The open-ended answer give me some great insight on what types of content I should be creating as well as how to tailor my marketing services to fit the needs of my target market.
I like to reply to as many survey responses as I can. The following is an email I sent to a survey respondent, with some advice on their challenges.
Keep in mind this is not a bullet-point list of tactics or tips, but more of a consulting-style response designed to produce insights for guiding actions and not specific actions.
Thanks for swinging by the webinar and taking the time to fill out my survey yesterday. I just wanted to take a minute to reply to your survey responses.
1st Challenge: "Generating traffic to my site, without it costing much."
There are an infinite number of tactics when it comes to marketing and driving traffic, but when you qualify those tactics with your budget it definitely splits up your options. There are essentially two types of marketing.
- Marketing that requires little of your time (and can generate near instant results), but costs money.
- Marketing that that requires more significant amounts of your time (and can take longer to see results), but is free or nearly free.
In one way or the other you will be paying for your marketing with either your time or money.
Since you mentioned you are looking for options that require less cost, then you will have to invest more time. The places I would start online are no secret: blogging and social media.
The goal of the blog is to begin generating traffic from search engine results so priority number one is deciding on the topics you think you can rank for (I plan to put out some more in-depth content on how to find these topics soon) that means focusing on super-specific content:
Blogging for the sake of blogging is a waste of time! You need a plan
- What niche are you in? Condos sales, short-sales, foreclosures, etc. If you aren't focusing on a niche I would recommend trying to work your way into one. From a marketing standpoint it makes creating content much easier and will yield results faster since your posts will be focused on less competitive terms.
- Narrow your location focus - I'm not sure what city or area you are focused on but try getting more specific. Pick a few smaller neighborhoods if you are in a bigger metro/city or focus your efforts on smaller and/or fewer towns. Again makes your blogging much more focused.
- "Hyperlocal" is the adjective of the day in real estate marketing, but it is good advice.
- If you don't know what to write about I recommend cheating a little. Find a few agents online who have talked about their success with blogging and take a peak at what they are posting. Then use a tools like Socialcrawlytics.com (lets you plug in a URL and it crawls the site and spits back stats on which content has been shared the most) to see what their most popular content is...then write a similar post, but tailored to your area or niche.
When it comes to blogging there are a million ways to skin the cat. My best advice, just get started. Your first blogs will likely suck, but you will learn a ton from them. Don't worry too much on what makes a good blog post, just sit down and write. What is more important is coming up with the right topics to blog about like I mentioned above. Also, you can always rewrite the post later if you don't like the content but the idea sounds good.
I recommend focusing your efforts on blogging before a deep dive into social media, because your blogs will give you something to talk about on social media as well....a reason "to be at the party" if you will. That doesn't mean to not get started with social media, but if you have limited time then content is the best place to start in my opinion.
Developing content will force you to start thinking like your target audience, force you to understand the value first lead second equation, and give you somehting worth talking about on social media...so it really sets up a nice foundation for your social media efforts
When you have a few blogs under your belt and are confident they are valuable, work on keeping that consistent. Here is a good blogging schedule:
- 1 blog (just get one out there into the world, it will take a lot more energy than you may realize, but gets a whole lot less daunting after you hit publish on the first one)
- 1-2 blog posts
- 2 blog posts
- 3 blog posts
- Go crazy and do 4 or more
I don't recommend starting with 1 per week from the get go because you have a ton of things to figure out that will make you pretty slow at putting them together and expecting to do 4 posts and then falling behind each week will just get you frustrated. Blogging success is about incremental growth.
Then you can turn your sites on social media.
- Again no silver bullet advice here:
- Post your blog content, reply to any comments on it. Your blogs should be purely valuable to your community with no strings attached and no asks of them. So don't blog too much about your service and how you can help especially from the start.
- Post things just to post things. Don't always have an agenda for your posts. Just post things because you think your audience would enjoy seeing it. Be relatable.
- Funny stuff
- Community information
- Become a community resource. Get in some Facebook groups and start answering community questions...the idea is to just be a resource and be around. This way when people need something they will come to you, eventually that will be buying/selling homes. But this is a long game approach.
- Yes, you can post your listings, if:
- They are pretty and even people who aren't in the market to buy would enjoy seeing them.
- They are unique or have a story behind them.
- Obviously it's not the only thing you post... you don't want your social media to be a running classified ad.
The idea with social media is to give, give, give, give, give, give...then casually toss in a little ask or sales pitch. But don't make your page all about your services or open houses...people will stop following you/paying attention to you and then when you do go to pitch they won't be listening.
Which social media platforms to focus on?
- Facebook #1
- Pinterest #2 (depends on your niche focus of course, but Pinterest can be a massive traffic driver if done well, you should at least have a page even if it isn't one of your top choices)
- The rest are at your discretion and your market
- Twitter (usually best in larger cities where adoption is higher)
- LinkedIn (if you are focused on selling to investors and getting referrals from other agents)
- Instagram (if you have visual content you can post frequently: pretty listings, a beautiful community, lots of interesting events, and obviously interesting and visually appealing stuff about yourself or the inner-workings of your company)
Real Estate Marketing Ideas With Some Cost
Try some Facebook advertising...
Yes, there is nothing new here, everyone is talking about it. That's also why it is a good reason to look into it. It isn't free, but it can be pretty effective for the small spend.
Here is some advice you may not have heard:
Your goal isn't to just convert leads with ads, your goal needs to be phased. Don't go straight for generating leads from your ads. Instead use the ads as a way to deliver value first...over-and-over, eventually when people get to know you and see your value then you can ask for the lead. Ads just expand your reach for relationship building.
Don't go straight for the ask with your ads. Think of your ads as the first touch point in a relationship. Advertise something of value first. Examples:
- Your blog posts
- Videos about the community
- Community news
When people interact with your ads and posts then you can start to work up to asking them to be your lead.
Use retargeting on your website and in Facebook to start building up Custom Audiences that have some interest in your brand and your services.
Education & Training / Portland, OR