Leads. Lots of leads. Mountains of leads. That’s what you want, and that’s what your real estate agency needs to grow and thrive.
If you’re wondering how to massively increase your leads, especially in a tough economy, then check out all that digital marketing can do for your real estate agency. Digital marketing is an effective method of reaching your key audiences precisely at the time they are actively searching for their next home.
It’s not easy. It's not instant. And it's not necessarily cheap. But it works. So if you want to generate a significant number of leads, here are proven ways to get them:
Your website is your digital hub. It’s where many prospective buyers are going to judge whether you're qualified to help them. And, yes, they're definitely going to compare your site to other realtors in the area. So don’t resort to asking your neighbor’s high school kid to throw together a site for you. Build a professional, high-quality website that demonstrates your experience and knowledge. And remember that you want to do more than just showcase your listings - you also want to highlight your identity, qualifications and key differentiators.
Want to be found on the search engines? Blogging is one of the most effective ways to increase your organic search visibility. It's SEO (search engine optimization) nirvana. In your posts, target keywords that your prospective buyers will most likely be searching for. And have some fun with it - make the blog interesting, entertaining and valuable, so people will want to read it. Blogging is a great way to let your personality shine through - while offering important information to educate your priority populations about what you offer and "what's in it for them".
Think of the search engines as "real estate," and strive to occupy as much real estate on the search engine results page as possible. And you want the prime real estate, towards the top of the page (the "deluxe penthouse" of the SEO world).
Optimize your website with targeted keywords, as well as SEO-friendly site architecture and URLs. External links pointing to your website and blog will give your search engine rankings the biggest boost, so get your name out there through value-added offerings. Thrill your audience while building relationships with credible third-party websites. Offer something of real value - potential partners won't link to your online content otherwise. Then watch the external links to your site and blog grow, driving more traffic and leads.
4. Paid Search
Paid search marketing, such as Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter, is an immediate way to gain visibility on the search engine results pages. Target a variety of keywords and audience segments, and test different versions of your ad copy to identify the messaging that most effectively drives traffic to your site. And take your paid search marketing to an entirely new level with search retargeting, where you display relevant ads to those who have clicked on your search ads (or searched for your keywords) as they navigate from site to site online.
5. Review Sites
Granted, the way review sites work today is flawed, enabling too many false reviews. However, review sites are here to stay, so embrace them, taking control where you can. Encourage your clients to post to industry review sites, and add their reviews as testimonials to your own website, Facebook page and other marketing vehicles.
6. Local Directories
Local directories, such as Google Places, Trulia, YellowPages.com, Citysearch and Yahoo Local, perform extremely well on the search engines. This is low-hanging fruit. Take the time to post your listings, ensure their accuracy and optimize the copy to easily gain visibility and credibility.
Mobile is here and it has become a critical business tool. Make absolutely sure that your website is visible on mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablets. Consider paid search and/or display ads for mobile, as well. Many successful digital campaigns include a phone number for click-to-call functionality with any paid search ads that you run for mobile.
8. Social Media
Social media, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, are probably not going to generate a lot of new leads independently for you. However, social media can still play a significant role, helping you to demonstrate your local expertise, keep clients informed and engaged, and generate referrals from existing clients.
Chew on this. YouTube generates more than three billion video views a day, and more than 100 million mobile views daily. The average YouTube user spends between 15 – 25 minutes daily on the site. Video is more engaging than text, yet relatively few realtors are using video extensively, if at all. Here’s your chance to differentiate your agency and engage potential clients.
When you implement any of the marketing vehicles listed above, be sure to measure everything you do. One of the most awesome aspects of digital marketing is the ability to effectively measure impressions, clicks and conversions. We aren't talking about your grandmother’s small-town newspaper here. Using today's sophisticated tech tools, it's easier than ever to track the results of your web analytics, heat mapping software and dynamic 1-800 numbers to ensure you're investing your marketing dollars wisely, producing the biggest bang for the buck.
Don’t forget: no marketing tactic is going to produce optimal results unless you have a clear marketing strategy in place. That means defining your goals, your identity, your target audience segments, your differentiation and your positioning in the market. Without these core digital strategy elements, no amount of marketing, whether digital or offline, is going to maximize your lead flow.
Once you have a solid strategy, though, these 10 digital marketing vehicles will work as a lead-generation machine for your real estate agency. It may take time. It may take effort. However, digital marketing will put you in front of your target audience precisely at the time they're seeking real estate support, enabling you to connect with them and win their business. If you're ready to climb to the top of the mountain, get ready for a mountain of new leads.
Tom Shapiro is the founder & CEO of Digital Marketing NOW, a full-service digital marketing and design firm that offers strategy, web development, design, SEO, conversion optimization, social media, display advertising and more, with expertise in the real estate industry. Tom cuts through all the hype and develops clear, differentiated marketing strategies focused on real results for his clients. Throughout his career, Tom has worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies including P&G, HP, IBM, Sears and Kraft Foods. For more information, visit http://DigitalMarketingNOW.com.