By Paul Eastwood
RISMEDIA, Dec. 5, 2007-For real estate agents who farm geographic areas, neighborhood Web sites can be used as a relationship marketing alternative to traditional approaches.
Realtors® that farm a neighborhood ask themselves the following questions:
How can I stand out?
How do I build a relationship with homeowners?
How do I build trust with homeowners?
Traditional marketing includes the use of flyers and advertising. But, the success and sustainability of these approaches is proving more and more suspect and expensive. Moreover, traditional approaches have limited capabilities for creating personal relationships with prospective clients. So what other choices are there?
Is Traditional Marketing Helping or Not?
The aim of a successful marketing strategy for farming agents is to ensure that over the long term, whenever residents think “real estate” (time to sell), they think of you.
It’s about your credibility, your reputation and building relationships with residents.
Of these, the forming of relationships is probably the one most likely to give you a return on your investment. Your relationship with potential clients has a critical bearing on their decision to use you. Although your flyers and adverts establish your presence, name and some degree of credibility, you will benefit more from relationships formed, rather than any other type of marketing, which is where traditional marketing lacks effectiveness.
Traditional marketing is delivering diminishing returns and is limited in its ability to help you build relationships.
So, what can you do differently to build relationships with potential sellers and get closer to residents in the community you want to serve?
It’s time to think about a new marketing approach, not just advertising. It’s time to start thinking about the Internet in a way you’ve probably not thought about it before, as a marketing tool to help you build new types of relationships – both online and in person.
Private Neighborhood Web Sites
Most Internet tools for Realtors focus on attracting buyers, not sellers. Most are short term tactical tools, not oriented to longer-term, sustainable outcomes.
However, breakthrough approaches are creating new opportunities to build your Listings Business through new types of real and ‘on-line’ relationships created using the Internet.
The approach is based on providing a Web site resource of high-value that Residents want to use regularly. Specifically, a private, residents-only neighborhood Web site, for information exchange and news. The aim is to create compelling reasons for residents to register and use it.
The Value to Residents will Make it Work
For farming agents, the business justification is simple – invest to build relationships. To do this, the service must be used. To be used, it must stay focused on, and provide value to residents:
– Protect residents’ privacy so they are comfortable using the service
– Allow members to immediately post information, using the resource interactively.
– Disseminate information and updates through regular automated newsletters.
– Allow information exchange by residents, e.g. organization of a block party or a yard sale calendar.
– Don’t rush it. Build relationships over time. Leads will then flow with little extra effort.
The bottom line is this: Choose solutions that are focused on the needs of residents. The effect is to make the community a better place to live.
Farming a community is now made easier:
– Privacy creates your e-mail database automatically! Registration means you will not have to constantly struggle to build a database of resident’s e-mails.
– Automated newsletters and updates re-enforce use and build your name recognition.
– Interactive resources keep your involvement to a minimum by giving residents instant gratification.
Now you have a great reason (other than real estate) to speak to residents in the local community about a high-value service for them.
Investing in the local community with a neighborhood Web site service will give you a tangible asset.
Your neighborhood site can be a resource of real value to you and residents. The cost of driving each visitor to your neighborhood site is pennies compared to the high cost of traditional methods. Each time a resident is on the site, they see you. One extra listing per year will cover your costs many times over.
By thinking differently, by embracing the marketing and relationship building opportunities presented by a private interactive sites, Realtors can create a highly effective eFarming strategy that can deliver a substantial return on investment.
For more information, visit http://www.ValeNeighbors.com