How Interesting Is Your Site? Really?
It is no secret anymore that you need a website. But what remains to be obvious is how much you can actually get out of your website and the Internet. If you think bigger than what your website is currently doing and what you are used to doing on the Internet with your site, then you will start to see the web as a place to create a focused online presence and memorable brand.
Your prospects are going online in increasing numbers to search for answers, products, solutions, referrals, and relationships – not just to find and buy real estate. Did you know that more than 80% of real estate transactions start online? You need to be on the first page of the search engines, especially Google as it still dominates the search industry with almost 50% share of the market. One of the best ways to get exposure on the search engines is through quality, relevant content. The more relevant real estate content you can produce to address the types of questions your prospective customers have, the better your chances are of building trust and establishing yourself as an authority. Well functioning CMS websites are one of the best tools for easily creating this type of educational and resourceful content for your site in the most cost effective way. If you think you are adding enough content to your site than I can almost guarantee that you are not. Plan to do more than you think is enough.
Offer visitors ways to interact with your content. Many site visitors expect the same usual boring content, which is why so much information you might think is important actually gets ignored on most sites. Why not impress them with things like audio and video testimonials, unique welcome messages, video case studies and tools that allow them to rate content, add comments to it and vote on survey topics and polls? Better yet, make your site’s content so engaging and interesting that someone would want to refer it to a friend or family member. When you start creating this type of content on your site then you will really start to see unbelievable results.
Web applications, such as WordPress and YouTube, make it easy for you to create online project areas that can be branded and designed with the look and feel of your website (certain limitations apply of course). They also give you instant use of a suite of professional tools for little investment. These tools allow you to store more information, files and communications between you and your clients and also give you permission to use third-party suppliers, such as graphic designers or copywriters, for collaboration on projects. I commend people who attempt to learn the intricacies and necessities of internet marketing for real estate , but if you cannot honestly dedicate the time to it then let a professional do it for you. Although initial investments may look daunting, you will find the cost savings benefits to overshadow any price. A site with a strong presence on the Internet will pay for itself and then some.
Bringing your customers and prospects together to meet and network is a great offline strategy, but the web offers some tools to help you do this online as well. Setting up social networking opportunities for your customers using free applications like Facebook and Ning or creating a network of blogs with platforms, such as WordPress, has become much easier to do. Inviting your customers to write articles and reviews for your site or create videos using your properties and services can help build a community around your prospective and existing customers, ensuring they’ll remain loyal and create word-of-mouth buzz for your company and services. The two most cost effective forms of marketing are online marketing through paid search marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing and email marketing and also word of mouth marketing. Why not combine them all and make them work together?
Web directories such as Craigslist, allow users of your services to rate the experience they had with your company. It’s essential to seek these social search directories and find ways to encourage your most loyal customers to post reviews. Building strong, marketing focused profiles on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Ryze can add value to the mix when people are searching online for your business. Reputation management is one of the fastest growing niches of internet marketing. You should make sure that the things that people can find about you online are things that will help you sell and buy homes for your clients.
Writing and contributing educational articles and information to one of the many article databases, such as GoArticles, is a great way to spread your expertise and direct traffic to your website. This tactic, also known as Article Submission, is a fantastic and cost effective way to build links back to your website. Remember, the search engines use link popularity as one of the main elements of natural ranking factors. Another form of this is creating a presence for yourself on sites like Trulia, Zillow and Yahoo Answers to post answers to questions asked by prospective customers. By posting answers with your expertise you are naturally advertising your company and website on highly trafficked and trusted sites.
Many new-media web based tools like blogs allow you to create content and automatically submit it to news sites, article directories and even other parts of your website using RSS feeds. These can be a great way to spread and repurpose your content or add news and calendar updates to your site right from your desktop. Learn more about these strategies and others by visiting sites such as del.icio.us, feedburner.com and wordpress.org. A great feature related to this is what is known as Listing Syndication. Some companies, like Point2, now have the ability, through Listing Syndication, to automatically blast your featured properties to sites like Trulia, Zillow, Vast, Yahoo Real Estate, Google Base and many more. This, again, naturally advertises your company, its properties and your website on highly trafficked and trusted sites.
So when you’re brainstorming ways to get more info from the internet, go well beyond the notion of a static website and build a much broader, more dynamic web presence – doing so will make integrating all your marketing efforts a lot easier. In addition, if you are not constantly doing something to promote yourself online then someone else will be. These people will be the ones who will dominate the search results where so many people still rely on and initiate their real estate searches.