Marketing Director, ERA American Real Estate
Shalimar, Florida | www.era.com/era-american-real-estate
Region served: Northwest Florida
Years in real estate: 7
Number of offices: 5
Number of agents: 110
Why is it so important to have a strong online presence?
While there are numerous reasons, first and foremost, real estate professionals must remember that it’s all about presence. In fact, it’s the same things that allow an individual to have a strong presence in their everyday life to have a strong presence in the virtual world, albeit in different ways. While real estate professionals used to be the gatekeepers of all the information, the tide has turned, and today, prospective clients are shopping agents—and they’re doing it online. Establishing a strong online presence is key when it comes to helping buyers and sellers understand who you are and how they’re going to connect with you.
How has COVID changed the way real estate professionals think about their online presence?
We were already shopping on Amazon, getting our groceries delivered and using DoorDash, but while they were merely options prior to the pandemic, COVID made them mandatory. The same thing happened in real estate. As some markets closed completely, it became mandatory that real estate professionals learned how to not only connect with prospective clients online, but also how to show and sell homes. And that’s not to say that the old ways of doing business don’t work anymore. Instead, they need to be integrated so that an agent’s offline presence is working in tandem with their online presence. Real estate professionals have to demonstrate that they can operate efficiently in a virtual environment.
In addition to having a website, what other elements must be integrated into the mix?
Real estate professionals in general need a more sophisticated marketing operation. It’s also important to note that one piece that often gets overlooked is a strong platform for reviews and referrals. As the competition continues to heat up, you must have a system for capturing reviews and getting referrals from the first time you meet someone all the way through the lifecycle of working with them. Video is another element that must be included. For those who may be uncomfortable behind the camera, set aside some time to work this muscle, as video is one of the best ways to show consumers exactly who you are. And while social media is a given, I believe real estate professionals should focus more on consistency than creativity in this space. Last but not least, make sure your print campaigns have a digital integration.
What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing in this area?
Having come to real estate from education marketing, I noticed that it was all about marketing/listing exposure, because that’s where we were at the time. I didn’t see a lot of knowledge about how to build a brand, but I’ve noticed that there’s more of a focus on top-of-mind awareness today. Agents and teams are focused on the long game and are engaging in brand-building activities that will drive business their way long into the future. Agents are also becoming more savvy when it comes to the importance of their brand, and I’m seeing more agents make the shift to more of a brand-building focus.
Looking ahead, how will an online presence factor into the success of real estate professionals?
As we move toward the future, having an online presence is going to be more critical than ever. While real estate is about connecting with people and building trust, having a powerful, authentic and consistent online presence is going to be the difference between being in the business and owning the business.
For more information, please visit www.era.com.