"It would have qualified as a business crisis if I had to leave that behind when I made a change." -Carol Williams
In 2008, when I was still an active real estate agent, I wrote the following blog post. It is as true today as then, so wanted to pass it along again. Please heed the advice. You won’t be sorry!
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“Last week I was in a Business Management class. I enjoy these out of town classes because, besides the learning experience, they are good opportunities to network with other agents, share stories, and exchange business cards. As I looked at the various cards, it struck me how many agents have their e-mail and website addresses tied to their company. If they leave their current company, they would have to start all over promoting their new contact information and building their web presence.
Most agents, myself included, plan to stay with a company when we sign on. But, unfortunately, the best-laid plans usually change and, since you’re the one paying the marketing and advertising expenses, you need to be sure to protect yourself in case you go a different direction. If your e-mail and website are tied to the company, you are (literally) going to have to start over when you make a change!
As a full-time real estate agent, I am always looking for the most cost effective way to promote my team and our inventory. It has become abundantly clear that the most cost effective form of advertising for me is my website and blog(s). I don’t spend a lot of money for any of them, but I do spend a lot of time (which IS money too) trying to maximize my search engine rankings… so I actually get business from the expense of money and time.
The website costs $69 per month (with IDX features) and the blog is $17 per month. And, I get 75% of my business from my internet presence. This amounted to several million dollars in closed transaction last year. That, I calculate, is a pretty darn good return on investment.... my most cost effective marketing strategy.
The rest of my business was from referrals, repeat business and a random buyer or seller who stumbled upon me in some other way.
Other forms of “old time” advertising (such as newspapers and the homes guide) are not nearly as effective for generating actual business. I’ve come to look at them as more of a name recognition tool instead of expecting many real buyers or sellers to come from them.
The real point of this post is to beg ALL agents to get your own domain name and tie your e-mail address to that. You can keep it and promote it forever without worrying about what will happen in the future. Do NOT. I repeat Do NOT take that FREE website and email address the brokerage offers you."
Above is an old screenshot of my website when I was an active agent. Sorry for the poor quality. I pulled it out of my 11 year old archives. The point is, you can see by the name “CarolsWenatchee”, this website branded ME, not my company. You must identify yourself with the firm you are working in, but you must brand yourself, not them. My websites ranked multiple times on the first page of Google… holding as many as 7 of the top 10 spots at any given time. I was competing with the large franchises. Me, a small independent agent. It would have qualified as a business crisis if I had to leave that behind when I made a change.
I hope this gives you some food for thought… so you don’t waste your time creating and nurturing a website that will be useless to you when things change in the future... and they almost always do. Leave your options open. Promote and brand yourself for the long haul."