By Barry Hurd
RISMEDIA, Nov. 10, 2007-The most repeated lie in business has always been “if you build it, they will come.” In the world of online marketing and real estate, the most commonly spread falsehood is, “If your company shows up on the search engines for city, state, real estate keywords that the market will stampede through your doors and money will fall from the sky.”
The reality is this: if you manage to spend your online marketing budget and reach terms like “city, state, real estate” – you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with a dozen of your competitors fighting over each Web visitor as they try to figure out who they should do business with.
There is a very basic thing you can do to cure yourself of the problem of looking like every other competitor:
Realize that each visitor is going to look at your site and several other competitive sites. They are going to look for useful information and tools that are going to make it easier for them to make a more informed decision. Providing local and original articles on nearby homes and the community entices them with information they cannot find anywhere else. Providing fresh pieces of material on a weekly basis encourages visitors who visit your site over a one to nine month home shopping cycle to realize your site has useful content. Your business needs to provide unique information and personality, the simple truth is that shoppers are looking for something different.
That point assumes you want to stand on the same exact spot with your competitors and try to be heard over the roar of the crowd.
Trying to get on top of the market is not about fighting with your competitors. Most successful salespeople know that the “path of least resistance” is often an easier way to victory.
For a moment, imagine a street corner with yourself and ten of your best competitors standing around with picket signs and billboards, jumping around like entertainers trying to draw the attention of drivers as they zip by at sixty miles and hour. This is exactly what you are doing on Google when you focus on “city state real estate” as a keyword phrase.
Imagine if you could push a few of your competitors off the street corner or if you could get five or your team members to block them out. You can do that online by conquesting keyword terms and actually bumping your competitors away from the first page of the search engine. You can also organize your partners, affiliates, team members, and friendly agents into a social media structure that leverages the power of the group. When properly coordinated online: size does matter.
Now think a little further out of the box. You sell homes. You like to sell really expensive homes that make a lot of money for you. Entry level homes are nice; they pay the bills and sometimes those sales keep the lights on, but what you really enjoy selling is a million dollar property and having a nice chunk of change deposited into your bank account for all your hard work.
Do you really think the most successful and meaningful prospects that are zipping down the freeway are paying attention to the ten real estate agents waving signs and jumping around?
They are not. You know this. As people get wealthier and more successful, they often get a little more focused, a little busier, and a little harder to reach. They begin turning to friends and associates to help them find what they need; whether it is a new job, a new car, or a new home.
So if I was going to reach a person who had a mid-level, six-figure income who could afford to buy a million dollar home, where would I look? Perhaps under categories like “City, state, BMW” or “My local country club.” If I am the only real estate professional marketing my services and brand to the executive looking for a round of golf at the country club, I’m establishing myself as a business servicing a niche demographic. Do you think someone driving a new BMW in your area is also someone who has some money to spend?
Appealing to an actual demographic on a one-to-one basis is critical. Prospects don’t want to be thrown into the “general population” category. They want to be individuals. They want to feel unique and special. By communicating to them on a niche level and talking to them around their interests, you are establishing a relationship to do real estate business without having to compete for it. You are using a social and personal interest to form connections within the right demographic for the prospects you are trying to reach. By identifying niche interests that share the demographic you are looking for, you can connect to the right prospects without having the competition screaming at them.
This method of marketing allows real estate professionals to move their marketing efforts to less congested points of competition, increasing the effectiveness of marketing dollars by reaching directly to the individual while they are not being barraged by a constant array of real estate noise. It can be used in nearly any market demographic and is a core reason why social media is changing so many industries.
To learn more about keyword and online marketing, see 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog.
About the author:
Barry Hurd is president of Social Media Systems, an online marketing and advertising consultant group working with search engine marketing and leveraging social media communities. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial Internet and online marketing experience. As an author and prolific blogger, he has reached online audiences around the world. Since the mid-1990s, Barry has been involved in numerous efforts to bring forth technical innovation through online business models. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide, Monster.com, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RISMedia.
For more information, visit www.socialmediasystems.com.