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.
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