It’s no secret that as a real estate agent you’re in a rather competitive, yet potentially lucrative game. The question is, how do you break out past your competition and actually make your book of business lucrative? As real estate agents, you face challenges everyday…business costs, licensing and compliance, closings going awry when you did everything correctly, and all of the other day to day challenges.
Leads, Leads, Leads…
Of course you are always told to get leads and your business will grow. How do you get those leads? Traditional marketing still works on a respectable level, but the way clients find and ultimately decide to contract with you are changing. How do you deal with this? How are you spending your time? Wouldn’t you like leads to come to you? Yeah, I didn’t need to ask that last question…I know the answer!
The First Thing Any Real Estate Agent Needs
Well, aside from a full inbox of qualified leads that is…but we’ll get to that. The first thing any real estate agent needs to get their business off the ground is a website. I mean, ask yourself…how do you personally research and shop around? Yep! The good ole’ Interweb right? So it stands to reason that your business should be online.
How do you go about that? Like anything in life, you get what you pay for so I’d recommend not going with a “free” website. I know, I hear you out there…someone who develops websites telling us to pay for one. Seriously though, web development and search engine best practices are constantly evolving and changing…so shouldn’t your website be current and able to be found by your potential clients? So what are a few things your website needs you ask? Here you go;
- Simplicity-Your website should be simple and have one goal…to convert your visitors into leads. You shouldn’t overburden them with useless stock imagery(two guys in suits shaking hands anyone?), or useless filler text. Get straight and to the point regarding how you can help them.
- Ease of navigation-This goes hand in hand with the whole simplicity thing, but think about it…how useful is the content on your website if it can’t be easily found? Exactly!
- Responsive-Well over half of all websites are viewed on a mobile device. If your site isn’t responsive and mobile ready you are losing half of your potential leads right out of the gate!
- Relevant Information and Searches-Of course your real estate website should have the ability for visitors to search properties for sale, or view your listings…just be sure to only have the necessary searches. Remember the old “less is more” adage here.
- Great User Experience-A nice clean site that loads quickly, simple mission, easy to navigate, and able to be viewed on a mobile device just as well as a desktop all go into an exceptional user experience. Make your users want to keep coming back to your site!
- Lead Capture System-Yes! One of the main goals of a website is to capture leads right? So make sure you’re doing that! Use a non intrusive slide on subscribe form or a simple subscribe bar on the top of your page. Don’t try to get too much information…a name and email address is really enough at this stage in the game.
Is Your Real Estate Business Social?
Everybody nowadays knows what social media is, but are you actually using it? Are you truly being social and not just “talking at” your fan base? I know many…even myself at one time completely missed the whole “be social” part of social media. Sometimes, it is best to just listen(erg, read) what your potential clients are saying about their experiences. This plays deeply into figuring out what your client persona is and how to market to them. With that in mind, just start by listening….do it for a week. Of course continue to post, but during that week make your primary focus to listen to what people are saying…even if it’s not directly related to real estate. What are their concerns? What stage are they at in their lives? Trust me, you’ll learn a great deal here.
When you’ve got the whole listening thing down, it’s time to figure out how to use this information to engage with your client personas. What social media outlets do they use the most? As an example, you probably won’t find many Gen X’ers on Snapchat and the tail end of the millennial crowd just isn’t all that into Facebook anymore. Do your research and figure it out. Speaking of social outlets…here’s food for thought, what is the most “visual” social outlet? Is real estate a visual field? If this one stumps you….email me and I’ll give you the answer, just buy me a cup of coffee sometime down the road!
When figuring out how to post and what to post, there’s a rather good rule of thumb that’s been out there for a couple of years now and has seemed to caught on with social marketers and fans alike. It’s often referred to as the “5-3-2 Rule”, basically it goes like this;
- 5 of your posts should be content from others that relates to your industry and that you think your fans will find valuable.
- 3 of your posts should be your own content that is also related to the industry and again, that your fans will find interesting.
- Then 2 of your posts should be something not related to your industry. Be social here, this is the time to let your fans know that you’re human and not some robot just posting up stuff for clicks and likes.
So to recap, when it comes to social…listen, find your client persona’s needs and desires, speak to those needs and desires, follow the “5-3-2” rule. Do this and you’ll be off to a nice and simple start.
Dust Off Those Writing Skills!
If you want that inbox full of leads, you’ll need to do some writing. Yeah, Yeah….I know…who has time to sit down and write? If you’re going to engage your potential clients you need to provide them with something of value. The landscape of how business is done is changing rapidly with those who are to be the most successful at sales becoming sources of information and not just gatekeepers of it. When you’re writing, make sure that the information you’re putting out there is providing value to the reader. This will set you up to be viewed as a thought leader and the go to person when someone has questions about your industry. How do you get your writing read by your followers you ask? Let’s start with a few general guidelines that are current as of this writing;
- Your writing needs to provide value to the reader.
- Should be between 1000 and 2000 words per piece, or at least enough to explain your topic.
- Break it up a bit, use smaller paragraphs, headers, lists, images. Make it fun…this isn’t academic stuff here, it needs to be interesting.
- Share, share, share…then repeat. Promote your content!
So fire up the laptop and write a couple of articles you think folks may find interesting. Think about the questions you get on a regular basis and speak to those. Remember the whole “listening thing”? Yeah, this is that part when the knowledge you gain comes into play.
Yes, These exist And You Should Be Using Them!
I’m talking about forums and message boards! Yes, with the rise of the social media machine they have seemed to fade into the background a bit, but forums and message boards are still in use by millions of Internet users daily. These are a great place to ask and answer directed questions without the usual “noise” of social media. A couple of examples of great general forums and message boards that you can jump into include Reddit and Quora. Of course, never forget to be active in whatever online communities related to your industry. Some of the goals of using forums and message boards as a real estate agent include;
- Provide accurate information and informative answers.
- Establish a following as a thought leader in your industry.
- Never forget to link to blogs and articles to support your own answers, both your own and other sources.
Trust me when I say this…you’ll be surprised at how much engagement you’ll get on forums and discussion boards. Just remember, there are plenty of “keyboard commandos” that lurk in their shadows so when you get snide comments just brush it off. At least they’re reading it. Heck, use the opportunity to engage them in debate…just don’t try to argue with them.
Keep Them Engaged With Email!
At this point, with your attractive and engaging website with a prominent subscribe call to action and all of the social, content and forum postings you’re probably building a nice little email list. So, what to do now? Uh…keep them engaged! It’s time to start sending out email newsletters so that you can keep your leads(yes you now have an inbox full of them!) nurtured and loving what you’re putting out there! Despite some of the musings from a few years back, email is not dying. In fact it is growing. Also, email is a captive audience. They subscribed and can unsubscribe at the click of a mouse so if they’re getting your newsletters, they want your content. To add to that email stays in their inbox until they’re ready to do something with it…either open and read it or delete it. In both scenarios, your name is still in their heads! So how do we get our subscribers to open and read our emails without opting out? Here are a few simple guidelines;
- Provide a good information experience(see a trend here?)
- Back off of the hard sell, you’ve got them this far…it would be a shame to turn them off at this point. So, limit your selling to perhaps a couple of your newest listings at the bottom of the email.
- Provide something of value like an interesting article, e book, white paper, guide, or a video tutorial.
- Make it visually appealing-Email programs like Mailchimp and Constant Contact have amazing drag and drop email creators that can make any message pop and provide visual bliss for your readers!
You’ve worked hard on your strategy to grow your email list, be sure to keep them there! Make your emails pure gold to your leads!
There you have it, a simple guide to smarter marketing for real estate agents! With just a little time and “sweat equity” you can truly have that inbox full of interested leads to nurture into signed contracts and closings! So, grab a cup of coffee, throw on a playlist and get to work. Of course I’m around if you have any questions!