RISMEDIA, March 10, 2009-The ultimate success of your business will probably be tied closely to your success on the Internet. Your website or blog is your storefront in a very big world. It’s easy to get a dry cleaning customer if they pass your store every day on their way home from work. It’s a lot harder to capture a real estate lead from an armchair buyer or seller clicking around the World Wide Web.
Just entering the key phrase “real estate” into a Google search yields a whopping 589 million results. In your area, county, or town, there are thousands of Web search results related to real estate. They’re not going to drive by, so how do you stand out and get found? We all know that we need to continually work on SEO, and many pay to advertise with pay-per-click marketing. Those are fundamental and effective things we must do. But, what else can we do that’s cost effective and will bring us more site visitors?
Signage – Whether it’s yard signs, decals or magnetic vehicle signs, or our sign over the door of the business, they should all display your website address. They’ll remember it, and go home to see what you have to offer on your site. In today’s highly mobile world, phones are browsing the Web, so they may visit your site from street-side.
Business Cards – You’ll find that your website address and e-mail address are now more important than your phone number on your business cards. They don’t stop calling, but will go to your site for information that they’d rather get anonymously than with a phone call.
Printed Materials – This is everything in print about your company, and in your marketing. Your letterhead, signature blocks on e-mail, newspaper ads, homes magazine ads, and promotional items. If it’s in print out there with your company name, then your Web domain should be there as well.
Social and Business Networking – I’ve mentioned in other articles about writing content for your website that comes from questions asked by your prospects and clients. If one person asks, there are many on the Internet searching for that same answer. If you are doing this, then there’s another very valuable traffic generation tool right in front of you.
Many real estate professionals have recognized the value of the social and business network sites. They set up their profile and answer questions from consumers about real estate in their area. Too many of them miss an opportunity here though. Write the answer as a page on your site, or a post on your blog. Then, when you get a question on a social site to which that page pertains, place the link in the answer. You still answer the consumer’s question, but you add value with the link, and you get a new site visitor. It’s far better than just the generic link to your site with your answer, and they’re far more likely to click on it to learn more about the question they asked.
The networking is intense on real estate social networking sites. Real estate professionals discuss virtually every topic related to the business of real estate, serving customers, and marketing. Leads are referred the customary way through this network, however, let’s talk about a few of these social and business sites and how you can use them to generate business and website traffic.
MySpace – This is the younger set, but many real estate professionals are making contact with first-time home buyers here. As with any of these sites, don’t hover and attack if you see the words real estate or home buying in a post. Be there as a helpful resource, and don’t force yourself on other users.
Facebook – This site is growing very fast, and it is bringing in a great many business people as well as consumers. It’s a bridge from the social to the business community, and can be an excellent place to establish yourself as the real estate expert in your area. Again, the value of these sites is placing yourself out there to be found when someone has a need. Be responsive but not forceful. Your knowledge will be appreciated when it’s presented as helpful advice in response to their questions.
LinkedIn – Business is the main focus of this network. Comprised of industry groups, including several Realtor groups, LinkedIn is more for Business to Business networking. However, it’s one you don’t want to slight. Think about it. Referrals from other real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, title companies, inspectors and others can be cultivated with strong business relationships on this site.
Twitter – The short 160 or fewer character posts on Twitter started out to be just “here’s where I am or what I’m doing” posts. However, business is using Twitter quite effectively. If you have RSS feeds available from your website or blog, you can feed your site excerpts to Twitter with links back. Once set up, you don’t do anything extra for it to happen.
Those are the “big three” of networking, but there are other sites with more narrow focus. They all have some value, but you can decide which are the best to accomplish your goals.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design (http://www.realtysoft.com), Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX (http://www.realtysoft.com/freeidx.php) solutions.
For more information, visit www.RealtySoft.com.