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Marco! Polo! And Location Based Search

In this 4 part series, we’ll discuss in depth the most effective and efficient marketing strategies to reach and engage local buyers and sellers.  To build your brand locally, to get more clients, and to close more sales.  Practical tips that you can implement yourself.  Now.

Marco!  Polo!  Marco!  Polo! And thus began location based search. . . .

Real estate has always been a location-based business.  Therefore, mobile marketing tools make perfect sense when it comes to reaching a consumer at the exact time and place when they are serious or even curious about buying or selling a home. Here are some tips for executing a successful mobile strategy.

Make sure your website displays properly on a smartphone and tablet.  If it does not, adjust your strategy.  Either make your site “responsive” to the device on which it’s being viewed – OR – drive mobile traffic to your profile on another responsive site.  For example, advertisers of The Real Estate Book get a mobile optimized profile and the ability to create a free basic mobile website or an reasonably priced enhanced mobile site.

Use offline tools to drive traffic to your mobile site.  For example, a text or a QR code placed on a yard sign, brochure, a postcard, or an ad will stimulate traffic to your mobile site.  In 2012, advertising pages in The Real Estate Book generated over 300,000 text leads for advertisers.  In 2013, ads are expected to generate over 500,000.  It’s clear that having a call to action placed locally drives response.

SMS text codes placed locally generate more local leads.  Think about your website and those who surf homes online.  You do not know their identity until they decide to register or request more information.  Consumers who have to text a code to see a property are giving you their phone numbers to text them back.   You know who they are right away.

If they text you, respond with a text.   The consumer has chosen their preferred method of communication.  Respect it.  If, after a few texts back and forth, things would be easier explained with a phone call, then call them.  It’s not that you should not call them.  You should just not call them first.  It can be seen as intrusive or pushy.  Instead, text and say, “Did you find the information you needed?  Would you like to know more?”

Mobile leads are leads, not sales.  Recently a local representative told me that not every text lead was converting to business for him.  Let’s set the expectation correctly.  It’s a lead, not a guaranteed sale – or even a conversation.  You still have to work to convert the lead into a conversation, a meeting, some showings, and, hopefully, a sale.  Not every lead you receive from any source always results in a sale.   Also consider that the prospect may be working with another agent and may have that agent set up the showing with you once they’ve determined their interest.  It may end up being a sale, but you might not be aware of the source of the interest.

Use your mobile marketing strategy in YOUR LISTING PRESENTATION.  In survey after survey, home sellers say that the most important service their agent can offer them is marketing their home to potential buyers.  Make sure they know that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to current marketing trends.  It will increase your credibility, your competitive edge, and your listings.

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Local Reach. Local Leads.

by Rebecca Chandler

In this 4 part series, we’ll discuss in depth the most effective and efficient marketing strategies to reach and engage local buyers and sellers.  To build your brand locally, to get more clients, and to close more sales.  Practical tips that you can implement yourself.  Now.

Part 1 “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig”

– Robert Heinlein

My brother is a very talented musician.  I’ve seen him play three different instruments in three different bands in one night.  In contrast, I took piano lessons, I played the trumpet in the high school band and I learned to play the guitar – a little.  I don’t have the natural talent that my brother has – nor the desire to become a full-time professional musician.  And even though I love to listen to music and to my brother play, that’s his gig, not mine –and that’s cool.

I recently participated in a panel discussion on local SEO.  A number of the panelists are professional, well-respected bloggers in the real estate space.  Very smart people with very good advice for those who blog.  But, one person in the audience asked a question that was akin to calling out the Emperor’s backside.  “What if I don’t blog?”

This gentleman, a successful real estate professional, knows his market and the industry very well, is a masterful negotiator, provides excellent service to clients and is a smart businessman.  However, he realizes he is no more a blogger –than I am a drummer.

So, what can he do and what should he do instead?

Let’s think about this a little differently.  For starters – It’s not just your website.  In the past, we defined our digital experiences as websites.  That you access on your computer.  At your home or office. That is just not the case any longer.  Digital is now on your laptop, your phone, your tablet, your TV – and the future will include many more touch points – so it’s time to think differently about how your digital story in general.

And, instead of thinking solely about local web traffic, let’s make the goal local leads and sales.

So, ask yourself these questions.

Specifically, with whom do I want to business locally?

Is it a specific niche or geographic area?  First time home buyers?  Luxury?  A certain area of town in which you are an expert?  A lifestyle like golfer communities or waterfront homes?

Where do these people live, work, shop, and play?  Where do they physically hang out?

Rather than trying to reach them digitally, how about reaching out to them physically?  (Pull your mind out of the gutter.)

As they go about their day, do they see you?  Are you searching for them or waiting for them to search for you?  Go stalk your prospective client.

 

Look for –

Social activities or networking opportunities

Events you can sponsor

Advertising they see regularly

 

Personify your brand and your digital identity at all these opportunities.

For example –

Promote a local social activity or even with a flyer, email, or other advertisement. Include your name and your website.

Sponsor local events – and offer something of value to attendees.  For example, for a local festival, you could create a handy card with a schedule of events and venues on one side.   On the back, include your name and web address – and some recent stats about home sales in the area with a call to action to contact you, the local expert, to learn if it’s time to buy or sell.

Run local offline advertising.  It’s not as expensive as you think and one closed deal will more than cover your entire annual investment.  You can target direct mail geographically and demographically – easily and inexpensively.  Get right into their home.  Run a local print ad.   Over 70% of local sellers pick up printed real estate magazines looking for homes like theirs.*  When they find them, do they find you?

In other words, don’t spend all your time and efforts trying to get them to interact with you digitally  when you could be interacting with them personally. After all, wouldn’t you rather they spoke to you in person than visit your site?

And, don’t try to become a blogger (or a drummer) if that’s not your gig.  Defining, locating, and engaging your audience offline is absolutely essential to building business – and you can do that without blogging.

Next week– Part 2 – Social media – for business.

*2013 Survey of Home Sellers – NewPoint Media Group

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How to Become Irresistible.

by Rebecca Chandler

Recently, I was reminded of a line from the movie, “Beaches” in which a self-absorbed Bette Midler says, “But enough about me, let’s talk about you,……..what do you think about me?”   Look through some real estate advertising.  Does this line sound familiar?  Most do two things –

1. Present listing content.

2. Showboat the agent or broker

Today’s consumers research almost every purchase decision.  They rely heavily on user generated reviews.  And, they make informed decisions when choosing products and services based on their own specific needs.  In other words, they are less interested in hearing about you and much more interested in hearing about what you mean to them.

In this  ”other person centered” approach to marketing, what can you do to make sure your efforts are centered on your target audience, and not on you?  Take a look at your marketing and put yourself in the consumer’s seat.  What DO they think of you?

Then, rework and target your messaging.

Who, specifically, am I trying to reach?  First time home buyers?  Move ups? Active adults?  Investors?  What is most important and absolutely “irresistible” to them?

Here are 5 things you can do to begin to connect with your target audience in a meaningful and relevant way.

  1. Stalk them. Put yourselves in their shoes.  Go where they would go – both online and offline.  Look for the specific ways they connect.
  2. Impersonate them.  Speak in their language.  Look for the things that would be most beneficial, valuable, absolutely irresistible for them.  Write them down.
  3. Go to marketing therapy.  Look at your marketing.  Does your website appeal to your target audience?  Impersonate your target audience and test their list of “irresistibles” against it.   Are you connecting?
  4. Do a makeover.  And, by the way, it’s not about you.  The most prominent message in your marketing should be absolutely irresistible to your target audience.  Chances are, that’s not your “#1 in Metropolis” status.  It’s around the meaningful conversations you have with them – when you connect with them one-on-one.
  5. Go full throttle.  Once you’ve created your irresistible messages, PUSH your message in every media outlet and device that they use – your social network, websites, mobile sites, print advertising like ads, flyers, brochures, direct mail, events, display.  Talk to the right marketing professional like a Real Estate Book representative to help you get your message out effectively – and affordably.  Keep in mind that good advertising should never cost you money.  It should always make you money.  Track all your advertising for results and conversion to business.

By focusing on the needs of your prospective clients, your marketing will become more effective.  After all –

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

– Dale Carnegie

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