more on real estate martketing, 2.0-sytle

I have to thank all the people that viewed and commented on my previous post, “responsible email marketing… for real estate professionals.” I got a lot of views from that post and I got nominate for a weekly web award.  That was the first time and I was pretty honored, so thanks!

But I am still pretty frustrated at how many emails are in my “Spam” folder that are advertising properties.  I’ll never look at them and the fact that is is spam; email that I never asked to receive, is frustrating.  I imagine that 99% of the recipients of those types of emails either never see them, (since they’re in the Spam folder), or you just receive so many of them, that anything that comes into your inbox is so insignificant, you either just delete or mark it as spam.

Now, here’s the rub.  It’s a hungry market out there and there are a lot of hungry agents and brokers.  I, myself am a licensed agent, but that ain’t my bread n’ butter.  I have other things I’ve been doing to make some money so I don’t feel the pinch as bad as some might.  So no doubt, there are agents out there pulling out all the stops trying to generate some business.  It’s not your fault.  You are being preyed upon.  I get tons of emails from people offering to “blast my listings to their 500k+ database.”  I don’t bother opening these emails.

I know there are a lot of agents out there that have been in the game for many, many years.  Some of these seasoned agents out there, still have a voice mail box phone number they give out; you can’t call them directly.   Some of these agents and brokers haven’t really made themselves available on the Internet.  And that’s okay since they’ve been doing business in a traditional way in non-traditional times.  They’ll find customers who also use the traditional ways.  These folks tend to be less Internet-savvy.

But the wave of the future is being able to be contacted.  My generation is people who like to send emails and like to look at webpages and like to be able to find out some information online about the person who is going to help them buy the most expensive purchase they’ll make in their life; their house.

You got to have an online presences these days.  If you don’t the person that does will get your business.

I wanted to post a picture of all the spam in my spam box that is related to properties for sale.  I got a fair amount of Viagra spam, (some of which is actually kind of creative) so I decided to pass on that.  Rather, I’ll share my thoughts on not only your online presences, but also how to be affective with online marketing.

  • Make sure you can be contacted easily:  No matter how you are found, make sure you can get your email address or phone number.  Okay, if you have a voice mail number, you can use that.  But please please please make sure you call back ANYONE who makes the effort to leave you a voice mail.   If you get an email from someone one, at the VERY LEAST, acknowledge you got the mail, even if you can’t answer it right away: Dear So-n-So, thank you for your email.  I wanted to let you know I got it and that I can’t answer you right away, but you are important to me.  As soon as I am able to get back to you I will call/email/fax/whatever…” Touch your customers in a meaningful way.  Tell them they are important and they matter to you.  Your competition isn’t doing it.
  • You heard you need to have a blog: There are those that say you NEED to have a blog  That is easier said than done.  A  blog needs to be tended like a garden.  You don’t have to post every day, but if you decide to have one, you do need to post at least a couple of times a month.  Your topics could include anything from good deals on interest rates to a sad goodbye to an agent who’s leaving.   But don’t commit to a blog if you don’t think you have the gumption to keep up with it, otherwise it will smell like a marketing gimmick.
  • You should have a website: Yes, you SHOULD have a website.  If you work for one of the major brokers, they might help you make one, but if you are an independent broker, you should have a website.  And it should have easy ways to contact you and be SEO-friendly, (Search Engine Optimization-friendly…  If I go to Google and enter “city-I’m-in-interested-in realtor” you want to pop up in the top of the search results).
  • If you have a website, allow follks to sign up for a newsletter: Back to responsible email marketing… you want to make it into your list subscribers inbox instead of their spam box?  Let them sign up on your website and use a reputable email marketeer.  There are several out there.  Do it yourself so you can learn about the technology, marketplace, and learn how to be effective.
  • Finally, do not give any business to the fly-by-night email spammers. Over the long haul, you are most likely to hurt your online reputation more than help it.  DO NOT sign up for offers like “send your listing to 10,000 readers!”  You will end up in 99% percent of those readers’ spam box.  And with search engine technology, you could show up as a spamming agent and potentially loseWeight Exercise business.
  • Use Craigslist: It’s free, somewhat anonymous, and readers go there to look.  Make sure you take advantage of the four picture upload limit.  Again, if you use Craigslist, make sure you can be contact by either email or phone really easy and follow up with your leads.
  • If you have a website, make sure it is updated frequently: If I am thinking about moving to a  particular part of town, I might bookmark your website.  Every time I get the itch to move, I am likely to check your website to see if you have any new listings.   If a listing sold, at least “mark” it as sold.

Having a presence on the Internet might be a little daunting for some agents out there.  The reality is that many of today’s buyers are using the Internet not only as a research tool, but also as a tool to find their next buying agent.  They are using the Internet to find your expertise.   Make it easy for them to find and show them you care about them as a client.  As always, I am happy to consult on these matters so feel free to contact me.