I've been writing this blog since the end of February 2013. It's an important part of my business plan moving forward. I've discovered that there aren't many agents in my area, the South Shore of Massachusetts, who use the internet very effectively in building their businesses. I believe that, and time will tell whether, I have a window of opportunity here to create an online brand around my name and value proposition.
I know why the internet isn't widely, intensively, or even properly used here. It's not because agents can't figure out and keep up with the latest fandangled attribute of Google+ or SEO. That's also part of it, but it's not the real driver. While other parts of the country have very competitive online markets, especially where the population density is high, my little neck of the woods is made up of a dozen or so traditional New England towns. The area is not densely populated. Many towns, or parts of towns, have one-acre residential lot zoning minimums. People know people here. They and their families have lived here for generations, even hundreds of years. They tend to go on the internet to look for homes AFTER they've talked with their family, friends and Realtor, AND looked in the weekly newspaper! I know: crazy, right?
People here on the South Shore don't need or even want to know whether I know all about SEO or online marketing; they want to know that I am going to do a better job than any of my competitors helping them to sell or buy their house, including using the internet to market their property.
What I know is that there is a TON of hype on the internet about how important it is to be on the internet. The hype is based on a basic truth about modern life. The hype is also way overblown, in my opinion. While I certainly "get it" with regard to your market, dear reader, somewhere else, we here in the oldest towns in the United States do business with people we've known and trusted for a long time. My point is that the internet frenzy is important to all of our futures, but here, at least, it is strongly tempered by a preference for direct human interaction with locally recognized and experience-tested experts.
I do believe that, over time, younger generations of people who want to live here will be doing business in new ways that emphasize their service providers' online reputation and ability to deliver information. I acknowledge that people like Bill Gassett have capitalized on their early mastery of internet marketing to build their businesses in suburban parts of Boston, but those areas, and the reasons people live there, are really quite different. Ultimately, my best leads come from referrals. Those referrals come from people I've met in the communities I serve and from people like you whom I've met on the internet. Some people hear about me from a friend and check me out online.
I believe it is important to create and maintain my internet presence and present my market expertise through blogging. That's why I am planning on being the #1 AR blogger in Plymouth County by the end of my first year on AR. I don't foresee any major obstacles to achieving this goal, since there are no - zero - other active AR bloggers in my county. (An "active" blogger writes more than one blog post per month. That's my def.)
If we agree that the lack of bloggers here is not because blogging on AR is ineffective or outside the mainstream, then would you agree that there would seem to be a fairly large opportunity for me in the online space in Plymouth County and the South Shore of Massachusetts? My job is merely to make it clear to people who find me on the internet, and want to know more about me, that I will do the best possible job for them once they meet me in person and become my client.