Internet For The Rest Of Us
I was inspired this morning to write this post, sort of as a follow up to Bill Gassett’s post on Google +. (Read His Post) There is no doubt that having and using internet skills will continue to define the winners and losers in real estate. The buyers head straight to the internet looking for homes and the sellers follow trying to get a fix on what the value of their home might be. And this for the most part is how it goes in all aspects of real estate whether it is residential, commercial or leasing.
When we log on, it’s no surprise that the big 3, 4, or 5 always come up first. The have multimillion dollar budgets, a full time staff of programmers and more importantly a website that has all the listings from one end of the country to the other. They have content. Content is king. Google has said it and they followed. Now it’s your turn. If you’re going to get found on the internet you’re going to have to be a content provider.
You’re going to need a website, and you’re also going to need to have indexed IDX listings in your site. Now work on your site daily for the next 3 years. Seriously, great websites just don’t happen by themselves. You will need to provide content into your site daily. Over time, if done correctly your content will be an authoritative source of information and you will work your way up in the search results.
The really good news is that many of the sites that have already done this will provide you a platform that can serve as your internet soap box. These sites don’t sell real estate (yet), they sell advertising and to do so they need buy in from the Realtors. So as Realtors, we ask what’s in it for me and they give us a means to communicate with the public. Using the established sites as outlets to the buying and selling real estate market gives you the ability to bring them back to your site, to watch your video, to get them to call you. You don’t really have to have the best site in the market if you create relationships with those that do. Here are some established sites that can boost your leads.
Start with a really good property description in the mls inclusive of the neighborhood name. Google’s not looking for “it’s a really nice neighborhood”, they will reward “Schafer Acres is a 52 home boutique community located in Egg Harbor Township NJ”.
If you have a showcase relationship Realtor.com make sure to enhance all your listings, inclusive of the video. Make sure to make a video of all your listings and then write a full description of the listing and post it on You Tube (if you don’t have a You Tube channel, set on up), along with a link back to your site. Don’t forget to mention your name, email, company name, and website in your signature block. This is called a citation and Google looks for it.
Do a virtual tour. You can do them for as little as 5 bucks at places like Ubuildtours.com
Buy a custom URL and sign rider and send the view back to the tour or video.
There are dozens of free third party sites that allow you to advertise your listing: Active Rain is a good starting place. Claiming your listing on sites like Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com are also good. Just as Bill wrote in his post, using Google + is a good place to post, face book if you must and the list goes on.
Steven Schafer is a full time real estate agent in Atlantic County New Jersey and sometimes reluctant freelance internet consultant for those who just need a little help.