By Peyman Aleagha
RISMEDIA, January 13, 2009-The Internet’s scope is both boom and bust for a local Realtor. Its use as an information tool fits nicely into the real estate business’ frame work, but its enormity can swallow well meaning, but misaligned marketing campaigns in a microsecond. So, how can a local Realtor effectively tap the resources of Internet marketing without getting lost in the process?
The answer is to take what works for Internet marketers and combine it with the techniques you use in your regular marketing. Internet marketers have already perfected an online sales model you can use, so all you need to do is customize it.
The basic model is this: drive people specifically interested in widgets to websites designed to capture their e-mail addresses, and then periodically e-mail those addresses with ad copy that’s designed to make people buy widgets. The difference is you sell services, not widgets.
For example, say you want to work expired listings, you do two things. You print a flyer selling a website that talks about homes that failed to sell in your market. In this flyer, you might talk about market conditions, listing length, pricing, etc., but the mailing has to drive the prospect to the second thing in the equation, the website.
On your site, you deal with the trauma of having a listing expire. You update your site with the most compelling, empathy-filled copy you can about expired listings. And on this site, you have a place where the prospect can give you their e-mail address so you can keep in touch with them about what’s happening in the real estate market. This is called a capture page. On it you capture prospects you want to work with.
If they leave you their e-mail, you’ve done your job. Now it’s a simple task of following up with them using an auto responder. Once they are in your auto respond circuit, you can establish yourself with more marketing that helps them see that you are the best realtor in the market area.
I guarantee you, not many Realtors are using the Web this way. I’ve used expired listings as an example, but hopefully you can see that integrating this type of viral marketing into your business will give you ready and cheap access to hoards of prospects in your market.
The mechanics behind the theory are websites, copywriting and auto responders. Now depending on your skill set, you may be able to generate much of what you need yourself. Only you know what you can do. But I can say, technology is so advanced today that most people will have a harder time coming up with great copy than they will generating the technology.
The type of website you need is not fancy. It just needs to be well written. You can generate a website in MS Word if you want or use affordable customizable real estate website solutions such as the one offered by www.RealtySoft.com. The copywriting needs to be your best sales stuff, but captured in print. And using an auto responder does not mean you have to hook up with a service. Check out www.zookoda.com for FREE access to a great auto responder. Just click a few buttons and it generates the code you drop in your site.
If you want to see an example of what one of these sites looks like, search the Web for anything with “work from home” in the search string and check it out. If you want a first-hand experience in what the system does, sign up on the site and sit back. Soon enough you’ll be getting e-mails telling you about the virtues of whatever it was you signed up for. I suggest you do this to see the technology in action.
Keep in mind, the widgets you sell are FSBO help, expired listing marketing and general marketing information local to your market. You package this in such a way that people will gladly give you their e-mail in exchange for it. Internet marketers call it the pink spoon. It’s like a free sample in an ice cream shop. If the sample is good enough, you’ll sell the gallon.
Once you get the e-mail address, you drip information to the prospect. Notice I said drip. Don’t spam, as no one likes or appreciates that. Spamming is the surest way to land your messages in the recycle bin. For that reason, I can’t overemphasize the importance of your written copy in these campaigns. Your copy must be compelling. It must capture the interest of the prospect in a way that makes them notice you. Writing good copy is probably the hardest part of this whole process.
You don’t have to do this all yourself. If you’ve got the money you can contract all, or part of this development out. For access to a host of great programmers, copywriters and other things you need to do this, cheap, check out www.elance.com. Elance is a great resource if you want to spec any marketing technology solution.
If you do this, and you do this right, in time you will build a reputation as the local Internet real estate expert. Keep in mind that it takes time and nothing on the Web happens overnight, regardless of the message that work at home auto responder told you.
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.