you need to invest in online marketing. Yes, it will cost you money. The Real Estate brokerage business is like any other, you have to invest money to make money.

Next, Mike makes a great point saying that you need professional Real Estate SEO help. He says, “…let someone manage a site built just for you that produces these leads, and that site must employ the best in REAL SEO…” I’m not sure what he means by Real SEO? I’ll assume he means white hat techniques that won’t get you banned from the search engine results pages. Of course, Mike is right on the money. You probably need a professional and you need to have a site that’s build just for you that produces leads. Not some cookie cutter template site. Read our Snake Oil category to learn who not to buy from.

Now, it’s very important that you remember a few things. In order to succeed online – in order to see a return on your investment – you’re going to need a site that gets visitor traffic, you’re going to need a site that generates leads, and you’re going to need to follow up with those leads. I think we’ve posted about a dozen times on just those topics. Here are some recent posts that back up just what the stats from NAR tell us:

Here’s how you can get to Mike’s Article:
http://www.brokeragentsocial.com/article.php?article_id=364

Thanks for reading.

It’s not 1989 any more

Do you remember the world 20 years ago? No computers on desks at work. No email. No Internet. Forget about Google (started just 12 years ago) and social media was a gathering of newspaper reporters.  :O)

Please name for me 1 thing that you do in the same way that you did back in 1980. Just one thing that’s done in the same way. Something that hasn’t been affected by technology, made faster, or eliminated altogether? Is there anything at all that’s the same?

Do you communicate the same way you did back in 1989? The same phone? The same typewriter? Has your job been changed by technology? Of course it has. If it has not, you’re probably a painter. Even if you’re a painter, I’m sure the way you sell your painting has probably changed. Unless you’re that guy on the street corner selling your art, and I suspect, if you’re reading this post, that’s not you.

What about your marketing campaign, are you marketing the same way you were in 1989? If you said yes, then you need to wake up!

Best practices in real estate marketing have changed a lot. The unfortunate fact is that lots of real estate agents are marketing themselves and their services in the same way they always have. If the only significant affect of technology to your marketing has been the way you generate listing sheets, it’s time to get with it.

The really shocking thing is that there are lots of BIG real estate firms that still haven’t embraced the internet. They’re not leveraging SEO or PPC or social media. If they are, it’s a small percentage of their marketing budget.

Developers are some of the biggest culprits out there, or I should say, it’s the marketing firms that work with developers. These guys are spending a lot of money – I’m talking about hundred of thousands or often millions of dollars – on the same media and sales methods that they used in 1989. I invite you to look at the marketing budget for a development in your area. If you live in NYC or maybe LA, then this might not be as true, but just look at where they’re spending their money. What do you see?

Very often you’ll find large print media budgets in marquis local newspapers, the same papers who are dying because of drastically reduced circulation. You’ll find huge budgets on branding firms to design expensive brochures and folders filled with highly designed collateral. There will be special attention paid to press releases (ok, that’s a little better) and flowers for the model unit. Even with all of this spending, the real estate marketing firm that reps the place is probably still taking a full split.

If you find a website on that budget, you probably won’t find much online marketing to support it. An email marketing plan? A SEO retainer with a good SEO firm? A PPC ad buy? A CRM system? Is any of this on there and does that budget rival the print budget? I doubt it. Have they invested in a good CRM system for the sales center or model unit staff? Is technology going to help them sell the units in inventory any faster? If not then you know as well as I do that an opportunity is being missed.

OK, for you analysts out there, I know what your comment is going to be before I even ask. You want to know why a budget should be allocated. Or, maybe the question is not why there needs to be an online marketing budget, but is it actually a better investment? The answer is unequivocally yes. We’ve done the math for many projects and over many years. SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, the online marketing 4 some, you might say, are by far more cost effective marketing investments for real estate marketing.

If, by chance, that budget you’re examining does have some online marketing on there and leads are, by chance, being associated with media buys or sources, do the math. Calculate the cost/lead and you’ll find that the online leads generated are costing half if not less than half of the leads from traditional media.

So, please ask yourself again. Am I using the same real estate marketing methods that I was 20 years ago? If you are, it’s time to innovate.

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