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The Most Important Lesson I Learned in Online Real Estate Marketing

Tom West, the central character in the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Soul of a New Machine” once said:

“Not everything worth doing is worth doing well.”

Back in the 70’s, Tom along with perhaps the finest company of computer engineers ever assembled sought to build Eclipse MV/8000.

Under a blistering schedule and tremendous pressure a group of computer engineers needed to design and build a next generation computer. A running theme in the book is the tension between engineering quality and haste: the engineers, challenged to bring a minicomputer to market on a very short timeframe, are encouraged to cut corners on design.

Tom West describes his motto as “Not everything worth doing is worth doing well,” or “If you can do a quick-and-dirty job and it works, do it.”

The super mini computer successfully launched in 1980.  Causing a miraculous turnaround for the ailing Data General.

Dear Reader, I give you the same advice in your online real estate marketing.  In the four years that I’ve been grinding my nose in front of the computer screen — blogging, link building, hiring, planning, brainstorming, writing…you know the drill — the path of  “quick and dirty” as long as it works, as long as it gives you a smidgen of new knowledge (therefore experience), will lead you a step closer to a profitable website.

Not a great writer? Set up a Google alerts on your keywords and fluff the s*&T out of the headlines that pop in your Inbox, until you reach word 300’th.  Do it every day.  Or every week.

Wanna learn about SEO? Choose one and one only — be it David Naylor, Rand Fishkin, Danny Sullivan, Brett Tabke, Sugarrae or Aaron Wall — whoever you deemed in your best guess to be worth following, follow him (or her). And him alone.  Put on your horse blinders.  Not surprisingly, this will illicit naysayers, “Oh, you need a broad focus, blah…blah..blah..blah..blah…”

Listen to me: You don’t have time to listen to all angles.  In our field, you barely have time to eat.  Find the truth and stick to it.  In choosing who to follow, trust your gut instinct on who you think knows their stuff and get to know his strategies, his world view, his marketing — then own it.  Walk in their path as later on you will eventually find yours.  But you have to have focus at the start.

A Realtor in Oakland asked for advice on how to compete with big brand real estate brokers, I told her what I’m sharing to you now — train with the best. When I started in 2007, I wanted to be in the same cage with the heavyweights — the insurance lead guys, online college education affiliates, indefatigable e-commerce webmasters who compete with the Amazon ‘s and Ebay’s, even off-shore gambling lead generators — they were the best, most persevering online marketing misfits in the game (still are).  I desperately wanted to be in their league.  (I detest “pretty face marketing”.)  This gave me the edge in competing in Real Estate keywords.  It wasn’t a walk in the park, but with that mindset, I was a year or two ahead of my peers.

To be clear, I learned a lot from the Teresa Boardman’s, Dustin Luther’s and Hanan Levin’s (Brilliant. Unorthodox. I still ask for advice) — all online real estate trail blazers — but to truly get ahead of the pack you need to think outside real estate and systematically push yourself in learning through experience.  Start making mistakes, start experimenting. Test.

You will go farther than you planned.

(*You can follow me on Twitter)

About Joe Salcedo

Joe is fascinated with business models more than super models. The last two years he has been focused with his site and stalking the Reno Real Estate market since 2007. He works hard for his beautiful wife Anna, and two wonderful kids, Alonzo and Jiana. Add him on his Twitter account

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  • Jane

    I agree that we can’t follow every leader! Select a path, focus and stay on it with SEO! Everything is evolving so quickly, we barely have time to comprehend it before it changes!

  • Hardest part of SEO is not giving up because you don’t see instantaneous results. If you can keep your eyes on the prize, you will get there. Need tips? Search keywords you want to rank for, click the top 3 sites and take a look around. By doing that, you might see some trending. Also you can see where they are getting links from. Use Yahoo URL explorer. Doesn’t show all links, but will give you a general idea.

    • …Gold: ” Hardest part of SEO is not giving up because you don’t see instantaneous results.”

      Good tips, Chris.

  • It’s rare to read a piece so blunt about marketing.  No fluff about the sanctity of relationships or the holy grail of transparency–merely how to be effective.  Well done, Joe.

    • Sam,

      That was really the intent. It gets tiring hearing/reading quick get-rich-quick SEO advices or fluffy-complicated strategies.  At the end of the day, Online Real Estate Marketing is a paradox — there is on one rule.  Success has different routes to leading to it, but you won’t find it if you don’t begin something..


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