Now, before you get offended, rest assured that we’re not here to bash the noble profession that is Real Estate. And yes, we mean that sincerely. As a Realtor, you possess the unique ability to make a dream come true, to connect hard-working men and women with their dream of homeownership. That’s huge. And if you and your firm are good at what you do, the act of getting more prospective clients in front of you should be prioritized immediately.
So, what does this mean? After all, most buyers contact a realtor as a result of seeing a home that they’re interested in learning more about. That’s what personalized lawn signage is for. In fact, that method of Real Estate marketing (familiarity through signage) had always worked exceptionally well until the early 2000’s. It even put you in contact with sellers and combined with tools like the Yellow & White pages, you never seemed to miss a customer.
Now, consider the impact of today’s online marketing strategies. Whether through the ease and accessibility provided by social media, a well-designed website or through the functionality of digital sales tools, it seems reasonable to say that realtors of the past had probably been limited in terms of their own success. Better customer-centric tools mean fewer demands on the Realtor, and with fewer demands, one can provide more hands-on service and work on converting more clients. By default, today’s realtors have better Real Estate Marketing tools with which to achieve success.
That said, are you making the most of what digital marketing services have to offer, or simply using the tools you know are available to you?
Take a Cue from the Food Industry
It’s been about twenty years since programming on The Food Network or cuisine-related fare took over both network and cable television. From that point on, chefs, cooks, and bakers had become ‘the new rockstars’, whether you were talking about Gordon Ramsay or the late Anthony Bourdain. As a result, enrollment in culinary programs multiplied exponentially, and fans were willing to wait in endless lines to experience the fare being offered up by their heroes.
Is it any surprise that house-flipping and restoration programming followed suit? High-pressure and big payoffs make it must-see viewing, and every series from ‘Property Brothers’ to ‘Fixer Upper’ have become family favorites. Even young children have found themselves learning about equity and how to facilitate home improvement projects of every scale. Such programming has reinvigorated interest in real estate, trade schools, even the mortgage industry. As a realtor, it becomes more important than ever to utilize technology, in order to meet the evolving expectations of clients and enthusiasts who are ever-thirsty for information and results.
Embracing a digital marketing strategy sooner rather than later is key. But you might be largely unfamiliar with terms like ‘responsive web design’ and ‘SEO’. And that’s okay since digital marketing professionals are less-than-likely to have your level of knowledge in home-buying. That said, let’s touch on the steps you should be taken to ensure that your business stays competitive against the growing number of entrepreneurs looking to chip away at your market share.
More than Just a Pretty Face
That’s right. Why settle for a glamour shot and phone number on a sign, when you have a means of making your services even more accessible to more customers (all while reducing the demands placed upon your time)? Well, enlisting the help of a skilled partner is a great first step, but one of the things they’ll help is with the refinement of your online presence.
This begins with the creation of an attractive, functional and user-friendly website. Sure, we opened with ‘attractive,’ but while cosmetic appeal is certainly important in terms of branding and differentiating yourself from your competitors, it is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Have you ever found yourself on a website that was difficult to navigate, or led to dead ends devoid of any content or value? If so, how quickly did you discount that site as a credible resource? Without proper functionality, a website is little more than a time-killer. Even more so, if the website is trite, or doesn’t provide the informational resource to meet the visitor’s needs. As a realtor, you understand the breadth of information that proves valuable to a prospective home buyer.
And referring back to our mention of “responsive web design,” it’s crucial that today’s websites are just as appealing on smartphones and tablets, as they are on laptops and desktops. Accept nothing less.
At the Forefront
But even an amazing website is pointless if no-one can find their way to it. Unless a prospective client has been referred directly to your site, it is far more likely that they would find you through an online search. With that in mind, you should ask yourself whether or not you’re taking the steps necessary to improve your standing in any search results.
Enter “search engine optimization” (or S.E.O.) a process which empowers a website to improve its ranking within any online search. With the understanding that most people in search of a resource will limit themselves to the first page of search results, you could be missing out on countless opportunities to increase revenue if your site falls to page two (or beyond). This is especially true if a direct competitor of yours manages to rank higher
You must have known this was coming. While a website is informative and provides an initial point of contact, social media platforms allow for real-time interaction with current and prospective clients. And what better industry than Real Estate to employ a social media strategy, since it can create instant accessibility and familiarity? Be warned, though…effective social media use is a time-consuming venture.
Another crucial consideration of any digital marketing strategy is proper maintenance of your online reputation. In a world where you can be publicly maligned on resources such as YELP! or within your own social media profiles, a trusted partner can be your most valuable ally in resolving issues and protecting your professional image.
Do What You Do Best
As a realtor, you play a pivotal role in helping people to achieve their dreams of homeownership. In order for you to do what you do best, allow a digital marketer to do what they do best by crafting and managing your online presence. Just think how many happy homeowners will have you to thank.