Real estate agents that rely on their brokers and old marketing strategies are in jeopardy of losing valuable ground to new agents that are following emerging technological advances in the industry. This is due to either ignorance, lack of motivation or a foolish consistency in marketing habits that used to work. Understanding how to engage home buyers online and keeping reasonable expectations concerning the return for the effort is critical.
Product purchase (including real estate) has shifted to the Internet. Agents that are savvy online are the ones that will survive and thrive. Agents that expect business to plop into their laps with no knowledge of how search engines work or how they can bring them business will fail, especially in an industry that has become extremely competitive online.
2011 is the year to change your marketing strategy and take hold of Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) and to understand the difference between the two. Since most homebuyers are now using the Internet to not only locate homes, but to make contact with a real estate agent to represent their interests, it's vital to utilize website technology and online marketing strategies that captures this buyer when they first begin to search online. Getting involved in Internet marketing such as blog submissions on Active Rain, article writing, etc. to support a SEO'd website technology offers many benefits such as creating a virtual Internet solar system of satellite profiles to bring business.
It's understandably difficult for agents to gauge what is most important when approaching SEO and real estate Internet marketing for real estate because there are truly hundreds of new products that are meant to engage the client once they've found you, but do not provide the "teeth" to capture traffic from the search engines. Ranking for competitive keywords remains the primary focus, but placement for these keywords is incredibly hard to achieve.
Search engine visibility is really a matter of approach, unless you use a technology that creates many doorways for the search engines to serve up your website pages, you compete with every other real estate agent trying to fit through Google's "size 10 fits all" front door. It's really a matter of strategy. Go for the hard to win keywords and capture about 30% of the potential traffic for real estate searches or go for a multitude of the easy keywords and get the other 70%!
The fact is that most homebuyer's search style is based upon very specific criteria and the search engines have no option (unless given one) to default to websites that have been online for a long time, regardless of the actual content. When a property's features are search engine visible and the content (or listing agent remarks) is presented and optimized on indexable, individual pages... matches for specific searches can be made.
Real estate as an industry is predicted to undergo disproportionate challenges in the coming years when compared to other industries. To stick ones head in the sand for yet another year because you're expecting the good times to come back or your waiting on your broker to lead the way could prove ruinous. And frankly, maybe a good purging of the established hierarchy would be good. It's really a matter of striving to be better than your competitors. The Internet is, and will continue to be the great equalizer because success is defined by those that use smart technologies and embrace new ideas.