Real Estate Blog Marketing

With the housing market taking a nose dive, real estate agents are taking advantage of the impact of search, utilizing sound strategies that help gain new clients. An article from Search Engine Land talks about a few vital tips that help real estate agents get to the top in organic search results:

Getting external links to your site from relevant sources in or related to the real estate industry is crucial in climbing search engine rankings. The more relevant the external links pointing to your site are, the more advantageous it is to your rankings. This doesn’t mean go buy 100 general links to your site –you need to make sure the linking is gradual; otherwise Google filters could flag your site and possibly penalize your site for unnatural link graph patterns. Get a head start on gaining external links by making use of well-known, authoritative directories like Yahoo! and BOTW.  You can identify other businesses or consultants in your local market and secure links from their websites.  You can participate in local online communities.  Get your name out there and be a voice in the online real estate market in your geography!  Links will come!

Recently real estate agents are starting to exploit the blogging trend for this purpose, continually developing fresh content for internet users and search engines. By updating your blog on a frequent basis and incorporating backlinks to your site, your search engine rankings can rise. At the same time, online blogging builds brand loyalty and users will be able to connect with you on a conversational level, possibly turning into clients as a result. Develop useful content that users can benefit from, whether its information about the communities you sell properties for or industry related tips and trends.

Triangle Direct Media (TDM), a new media marketing company, helps real estate agents better communicate with current and potential clients while also increasing their search engine rankings through these tactics.  Specifically, TDM assists real estate agents in blog creation and development, helping realtors make the most of buzz marketing in a time of economic downturn.  That’s how the company was founded more than 3 years ago; while the depth and breadth of services has increased to service national retailers with blog marketing, social media & SEO — TDM still knows a thing or two about real estate blog creation and marketing!

Searching for your next home has never become so easy with the use of the Internet.  But does it stop there?  An article on Commercial Appeal talks about how a woman found her and her husband a house online, and how her online experience led her to that particular agent.  Stuck at home in bed with her husband in Iraq, Darleen Cervasio relied on interactive sites that featured home prices, photos and virtual tours.  Today online, many listings that do not display these details are often ignored by consumers.  Successful agents understand that in a Web 2.0 world, technology is very important.  Real estate agents need to give online users an “open house” experience on the web to draw buyers in and set their properties apart from others.

Many real estate agents today are turning to the social media trend to reach out to prospects.  Utilizing social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, niche networks and blogs, agents are able to take technology and thus communication to another level.  Interested buyers are no longer looking for authoritative figures, but also personable real estate agents to help find their next home.  Agents are able to use these networks to build relationships with current and potential clients in a pull-oriented marketing method.  Triangle Direct Media offers social media marketing strategies to help real estate agents and their agencies get ahead in today’s high-tech, high-touch society.  Applying highly-effective new media marketing efforts to increase organic search rankings, real estate agents are able to see a shift from traditional marketing strategies.

It is key to understand the audience who will be reading the content of your real estate blog. Blogs are a place to connect with readers on a personal level. Since your targeted readers are current or potential customers, you should talk to them as you do your closest friends. You want to put the industry jargon aside, and connect with them through a conversational tone they can understand.

Draw readers to your posts by getting them involved not only on a personal level, but an emotional one as well. Engage readers by answering common questions buyers have, or explaining why reading a certain article will benefit them. By reminding readers the benefits of your blog it will give them a purpose to continue reading other posts. It is also ideal to end posts with a call to action, such as leading readers to your RSS subscription page, or even back to your website where they can search for a new home or contact you via email about selling their own home.

Creating good quality content not only provides quality information to other bloggers, but benefits your real estate business as well (buyers and seller alike). By incorporating keywords that link out to other resource sites and your own business site, you can help to increase your search engine rankings. You want these backlinks attached to top keywords you want to be searchable by. It is also beneficial to link back to other article posts you have created that might add value to the topic you are blogging about. Doing this will give you a greater chance for readers to read more than just one post on your blog, keeping visitors on your site longer.

Many associate Twitter with the common phrase, “What are you doing?” but real estate professionals and industry leaders are giving Twitter a new purpose. As a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time, Twitter can help build your business. A simple, easy and effective approach to increase traffic, just as blogging is. Even better, it can even benefit your real estate blog. By joining twitter, you’ll come to know many members of your community, as they will also get to know you. Twitter tightens communities, builds friends, and deepens relationships through your followers.

In any business, friends are more likely to refer you than are “clients”. Make your clients your “friends” and create a twitter account especially for your current and potential clients. You can post new listings, updates, pictures, video tours, and even link to your real estate blog posts. Using twitter as a 24/7 marketing tool can help you get sales and build rapport with your clients. Connect with your local community through your twitter account to give them the information they want. Have a separate account to connect with real estate industry professionals. Share expertise thoughts, ideas, updates, promotions, and links to helpful blog posts.

Twitterfeed allows you to feed your blog to twitter, also letting you customize how often you want posts. Just like in blogging, you can even include keywords you want to be found for in Twitter. Search.twitter is a feature that allows users to search tweets that people write. To get followers, keyword optimization is key. Once you get followers, you attract more business. Allowing up to 140 characters, Twitter will connect you to 20,000+ people around the world.

You might ask, will I sell a house through Twitter or get a prospective seller to list with me using this thing? The root of all real business comes from making connections, and what better way with real estate than to connect with your local community? Not only that, but you can get followers from almost anywhere. If you send out a tweet linked to a new listing, you have the potential of picking up a buyer or seller. The relationship building, both realtor and otherwise, has a lot of potential. You can put twitter on your web site, your blog, almost any site to attract more traffic to your content and build business. Twitter is just one of many valuable new media marketing and social media tools available to realtors at very cost-effective prices. It just takes dedication, effort and sincerity to become a powerful lead generation tool for your real estate business.

It’s tough to consistently write interesting posts that will keep readers coming back to your real estate blog day after day, especially when you’re competing with thousands of other blogs in the same niche. A great way to take some of this pressure off yourself is to spend a bit of extra time writing real estate guides that will have a long shelf life and attract new search hits for months — or even years — to come.

Think about it: If you mostly write about current events in the industry or how the real estate market is faring today, chances are people won’t be searching for information on these topics six months from now. Your post might get some hits for a week or two, but then the traffic it generates will eventually trickle down to nothing.

But if you write comprehensive guides covering various aspects of real estate transactions — a Buyer’s Guide, Seller’s Guide, Guide to Mortgages, Foreclosure Guide, Home Inspection Guide — you’re sure to get hits for as long as you maintain your blog. Readers are always interested in useful information like this, so publishing a few good guides will do wonders for your stats and might even result in a few solid leads.

When writing your real estate guides, make sure you provide accurate information, sound advice, and your own unique insight that readers won’t be able to find anywhere else. In addition, be sure to revisit your guides once in a while to make updates or corrections when general practices or industry trends change. Doing so will ensure that you continue to get quality traffic from these posts for longer than you thought possible!

Everyone knows that in order for real estate blog marketing to be successful, you have to provide readers with plenty of fresh content that will keep them coming back for more. But this is obviously easier said than done, and we all go through dry spells where we either don’t have the time or the inspiration to keep posting. Here are some alternative ways to generate fresh content when burnout strikes.

Interview an Expert

Most Realtors regularly cross paths with at least half a dozen experts (loan officers, home inspectors, contractors, electricians, etc.) whose knowledge would be beneficial to readers. Come up with 5 frequently asked questions for one of these experts, call to get their answers, and post the results on your blog.

Arrange for a Guest Writer

If one of your experts has more to say than would fit into a single interview, why not invite them to write an entire post on your real estate marketing blog? Most people would jump at the chance to promote their business for free (and to show off their writing chops), so don’t be shy about asking around.

Hire a Ghostwriter

Use a free advertising service such as Craigslist to find an affordable ghostwriter for your blog. You can then lean on the ghostwriter to come up with content whenever you’re too busy to do it yourself. Yes, this will cost a bit of money, but it’s better than letting your blog die a slow death due to lack of posting.

If you’re like most Realtors®, then you engage in real estate blog marketing for the purpose of generating qualified leads that you can later convert into transactions. You load your blog with high-quality, relevant content, update it frequently, and throw in the right keywords, giving you prominent placement in search engine results. But if you don’t have a good search form on your site, then you’re losing out on thousands of dollars in potential commissions.

The key to any real estate blog search form is a section where the prospective client can fill in contact information so that you can follow up with either a phone call or an e-mail to pursue the lead. Your search form should prompt for this kind of information whenever a reader requests details about a property that go beyond a basic MLS listing or further consultation with an agent.

More often than not, readers are perfectly willing to provide their full name, current address and phone number, e-mail address, and what kind of services they’re interested in (buying, selling, relocating, investment opportunities, etc.) in order to gain access to the information they’re seeking. Once you have this customer data, you can follow up as necessary.

Having a good search form on your real estate blog might seem like an elementary marketing component, but you’d be surprised at how many folks don’t take this extra step. You can bet they’re not generating many leads with their generic forms!

So today, take a moment to review the various calls to action you have on your real estate blog and make sure you have a way of getting contact info from your readers.

In past entries, I’ve talked about some of the different purposes that real estate blogs can serve, and have given suggestions about the type of content best suited to each purpose. Articles for a real estate blog focused on lead generation probably won’t address the same topics as articles for a blog used primarily for property listings. Nevertheless, one thing that all real estate blog marketers have to worry about is promoting their websites. After all, if nobody’s reading your content, then you’re just wasting your time.

Unfortunately, promoting real estate blogs is a bit tricky. Traditional, non-niche bloggers (i.e. those that just write about their daily lives) can promote their blogs through various free traffic exchange services or blogrolls where the basic idea follows a quid pro quo format. You visit my site, I’ll visit yours.

But this doesn’t work for real estate blogs — unless you’re just interested in the number of visitors you get rather than the quality of those visitors. Let’s face it: you’re not going to generate many qualified leads from simple traffic exchanges.

Instead, real estate blog marketers need to focus their promotional efforts in very specific ways in order to get decent results. For example, search engines will likely be your number one referral source, so it’s important to make sure that you’re listed in all of them — not just the “big three” of Google, MSN, and Yahoo. There are also lots of directory sites available (DMOZ being the most popular), and these can provide some good traffic as well. In most cases, all you have to do for inclusion is submit your URL and wait for the review process to run its course.

Another excellent way to promote your real estate blog is to list your URL on all of your business cards. Then, whenever you hand your card out at a convention or conference, or to prospective buyers and sellers, you have an opportunity to draw in more readers.

And finally, you should list your blog URL in any print advertisements that you take out in local or national newspapers. Inserting a website address in your ad shouldn’t change the price much, and the return you get in terms of more readers will be well worth the few extra dollars you might have to pay.

In a perfect world, top-notch content would be enough to bring in droves of new readers every day. As things are, however, you’ll have to spend quite a bit of time promoting your real estate blog in order to attract the kind of traffic you want.

If you’ve been reading and implementing my tips on how to turn your real estate blog into a powerful marketing tool, then you’re well on your way to building a successful website. Or are you? How can you tell if the adjustments you’re making are having a positive impact on your site? The only way to be sure is to periodically assess your real estate blog’s performance to see if it’s hitting all the right benchmarks.

Periodic assessments (every two to three months or so) will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your blog, thereby giving you an idea of what you’re doing right and what still needs improvement. Your stats program is critical to this type of analysis, but in order to put the raw data into context, you have to consider what your real estate blog marketing goals are. Some of the most common goals that Realtors® list include:

  • Promoting name/brand awareness
  • Driving traffic to their site
  • Increasing the number of inquiries from potential clients
  • Increasing sales
  • Earning additional revenue from pay-per-click affiliate programs

Once you’ve established your goals, then evaluating your blog’s efficacy becomes a piece of cake. Is your company becoming more well known in real estate circles, both locally and nationally? Is the number of visitors to your site steadily increasing each month? Are you receiving more telephone or email inquiries from people interested in your services?

If you’re answering “no” to these questions, then it’s time to redouble your efforts at providing high-quality, relevant content for readers, as well as to promoting your site as heavily as possible.

If you’re answering “yes” to these questions, then congratulations are in order. Your real estate blog is indeed becoming a terrific marketing tool that is bringing you new clients and putting money in your pocket — which is no small feat.

Just remember not to get too complacent about your blog’s performance because Web readers are a fickle bunch and will quickly go elsewhere if your site stops delivering what they want!

A problem that anyone who writes about a niche field like real estate frequently encounters is how to deal with jargon or specialized terms. On the one hand, it’s important for you to present yourself as an expert, and an easy way to do that is to use proper terminology in your discussions about various aspects of the industry. On the other hand, however, the last thing you want to do is drive readers away from your site because they don’t understand a single thing you’re saying. The best compromise in this case is to create your own glossary of real estate terms.

Creating a glossary of real estate terms doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. Instead of trying to cram too much in at once, simply list 20-30 terms that you frequently use in your posts (go back and reread a few weeks of your archives if you have to), and either give the definition from an official reference book or try to explain the term in your own words if the definition is a bit complicated. Once you get the glossary started, you can continue to add terms as necessary.

I recommend saving your glossary as a static page that is easily accessible from every other page on your site. That way, readers can quickly get to the definitions, and just as quickly return to the main article. Better yet, whenever you use a real estate term that appears in your glossary, you should create a hyperlink to the definition. Readers will appreciate the effort, and will keep coming back for more.

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