Home buyers and sellers now head online first when they have questions, want to learn more about their local market, or research a market in which they intend to buy. This makes online marketing a necessity for any agent who wants to excel in today’s real estate environment. Agents must establish an online presence if they want to stand out to potential clients.
As a 28-year veteran in this industry, and a perennial top producer in my local and regional markets, I’ve developed a robust online marketing plan. But, if you’re just getting started online, or aren’t finding success, here are five things you should prioritize as you expand your online marketing efforts.
Priority #1: Blog
A blog is one of the easiest ways to connect with an audience online. The more useful information you contribute to your buyer and seller audience through your blog, the more they will think of you as a go-to resource for everything real estate–related. When the time comes for them to buy or sell a home, your name will be the first they think of. The best agents today manage blogs that people want to read, offering information that readers can rely on.
You can blog on pretty much anything, including local news, real estate basics, current market trends, local events and more. You are only limited by your imagination. Make sure to infuse the blog with your personality and enough valuable information to attract readers.
Your blog is a great way for people to get a feel for what working with you will be like. The better the blog, the more likely readers are to come back and keep reading. They are also more likely to recommend it to friends and others that are also searching for real estate information. Here is an example of some of my articles featured on Massachusetts Real Estate Exposure. You will notice there’s a wide range of topics that would appeal to a national audience.
If I was starting my career over again as a real estate agent and wanted to make a quick splash in the industry, I would start a real estate blog. There is nothing that will make you visible online quicker than having a well indexed blog. Take a look at three long-time agents explaining why having a real estate blog is essential to your visibility in an online world.
Priority #2: Create Community Pages
Another effective online marketing tool every agent should employ is real estate community pages. Featuring community pages on your website draws visitors that are looking for information on specific areas or neighborhoods, and there is a good chance that you have a lot of quality information about the communities you work in.
By sharing this information through community pages, including topics like community history, neighborhoods, housing supply, local attractions, and commuting options, you can easily attract visitors to your site. The more visitors you have looking at your community pages, the more likely you are to attract clients interested in buying or selling real estate. If you do an exceptional job creating a community page, and then promoting it well, you stand a very good chance of expanding your local reach exponentially.
Community pages are also very shareable. If you develop dependable resources on your website for each community you work in, people will share them with others who want to learn about the area. Once they visit your site for the community page, then they may start exploring the blog, your listings, and maybe even contact you for assistance in buying or selling a home.
Not sure exactly how your community page should look like? Here is an example of a page I created that covers real estate in Westborough, Massachusetts. If you were doing research on Westborough, wouldn’t this be a helpful place to start? How likely do you think it would be for a consumer to pick up the phone and ask for your real estate services? If you are thinking very likely, you are correct!
Priority #3: Use Social Media
Social media can help you improve the visibility of your site and your content. The most popular channels used by agents are the same ones you hear about all the time: Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can always place buttons for likes and such on your content pages, but you will also need to become actively involved in these platforms if you hope to get the most out of them.
Unfortunately, most real estate agents think “promotion” when using social media and this is why they get no traction. What real estate agents seem to forget is that social media is about being “social.”
You have to remember that people don’t want to be sold on social media sites. Blasting your listings out across these networks does not cause people to pick up the phone and want to hire you. Exceptionally helpful information that nurtures them through your sales funnel, on the other hand, does.
Effective real estate social media marketing takes trial and error. While you can encourage people to like your blog and get real traction, you will need to participate on the sites and profiles of others, including others in your industry and others that are in industries related to yours. Using nice interior design pictures from another user on Pinterest, or participating in conversations on Facebook for new home buyers, are examples of participation. Make yourself a helpful, informative member of the community to get maximum traction.
Priority #4: Learn the Basics of SEO
You want Google to lead internet searchers to your doorstep, but it can only help you if you optimize your site and your content. You need to understand what keywords people are using when they are looking for content like yours, and you will need to include those keywords in your work. You can also spend some time researching popular keywords, and attempt to create content tailored to those search terms.
Either way, you are doing what you can to appeal to search engines and attract traffic to your site. Also, make sure to title your posts appropriately and add meta descriptions to each blog post and piece of content. Having a basic understanding of both on-site and off-site SEO is very important. You can have the best site going, but if nobody finds you in search it won’t get you very far.
You can get quite in-depth when it comes to optimizing your site for search engines like Google, and, quite frankly, you should be! Plenty of popular sites learn the basics and use them, but the key focus should still be on producing the best possible content. Visitors may find your site from a search engine, but they will stay because of the quality of your content.
Priority #5: Create a Content Marketing Plan
Creating great content is only half the battle. You also have to figure out ways to get that content in front of a bigger audience. You also need to figure out a way to keep up a steady stream of content, even if you don’t have time to write it all yourself. While your blog and community pages are a good start, you will need to accumulate more content than you reasonably have time to create on your own.
There are sites that you can use to help you curate content and get it out to a larger audience. Sites like Scoop.it, Storify, and Bundlr all allow you to gather content quickly and easily from a variety of sources. These are additional places to share content and reach a different set of eyeballs that you otherwise might not reach. With easy-to-use interfaces and a social network quality all their own, these platforms allow you to focus on bringing together a steady stream of relevant content for your audience. You can also share that content over all the major social media channels, and among other users of each site.
Your plan for marketing your content may need to be adjusted as you test different ideas. What works for one person may not work for you, so be open to trying new things and changing when something isn’t working. If you are like me, then you will want to have in your arsenal the most content marketing sites for real estate agents possible. Work each of these channels to see which you enjoy most, and then consistently build your content within them.
By: Bill Gassett
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