Archive for October, 2010
Well, to quote Jeff:
The quickest way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and to increase the sales of your products and
services fast is through the power of blogging!
If you are not using blogs as a key component in your marketing strategies, you are losing sales and working way
harder than you need to be.
And if you are using blogs in your marketing efforts, are you getting the
results you deserve?
I really couldn’t have said be better myself.
Even more interesting is this graph by the folks at Hubspot. It shows that through blogging, B2C businesses (yes, that means real estate) see an 88% increase in leads vs those do don’t blog. Do you need any more motivation than that?
I know the graph is a little fuzzy. Click to see it in full size!
Ok, we talk about blogging on this blog all the time. Most often, we’re talking about real estate blogging, but this graph isn’t just about real estate. It’s derived from data from many industries, including real estate. The data is just too strong to ignore. If you blog, you can position yourself as the expert. The blogging will in tern bring you more leads. It’s up to you to convert those leads into deals. We know you can do that!
- Over 70% of online consumers start their search for products, services, and information by typing in what they need on a search engine. You probably can’t afford not introducing your company and yourself to this process (AND an enormous new audience!)
- Most internet users don’t bother clicking past the first couple search results pages (many don’t even bother reading past the first one!) so it’s clear why a good position on the first page is paramount to your success.
- Unlike paying for a banner advertisement or a sponsored listing on a search page, you can’t buy a good position in the search engines. What you can do is invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to target visitors, provide publicity, exposure and revenue.
- While you cannot actually buy the keywords that will optimize your website, it helps to imagine that you are in fact paying for them. This will help you narrow down your list until you have the ones that will most effectively drive traffic to your site and provide the most return on investment.– For example, “BC apartments” might have a TON of global searches that aren’t relevant to a Boston
broker because they could be searches for apartments in British Colombia rather that Boston College.
- When choosing a keyword, you must understand that the more popular the keyword is, the more competitive it will be to achieve a high ranking for it. Typically, very general keywords tend to be more competitive. For instance, “Apartments” is extremely hard to rank for, but “South End Apartments” is much easier to achieve a high ranking for. Take advantage of the free Google Keywords Tool to determine a keyword’s difficulty rating in Local and Global Search Volumes. If you are a local company, place your focus on ranking high in your Local Search Volume and don’t worry about how you rank globally.
- Don’t be afraid to use specific keywords. With the advent of Google Instant, online consumers are naturally becoming more intelligent searchers. The search results morph in real time for each letter typed into the Google search box, so often consumers end up typing in very specific search terms. Search results now will appear and change almost instantly as the keyword phrase in the search box is edited. This will start getting rid of the need to scroll through pages of results; rather consumers will just refine their search and focus on Long Tail Keywords.
- After you determine how competitive a keyword is, you have to figure out how much traffic it will drive to your site. Luckily, there is no need to hire a psychic to predict the success of each keyword.There are two ways to predict the traffic from a keyword:
- Use industry standard keyword research tools such as Overture or WordTracker. These won’t be 100% accurate, but they offer a basic estimation of traffic flow.
- Set up a Google Adwords (pay-per-click) campaign that ties into web analytics. While Pay-Per-Click advertising is not the same as SEO because it is paid for, you can use Adwords to see the exact keywords that were typed in the search engine by a visitor. To start out, make sure to check the setting “broad match” so that you allow a variety of keywords to prompt your advertisement. While you have to pay for this service (you can rank for the first paid advertisement slot within 24 hours) it will help you learn about the keywords that will benefit your website.
- After you pick your keywords, it is important to make sure you aren’t just shoving keywords into your site without good content. Even if your site is easily found by search engine robots, you must have unique, correct, specific, and appealing content in order to entice online consumers to actually stay on your site. Updating your content often is also important; if you regularly update your website, you are giving consumers more reason to return. One of the best ways to ensure new content is to blog. We recommend blogging at least twice a week to keep a constant stream of content flowing. Search engine robots will also visit your site more often as it is updated, leading to a quicker index in the future.
- One of the hardest parts of SEO is acquiring incoming links. The only way you can make sure that other people link your website is to have good content. This is something that is sort of out of your hands, but by networking and blogging, you can often acquire incoming links. It is important to create social media accounts on popular websites and add links to your website on your profiles. Good websites to make accounts on are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is also helpful to add your website to directories like Yelp, Google Places, Yp.com and industry-specific directories like Angieslist.com. You should also register your website’s blog on blog directories like Blogcatalogue.com.
- Do not try to fool the search engines. While it may seem appealing and easy just to stuff your website full of keywords to up your traffic, it is the easiest way to get your website penalized or even banned from search engines completely. Search engines need their results to reflect accurately on content, not on link farms, alt text spamming, cloaking or keyword stuffing.
With the increasing use of “instant” devices, it’s no surprise that yet another tool in line with IMs and texting has emerged. This new tool is the “Quick Response”, or QR code. We recently had a client incorporate QR codes into their listings on their real estate website design, and we wanted to write up a quick post on what exactly QR codes are, and how they can be applied to real estate marketing.
How do QR codes work? Currently, a person with a cellphone with QR enabled code-reader software can take a picture of a QR code on their phone, and will be taken to the website for that QR code. Pretty cool, huh?
In order to benefit from the codes, the target customer must have a web-enabled phone: a trend that is becoming more common and continues to increase as time passes. Then the user can take a picture of the QR code, and be brought to the specific cellphone-optimized web page that the company’s web marketer wants them to see. These codes can also be anywhere – they are in print ads, brochures, outdoor advertising, etc.
For a retail example, Ralph Lauren is using QR codes to direct their buyers to a website for taking clothing orders directly from their phones. That’s great, but how can we use this tool in real estate?
There’s actually some innovative marketing going on in the real estate field. One example is having QR Code Lawn Signs, which not only has a very high “cool factor”, but also give the potential lead easy access to a real estate website with color photos and full detail listing information. You also do not have to have the sign at the home for sale: you could place to code anywhere, such as in at a local home show or open house – and your website listing will get traffic .Remember, you can also have a code for your personal website as well by placing it in your advertisements or business cards.
So let’s put on our real estate internet marketing caps and think about the business potential. The number of users that will have phones capable of using the codes will jump dramatically in the next year or so, and many businesses could see more targeted traffic to custom listing sites from the QR codes. Start to consider now whether creating a QR code plan would work best for you, your business, and your potentials.