To reach that goal, jump-start your marketing initiatives with no-cost, low-cost and highly cost-effective tactics that can contribute to building awareness on the global market. Here are eight tactics to consider. Most employ social media and other online or digital resources, while others should provide fresh perspectives on how to maximize proven marketing resources.
1. Become a Blogger
A blog gives you the ability to publish your thoughts and perspectives online, and sites like WordPress and Blogspot let you create blogs at no cost. Benefits include greater visibility within the industry, driving sales leads and establishing yourself as a real estate thought leader. But before you enter the blogosphere, spend time to create a blog that establishes an identity and delivers a compelling message about your international real estate specialty. Schedule posts in advance and plan content to make better use of your time. Images and videos add excitement. Your success can be measured by the number of followers who read and contribute to discussion topics.
2. Find Fans Through Facebook
Here’s a statistic that will draw attention: Facebook has more than 350 million active users around the world. Along with its social networking capabilities, Facebook lets subscribers set up free “fan pages.” The page lets you share services and business information with other users. Here’s the payback: When fans or supporters comment, that message gets distributed to their Facebook friends. Populate the page with news and updates about your international expertise, as well as images and links to relevant property or market videos. Get creative and set up a contest to drive fan participation.
3. Maximize No-Cost Web Site Classifieds
The legendary Craigslist online network pioneered the free advertising concept back in 1995 as a distribution list for friends. Others have followed, including Kijiji. This relatively new network of online urban communities also offers free classified listings and maintains a Housing category with 10 options. Kijiji, translated to “village” in Swahili, serves 34 countries and is the market leader in Canada, Germany, Italy and Taiwan. Unlike the bare bones design of Craigslist, the new kid offers a clean look and colorful icons.
4. Lights, Camera, Action: Go With Video
How prevalent is video in business and culture today? YouTube, the free online video sharing site, reports it serves more than 1 billion videos from around the world daily. Today, it’s relatively easy to record good quality video content and make simple edits using a new generation of inexpensive digital cameras from Flip Video, Kodak and others. Based on Flash technology, these pocket- sized cameras let you effortlessly upload, view, edit and distribute videos. Add a portable stereo recorder to enhance audio, and you’re well-equipped to record client testimonials and footage of properties for sale or lease. Post the video on YouTube and add a link to your Web site, blog or Facebook page.
5. Take it One Step Further with Cable Television
Once you become more adept with video, consider exploring low-cost purchased television advertising. The folks at Google offer a service called TV Ads that lets you bid on airtime on national cable channels and satellite networks. The TV Ads site provides research on specific shows, channels and airtimes so you can plan a media schedule that can reach the many ethnic audiences in markets across the nation. Need help creating an ad? Google also provides an Ad Creation Marketplace geared toward small businesses.
6. Don’t be Shy, Ask for an Online Pat-on-the-Back
Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social network with more than 55 million members. One tremendous benefit is a recommendation feature that gets posted to your profile. According to Teri Isner, a LinkedIn recommendation sends a powerful message. “You can only get so real, other than video, in the world of the Internet,” she says. “A LinkedIn recommendation gives your happy customers the ability to give you the kudos you deserve.” Enlist clients and fellow agents to write a recommendation that reflect your knowledge, success and dedication to adding value in the international real estate arena.
7. Cultivate a Global Brand
This may sound perfunctory, but it’s imperative to define how you fit within the global market- place. Strategize on how to cultivate an international brand around you, your work and your successes. Start with a Web site or page dedicated to the kind of international business you conduct and incorporate a theme line, logo and images. Doing so will help you target your buyer prospects and fine-tune your message.
8. Print Classifieds Done Strategically
Many agents have shifted marketing dollars away from print newspaper advertisements for a couple of reasons. One, it can be expensive, and two, print media has been eclipsed by online communications in terms of reaching a target audience. A service called American Classified Services offers a solution. The firm sells discounted classified line and display ads that run in community and free newspapers in the U.S., Canada, and internationally. Work with company representatives to identify domestic publications that serve communities that have established or growing immigrant markets. Develop a consistent campaign to announce properties you have for sale or lease.
Cindy Fauth is the Global Marketing Manager for the National Association of REALTORS®
For more information visit www.realtor.org.