By Patty McNease
Continuing our look at what lies ahead for real estate pros in 2014, here are the latest of the 14 marketing trends expected to be hot in the new year, with an emphasis on local marketing. Check out last week’s mobile trends here, and be sure to come back next week to see what lies ahead in social marketing trends.
It all comes down to “location, location, location,” right? Competition in the real estate biz seems to be heating up every week and, at the local level, that competition can be even tougher. Here are five marketing tactics that will help any real estate pro build their brand through local content and advertising.
1. Think Local: What are people in the neighborhood talking about? What issues are they discussing at the local coffee shop? How are the local high school sports teams doing? These are the topics that you should be covering when you reach out to people. Don’t just start a phone call asking about their house hunting plans. Get personal with them about the things in the town they care about. The same applies to your social media threads. Be sure to start conversations about the things that matter most to people and in no time at all, you’ll be creating a site, a voice, a connection that people want to stay in touch with each day, increasing your hold on a community.
2. Love Local: Once you started the conversations, act on what people are talking about. Express your opinions and solutions to problems, and let people see that you aren’t just an agent but a person who cares for the community just as they do. Shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and talk about these places on your social media pages and website. Once people see you out and about and taking advantage of all the things that the neighborhood has to offer, they will be more inclined to contact you when the home decision time comes. Plus, these stores and cafes will return the favor in kind when people ask them if they know of a good local real estate agent.
3. Serve the Community: Any agent can talk a good game, but if you really want to prove to the community that you have their best interests at heart, donate your time to local events and school functions to show everyone that you are one of them. Attend charity functions, school car washes, church bazaars, and always offer to lend a hand. Consider sponsoring a local sports team. Making friends with those in the PTA, local Kiwanis club or at worship facilities will give you a list of potential clients a mile long.
4. Social Media Locality: It’s important to get people regularly checking your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, so don’t be posting photos and conversations about things going on in different states or talking about things that have no impact on the local community. Katie Lance, a real estate marketing and branding expert, offers some great advice on content to include on your social networks or personal website that will keep people coming back. Things such as a school holiday calendar, list of hidden gems to grab lunch, a schedule of community events and links to blogs written by local people are some of what she mentions. Don’t be stingy with community photos. People love visuals, and including sights they are familiar with will be a plus for attracting those to your site.
5. Mobile Matters: When people are looking at homes, the National Association of Realtors say that an astounding 50 percent of all local searches are now performed on a mobile device. That’s why it’s necessary to increase your brand awareness. Today’s modern mobile devices use geo-targeting to provide users with top ranked local search results, so it’s important to start collecting client testimonials and reviews to help build your search engine ranking. Another way to help gain new clients from local searches is to utilize mobile advertisements like Mobile Local Ads from Homes.com.
Staying front of mind on a local level, can be done in various ways—through emails, on social networks, direct mail, advertising and even the occasional call. One thing an agent shouldn’t forget is to keep your website updated and filled with helped information. Potential clients will often look at various sites before coming to a decision on hiring someone and you don’t want yours looking aged.
A great way to help is through Homes.com Studio, a web design program that allows real estate pros to upgrade and revitalize the look of their web design to help ensure they target local homebuyers throughout 2014.
Patty McNease is the Director of Marketing with Homes.com.
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