In case you were under a rock, the Nation Association of Realtors mid-year convention is happening right now down in DC. I’m not there, for a few reasons which I’ll explain below, but I decided to look into how the convention is helping real estate agents and brokers market their services and listings using SEO, SEM, or really online advertising media at all. Or, to ask a broader question, how important does the NAR think this is?
So, I looked at the schedule for the conference, which spans 5 days. Most events in the calender are 1 – 2 hours long and there are about 50 events each day. So, how many of these events are about SEO? As far as I can tell, none! Now, I didn’t read the description of every event, for example I didn’t read what’s going to be discussed at the South Dakota Customized Hill Briefing, but I think it’s safe to assume that SEO isn’t on the agenda.
Yes ladies and gents, that’s it. Search Engine marketing doesn’t seem to be a priority. It’s not on the agenda. There are a few (5) sessions that seem to have something to do with online marketing. Here’s a snippet from one of the session descriptions:
“Identify which online ads outperformed the competition including: foreclosure ads, luxury home marketing, and landing pages that cause a consumer to give up their contact information. Discover which brokers are getting the best results and see what they changed to drive in more leads.”
Whomever wrote this description isn’t an online marketing professional, or I should say, isn’t a very good one. If you were going to compare online ads, then you should be talking PPC and, if you’re really looking to waste money, PPM, but I don’t think this session will get to that level of education.
I’ve been to enough of these conferences to know. What’s going on is a beginners course, or really, the NAR has invited some members, Realtors just like the rest of the conference attendees, who have taken initiative and started to leverage online marketing, to sit on a panel and talk about their relative succes. No one is going to leave these sessions with anything really actionable. Oh, well maybe if you go to one of the sponsored sessions by a big vendor selling cheap useless solutions, you’ll have an “actionable” ordering form.
Here’s my recommendation: Don’t go to NAR. Spend 5 days of your time and the grand or two of your GCI that the trip is costing you working on your business including your website, your blog, working your network, and signing some listing agreements. It’ll serve you a lot better. In short, don’t waste your time.
Lastly, why aren’t we down at NAR, because the big guys who attend NAR aren’t spending, they’re going bankrupt. The middle market, are spending, and they’re not there. I did hear on NPR that 1000 realtors showed up to hear Alan Greenspan speak yesterday – since he did such a bang up job keeping interest rates low and precipitating the sub prime mortgage crisis. I wonder if anyone threw rotten fruit at him?
Oh and here is my favorite session (Said with my tongue pressed against my cheek): The Power of You: Professional Development Forum - This is a self defense class, taught by an expert, on how to prepare and protect yourself from the hazards of showings, open houses, and unruly mortgage brokers. Good thing that you flew to DC to take a $20 course that they offer at the YMCA.
Thanks for reading.