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RISMEDIA, June 15, 2009-Unfortunately, the rise of foreclosures and short sales is a part of today’s real estate market. But it’s at this time in our industry when we can reach out and provide the help our clients need. Below are some excellent ways to reach out to distressed homeowners:

1. Get certified-Because of today’s real estate market conditions, there are many out there who say they can handle a short sale. What will set you apart from those who claim they can complete a short sale is the expertise you have in this niche.

2. Acknowledge the emotional mindset of the seller and make sure to tailor your marketing to their needs. Fifty percent of homeowners in a distressed situation do nothing to stop their foreclosure. Many feel embarrassed, overwhelmed and don’t even realize that there may be options. This is critical in understanding how you must market to them. Traditional sellers want to know who you are and your results. Sellers in a distressed state are seeking answers with autonomy, so that if they feel there is a way out, they know what questions to ask.

3. Create a consumer-centric (stealth) website that is not associated with your particular brand. Remember, distressed sellers are looking for answers. Make it easy for them to find valuable information, FAQs, free reports and downloadable worksheets. When you do this, you will then be positioned to help them with their questions. By focusing on a non-branded stealth strategy, people will not always associate you as being the foreclosure expert or short sale Realtor.

4. Once you have the website built with the seller in mind and integrated lead-capturing tools, it’s time to drive traffic to the website. Contact your local newspaper and distribute a press release to the media. The press release can spur local media to interview you and help you get the word out about your services.

5. Develop a small, classified “stealth” ad that is inexpensive to run in the newspaper. This allows a seller in need of your services to know there is a website that provides them with information and allows them the privacy to look at the information on their terms without feeling pressured.

6. Seek out specific neighborhoods that may be experiencing a high amount of foreclosures compared to other neighborhoods. Run queries on new-home communities where buyers might have possibly had a high percentage of adjustable rate mortgages. If you are in a title state, work with the title company to run searches on specific zip codes and notices of default.

7. Mail to these neighborhoods a specific postcard to engage the homeowner and let them know that there is a website-yours-that was specifically developed to provide them with valuable information about how to avoid foreclosure.

8. Add a button on your flagship website that allows people who visit easy access to click over to your informational short sale website. For those of you who are ranking high on the search engines, this will really drive additional traffic to the short sale website.

9. Create a sphere of influence letter that goes out to your database and lets your clients know that if they, a family member or friend is in need of help in avoiding foreclosure, you have the resources and the education to help them.

10. Understand and embrace the synergy of print and Web to generate business for you in this market niche. By helping sellers in your market today, you will create clients for life.

Tricia Andreassen is CEO/founder of Pro Step Marketing. She has 19+ years experience in real estate and as a Web marketing and branding coach. For more information, please visit