There are some things that I have learned while focusing on technology marketing and real estate. I don't profess to know everything about the real estate industry although I did hold a license for a year and in that year learned that it's not the profession for me.
Why I got my license in the first place was because I was helping other agents generate leads and produce results in such abundance - and I wasn't getting paid what I thought I should for that production - that I thought I should do for myself what I am doing for others. As a side note that one year was very productive for me but again I discovered that being a real estate agent was not my calling.
To back the story up, my wife got into real estate at about the same time I was leaving Qwest Communications (alright I was asked to leave!). But the timing was perfect because I always wanted to start my own company and business. I was a tech guy and my wife didn't have a technology bone in her body. I was smart enough to know that real estate and technology were headed for a colision course. So I started a consulting company designed to help agents bridge that technology gap - which was far greater in real estate than I saw for almost any other vertical industry.
Things were really great - we built websites, did search engine optimization, did virtual tours, promoted various software applications that streamlined business processes but the thing that excited me the most was getting a lead off of the web. This was like some sort of online fishing. It was exciting to play with various web strategies (hooks) to see what we could offer these online possibilities in exchange for them giving us their contact information. In the first year we focused on this we generated well over $1M in new business for both my wife's business and for other lucky agent participants.
Things change quickly in the internet world and much of what we were doing in the early stages went out of fashion or was taken away from us (ask me about Realtor.com). But that's just how it goes. The challenge was there and we kept inventing and discovering new ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Today I was recently told that I have such a deep understanding of this phenomena of what buyers are doing online, what they are looking for and what is required to not only get them to divulge who they are but what needs to happen to get them to turn into buyers. I suppose this is true because it is so much what I focus on.
I know alot about Search Engine Optimization... I also know alot about Adwords and Overture... to the point I am paid well to help agents out in this regard. But I have also seen how incredibly challenging and costly these are to implement and get results from. To that end I have found more economically viable ways to help generate the leads that are so precious in today's market. And these ways leverage something most agents already have but are underutilizing and that is their own listings.
The thing that is happening in this market is that leveraging of the data is what it's all about. The data can be any number of different things - listings inventory (see IDX), sold values (see Zillow), satellite imagery (see Realbird), and on and on. The key is to utilize that data and present (manipulate) that data so that the online consumer sees VALUE such that they are willing to exchange who they are for the VALUE you provide.
This is still missed by most - from the individual agents to the large brokerage houses. But if you are an agent and you want to see more of your business get generated via the web the push to get SEO or Adwords working for you is like going after the gold in Colorado in the late 1800's - it's already been mined. You have to look for other ways and other places to find the hidden opportunity. Much like the gold and silver mines were stripped bare and left for dead in Colorado only for their to be a discovery that other precious metals were still there to be harvested.
Find those other metals... don't go for the gold - it's gone or far too expensie to still mine after...
Next topic will be "I got an Internet Lead - now what?"
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