Real estate has attracted record numbers of new brokers and sales agents. From recent college graduates to seasoned professionals seeking new challenges, real estate has become one of New York City's hottest new professions.
But there's a cloud attached to this silver lining.
Inventory remains low and competition for listings is fiercer than ever. Savvy brokers are thinking out-of-the-box, creating new ways to build their customer base. One way to create business is through niche marketing, which allows you to position yourself as an expert in a specific area within real estate. By doing so, agents can attract a larger number of buyers, sellers or renters and set themselves apart from the competition.
Niche marketing can cover anything from property types (condo vs. co-ops, for example) to neighborhood expertise (i.e., Brownstone Brooklyn) to demographic groups (such as Echo Boomers and empty-nesters). Niche marketing works incredibly well on the web. We all know the Internet has become an invaluable device for the home buying and selling public.
According to The National Association of Realtors[R], 75 percent of home buyers use the web as the first step in their purchase process. Grab those "eyeballs" by creating a web site that focuses on your niche.
Work with your company's IT department to create such a site--this will enable you to take advantage of your firm's technology resources at minimum or no costs.
You need to do research. You can't fake knowledge. Visitors to your site will see right through that.
Thoroughly learn the market, property type, demographic or whichever specialty that you've selected. Next, check out the competition by conducting a meticulous electronic search. Compile and carefully review your research to see if you can take advantage of any apparent weak spots, such as incomplete statistics on home sale prices.
Content needs to be developed. For best results, work with a professional writer. Ask your company's marketing or PR department for recommendations. They may have a list of freelancers who can produce the copy that you need.
And what kind of content should be developed?
Well, if you want to focus on neighborhoods--say Bay Ridge in Brooklyn--an overall neighborhood profile or a fact sheet on new developments is a good start. Use pictures to show not only homes for sale but also those that depict the entire neighborhood.
This will help to entice the potential buyer. Work with a local photographer who is familiar with the neighborhood. Take note: amateur photos will detract from the site.
"Keywords" are phrases or words that Internet browsers use when an electronic search--i.e., "Googling"--is conducted. For a Bay Ridge niche site, use the words "Bay Ridge" as much as appropriately possible--in your articles, even in picture titles.
You may even want to title your site "All About Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Real Estate."
This repetition will increase the opportunities of your site popping-up multiple times on the search page. The more space you take up, the greater chance you have to attract new customers.
Remember to keep content fresh. And remain current on new information. While niche marketing using the Internet takes time, money and effort, the return on your investment can be a solid and lucrative customer base.