When the cost of Google Adwords and other forms of paid search advertising continues to rise by the day, and tying strong return-on-investment (ROI) to any marketing expense is mandatory, we think it’s time you have a few “freebies” to tap into as traffic (and potential client) streams. Enjoy these, on the house!
If used correctly, Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool. Start out by sending invites to all your friends, family, and existing clients, and regularly post items that are substantial and pertain to real estate. You can send out listings updates, open house information, local market trends, community event notifications, or commentary on real estate news. Building up your “tweet list” will drive traffic to your blog, site, or both if you keep relevant links to them interspersed in your tweets.
Create your personal/professional profile, then set up a Facebook group page for your business entity. You can configure a list of links on this page, so please do so. Then as with Twitter, send out invites to all your friends, family, and existing clients. You will be able to have conversions on the group’s Wall, post items like videos, news stories, and pictures, use the discussion board, and create events. Events can be particularly helpful in promoting your open houses, seminars, charity events, or other types of meet-and-greets.
With Craigslist it’s very quick and easy to post your listings, so make sure to do so as soon as they are available. Craigslist users can easily search for the types of properties they are interested in, so make sure to use interesting, detailed descriptions, catchy images, and enticing marketing copy in the subject line of the ad you run. You can also post events like any open houses, seminars, charity events, or other types of meet-and-greets you do.
It only takes about 5 minutes to set up your free Google account and begin blogging with Blogger, so even if you aren’t ready to be ultra serious about it, why not get some experience with it now? Once you’re up and running, start posting and sharing your blog posts with your networks on Twitter and Facebook. You can also add links to your blog and/or its posts to your website, email newsletters, email signature file, and traditional print marketing.
For about $10/month, iContact currently lets you send up to 5 blasts to up to 500 email contacts. Imagine the increases in brand recognition, visits to your website (and other online entities that you mention in your messages, and dialogue with existing and potential clients that could occur if you use this platform wisely. The program makes it easy to manage every aspect of your email marketing campaign, from template creation to timing each blast for high deliverability.
Unlike Wikipedia, which seems to have a very harsh editorial review process that can make adding even non-commercial content nearly impossible, Google Knol is a great place to demonstrate your authority as a real estate professional in your local market. Simply think up some common questions your clients have about your particular market, and then see what is in Google Knol. If it’s not there, then add it in the most descriptive and eloquent way possible. Any link you include to relevant resources on your website will be nullified for SEO purposes, but you still could get valuable traffic to the website that way if your post is effective.
Forget about Evite, Anyvite is much simpler to use when promoting and tracking anticipated participation in your open houses, speaking engagements, and other types of meet-and-greets. It literally takes minutes to set up your first event, and the interface makes it easy to manage your email contacts into groups.
Who doesn’t like videos? Whether you have your own videos produced or not, you should still create a YouTube channel which you can use to select and group videos you find interesting and relevant to real estate. Here’s a quick tip: make playlists based upon the differnet kinds of clients you take on (such as buyers, sellers, and investors) and then fill those playlists with how-to videos that you find on YouTube that answer common questions those types of clients might have. You can then promote this channel you’ve created on your sites and social profiles!
Here’s your open invitation to go read as many interesting real estate and lifestyle related blogs and websites as possible, and assemble a collection of them that you would like to organize and share with your existing and potential clients. Digg, one of the most popular social bookmarking sites, is built around the idea that what one person finds interesting another person might also really dig… so find 50 or so sites, articles, videos, and blog posts you enjoy and find relevant to your market’s real estate or lifestyle and then organize them accordingly for your Digg followers.
Let’s not forget that while website traffic statistics won’t generate visitors on their own, there’s no doubting how powerful knowing what your visitors are doing on your site and where they come from is. With Google Analytics, you can see precisely what sites your visitors are going to yours from, which can be really helpful in seeing what’s working and what’s not with your social networking efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, etc. So don’t forget to set up this incredible analytics tool as you’re busy on everything else.
Now that you’ve got some low-cost ideas for marketing your real estate business online, you may want to consider figuring out how to convert your visitors into leads once they get to you.