It looks like amazon are getting ready to set up a Real estate referral service in the US with other countries to follow.
At the time of recording this episode, Amazon is a $427 billion business, so I guess they can basically do whatever they want and Amazon is just one global giant with very deep pockets going after the real estate industry by connecting directly with consumers.
I believe our industry is now more under threat from these heavy hitters than ever before and I’ve dedicated this episode to showing you exactly what you can do about it.
So get ready to create the perfect real estate marketing storm and become the disruptor in your area.
In 2000, Reed Hastings, the founder of a fledgling video company called Netflix flew to Dallas, Texas to propose a partnership with Blockbuster.
The idea was that Netflix would run Blockbusters’ brand online and Blockbuster would promote Netflix in its retail stores. At that meeting however, Hastings got laughed out of the room.
Less than 10 years later, Blockbuster was bankrupt and Netflix is now a 60 billion dollar company.
And you might be interested to learn that Kodak, who went out of business because of the digital revolution actually invented digital photography in 1975.
When the Kodak Engineer and digital photography inventor shared his discovery with corporate managers, whom by the way made a bulk of their money selling film, their reaction was “Filmless photography? That’s cute but don’t tell anyone about it”.
It seems history is full of slow learners and I’m sure you’ve noticed how, in last few years big business is swaggering in with fresh technology and ideas to dominate the real estate industry.
Look no further than the major real estate domains that hold us to ransom just so we can compete. In the very near future, there will be winners and losers and the losers will be the ones that do nothing about it.
So what do we do about it?
How do we beat the tech giants at their own game by using their technology but on a shoestring budget?
How do we reach out and connect with consumers on a different more powerful level?
How do we engage them and bring them into our world and nurture them as clients for life?
And what’s the best way to become a digital era media company that happens to sell real estate?
Well, the good news is that having an amazing online presence is now available to everyone. That’s why the digital economy is so successful and I’m 200% convinced that the real estate industry is going to look very different in less than 10 years.
Now is the perfect time and opportunity to become that media business within a real estate company.
In fact it doesn’t matter whether you’re one individual sales person or a part of a 500 office monster. Now is the perfect time to become the astute disruptor in your local market.
If you take a look around our industry, it’s not hard to spot the Blockbusters and Kodaks.
They are also the ones who are probably not listening to this podcast or reading my blogs.
I’m totally sold on the belief that right now, a world class personal or corporate website is by far the most important marketing tool anyone can own and this will only become more important as time goes on.
In fact, I’m suggesting your website shouldn’t be just part of your marketing, I think it needs to be the central planet around which all your other marketing revolves.
Think of it as the perfect real estate marketing storm that’s going to help you wipe out the competition.
Think of it as the head office of your media business with everything leading to it or from it and the good news is that today, it’s never been easier or more cost-effective to build a smoking hot real estate website or update your existing one.
There are also an ever-growing number of plugin solutions that can help you attract eyeballs and take names in ways that were not even possible a few years back.
Here are some of the most important reasons and influencing factors why a great website is not just important but essential to your brand and future growth.
I’m going to frame this points as some of them are the most common questions I get from agents on a subject:
1. I’m a sales person on a team, should I be setting up my own website?
Totally! If you have any plans to grow your personal following and business pipeline, setting up your own customized online presence is essential to your future success.
The main reason for this is because people are searching online 24 hours a day for professional real estate assistance and advise in your area
If you can’t be found online, to them you don’t exist and in the digital world, who can afford to be off the radar?
And think like a seller for a moment; would you really want to list your property with a real estate business or person that doesn’t come up on a search?
I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that Real Estate is way too competitive to leave this to chance. We live in a time when even instant coffee isn’t fast enough.
Consumers have been conditioned to expect the solutions they can find in minutes not days or weeks.
This advise might be contrary to what Real Estate Business Owners would prefer but if done correctly a sales person’s website can be a great addition to the online corporate umbrella.
2. I already have a corporate business website that I am happy with. Are you talking about setting up something else?
Yes. if your current corporate or main website is working for you then you better leave it in place and create a more community minded website that will help you engage with potential customers and community members in a whole different way because it is fresh, new and innovative. It is not Real Estatey and that’s exactly why it works.
3. What should my website look like?
If you want to have a website that attracts minimum traffic and doesn’t engage people to stay very long, make sure you put your logo and colors all over it and offer very little information about buying or selling property in your community.
But if you want a website that’s going to attract a large volume of interest from your potential clients, then keep the flavour of your website about your target market, not about yourself.
Imagine if you are a potential client of you. What kind of information would engage or interest you enough to make you want to leave your name and info so the agent can keep in touch?
What would make you say this agent is impressive and really knows her stuff and I can’t afford not to be on her mailing list?
What non-real estate things can you discuss and discover that will be of genuine interest to people in your area and make you stand out from the crowd?
4. How do I drive traffic to my website?
When someone searches ‘real estate + your area’, chances are the top search listings on Google, if not the first page, will be dominated by the major real estate portals who have deep pockets and throw a millions at making sure their websites come up first.
So I’m sure you agree, there’s no point taking a knife to that gun fight.
Instead, you want to be reaching out and connecting with potential clients in your area by appealing to them on a completely different level.
You need to supply top quality, relevant and localised content that the mega real estate domains cannot and you need to supply and abundance so the search engines begin to tag at you as a Real Estate business that’s really good at this stuff and deserves to be ranked well in any search. By the way that’s a little summary of how the Google search algorithm actually works.
So this is why websites have blogs.
A blog (short for web blog) is the easiest and most effective way to add content on a regular basis.
Toronto Real Estate Website www.getwhatyouwant.ca attracts more than 2000 unique visits each day resulting in more than a dozen specific phone calls to the business from buyers and sellers.
The business owners have carefully cultivated a massive following by offering regular quality content that is accessed by a global market looking to buy and sell property in Toronto.
They are experts at sending out highly relevant and engaging information that they know will be an interest to their followers. They have developed a culturally substantial relationship with their contacts that could never be duplicated by any of their competitors.
5. What should you blog about?
There are hundreds different ideas to use here but the important things is to just begin and best place to start is by identifying the pain points, the problems or the issues your potential customers might be experiencing.
Let’s say a lot of people in your area are looking to sell a large property and buy a smaller one, so an article about downsizing is going be very useful for them.
What about something to help first time buyers and another article advising owners whether they should buy first or sell first.
Or even an article offering advise to someone who’s bought and can’t sell.
And what about an article offering advise to home sellers preparing to sell. You could send a link to this article as part of your pre-listing email.
When you start to brainstorm ideas, the sky is the limit.
The amazing thing about a blog is that the more you add, the better it gets. And as I mentioned before, Google loves to see an active website with quality content being added on a regular basis.
The important thing about blogging is to keep it local and use keywords that are likely to be search by potential client to your area.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you’re in Bondi New South Wales.
To help identify the locality of your business and search relevance, you’d be wanting to use terms like ‘Real Estate Bondi’, ‘buying real estate in Bondi’ and ‘Investing in Bondi Real estate’.
You will want to ‘thread’ these words through your copy without making it obvious that you are trying to keyword load your article.
Done correctly, you’ll find your blog and articles will begin to drive traffic to your website within a very short space of time.
Your next task is to capture the visitor’s’ information and I’ve found the best way to do that is with the pop-up opt-in box.
This doesn’t mean that opting into giving their information is mandatory.
Opting in is always optional and the site visitor can choose to click out of the opt-in box without entering any information and continue to your article.
You might have noticed I have opt in box at www.topagentsplaybook.com and it’s been very useful helping me collect names as long as I continue to offer quality and relevant content.
Check out the graphic below, you’ll see how the visitor has 2 options to not enter their information. One being the green cross at the top right hand corner which is standard on most opt-in boxes and two is the hyperlink copy at the bottom which lets them go straight to the site.
Then at the bottom of each blog, you can insert a small call-to-action by offering say a free telephone consulting call on any real estate topic.
6. Why should I take the focus off me and put it on my community?
This might run contrary to public opinion and even some (stone age, knuckle dragging) marketing people I know think it’s crazy, but the results are obvious.
When South Australian agent James Sexton wanted to start a Facebook page using his business name he had little success. Then he started a page called We Love The Adelaide Hills and within 12 months he had more than 6000 followers. And this is in the town of only 10,000 people!
www.GetWhatYouWant.ca is a website owned by a real estate company called the Brel Team. Notice how they have made the website name about their target market not themselves? In fact the website name is designed to appeal to buyers and sellers, with the offer to help them get what they want.
Scott Lachman’s 4510TV.com is all about the community of Caboolture Queensland (postcode 4510) Notice how he has made the website name all about his target market not himself. His business is Richardson and Wrench Caboolture by the way.
So why not blog about a café or restaurant in your area? What about a florist or photographer? Make sure you get your photo taken with them for your article.
I’m sure these business people would love the publicity and happily share your posts and blogs on their social media accounts. Then, before you know it, you’re suddenly being seen by people you don’t even know and it’s costing you peanuts.
What about featuring an interview with an up-and-coming Sporting star in your community? You are essentially buying into their popularity by helping to promote them. A no-brainer.
Can you see how you can leverage your awesome new website with a lot of very affordable support marketing? It doesn’t cost a lot to reach out and connect with your community in innovative and interesting ways that will appeal to them and appeal to your audience.
The Internet is the new community newspaper. The cool thing is that it doesn’t matter which website the information comes from. Which, by the way is why so many newspapers are struggling.
You’re also making a very bold step to appear totally different to other agents in your area who are too frightened to undertake such ‘radical’ marketing!
I can promise you one thing… somebody will be doing this in your area very soon so it might as well be you.
7. How else can I use my blog?
Your blog can have any number of applications but using it in places like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram will probably yield the most fruit. And by the way, with the exception of YouTube and Vimeo, which I really like, I don’t see much point in putting time an effort into any other social media.
You simply post a short teaser comment about your article with a link of course and include a quality image. And speaking of images it’s important that your blog has a great-looking photo that’s relevant to your article.
For example, let’s say you want to talk about a new Bondi web cam, then you would use a great surf photo as the lead image for your article.
As your list of contacts grows you can start communicating with them in any way you like but you need to be engaging and your content needs to be relevant and useful.
Then, each time you create a new blog you can email your list to let them know. This is a great way to engage a new contact and help them become familiar with you and your business.
This is classic give- to-get-marketing and the more you give the more you get.
The point is, the broader and more inclusive your subject the bigger audience potential you have. Simple as that.
8. What else can I do with my website to help me attract more traffic?
Why not set up a local business directory where local businesses can simply enter their information? This will be a great resource not only for you but also for your potential clients and a very valuable addition to your website content.
Take a look at how Caboolture (Queensland) agent Scott Lachman has done this on his site 4510TV.com
9. How much should I spend on my website?
For the type of website I have described in this article, at the time of writing I would estimate somewhere between $6,000 and $10,000 will get you a state-of-the-art, smoking hot, fully customized and search engine optimized website depending on how many bells and whistles you want to add.
I’m not in the business of building websites so I have no interest in selling you one but having been involved in hundreds of website builds over of the last 10 years I can tell you, without hesitation that a good website is more than worth the investment.
For example, let’s revisit getwhatyouwant.ca Remember the Canadian Real estate business website I mentioned earlier in this article that receives more than 2000 unique visits today? I’m confident they’re more than happy with their return on investment.
I’m stunned that some agents can’t justify spending much on a great website. It’s their entire virtual 24/7 shop front in one click. It’s the place sellers will go to check you out before you turn up for a listing presentation. It’s where you showcase your listings, your team and the very culture of your business.
Have you ever walked into a retail store or business and been disappointed by the dead flies in the window, the peeling paint on the ceiling and the three year old calendar in the bathroom? Well that’s what people think when they click on a bad real estate experience and chances are that right now, while you’ve been listening to this episode, people have been clicking on your website.
Were the engaged and left their name and email so that can get your next cool article or did they quickly leave with a poor impression?
The hidden agenda with a great website, is that it’s making you look like a A Grade marketing pro.
You’re clearly illustrating your superior marketing skills and isn’t that what every seller wants?
I’d like to say a special thanks to tuning in to this episode.
I’m passionately interested in excellent online marketing and the benefits it offers. So interested in fact that, as you’re a listener to my podcast, I’d like to offer a free call to discuss you’re marketing and offer any suggestions I can.
Just go to TopAgentsPlaybook.com and send me a message and I’ll be in touch.