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I estimate that twenty percent, or more, of my inspection work comes from my firm's online presence. Sure, the bulk of my work still comes from referrals, mostly from past clients or real estate professionals, but I think I can make an argument that I have achieved some modicum of success with my efforts at online marketing. I want to share with you a few things I have learned while working in the rain.
I find that, as my marketing efforts evolve with the changing and highly competitive marketplace, I am amazed by things I discover about the general public. Some of it makes sense, some defies reason. There is one big discovery I made, almost two years ago, that becomes more important all the time.
Active Rain serves many functions and, while it may not be all things to all people, it comes close to that lofty goal in my book. What can it do for you? Active Rain is a high visibility, and neatly organized, site that will host your blog posts. Active Rain can dramatically enhance your online marketing efforts. Playing in the rain helps a person achieve his or her marketing goals by providing strong search engine optimization (SEO).
I have had realtors tell me that competitors in the market become discouraged with their search engine optimization. I have been told that some inspectors have said: "the King of the House guy gets all the google." That is not exactly true -- another local AR member gets some of it and it does fluctuate a little bit. But I have great SEO and, as I have confessed before, the power comes from Active Rain. It is the driving force being used in conjunction with key words, back links and a quality main website.
The way I look at it, Active Rain is an awesome vehicle that gives a person potential, but that person has to go to the effort to make it work. A realtor asked me the other day how much my dominant SEO cost. The answer was zero in dollars but lots in sweat equity. To be successful in the rain, and online, you have to work diligently, stay up with and get in front of your competition, use effective key words and be consistent.
Speaking of tracks, I track where my business comes from. When I book a job, I ask how the client found me and why I was selected. Some of the answers are no-brainers -- what you would expect. In that category, we have the following:
#1 reason -- you were at the top of the search engine maps page
#2 reason -- you dominated the organic results at the search engine. This often has subtle overtones. For example, they visited my web page, and/or my Active Rain page, and liked my qualifications and my sample report.
#3 reason -- through the online search they found stories, about my firm, in the print media.
Now, all this seems logical, so far. Let's briefly look at some of the funny reasons I have been selected. Some of them make sense, others are a stretch.
#4 reason -- spelling is good
I had two people, in one week, tell me that they hired me because they scoured my sample report and they did not find spelling errors. In one case, the lady was an English teacher and she wanted an inspector who could spell. Drag your cursor over the spelling bee below who will tell you more about the importance of good spelling.
#5 reason -- I like your truck and sign
They thought I had a cool truck and they liked the logos and the name of the company. (I have yet to be hired out of love for my snappy green outfit.)
#6 reason -- love them furry creatures
I have been hired because they liked animal photos or stories in my blog. In a related vein, some of those people said they also liked the humor.
#7 reason -- nice gap between two front teeth. (Yes, now we are getting into weird)
I was hired once because the client liked the gap between my front teeth. He saw the gap in my website photo. As he got out of his car, he smiled, pointed at a gap between his own teeth and said -- "that is a main reason I hired you. We both have gaps between our front teeth."
#8 reason -- the best is yet to come or "no action yet but wishful thinking on my part"
Now that I know what people are looking for, I have been highlighting a new photo of myself. I think it has everything people desire. This is strong marketing stuff folks.
Feel the power -- (1) it is very "green", like the wildlife photos, it makes me organic and at one with the earth; (2) the gap in my teeth is prominently displayed (crucial to marketing); (3) the king is clearly detail-oriented as the head is well-centered in the pumpkin. Honestly, this has all the things clients are looking for, except one. It is lacking in humor, but sometimes you have to take the serious approach.
All joking aside, you never know why people will hire you. It may be for illogical reasons. One fact remains: If you do not keep your company profile out there (online) for people to see, then nothing will happen. The public will never find you, so they will not sample your presentation and style to determine if they like you or not. That gives you no chance at their business.
Bottom Line -- Use the power of the Active Rain wisely. This site gives you the tools and power you need to do an awesome job of marketing your services. However, you are the marketer -- the one who must make it happen. While Active Rain helps people find you, you have to sell them, impress them. Make the sale! Make sure that your online image projects your best qualities. Do not waste the power of the rain. What is waste? Waste is when you are found online, but potential clients are non-plussed or turned off by your online image. You cannot please all the people all of the time, but give it your best shot.
Have fun in the rain, but remember that this ain't no silly little game. Give Active Rain your best efforts so it can be your "rainmaker." This site, I guarantee it, can be a money maker for your firm. Keep that in mind and your banker, and your significant other, will be glad that you did.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections
Check out "This Day In History" -- music and vintage television from the 1950's through the 1980's. I enjoy writing these articles because they take me back to my days in radio broadcasting. Click on Elvis' gold record, below, to revisit those golden hits of yesteryear.
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.