The overall real estate market has rebounded. This is especially true in the South and the West, as well as for homes valued over $100,000.
Things should look pretty rosy right now if you survived as a real estate agent during the housing collapse. If things don't look rosy or you want them looking even better, it's probably time to look to your digital real estate marketing.
The digital landscape is in a state of constant flux and evolution. Search algorithms change on a regular basis. Social media sites come and go.
So, no matter how tight a digital ship you run, there's always room for improvement. If you've largely neglected digital marketing, there's a lot of room for improvement.
Let's jump in and look at some real estate digital marketing tips.
Think of your website as annoying burden? You must stop that immediately.
With over 90% of people leveraging the web in the home purchase process, your website functions as your storefront. It must do almost everything your office used to do.
At minimum, the site must load fast and smoothly. Getting a website that functions well means hiring a professional.
If you can't afford a professional, turn to a known content management system like Wordpress. Then, buy a premium or custom theme for the site. The cost is often a lot lower than a custom website, but you still get the patina of custom work.
To the same ends, get your branding in order before you build your site. A custom site or custom theme works better when you know the colors and fonts you'll use moving forward.
It's impractical for real estate agents to try to master SEO. There's simply too much material and a lot of it crosses over into the domain of computer professionals.
You should still master some basics because SEO can help your real estate marketing. A few on-site optimizations you'll want include reducing load times, internal links, and keywords.
Load time is how long it takes a page to load. One quick way to reduce load times is image size management. Big, high-def pictures soak up bandwidth and increase load times. Use a small version of images on your page and let people click the image to get the large version.
Internal linking just means you link from one page on your site to another page on your site. A common practice is linking from a brief mention of a topic in one blog post to another post that offers more explanation.
A keyword is just a term you want search engines to associate with your website. In general, these terms are your niche and should crop up naturally on your site. For example, a Boston real estate agent who sells luxury homes might use "luxury homes in Boston" as a keyword phrase.
You hear the phrase "content is king" a lot when it comes to online marketing. Beefing up your content helps you build authority, secure inbound links and draw traffic. All things that get more eyes on your listings.
Here's the catch. You need high-quality content.
If you write a blog post about staging a house, it must offer some real substance. Otherwise, no one will link to it or read it. Search engines will punish content they read as providing poor value.
Here's a good general guideline: It's better to write a couple high-quality posts a week than five short pieces that offer little value.
Remember all those people using the Internet in their home purchase process? They're looking for pictures and videos. More to the point, they're looking for professional imagery.
Home buyers aren't just buying a building. They're looking for a lifestyle. Smartphone pictures won't cut it.
A pro photographer can capture even a less-than-stellar home in best the possible light. That image creates a psychological first impression that's hard to shake. It's called the Halo Effect.
Use it to your own advantage.
High-end video and photography also let you show off any improvements the previous owner made. A photo of that new tile in the kitchen or the shiny new fixtures helps cement the Halo Effect.
Social media is big in real estate marketing. It lets you build relationships with future customers in a low-pressure setting. That doesn't mean that all social media is good for your real estate business.
You must examine your target market and decide if they're likely to use any social media. Someone buying a $90,000 home probably uses Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Someone buying $3 million home probably doesn't look for real estate on social media.
If your target market uses social media, focus on one or two sites. Crafting effective social media content takes time. If you're spread across six social media sites, you'll end up posting thin content everywhere.
The real estate market is changing in some ways. In recent years, a few ambitious souls launched sites that cut the buyer agent out of the process. They attract customers with offers like 50% commission refund.
Obviously, launching a competitor website isn't quick, easy, or the point. The takeaway here is that they found a non-traditional method of real estate marketing. They took a customer pain point -- commissions -- and found a way of making it less painful.
Is there a part of the process you can make easier or less expensive? If so, tell everyone on your website and social media profiles. That's digital real estate marketing you build a reputation on.
Simply being a real estate agent who makes it easier or cheaper is a non-traditional method.
Digital real estate marketing intersects with a lot of other areas.
There's your website, which needs some professional web programming, SEO, and solid content development.
Once you get that in order, it's time for polishing up your photo and video content. Get professionals for this. Remember, you're selling a lifestyle as much as a house.
Approach social media with caution. Make sure your target market uses it. Stay focused on a small number sites.
Look for non-traditional marketing opportunities. They help you stand out when done well.
Looking for more marketing advice? Check out our post on creating effective seasonal content.
Search Engine Marketing Columnist
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