As the Internet has evolved, its road to dominance has been littered by many businesses that were caught flatfooted. When is the last time you called your stockbroker?
Do you even know what a stockbroker did? Did a travel agent book your last flight? And, how many malls did you visit this holiday season as you were finding that perfect gift? If you think that the real estate industry is immune to the long reach of the web, then start looking for another career because if you don’t have a great digital marketing plan, you’ll be left on the side of the road also.
I Gotta Call My Broker
In the old days—maybe 20 years ago (!)—most people bought stocks by calling their stockbroker on the phone. Stockbrokers had access to all of the real-time stock price quotes on their computer screens, but you didn’t. Just before the great digital transformation of the equity industry, you could buy this thing,
called a Quotron, that sort of gave you the same access to stock quotes that your stockbroker would have but for a very steep–at the time—price of $250 per month. The Internet quickly displaced this now-antiquated tool, and stockbrokers basically disappeared along with it.
I Need a Plane Ticket
Travel agents used to have the keys to the airline reservation systems, and at one time, airlines paid commissions of $25 per flight to travel agents that booked the flights. Travel agents had a computer that displayed the various flights available on a green-lettered black matrix-like display, and individuals had no access to the system. Again, the Internet quickly cut out the middleman, and while some specialty travel agents are still around, the industry has been decimated.
Meaning of That History Lesson
The real estate industry has also been affected by the Internet, as the MLS used to be the private playground of real estate pros. Now, there are ways for individuals to access MLS listings.
The six percent commission was also sacrosanct for years, but legit competitors have appeared, and national platforms like Redfin are continuing to attempt to lessen the clout of real estate brokers and agents.
Therefore, you need to get with the program or risk extinction. Yes, you need a website, yes it has be properly formatted, but to really make it work you need to invest in content–and marketing that content– for the following reasons:
Your brand is who you are, what you do and why you do it better. In order to make that clear to potential clients and visitors to your site, you need examples of your knowledge. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have relevant content on your site like testimonials—of course–and articles about common real estate topics among them:
- Down payment advice
- Local property pricing trends
- Interest rate updates
- Financing with bad credit
- Contract for deed options
When someone searches for real estate agents on a search engine like Google, certain factors determine which sites will appear first. As you know Google utilizes ever-changing algorithms to rank sites, and one of the most important factors is fresh quality content. A good social media marketer will affirm that content is one of the most important ranking building blocks.
Simply, good quality articles will show that you are trustworthy. A site with four-year-old blogs about outdated subjects will not do anything for your ranking and you’ll probably find your site buried on page 10.
If you’re online looking for a quality plumber, you want to be assured that the person you are going to let inside your house is an expert and can solve your problem. If you have a tub drain that continuously clogs and you find a site where the plumber explains in detail why this could happen and what can be done to repair and eventually prevent reoccurrence, you will be much more likely to contact that person for your repair.
When a potential home seller arrives at your site, he or she should find articles about everything they want to know form pricing to staging and financing to closing. If it looks like you know what you are talking about, you can be perceived as a real estate expert, and that will drive clients to your door.
A nice site with quality content will tell your prospective clients that you understand technology and that you are on the cutting edge of your profession’s use of that technology. This is especially important if you are considering marketing to millennials.
On top of that, if you’re renting apartments, producing rent report content like this one can help you showcase local research and data to attract visitors.
A broker is a broker, right? Well, not to you maybe, but in the eyes of a potential client, is the company name on the for-sale sign in front of your home really important? The real estate business has become a commodity business—meaning that many people sell the same product, and that product is not generally perceived as different no matter who is selling it.
Quality content on your site change this perception and set you apart from the rest.
Carving Out Your Space
There may be 10 cupcake shops in your city, but one has lines around the block because they have figured out a way to make their business stand out. As a real estate professional, you need to do the same, and through the use of good quality content, you can let potential client know exactly what your niche is—whether it is single family homes, duplexes, difficult-to-finance deals or commercial property sales.
The easiest way to get great content for you site is to write it yourself—provided you have the talent and skill to be a blog author. You’ll also need to dedicate time to produce the articles. If you don’t have the skill or time, there are many places to buy content—just make sure the writing is worthy of your site’s quality.