Are you still relying on old-school marketing tactics that don’t work well in today’s Web 2.0 environment? If so, now is the best time ever to say, "Out with the old and in with the new!"
How much have you spent in the last 12 months on newspaper ads, print magazines, postage and other mailing pieces? How many hours have you spent calling people who don’t want to hear from you? How many weeks (years) of your life have you spent doing floor or opportunity time? As an increasing number of consumers rely more heavily on the Web, old marketing strategies are rapidly giving way to an entirely new approach. If you’re ready to graduate to "new school" marketing strategies, here are six strategies to get you started.
1. Replace your shotgun with a rifle
Many people describe traditional real estate marketing as using a shotgun approach. Spread your marketing efforts far and wide. Work with anyone who shows up. Today, to achieve the best Web ranking possible, you must target a very narrow niche. For example, if you specialize in two subdivisions with 200 homes each and one condo building with 50 units, you would target each group separately. This means building three separate "home" pages devoted to the unique lifestyle in each area. Each page would have a separate URL such as FalconCrestHomes78759.com or 90024ChurchillCondos.com. The URLs can be for a stand-alone Web site or they can redirect to different parts of your site. If you choose the latter approach, make sure each of these pages has the appearance of a home page. Use print marketing to drive people to your Web site.
2. "Pull, don’t push"
Paul Chaney, president of the International Blogging and New Media Association, in a blog post entitled "Seven Social Media Mindset Markers," uses the term "pull" as opposed to "push," to describe the difference between the old-school and new-school approaches. The old-school approach pushes out information in the form of newspaper advertisements, magazine ads, and Just Listed and Just Sold cards. Agents "push" their services by door-knocking for expired listings and for-sale-by-owners. While these strategies still work, they are costly and time consuming.
The new-school approach involves meeting consumers, not with an unwelcome phone call or door knock, but online where they are willing to engage in a real conversation. Instead of memorizing and regurgitating a script, the social media community wants to meet the real you that exists outside of real estate. This is an environment where authenticity is everything (i.e. being who you really are.) Potential customers first learn to know you socially and then professionally. It’s through this process that they will determine whether they want to do business with you.
3. Connecting with today’s consumers
Gen X and Gen Y think that postcards and newspaper ads are hopelessly outdated. They also have the "don’t call us, we’ll call you" attitude. To reach this demographic, the new-school approach requires you to use their preferred style of communication. This means using text messaging as well as being active on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It also means being visible on the sites where they can easily find you. Both Gen X and Gen Y will investigate your local multiple listing service, Realtor.com, Zillow, and a host of other online real estate Web sites to determine which agent best suits their needs. …CONTINUED
4. Can the marketing messages
When you knock on someone’s door, send a postcard or call on the phone, you are imposing your marketing message without the other party’s consent. In today’s new social media environment, you must earn the right for people to listen to you. You can do this by providing entertaining and useful content. Another way of saying this is to use "give-to-get marketing." You must give your reader useful information with no strings attached if you expect them to do business with you.
For example, if you answer a question in the advice section of sites such as Zillow or Trulia, don’t end your answer with "visit my Web site to learn more about prices in your area." Today’s consumers will click through to your profile if they want to know about you.
5. Create "social navigation"
Your Web site and/or blog already have navigation tools including a site map, an "about us page," and links to listings and sales. These tools help your Web visitors find what they want quickly and easily. According to Chaney, the next step is to include "social navigation." This means including links that take your Web visitors to the other places where you are active online, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
6. Quality, not quantity, matters
This is one area where the old-school and new-school approaches overlap. It is better to have a database of 200 people that helps you close 50 sales per year than it is to have a database of 1,000 that helps you close only 10 sales per year. As Chaney concludes in his post, "It’s not how many eyeballs read your content, but who those eyeballs belong to."
Are you ready to leave the tired old-school strategies behind? If so, there’s no better time to graduate than right now.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com.
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