By Contributing Author
The real estate industry, like many others, has changed dramatically over the last decade. Since the dawn of the internet and the rise of social media, there has been a huge paradigm shift in the way people research and buy all products.
When it comes to the higher end, life-changing purchase of houses and properties; sales need to be approached somewhat differently when compared with selling a $20 item on Amazon. There is no impulsivity when it comes to buying property, information needs to be presented to the client strategically to pique their interest but not overwhelm them. As real estate agents, we also need to find the balance between online and face to face interactions.
If you are new to the world of online real estate or want to increase and improve the number and quality of leads you are driving online, then please read…
Create a Beautiful Website
Although you can reach thousands of people on social media, to have a solid foundation in regards to your online presence, a professional website is a must. The creation of your website can also help you to visualize and implement your online brand, in terms of color-schemes, logo, slogans, the language that you use, the type of imagery that you will use online as well.
Consider the extent that you will be part of the brand and online presence. People like transparency, they like to know who they will be contacting and potentially working with. If you are an independent agent, at the very least you should have an “about” page that highlights your credentials as an agent.
You can use a freelancer on a website such as Upwork to create a website for a few hundred dollars. However, consider using a local company or freelancer that will also help you to determine your brand identity. you can always change this at a later date with a new logo, slogan, etc. but getting it wrong could prove a costly mistake.
Have a Blog
Google loves high-quality content – and there may well be a lack of informative and entertaining articles and blog posts regarding local real estate in your area. Blogs can be more of a marathon than a sprint, in that, they help build your brand, they will help you to rank on Google, but you are unlikely to see an immediate return on investment.
“You’ll never get yourself off the treadmill of paid ads & promotion if you don’t build your brand”
Blogging can be a great way to build your brand. It can help you to reach people on search engines and it can showcase your expertise. However, creating blog posts can be very time consuming, especially when you consider that most digital marketing consultants will tell you that Google prefers long, high-quality content, with imagery – including infographics and video.
Blog posts can be repurposed as video content and snippets can be used as your social media posts. However, if you still struggle to get posts written each week – consider hiring a freelance writer to do them for you. It can take a few attempts to find a good writer for a fair price, but with a little effort, it is certainly possible. I’ve personally used Hirewriters to get several 800-word blog posts produced for less than $40. You can use a website such as Canva to create your high-quality graphics.
Start a Youtube Channel
Many agents avoid blogging because it takes a lot of effort. Equally, many agents miss out on the sales and branding opportunities that video can generate because they are too self-conscious or too afraid to look unprofessional. You can hire freelance video editors to make your videos look more professional, you could even hire someone to narrate a video for you.
Video has had a big impact on the real estate industry. Invest in some video equipment, even if it’s just a tripod for your mobile phone. Try videos with yourself featured in them as well as others, where you just narrate the tour of the property. Make longer videos and edit them into smaller videos for social media.
If you are posting to social media, be sure to upload your video specifically to that platform, rather than just pasting in a link to Youtube. Social media platforms want to host their content and will generally kill the reach of the video if it’s hosted on Youtube.
Be yourself, and make videos that are meant to entertain and educate, rather than just sell. If you enjoy architecture, if you make social videos about your favorite architecture, you will reach more people with content that you are genuinely interested in and the audience will get to know you better.
Utilize Social Media
Mike Sherrard states on YouTube that you should become a lighthouse; not a tugboat, by utilizing social media. Rather than putting on your suit and going out into ‘the ocean’ each day, trying to fish for clients, bring the clients to you, by becoming a lighthouse of information on social media.
You should also have a strategy and create a content calendar. Make sure you are consistent and don’t experience social-media-burnout. Many people post daily for a few weeks and then lose motivation or inspiration. Start off with a weekly post and stay consistent.
Facebook is a very powerful advertising platform and when it comes to targeting specific audiences, the data they have is impressive if not a little terrifying.
For example, if you have a list of clients’ email addresses, you can target “lookalike audiences” by uploading the emails. Facebook will match the emails to profiles, look at the demographics, interests, and activity on Facebook of each profile, then match these as closely as possible with other profiles that you can also target.
If you do not have any existing client data, don’t worry, the targeting is still very accurate. For example, you can target people looking to buy a house. Yes really!
Read more information on real estate and Facebook.
Free Up Time by Outsourcing
To free up more time, as touched on previously in this post, you can hire freelancers to help with blog posts, web design, branding, and social media.
You can also outsource to virtual assistants, for a relatively low fee, when it comes to repetitive tasks or administrative tasks. For example, a virtual assistant could answer your emails around the clock, or be available to engage with visitors on live chat 24/7. There are great places to start if you are looking to hire an overseas virtual assistant at an affordable price.
Another great asset to help build your brand and professional image can be a virtual receptionist. For example, Moneypenny provides a 24/7 service, meaning that when you are busy, otherwise engaged, or even asleep, you won’t miss a lead or client query. Moneypenny provides a dedicated receptionist who will know your business as well as an in-house employee, but for a fraction of the cost. Receptionists can also filter out unwanted sales calls and reduce the number of annoying, unnecessary interruptions.
Study The Craft
To build a successful online brand, you need to be an expert in real estate. Start journaling every call, transaction, and property. There are lots of people who claim to have 10 years of experience, but they only have 1 year of experience, repeated ten times. They are not continually growing and learning. Become an expert at communicating online and offline, to ensure that any leads convert at the highest rate possible.
Study the marketplace too. Study local trends, learn to predict what will happen locally and nationally. For example, many agents tell clients that the market slows down during the Christmas holidays – this is often however just because many agents are taking time off. It is often a misconception that nobody is buying or selling. It is possible to take advantage of this, however, as there is less competition in the marketplace. Moreover, people are looking specifically to sell or buy at the end of the year/during the holidays for tax reasons or they may have to leave their homes by the end of the year because they are relocating or no longer leasing a property because it is going up for sale.
You can even use these trends to create open dialogues with your leads and clients. For example, you can ask if they have heard that the market slows down during the end of the year; then explain that there is less inventory on the market but there are several reasons why it’s a great time to buy or sell.
Underpinning all of these strategies is knowing who you are trying to target. Make sure you know your ideal customer persona; then establish where they are and what’s their intent.