Ever wonder why some real estate professionals jump to the head of the pack, while the rest sit back with unanswered questions and empty calendars? The most effective real estate agents understand an important principle in today’s market: a business will perform best tomorrow through effective online marketing today.
Minimizing marketing costs and extending market exposure are areas where real estate professionals can really excel. Real estate agents understand what buyers, sellers and investors want and why- and they may even be experts in the art of the close – but what separates those at the head of the pack is becoming an expert on how to get there. In today’s modern marketplace, where the power has clearly shifted to the consumer, being ‘findable’ and accessible to all potential and current clients at every available opportunity is the real leg up.
Let’s face it, the process and commitment of leveraging tools available online is no longer one to procrastinate or underestimate. It’s a necessity of staying in the game.
Newspapers, circulars and penny savers are traditional advertising sources brokers and agents are familiar with. Real estate pros today need to think about advertising with online newspapers and industry directories, free online classified ad sites like Craigslist, real estate blogs, personal websites and social media channels. Deploying a broad online strategy with a focused message allows Realtors (and any entrepreneur really) to advertise their listings to as many people, for as little cost, as possible.
Advertising online effectively however calls for some insider knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). And the reality is that Real estate SEO and real estate SEM (Search Engine Marketing or Paid Search) today require more complex strategies than simple keyword inclusion.
Keyword density is important in enhancing your real estate search engine relevance. This keyword repetition can put a real estate website or blog on the map, but it’s important not to over-saturate (nobody, search engines included, wants to read text in which every other term is the same). Once you have created content in your own words that conveys your message, you need to make sure it reaches as many people as possible, and with a consistent message.
For Realtors, personal branding is, (in the age of social media), essential to establishing a stronger and more viable business presence. A brand is synonymous with quality in business. Put simply, a brand is a promise. And your personal brand is your unique market perspective, your value contribution to your clients. You need to establish yourself as a credible expert in the industry to gain your clients’ confidence, and spreading your message through social media can be a highly effective means to this end.
Real estate professionals should focus foremost on using social media marketing to access a greater audience and communicate with other like-minded professionals.
The goal should be to build an infrastructure of “friends”, and eventually, a community of your own. While Google+ is less business-promotion friendly for now, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Foursquare each offer real estate agents the opportunity to get the word out about their businesses routinely and conveniently from a smartphone, tablet, or any other device that can connect to the internet. Reaching this larger audience frequently, conveniently, and at a very low cost is the key to growing your sphere of influence and seeing real results.
For example, LinkedIn is still less popular than other mainstream social media platforms, but it can allow for very targeted prospecting in a professional, no BS environment. LinkedIn’s dovetail networking allows members to access other like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds, work history and interests, and to promote themselves to the job market. Once considered only a platform for individuals to connect with potential employers, it has evolved into a valuable channel for prospecting, product positioning, personal branding and viral marketing.
With so much to learn and adopt and so little time to do it- find a few avenues of modern marketing to get passionate about and hopefully it will feel a little less like a strain and more like a wheel in a well-oiled machine. If you’re a Realtor in today’s marketplace, you can choose to overlook new marketing mediums as trends that will phase, but chances are you are also choosing to be left behind.