Imagine if someone told you that everything you knew about marketing was going to be obsolete in five years. The post office would close, newspapers would go out of business, everyone would have a phone/computer in their pocket, people would stop buying music, and more videos would be produced in a day (and served for free) than were produced collectively by all of the TV networks over the last 50 years. How would you change your marketing?
I remember my grandfather saying, "If I only knew then what I know now, things would be different." I'm not so sure if that's true. For the most part, everything that we knew about marketing has changed, yet so many businesses today still operate as if it were the pre-Internet days. They're doing their marketing as though they are broadcasting a message to people who don't have a millions ways to ignore it.
Online marketing is very similar to the marketing that has been done for centuries: Offer a product or service that people want, establish credibility, choose a location that is convenient for your customers, provide exceptional value, and build relationships so you can foster repeat business and referrals. The job now is to translate the tenets of good business to include the online world.
Here are 4 steps to get you started in the new world of online marketing:
Maximize you presence on local search
Thanks to the continued mobile explosion (see mobile info below), people are searching more that ever before for locally related information-in fact, nearly half of consumers confirm that they use their smartphones to research local businesses. The biggest search engines are working to make it easier for consumers to do just that, integrating local listings, reviews, content, and map information into their search results.
The first step here is to claim your business in all the major search portals -- Google+ Local, Facebook Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Maps. Depending on the area you service, consider building satellite websites that target specific neighborhoods or towns. A hyper-local focus can help you outrank big real estate publishers like Trulia, & Zillow.
Build a modern website
Trying to generate business with an outdated website or with no website at all is a waste of time and a huge missed opportunity. The thing to remember here is that a website is not like a business card: it's not static. It is a spokesperson for you and your brand. It needs to be dynamic, engaging to your audience, helping them solve some need that they have. Modern does not just mean "new." To get the most out of a website, you'll need to focus on the following:
The facts are impressive:
- Over half of American consumers own smartphones. That share increases to two-thirds for people age 24-35. Meanwhile, less than half of U.S. households use a landline.
- Mobile video viewership has increased 77 percent in the last two years.
- For the first time ever, tablet sales are expected to exceed laptop sales.
Mobile marketing is set to skyrocket in almost every industry, and real estate is no exception. How can you take advantage of this? Apart from the above improvements to your website and local search presence, you can start to use your own mobile device to jumpstart your video and photographic content creation.
Create great content that your consumers will love
All content is not created equal , and this is especially true when it comes to deriving any business benefit from it. Some agents and brokers see content generation as just another job for their VAs, alongside contracts and other data-entry type tasks. In fact, most real estate professionals don't bother to read their own content.
The truth is, if you aren't inspired to read your own content, your customers won't want to read it either. Good content reveals your passion for your industry and your expertise, and you won't get that from a VA. Plus, most contracted content creators aren't qualified to write the kind of content that will improve your local organic search results-more to the point, they don't know your local audience, culture, or business as well as you do.
When it comes to writing your own content (or at least hiring someone specifically for content creation), here are a few essential requirements:
- Use great visuals.
Photos and illustrations can help you tell your story, while charts and graphs with rich data can reinforce your arguments. Great visuals can also give you SEO juice on Google Images, as well as opportunities to repurpose your content for Slideshare.net and other sources.
- Create content in language your readers will understand.
Just because you know a ton of industry jargon doesn't mean your customers want to hear it. Try to give your content the broadest appeal you can while maintaining the industry expertise that your customers find valuable.
- Format your content in a way the consumers can easily digest.
That means 500-word posts instead of 1,000; short snippets of text, divided by ideas and bullets instead of long paragraphs; and descriptive titles and headings to let readers know what to take away.
- Be useful, entertaining, or both.
- Give readers a reason to remember you and your content, and they'll come back for more. Give them a reason to quote and share it, and others will come calling as well.
- Harness anchor text for SEO. Obtaining links with descriptive anchor text is key in getting backlinks to your content that boost your rankings for your target keywords.
I hope this is not too overwhelming. Online marketing can be complicated, but it's really no more difficult than what you do on a day-to-day basis to keep your business afloat. By making a consistent concerted effort with your online marketing, you'll be able move the needle and you won't have to say, "If I only knew then what I know now."
What questions do you have about websites and content marketing? What aspects of your website are working? Finally, if you're willing to share, tell us a little about the effect your online marketing has had on your business's bottom line.
| About Seth Price|
Seth Price is the Director of Sales and Real Estate Marketing at Placester.com . He spends the majority of my time delving into what creates online success for real estate professionals - driving leads, creating relationships, tracking progress and helping others market on the web.