May 2008

A question that real estate blog marketers often ask is how can they consistently develop interesting content that will keep readers coming back again and again. After all, if people are primarily looking for information regarding property transactions, then chances are they won’t return after the purchase or sale is made.

While this is indeed true in many cases, there are things you can do to retain a significant portion of your readership — or at least maintain steady numbers by drawing in just as many new readers as you might lose.

One terrific strategy for attracting and retaining readers is by sharing your expertise on the subject of real estate in the form of weekly or monthly Q&A posts. Everyone has questions about various aspects of the home buying or selling process that they would love to see answered, so opening up your blog to reader questions would be beneficial to all involved. Your readers will get free advice, and you’ll get more readers — a true win-win situation!

All you have to do is set up a separate email account to receive mail from readers (unless you don’t mind your regular account being overrun with spam), make a post on your real estate marketing blog announcing the new feature, and then wait for the questions to come in. If response to your new Q&A feature is a bit slow at first, feel free to generate your own questions to get things started, and then be sure to promote the feature a bit more. Once readers are aware of the valuable service you’re providing (for free), they’ll want to participate.

By answering relevant real estate questions from readers a few times per month, you’ll continue to establish your reputation as an expert in your field and will also generate goodwill points for being open and accessible. Give it a try!

Although the bulk of your clients and readers are probably content with learning about the ins and outs of residential property transactions, it’s important to recognize that at least some of them are interested in commercial properties as well. Having a real estate blog puts you in a great position to reach out to this commercial crowd and draw in new readers — and perhaps a few new clients as well. How do you do this? Simply by making several posts a month that deal specifically with commercial or investment properties, of course!

A good way to start off would be by focusing on the business district of your city or town for a post or two. Talk about any available storefronts or office space, and if possible, tell about the previous occupants. Did the businesses fail because of low foot traffic or did they move on to bigger quarters to accommodate better than expected growth? Prospective buyers want to know this kind of thing before setting up shop.

Another good topic to talk about is taxes. Does your state or local government offer any tax breaks or incentives to entice new businesses to come to the area? If so, be sure to let your readers know about them and what they have to do to qualify.

Many people are also interested in investment or rental properties such as apartment complexes or duplexes, so be sure to highlight any good buys in your area. If your agency is actually handling any of the rental property transactions that you choose to talk about, then let prospective buyers know they can call you for rent rolls (lists of current renters and the amounts they pay) and vacancy rates for the past five years. If you’re not personally handling the transaction, then you might want to talk about the general state of the rental market in your area.

Just remember that even though residential properties are your bread and butter, there’s no reason to neglect commercial properties altogether. You might be surprised at what kind of clients come out of the woodwork when you start writing about this stuff!

I read a lot of real estate marketing blogs on a daily basis in order to keep up with the latest trends and to stay informed about hot topics in the industry. Reading relevant blogs also helps me come up with new ideas for this blog, and gives me some insight into what kinds of things make a real estate blog successful.

Recently, I’ve noticed that there’s been some debate about whether or not calls to action are appropriate in real estate blog marketing. A call to action, of course, is when you explicitly encourage your readers to make a purchase from you or to retain your services as a Realtor®. Some real estate bloggers feel this is perfectly appropriate, while others believe it’s a tacky approach to selling and will simply turn away readers.

So, should you include calls to action in your posts or not?

I think calls to action are fine, as long as they’re used moderately and are included only in posts where they actually fit. If every single post you write contains something along the lines of, “Call today for a free consultation!” then readers will likely just tune that part out after a while. If, however, you use that phrase judiciously and include it only in posts where getting a free consultation makes sense, then it could definitely result in a few leads.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not calls to action are a good fit for your real estate marketing blog, why not try one out just to test the waters? If you get a barrage of angry comments from readers, then you might want to rethink your approach. If it doesn’t seem to bother your regular audience and maybe even generates a phone call or two, then you know you’re onto something promising!

As I’ve mentioned several times before, one of the primary aims of real estate blog marketing is to attract and retain a solid readership base. The best way to do this is by providing readers with lots of fresh, useful, and unique content so they’ll have plenty of reasons to want to come back.

For Realtors®, this often means that your posts must go well beyond simple property listings to touch upon other subjects that would be of interest to your audience. Services related to real estate transactions would be perfect, which is why you should consider writing periodic reviews of local providers from time to time.

For example, if there’s usually a lot of new construction in your area, your readers would benefit from reviews of the different builders you’ve had direct experience with. Which builders pay attention to details and complete their projects on time? Which ones should be avoided because of high prices, lack of follow-up service, or other problems? I’m sure your readers want to know!

You can write reviews for home inspectors, painters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, notary publics, and any other service providers that real estate buyers and sellers might end up using. Just make sure that you base your reviews on personal experience instead of speculation so that they’re more credible.

The next time you’re stuck for real estate blog marketing ideas, try reviewing a related service. As long as your posts are useful and relevant, your readers will keep coming back!