Don’t get me wrong: word-of-mouth referrals and print marketing campaigns are great. This old-fashioned methodology is what drove the lion’s share of my business for well over a decade.
However, I’m always looking to grow as both a realtor and a businessman, and that’s why I decided to get started within the digital marketing space.
Since choosing to approach digital marketing with an all-in strategy, I’ve seen incredible growth in the number of leads I generate month after month.
Here’s how I did it and how you can get started.
Real Estate Websites
If you don’t launch a website, your digital marketing strategy will always be in the hands of somebody else.
Marketers refer to this idea as “rented space”. At any point, Facebook, Zillow, Trulia, Instagram, or any other platform that you utilize could pull the rug out from underneath you. If they do, it could leave you grasping for straws.
In fact, this has happened to realtors before. When Facebook changed its algorithm in 2008, many were left in circumstances that left them starving for new leads.
From Facebook’s end, this kind of thing can happen as the result of just one minor tweak.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t take on the task of social media marketing. It’s just setting up the case to have a property on the web that’s yours to own. I set up my first site years ago. After some time, people started to find my blog and come to it for updates on the local multifamily home market.
The people that found me here may or may not have been looking for a real estate agent on their first visit. However, they came back time and time again. Eventually, many of them ended up making the decision to work with me.
For real estate agents, an effective website must:
- Provide a Way to See Up-to-Date Listings
- Convey Useful Information About the Realtor’s Area of Expertise
- Be Easy to Navigate
- Display an Easy Way to Get in Contact With an Agent
That’s really all that’s necessary to get started. Of course, doing so is a lot harder than it sounds – especially if you’re not tech-savvy.
But that being said, there are plenty of tools available that help realtors in navigating through this process. Make sure that the website builder you select involves an easy way to add listings to your site. If you’re already using a third-party tool to curate MLS listings, then make sure that this specific tool works with the builder.
That said, keep this in mind:
Having listings on your site won’t help you with SEO. At least, not directly. More on that later.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great things that buyers want to see on your site besides listings. The home buying process can be a scary, confusing, and overwhelming thing for many buyers, and having more information about it on your site can be extremely beneficial.
Instead of turning to Google, you can encourage prospects and current clients to come to you for the latest and greatest about their local market and the homes within it. Many realtors fail to realize that starting a blog is a great idea – both for improving SEO results and for bettering a user’s experience.
If you establish yourself as an industry-leading expert, you’ll be sure to bring in some phenomenal clients.
Believe it or not, I’ve had tons of clients come to me only after months of following along with what I post on my blog. Clients like this are often very clever, and they’re dedicated to making sure that they pick the right realtor and that they get the best deal.
As you add all of that great information to your site, it’s also necessary to make sure that you’re being careful about how you present it. Sites that are confusing will scare away visitors – even if they are packed with great content.
Keep your website simple and make sure that pages are adequately interlinked so that it’s easy to find the most relevant information.
Lastly, do not forget to make it as easy as possible for clients to get in touch with you. Don’t bury your email address in a random footer somewhere – make sure that both it and your phone number are prominent.
Keep in mind that Internet users expect quick responses. If you get a new lead through your website, you should definitely do your best to respond before they move on to someone else.
SEO For Realtors
Search engine optimization might sound like a lot more work than it’s worth, but in reality, you can get started by making some simple changes.
These changes do take a bit of work to implement, but the result is well worth it.
SEO really isn’t as intimidatingly complex and technical as it sounds. More than anything, great search engine optimization methods are all about telling search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant.
Trustworthy sites avoid spam and duplicate content, deliver on the expectations they set, and keep their visitors safe.
Your site can prove that it is trustworthy by accumulating backlinks, gathering reviews, and consistently delivering a user experience that brings visitors back over and over again.
Relevancy, on the other hand, is all about sharing great content. This means that your site should be packed with whatever it is that your visitors are searching for. That could be information, inspiration, contact forms, or just about anything else – it’s up to you to figure that part out!
Sharing On Social Media
In theory, almost everyone understands social media at some level. However, that can actually create problems for those who try to approach the platform with marketing efforts.
Posting about your personal life is very different from posting about your business.
Because Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks have developed powerful algorithms to determine what kind of content should be served up for users. In most cases, these algorithms hate overtly promotional content.
That may seem unfair when you get started with posting as a business. You’ll realize that your posts are seen by just a handful of people.
But keep in mind:
Most social media algorithms exist to protect a user’s best interests so that they will enjoy what they find in their feed and return to the platform.
That’s really your mission as a marketer on social media, then. To be seen and heard, you have to provide something of genuine value to your followers and their network.
Value is something that’s viewed differently by almost every audience. In some contexts, it’s smart to inform. In others, posting little bits of inspiration or humorous content is more appreciated.
To really provide value to an audience, you have to first understand what it is that they want. In the short run, posting without any intention to generate sales sounds backwards. In the long run, however, you’ll find that providing genuine value provides the greatest sales results.
Paid Advertising (Google AdWords and Facebook Ads)
There are a lot of theories out there about whether or not realtors should engage in paid advertising efforts. Some say that you should never have to pay for marketing while others insist that a careful ad spend strategy is the best way to produce results.
In my opinion, paid advertising should never be your sole focus. If it is, you’ll always be in the position where you have to spend money to earn money.
That being said, paying for smart advertising can be one of the best ways to accelerate your company’s growth.
On the internet, there are lots of places that you could put banner ads, video ads, text ads, product placements, and more.
However, the two most common online advertising platforms are Facebook and Google.
On Facebook, it’s possible to essentially pay to place a post onto user timelines. These posts blend in well and don’t look out of place at all. Because of this, users are drawn in to great posts – regardless of the fact that they are paid advertisements.
That said, finding an effective balance between providing value to both customers and your own business is difficult. For the post to be worthwhile, you have to cram a lot into a very small space.
On Facebook, advertisers also have the benefit of doing some very precise targeting. It’s beyond the scope of this article to talk about lookalike audiences, advanced targeting methods, and the like. However, the important thing to know is that it’s easy to hone in on the audience that you’re actually interested in reaching – just make sure you know a thing or two about that audience before you start going all in on advertising to them.
While most realtors are happy to get started with Facebook advertising, they tend to be a little more wary about doing anything with Google AdWords. For some reason, the platform seems much more intimidating, and failure seems to be much more likely.
However, in my business, I’ve had a lot of success with Google AdWords. When I started my first campaign, it was exciting to see leads coming in here and there. I wasn’t an expert, but I learned what I could and dove in.
Now, I’m running much more effective ads that are capturing leads for me on a very reliable basis.
How did I do it?
By giving search engine users whatever it is they were looking for. Google allows you to target specific keyword searches so that you can target only the people that are looking for exactly what you have.
I optimized landing pages specifically for my most important keywords and I worked hard to answer any question that someone searching for that keyword might have had. Because of this, my business has grown exponentially and I’m seeing new leads come through all the time.
Unless you’re starting off with paid advertising, know that digital marketing campaigns take time to get going. It’s unlikely that even hard work will pay off in the first month or two.
However, by keeping at it, you’ll realize that digital marketing often has a multiplication type effect. The more you work at it, the more results you’ll be able to potentially see over time.
Some experts say that working out your strategy for two years is necessary, but in my opinion, you should start seeing great results within 4-6 months. Don’t stop at the first sign that things are working, though. Keep on pushing and soon, you’ll realize the full potential of digital marketing as a realtor.