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RISMEDIA, April 22, 2009-Now, more than ever before, there is a true need to reach consumers with messages that speak directly to their situations, their lifestyle. Consumers have a much clearer idea of what they want than ever before, so it’s best to make sure you are presenting them with exactly that-what they want.

I’m a “Generation X” consumer myself, and I know how people my age go through the process of buying and selling-and I know the Internet is a crucial resource for finding what we want. As an example, my husband and I have been looking for a home over the past year that fits our particular lifestyle. You see, we love to work hard and play hard.

One of the most important enjoyments is spending time with friends and family on Lake Norman in North Carolina. We spend evenings after work going fishing and cruising the lake on the weekends in our pontoon boat with our 7-year-old son, Jordan. We load up the boat with a packed lunch, lots of sand toys, and meet with our great group of friends and their kids. We can’t imagine this not being a part of our lives.

With this in mind, we have kept our discussions about moving up and buying our next home with a focus on our particular needs and what we enjoy doing with our free time. This is why we start our search for a new home by using features like searching by map first. Why? Well, the answer is, we just aren’t interested in looking at any house that doesn’t have easy boating access. We have no desire to tow our boat to the lake. The ability to easily search homes and neighborhoods by map, and at the same time to be able to see what homes are actively for sale, is extremely important to us. You can find examples of showing properties by map or neighborhoods at or

You might say, “Well, Tricia, does everyone really want to search like you? You are talking about lake property and that’s very specific.” I’ll admit that’s true, but let me ask you something: If you were a lake property specialist who knew the local lake like the back of your hand and you also farmed the neighborhoods I’ve been looking in, wouldn’t you want me to connect with you? Absolutely!

The reality of today’s real estate market is that the Internet is the first place home buyers are searching for their new home and, therefore, their Realtor. In fact, 80% of current home buyers begin their search online. Of those, 77% select their Realtor online and are planning to purchase within 12 months. It becomes increasingly important for those potential customers with particular needs to find the services you provide in your market.

The key for you to connect with consumers like me is for you to be readily positioned so we can easily find the information we are looking for, and that you can prove that you truly are the expert for specialized needs.

Tricia Fink Andreassen is the CEO and founder of Pro Step Marketing, a branding and Web marketing strategy firm that works with real estate agents to develop and implement Web marketing systems. For more information, please visit