While attending a VRMA (Vacation Rental Management) conference in Phoenix for my vacation rental condos this week I learned some invaluable online marketing techniques that are cheap and relatively simple. I believe every real estate agent will benefit tremendously if the strategies are employed as directed.
Has your marketing plan changed in the last 5 years? Are you still doing the same things and still hoping for the same results? These strategies are 2012 strategies that will put you ahead of those still doing business using 1990 marketing strategies. These 10 strategies cover social media marketing, the changing world of SEO (search engine marketing), and how to get more out of your PPC (pay per click) marketing and pay less.
Here are the 10:
1) Link Building:
Link building strategy has changed significantly in the past year with the Google algorithm changes. The Panda and Penguin updates have caused us all to re-evaluate our link building. NEVER pay for links solely for links only pay for links for traffic only. Seek out high quality links and disregard the junk links. Test the PR (page rank) and the traffic of the backlinks you are targeting. 1 quality links can be worth more than 1,000 junk links. Focus on link that are directly relevant to your domain. Now, internet marketers must now vary their anchor text in links. DO NOT stuff your links with keywords - especially in low quality links.
2) Pinterest - can this be the next Facebook?
Pinterest is taking off. If there is one company that Facebook may be scared about it's Pinterest especially after they bought Instagram. Have a great house with inique features? Post the images on Pinterest. Who loves Pinterest the most? Females. Who makes the ultimate decision on the decor and likeability of a home? Females! This is a great marketing plan to target influential buyers. Now travel is one of the top 10 categories on Pinterest and growing. Remember, visitors will get annoyed quickly if you sell to them too much - or maybe even at all. A unique thing about Pinterest is they allow your profile to be indexed by the search engines.
3) Facebook - the most powerful ad on the web
Imaging being able to identify your exact target market: female, age 40, 2-4 kids, college education, loves Southern Utah. How great would it be to market right to them? Facebook allows you to do just that. Use real time events to harness interest and to extract contact information. NEVER let your ads go stale. Always test your ads and change them frequently. Calculate how much a fan or a like is worth and calculate your acquisition cost - stick to that number. Make sure you are giving your potential customer a why or what's in it for them. Do not sell too much. Your status updates should be written to appeal to your new visitors.
4) Facebook contests - one of the greatest return on marketing investments ever
An iPad cost $600 but how much is a new listing and 200 new potential customers worth to you? Make sure your contest has many goals. For example, the first thing you should get is a like for everyone entering the contest (potential customers) and each time somebody likes your company it shows up on the their new feed. Second, you could suggest signing up for your newsletter and extracting their email. Third, you could ask for interesting photos from your location to use in a blog or on your website. And forth, you should suggest that the winner promotes his or her winnings all over social media. Remember, the main goal is to capture information. And, have a strategy of what you are going to do with that information. Promote your contest everywhere, not just Facebook. Finally, beware of contest fraud and Facebook contest requirements.
5) Google Remarketing Ads – jump-start your brand awareness
Google remarketing places your ad all over the web from those customers who have visited your website. Imagine easily being able to re-sale your customer all over the internet. How huge will your customer think you are when your ads show up in many of the places they regularly visit online? You think this is very expensive but it's not. It's about $1 per click. But, even better is that Google doesn't charge for impressions. So, you could have 500 impressions for 1 click. That's $1 for 500 times a guest sees your branding - not bad. Besides Facebook contest this may be the next biggest bang for your marketing buck.
6) Feedback Analytics - Improve your website usability
Do you have a website that was built 8 years ago? Was it a template? Are you losing business because your visitors can't figure out how to get the information they need quick enough? Use website feedback analytics to see how difficult your website is to use. This analysis shows you the best and worst your site has to offer. Are you capturing important information when a client visits your site so you can get them back to your website?
7) Twitter - build your following
Don't just tweet; become a reliable source for your area and industry news. Use hashtags that can be used by users who don't already follow you. Create events and use hashtags for those events. Retweet relevant information of your area or industry and reply to your visitors.
8) Microsoft AdCenter RAIS - Bing Ads
What is RAIS (rich ads in search)? RAIS are ads that display more than just text like: links, forms, message texts. When you use RAIS you can get special treatment on the MSN search network. Microsoft allows you to prevent your competitors from targeting your company name and certain terms. With some volume, your cost per premium keyword goes down. RAIS allows you to place ads with features that lower level accounts cannot.
9) Local Search - the world is getting smaller but everyone is going local
Google is now placing more and more local pages as search results and giving them more credence. Local pages are getting more important everyday especially for Realtors who need to be super local. You must verify every listing from Google Local, Yahoo, and Bing. Make sure your information is accurate and consistent across each platform. Fill in all form for best search engine exposure.
10) Google Analytics - don't take a shot in the dark with your marketing dollars, track results
Paying a lot of money for PPC doesn't do a lot of good if you are targeting the wrong keywords, your landing page is not appealing, and you are not gaining potential customer's contact information. Most people spend an hour setting up AdWords but zero time tracking how that money is getting results. Google Analytics allows you to set up conversion tracking on more than just AdWords. You can monitor your sites engagement metrics.