Seeing the NAR 2009 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers statistic that notes "less than 3% found the home they purchased in a print ad" is one to make you wake up right?! Additionally, "90% of all buyers used the internet to search."
Can we please take a close look at where we spend our advertising dollars? There are so many free and very inexpensive options to help you connect with the people out there who are Googling for their next home.
Real estate is very different than many items that people shop for on the web. They are not putting their credit card in and getting a set of keys to their new home through the screen. They are on a journey to YOU. They want to work with the very best expert in the area.
They are already out there looking. How will they find YOU?
As they are searching, they are waiting for somebody to stand out, to answer their burning questions, and to have glowing recommendations.
Take a moment to picture your audience. What is your niche? Perhaps it's short sales... (not a bad niche in this market.) Envision that person who is sitting at their computer in their jammies who was just served a Notice of Default. They are confused and don't know what their options are. Raise your hand up high on the web and provide clear, concise options and a way to connect with you. Or maybe you want to work with first time home buyers... what will they be Googling? You know the questions they have. This is your chance to brand yourself as a solution and a resource.
Ask yourself how can you show up on the web and present engaging information that will speak to your target audience.
What are you personally passionate about? What gets you up in the morning (aside from your joy and passion for Real Estate.) How can you incorporate your personal passions with your career? I love this story about an agent in the Seattle area who is passionate about art and music. She created a one stop resource on the web for people to find out where to attend local gallery showings and music performances. Guess who the number one Real Estate gent of choice is for the local artists and musicians. Hello brilliant. Hello different. When we connect with our personal passions, we automatically inject everything we do with a little more oomph.
Answer Their Burning Questions:
People love statistics. I know that our local MLS, WVMLS encourages agents to share their statistics. Perhaps your company spends a great deal of time preparing information that you can use. Blog about it and share this information frequently. People are curious about values and trends now, more than ever. This is only one example. Think about all the other questions people have and start a conversation on the web. Conversations are markets.
For those glowing recommendations, work your LinkedIn profiles! Ask for an on-line recommendation every chance you get. All those notes of gratitude you receive for a job well done, add them to your website. You can talk about how great you are all day long but there is nothing that stands out more than a third party endorsement. You should have pages and pages of them and trust me, somebody who needs a Realtor is reading up on you.
A Positive Note on ActiveRain:
ActiveRain is another vehicle that is incredibly powerful to connect with that 90%. When I was preparing for an education class just this morning I did a Google search of "Real Estate, Silverton, OR" and the results were interesting. Two agents who use ActiveRain showed up on page one of the search. What an incredible investment of their time. There they are, page one and looking like quite the expert with the information they provided.
While some people are lamenting about the charge from ActiveRain to have an outside blog, consider this... maybe it is time to shift some of those print ad marketing dollars over to ActiveRain. It's getting results as far as juice and how is that print ad treating you these days? (No, I was not paid or coerced into saying this... it's just a fact.)
You can purchase the complete NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers report here: NAR 2009 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers
(Much credit to Rene' Fabre for the inspiration he has provided over the years.)