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Archive for local search

Winning Real Estate Clients Outside the Portals

Winning Clients Outside Portals

There’s nothing wrong with real estate portals, but it’s a pain if that’s the only way you can generate leads. You end up tied-in to playing the game their way, at their prices.

The reality is if you focus on building long-term relationships and reputation both online and offline you can win real estate clients outside of the portals. Use them if they’re useful for you, yes, but you don’t have to be beholden to them. Here’s how.

Focus on Geographic Farming

When you farm a specific neighborhood or area, you are building your reputation and brand in that area. As you work with clients, you’ll gain online reviews and referrals that will help you build your business month after month.

If you’re looking for concrete steps to take to establish yourself in a geographic area, consider these strategies.

  • Be in the neighborhood. Do you have a dog? Walk him or her in the neighborhood you’re focused on. Take your kids to play in a local park. Take walks or runs in that neighborhood yourself. The more present you are in the local neighborhood, the more the residents will be used to seeing you and will consider you someone they know and trust.
  • Send postcards. You don’t have to use postcards only when you’ve just listed or just sold a home. Consider postcards, along with Every Door Direct Mail, to be a reliable and affordable way to become known in an area. If you’d like help setting up an EDDM mailing, let us know! We’re experts and we want to help you succeed.
  • Use targeted keywords in your website and in Google Adwords. When you focus on geographic search terms on your website and your blog, you’ll naturally rank higher for folks who are searching for “Anytown USA homes”. You can also do Google Adwords campaigns for those specific geographic keywords.
  • Use Facebook ads. It’s incredible what you can target in Facebook ads. It deserves its own blog post. Most importantly for this article, you can target people in a specific zip code or neighborhood, and you can target people who are likely to buy or sell a home.

Build Relationships in Online Groups

I’m far from being opposed to online marketing, I just think that Realtors® should have the freedom to choose the platform they care to use. You can join community-based Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and more to build real-world relationships online.

Whether you focus on rural real estate or city real estate, there are Facebook groups for almost any city or town. If there’s not a group for the area you want to focus on, create one! You can encourage group members to post about local events, historical moments, and more. With the engagement in the group, you’ll get to “meet” a lot of people in a short amount of time.

Here are some tips for building relationships in online groups:

  • Take advantage of your expertise. Not very many people online are focused on doing things that benefit the consumer. Even portals are looking to grow their business, and pleasing buyers and sellers is secondary to the larger goal. So, consider how you can offer personalized, highly relevant information that helps buyers and sellers in a way other people are not.
  • Have a service mentality. If you enter a group only to sell, you’ll come off very spammy. People will ignore you and you may even get kicked out of the group. Instead, consider how you can be of service to the people in the group. When you build positive relationships based on service, you’ll become the Realtor® they really want to work with.
  • Guard your time. While building relationships always takes time, participating in online communities can take too much. Consider participating only in one group to start with, and set limits on how much time you spend commenting and chatting in the community.

Participate in Community Initiatives

Another way to break free of online portals is to be active and visible in your community. This may mean participating in your chamber of commerce, mentoring high school students, being active in community associations, or sponsoring local 5K or charity events.

When people see you in a positive, non-sales role like participating in community events, you’ll become someone they like and trust. You’ll build your reputation and brand in the community without having to pay huge fees to portals.

Here are some tips for participating in community initiatives:

  • Be seen. Part of the point of being active in the community is getting out of your office. Make sure you’re present at a 5K that you’re sponsoring, rather than just paying to get your name on the sign. When you can shake hands and talk to people, you’ll be building up an asset that no one can take away.
  • Focus your efforts. While it’s nice to do everything for everyone, be sure to stay geographically focused. If you have specific neighborhoods you’re farming, be involved in events in those areas. Don’t worry about turning down an opportunity if it’s not in your geographic focus area.
  • Have fun! Being a Realtor® and building relationships isn’t supposed to be a drag. Be your real self and have fun. Don’t come off like a plastic politician. Let your hair down and have fun participating and sponsoring events!

Using online portals is no problem. Being chained to them is a problem. Use these three techniques to build relationships outside of the big portals, and you’ll have much more freedom and success in your business.

Ready to get those farming postcards? We have a huge selection and they’re easy to customize. Contact us today!

Five Things Your Real Estate Website Must Have

Five Things Your Real Estate Website Must Have

If you leave certain things off of your real estate website, you’re leaving money on the table and daring your leads to go elsewhere.

You may have a beautiful and expensive website, with all the bells and whistles. But if you don’t have the following must-haves, you’re going to have an expensive site that doesn’t perform.

Every Real Estate Website Needs: A Simple Contact Form

Make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you from anywhere on your site at any given time. Don’t make them work! And don’t make them click around too much to get in touch with you.

Use a simple form or sidebar on all your pages as part of your design, but carefully consider what information you need to collect.

“A long contact form can be very overwhelming to look at and scare your potential customer right off your website. Keep the number of fields on your contact forms between 3 and 5 max,” wrote Marvin Russell, Founder of MySiteAuditor and Checkli.

“If your website offers a service, then your contact form shouldn’t try to sell that service. It should only try to get your foot in the door by asking a few basic questions.  NeilPatel.com was able to increase conversions by 26% by removing 1 field from his contact form.”

Every Real Estate Website Needs: Local Listings

This is what many website visitors are here to see. Don’t put too much branding between your visitors and your listings. People may like you, you may be amazing, but they’re here to see houses. So keep your listings fresh, current, and easily accessible.

Use this great article that explains how you can quickly and easily integrate MLS listings onto your site (for free or cheap) by using WordPress plugins.

Every Real Estate Website Needs: An Active Blog

The key word is active.

That can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. This may mean twice a week, or twice a month. The number isn’t that important. The key thing is that you come up with a content schedule and stick to it.

Also, make sure your blogs have real value. Of course, every listing should get it’s own blog and landing page. But make sure your blog contains more. Helpful advice on how to buy a home is always welcome. It also makes you look like an expert, not just a salesperson.

Every Real Estate Website Needs: Local Events

Don’t ignore the value of this. It goes beyond just doing favors for local businesses and clubs. It makes you look like a pillar in the community, and in-touch with everyone. By listing local event on your website, you can become a go-to site for reasons other than your listings, which is great for your brand.

It also helps your search engine optimization (SEO) when these events’ web pages link back to you. Backlinks are SEO gold and what puts you above the other guys in search results.

Every Real Estate Website Needs: A Simple Web Address

Read your website’s web address (URL) over the phone to someone. How slow did you have to read it? Did you have to repeat it? Have you had people type it in wrong? These are all signs your website’s URL is too complicated. It should be easily read out loud and easy to remember.

“Forget about hard-to-spell, long and clever words or anything too complex—unless you want to make it hard for people to remember your URL. Do yourself a favor: dump the cutesy names and don’t use numbers—they won’t help. Best practice? A name with only one possible spelling,” wrote Tom Lowery, entrepreneur, author, corporate training specialist.

So if you’re building a new site, focus your time and money on simple and intuitive contact forms, dynamic listing feeds, a well thought-out blog, local events, and a simple and memorable URL. If you already have a site, review it for these things.

If you have a new URL make sure all your print materials like business cards and brochures have the correct info. If you need to update your print materials, you can easily create your own design online, and make sure your brand resonates.

Revamp Your Real Estate Marketing by Optimizing for Local Search

Local Search Marketing

If someone did a search for “moving into {Your City Name}”, would you be on the first page? Would you show up at all?

According to a recent study done by the National Association of Realtors, approximately 69% of those shopping for homes online began their search with a local search term.

So what is it about local search that’s so great?

And more importantly, how can you apply it to your real estate marketing plan?

Let’s take a closer look.

The Power of Real Estate Marketing and Local Search

Local search is simple – it’s just optimizing your online presence (whether that be on your website, blog, social media, etc.) for a specific location. A lot of local marketing is based on direct mail – like EDDM, for instance – but local search is about optimizing your online presence for a specific neighborhood or city.

For example, as a realtor, basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles would tell you to optimize your website for search terms such as “Real Estate” or “Real Estate for Sale,” and while this is great, it really only just skims the surface. If you want to get real, localized result, you’re going to need to be more specific with the keywords that you choose to target. So instead of just targeting “Real Estate,” try “Real Estate in (your local area),” or even more specifically, “Luxury Homes for Sale in (specific neighborhood) in (your local area).

The general rule of thumb here is that the more specific your target keyword, the smaller your target audience. And while this may seem a bit counterintuitive, remember that someone who is searching for a specific home type in a certain neighborhood is much closer to being ready to make a purchase than someone who is broadly searching for “Real Estate for Sale,” which in turn shortens the length of the sale for you. Focus on small, targeted audiences in order to achieve bigger, quicker results.

How Can You Improve Your Local Search?

So now that you know about local search, what can you do to make your real estate business better in that regard?

  1. Location Specific Blog Posts – Blogging is one of the best ways to target specific keywords for SEO purposes, and the same technique applies to local search. Try writing about your local community, recent homes you’ve sold, or even market trends – just remember to target a specific local keyword.
  2. Write About Community Events – Know about a cool upcoming event in your community? Write about it on your website and share it on social media. Remember to mention the specific neighborhood/location.
  3. Optimize Your Social Media – Speaking of social media, make sure that you list your location on your social media homepages (like Facebook and Twitter). This way, if someone is searching for real estate in your area, they’ll be more likely to end up on your page.
  4. Start a Google My Business Page – Listing your real estate business with Google is practically a must in local search. Doing so allows your business info to pop up when someone searches for your company name or more generally, real estate agents in your area. It’s easy to set up, too, so definitely do this one ASAP.
  5. Ask for Local Reviews – Reviews are always good, but if you can get local customers to review you on sites such as Yelp, new potential clients will be much more likely to find you when searching the web for real estate agents in your area.
  6. Create an Account on Various Real Estate Sites – If you haven’t tried sites such as Trulia and Zillow, you should definitely look into them. Sites like this give you the opportunity to list location specific details, which is always a bonus for bettering your local search.
  7. Try Google AdWords or Facebook Ads – The great thing about both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads is that you can target your ads to reach specific demographics and locations. So if you’re looking to try out some advertising, try creating an ad through one of these services and remember to target your specific location.

As with any real estate marketing plan, the state of local search is always evolving. But with these strategies under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to knocking your local search results out of the park!