As an online advertising contractor/consultant off and on for 20 years, I worked for Brokerages and Realtors to large high tech companies and everything in between. The primary reason I was employed as a contractor to begin with was because my employers didn't have the time or the expertise to do it all. Sound familiar? No one can do it all. Everyone has their specialty but, in order to capitalize on it, we need help. Real help.
I began my career in computer training, designing and implementing training in businesses from small to large Fortune 500 companies. It was a wonderful experience being on the training end of things because it gave me an opportunity to make a difference for many employers. They came to me before hiring computer technicians so I could screen them. They gave me their invoices so I could determine whether or not the services they paid for were warranted. I was the technology police, scrutinizing every dollar that left the company. I then found myself producing online ads and taking the necessary steps to magnify the online promotion of Real Estate professionals and businesses. Again, I was the technology police, assisting Realtors in maximizing their online promotion while only spending what they needed to spend. Working as a Real Estate professional is a 24/7 job and most Realtors can't spend all their time trying to figure out how to truly benefit from the Internet.
We know that only 5% of home buyers and sellers on the Internet are ready to transact business. What are you doing to capture the eye of the remaining 95% who can take from 6-18 months to make a decision? Are you buried on listings sites among thousands of listings where consumers are looking for property instead of a Realtor? Listings sites are acutely important to your business because sellers need to know that their home is published in front of the largest audience possible. This helps you retain listings which is acutely important, but is it growing your business at a rate you're happy with?
Many Real Estate professionals understand that, the way to maximize their exposure and increase their conversion rates, is to link their websites to websites attracting prequalified consumers. The key though is, your website has to contain the content home sellers and buyers are looking for. Do you return to a website that doesn't contain the information you were seeking? Most likely, you don't. Your neighbors, who are looking for the content they need in order to decide whether it's time to buy or sell, are not going to return to your website if it doesn't offer them what they were looking for. Your website is your only chance to make a profound first impression.
This takes me back to my original point. You can't do it all. One Realtor told me he didn't have time to investigate advertising on the Internet, so he's running ads in the local paper and online at the same paper's website. He's actually spending more money on an ad in the yellow pages print edition than he would if he advertised online where his neighbors are looking. He promotes his business on CraigsList in front of everyone, mostly people who are looking for roommates, appliances and cars. Does that make sense? Traffic consisting of consumers who are looking for appliances doesn't help Realtors build their business. Take advantage of the freebies out there and then put yourself in front of the people you reach out to and touch every day. Keep up your blogging. Put your website address in your logo. Design your website in line with the algorithms search engines use, otherwise they won't pick you up. If your website doesn't use effective linking in combination with robust content, search engines like Google will not capture it in any of their sweeps.
We're all attracted to what we're used to, but you can't afford to do that. There is so much out there that you're overwhelmed and frozen. Don't feel like a lonely soldier out there. You have plenty of company, but don't let that interfere with growing a successful business. You have to scrutinize where you're putting your advertising dollars. If you could advertise everywhere on the Internet for free like the good old days 30 years ago, you'd be everywhere. You can't, so take a few minutes to define who your customer is and where you want to be in one year, then take advantage of the information those of us embedded in online online advertising have to offer.