Real Estate Investors and Agents Online Marketing Tips – With or Without a Website
Online marketing is very important for any business, large or small, and with or without a website. That’s right; a website is not mandatory to advertise your product or service online. Of course, a website is highly recommended; as your business grows you really should consider creating a website.
In your online marketing efforts, it is important to understand the function of internet search engines and how you can make them work for your business. This article will explain how to put your product or service at the top of Google Search results so that you appear ahead of your competition.
What is an Internet Search Engine?
A search engine is a directory of internet content made up of a set of programs that searches an index and returns a match to a specific keyword. When a user searches a specific subject, the search engine will list the sites or online content where they might find what they are looking for. For example, if one types in “plumbing repair Detroit” the results should be business directories, press releases, articles or classifieds advertising plumbers in the Detroit area.
Google Search Results
Google is by far the most popular search engine, used by over 70% of the market, followed by Yahoo and MSN. Here's a quick exercise: Using the Google Search tool, type in “plumbing repair Detroit” and notice what appears on page one. The shaded area at the top of the page and going down the right side of the page are called sponsored links. The businesses that appear in these areas pay Google for these spots. Remember Yellow Pages ads? Some were larger than others; the larger the ad, the more it costs the business owner.
In many searches (especially for services) you will see business directories just below the ads in the shaded area at the top. Many of these directories provide free listings; just click on them and add your business or service.
Now, look at the next section of the results. These are the organic search results. Near the top of the page, you'll notice something like “Results 1-10 of 190,191 for plumbing repair Detroit.” Businesses on page one have done a great job of online marketing for their business. About 42% of search users will click on the very first organic result and 11% will choose the second result. Lesser percentages will select additional results (primarily on that first page of the search results). Only a very small percentage (less than 5%) will bother going on to the second page of search results.
Many people will consider patronizing the business that appears in the organic results rather than the sponsored links. Just like with the Yellow Pages, they feel that it is in their better interest to work with the smaller, local company. The big shot, with the ½ page ad, is paying big money for advertisement; it is very likely that he passes on this expense to his customer by charging higher fees.
The algorithms of search engines rank businesses by a number of stats, but the one that you can immediately begin to improve in is your business's status as an authority on your subject matter. This is achieved by creating original content covering your field & connecting that content directly to your business.
There are free websites that allow you to submit your content and get published online. Search Google for “free press release sites,” “free article submitters”, or “free classifieds.” Sign up or register your account and follow their instructions for use. Some are easier to use than others; some appear on page one of Google more often than others. Many of these sites contain helpful tips on writing a good article, press release, or classified ad. Some have strict rules that you will have to follow to avoid your work will be rejected. Have fun and learn as you experiment. Submit your content to several sites, then search Google to see which ones work the best for you.
Join as many of these sites as you wish and write plenty of unique material, using strong keywords that describe the product or service that you offer. Posting content on social networking & blog sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Blogger, and Reddit can be fun, interesting, and good for your business.
Online marketing is an ongoing project; you must keep at it. Update your blogs, renew your classifieds, and write new articles and press releases regularly. Remember, your competition will be working to stay ahead of you, so every time you reach the top, someone is competing for that space.
Learning and Growing
The internet contains a wealth of information to help you with your marketing. I also suggest attending seminars and workshops where you can network with other business owners and exchange tips and information. Though many free seminars are designed to sell products or services, many of them still provide valuable tips.
Attend internet marketing seminars and small business workshops to meet other like-minded people who have goals similar to your own. Surround yourself by others who are more experienced and who know more than you do; learn from them and avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls they might have experienced along the way.
Getting a Website
Remember what I said about a website? As your business grows and your client base increases you will find yourself wanting a great website. Like any other type of business or service, there are many website designers who advertise on the internet. For a website to be effective, it is very important that it be created by a professional who is familiar with techniques for optimizing the site and getting a good search ranking. Anyone can create a great-looking web page, but only a real professional can build a website that will provide benefits for your business.
The best place to find a great web designer is at seminars and workshops. Talk to long-time business owners who already have websites. Get referrals and interview several website designers before choosing one to work with. A website can be somewhat expensive, but well worth your investment. You can either pay for an inexpensive site that looks great, but doesn’t provide results; or you can hire a professional, pay a little more, and see how quickly it pays for itself when the clients come rushing in and your phone is ringing off the hook!
Get on the Internet! Start Slow, but Think BIG!
By: Ralph Mark Maupin
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