If you’re running a real estate business, you know that you need to wear many different hats throughout your day. You’re not just listing houses and helping people find the right property; you’re holding people’s hands as they sell their childhood homes, you’re copywriting, you’re putting together slides with images like a marketing editor of a magazine, you’re delivering good news and delivering bad news—you’re also marketing your own business and trying to gain clients. Indeed, without clients, your business dwindles pretty quickly.
The following will explore tips and tricks for promoting your business using one particular tool: the internet. Emphasis will be placed on gaining organic viewers to your site that turn into clients as well as on techniques that can help ensure that you continue to grow and develop alongside digital culture, helping you stay relevant as time progresses.
The internet is a search-based construct. This means that while people will sometimes type in a particular webpage, they know they want to visit by its URL, most people are entering search terms into search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, and others to help them find what they’re looking for. More often than not, these searches are in the form of questions. This means that when someone is thinking about buying a house, they’re probably not searching: real estate agent near me, they’re probably searching something like: Is it a good time to buy a house? Or what should you know before buying a house? It is the people searching questions related to your business that you should be devoting your online marketing efforts towards, particularly if they’re searching for information about homes and the real estate market in your area.
Given how important searching is for connecting businesses with the people who need their services, you want to develop a system that can bring people who are searching for questions and terms relevant to your business to your website. Likely, you’re going to be approaching this goal from many different angles, but one of the most critical is having a blog on your website. A blog allows you to publish articles that are filled with the exact information your potential customers are searching for. You probably already know the most common questions people ask when they’re thinking about buying or selling, so write articles answering these questions.
In this regard, longer posts (1200-2500 words) are usually ideal as they give you more words that can match up to search terms. Search engines try to bring people to exactly what they’re searching for. The algorithm is a complicated thing, but one aspect of it is that it takes the terms people have searched (typically referred to as keywords or long-tail keywords if the search was a question or collection of words) and scours the internet for whatever pages will be most useful to the person searching.
You’ll want to craft additional articles using the keywords that you’ve researched. There are several online tools for monitoring keywords that you can use. Look for relevant terms that have lots of searches and not that many results and craft content that helps people search those things. Topics can get really specific here. For instance, you might discover a lot of people are searching for ways to improve curbside appeal before selling their homes. You run a real estate business and so know how to answer this question. Answer it in the form of a blog post filled with keywords (used in a natural way, search engines get suspicious if the same keyword is stuffed into a page too many times).
If this seems like something you can’t take on by yourself, you might want to look into hiring a ghostwriter with SEO experience or working with a real estate marketing agency. Browse through Showcase IDX’s list to get an idea of a few of the more popular options available for those looking for real estate marketing help. Different agencies have different specialties, so don’t be afraid to ask for a real estate case study or to speak to a previous real estate client.
End each of your posts with a short bio and call to action. You want something that says, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
A big part of helping people find the right home for them involves giving them access to all the listings available so that they can see what their options are. Take the time to compare which listing search engines you’re a part of because what is preferred by clients might surprise you. People on the market for a home are looking for extra details and features, like neighborhood rating systems and additional filters to help them narrow down the choices to exactly what they’re looking for.
Another fantastic way to build an online presence that pulls clients to you is by establishing yourself as a real estate expert. You’ve already got a blog up and running, which can be a major help, but you might want to take your presence to the next level. Answer questions on Quora or real estate forums (always including a link back to your site at the end). Write and submit articles for local news outlets about the current state of real estate in the area. Find blogs and online publications that have a strong viewership (typically, you can find statistics on the number of monthly visitors to a publication’s site by clicking something labeled: advertise with us; if the information isn’t readily available, you can always contact them and ask about their readership demographics and numbers). Write guest posts on these sites and for these publications, again, linking back to your site either through your bio page on the blog or at the end of the post. Finally, sign up for something called HARO. This is a daily newsletter that contains calls for queries from journalists who are writing specific pieces and need quotes from experts. Respond to the real estate questions.
This approach has two major benefits. The first is that it establishes you as a credible source of authority in the real estate industry, making you appear more trustworthy to people researching real estate online. The second is that it boosts something called the domain authority of your site. Domain authority is a ranking that search engines give every site between 0 and 100. The ranking is an indicator of how trustworthy your site is in the eyes of a search engine, and a major component of your page being considered trustworthy is how many other sites link back to it. Every time another site links to your site, that’s considered an indicator that your page is useful to people. If you manage to get a link from a site that has high domain authority, like a news outlet or a well-established, constantly visited site, the boost is even greater. If you’re working with a marketing agency, you might find this approach discussed using terms like backlinking strategies or domain authority strategies.
While part of real estate involves gaining clients who are looking to list, a huge component involves crafting listings that appeal to those searching for homes. Copywriting and stellar photographs, as well as video, can all set you apart in this regard; if you’re not confident in your ability to handle these sorts of things, you can always hire help. Beyond this, where you list can make a big difference in who’s eyes are seeing your postings. It’s a good idea to revisit the locations you list every quarter to see if there are new or emerging options that are growing among a particular target demographic. Each generation has its own preferences in the digital world, and this applies to real estate as well.
The digital world evolves at a rapid pace, and this means that people’s standards for websites and the trends surrounding them are always changing. At the bare minimum, you should be returning to your website and looking for ways to update it once per year. Sometimes more than this is necessary. Layout, negative space, photo editing techniques, and other factors might date your website in a negative way, making you seem less up with the times than your competitors. You also want to ensure that your site is meeting the technical standards of the day. Things like load time, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility options for those with impairments can really help keep people on your site once they’ve clicked a link.
While the real estate market might not develop at the lightning speed of the digital world, it’s still a very fast-moving industry. This means you need to be on the lookout for trends and adjust accordingly. Signing up for real estate newsletters is a great way to do this, as well as reading real estate publications and the real estate sections of newspapers. Noticing trends early can also help with the aforementioned blogging strategy. If you catch on to a big search term or keyword early, this can really boost your search engine rankings.
Branding in the modern age is a lot more than getting a logo and choosing your colors (though, of course, those things are still mighty important). Branding involves cultivating a feeling that people associate with your business and differentiates your work from those of your competitors. In a simpler sense, branding is your business’s personality. You want to have a clear story about why you do what you do, an aesthetic that works with the sort of images you can capture, and a consistent design that makes your business recognizable if someone is seeing any of your content for a second time. If graphic design isn’t your forte, this is definitely something to leave to professionals.
Since online reviews became consistently found on the internet, reviews have been a quintessential part of how many clients make their decisions. When a deal has been closed, and everyone is happy, ask for a review or a quote. Make it incredibly easy for people to enter their own reviews online. You might want to consider taking your testimonials to the next level and work on putting together some video testimonials. Video is engaged at far higher rates than anything else online, and people’s energy is something that is easily understood by others. If you have a 30-second video of a family thanking you for your help in front of their new home, you’ve got something really spectacular. Get a videographer on board and ask happy clients if they’d like to speak about their experience working with you in a 30-second clip.
The world is more interconnected than ever, and this means that people move great distances all the time. Finding a translator for your site and your main pieces of content can open you up to a whole new range of potential clients that you weren’t open to working with before. Figure out what the most common second language is in your area and see if you can share your work with people searching in that language.
Accessible content is relatively new online, but it is critical. Not everyone has the same abilities, and this is part of life. If you have a blog post, consider having an audio version of the post available. If you have a podcast episode, consider having a typed version of it available. Figure out what parts of your content might not be easy for people with a different set of abilities than you and tweak your content to make it friendly for everyone.
The above information should help you grow your business using online tools. It’s important to note that none of the above steps are things that can be done once and then left alone; for the best results, you should be regularly revisiting all of these points and seeing how you can incorporate them into your workflow. It’s also worth noting that these are steps that a lot of business owners need to go through outside of the real estate industry as well. This means there are a plethora of talented individuals who can help you with the points that are hard for you to take on by yourself.