The CoronaVirus Pandemic has not yet brought the real estate industry to a shutdown, but I suspect our good days are numbered. The whole world seems to be fighting this dreaded pandemic, and the future for all of us is cloudy at best.
It is very likely that we will soon face a time when we can no longer meet with customers directly or enter listings for showings. So what can an agent do to survive the CoronaVirus downtime so it is ready to continue operations when the worst of this has passed?
As an active agent myself, these thoughts have been on my mind and have dominated discussions during my last few management meetings. Knowing that a complete shutdown will probably occur within the next few weeks, we’re wondering how to ensure that we can spring back into form as soon as it is safe to do so.
Digital Marketing To-Do List
As somebody that thrives on digital marketing, there is a great opportunity to work from home and yet still get a lot done. For agents that are new to digital marketing (or even those that have yet to embrace DM), many of the tasks that I am pursuing would make a great “down-time” to-do list too. Here is just some of what I’m doing:
Digital Marketing Evaluation
A good marketer is always studying his operation and looking for areas to improve. We study our current and past campaigns to see what worked best and which ones should be shutdown. For agents that are new to DM, read a book on how to transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing.
Another great assessment task to perform is the study of digital marketing leaders in real estate across the US. For example, I look to see what successful real estate agents in the larger markets are doing on social media. I can visit their instagram accounts and facebook pages in order to find new ideas which appear to be highly effective for them.
I recommend that you choose a few areas that you want to improve, setting up tasks that you would normally forsake because of time constraints. The CoronaVirus health risk has cost us the opportunity to do our normal business activities, so now is a great time to focus on things we can improve.
Grow And Improve Your Connections
One great way to reduce the cost the marketing that you do on social media is to have a lot of followers. It is easier (and cheaper) for you to reach your followers than it is to reach everybody else, so grow your list to the maximum that each social media platform will allow. This is arduous work and something you rarely have time to do, so use your newfound time and get it going!
If you have a real estate team, ensure that all the agents on your team do the same. Make sure they have a strategic plan for growth, don’t just add people for the sake of having a larger list. I push my agents to focus on people who live in our market area. The should select each person who is well connected and lives in the area that you (want to) service.
The Facebook follower limit is 5000 people. Imagine the power of your reach on Facebook if you and all of your team members have 5000 high- quality local followers? You could then invite these followers to like your Facebook Page which would allow you to market to them directly and push them to your favorite landing pages.
Your Personal Website
A real estate agent’s website should be a great source of business if it is well-maintained and added to regularly. Search engines appreciate strong local knowledge, and I get far more than my fair share of organic traffic from Google due to the thousands of blog posts that I have written over the years.. Do you have a templated site that is merely a “business card online?” If so, take this down-time to re-engineer your company website (I use the Premiere Site from SierraIntereactive).
Our website (www.manausa.com) has been highly effective, generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue over the past few years. But it needs to be maintained to retain and grow its effectiveness.
I use the hrefs.com site audit to uncover errors and optimization opportunies. Recently, it showed that we have 169 images that are much too big and are thus slowing page load times (a big whammy for search engine optimization). We have downloaded each image, reduced them in size, optimized them to be as small as possible, and now are in the process of replacing the old images with the newly optimized ones.
Additionally, we’re looking at generating additional new content for our site so that it will improve organically generated traffic (organic means free!). We are putting together a list of real estate FAQs that we hear from our customers and we’ll turn them into new content and videos that to promote both on our site and on video sites such as Youtube. Real estate videos can be used as a very affordable way to reach new customers, but you have to have quality content that they will want to watch and hear.
From Distaster Comes Rebirth
Times are tough and there is plenty of reason to be scared right now. No one would blame you for just holing up and waiting for the pandemic to end. I know I thought about doing just that. However, I have decided to use this mandatory down-time to strengthen my digital marketing foundation.
This too shall past. There will be new problems, new issues, and perhaps a time of great personal heartache that many of us will ensure. But I’m going to take some good with the bad. I’m going to sharpen the proverbial ax so that when the new normal is established, I will be have a stronger digital footprint that will help me compete and thrive in the future. I hope you will too.