Guest post by Joe Salcedo with Chase International in Reno, Nevada.
Imagine a business – a real world business – that offers ABC service, where “ABC” is something very specific and unambiguous. Whenever this new business introduces themselves to new clients, they always explain “we’re in the ABC business” or “we offer ABC” and the text on their website, print marketing and elsewhere reflects this.
Now consider that this business has competitors.
Likely, thousands of them and all those competitors are also saying “we’re in the ABC business” because, well, that is THE way to describe what they’re offering.
At that point, the company that owns ABC.com or ABC.appropriateCCTLD (country code top level domain) has a MASSIVE advantage.
Never in the history of real estate can an unknown agent catapult herself into the arms of a pre-determined market need.
This is where prime real estate domains give you unprecedented edge, because these terms are what home buyers are searching for via search engines.
After all, their URL matches what they do, so whenever somebody sees the URL they already know what service they can expect to find there. There’s no need to start the marketing dialogue with “We’re coined-brand-name, and we offer ABC”. Suddenly, you’ve slashed your marketing budget, as you’re piggybacking on the “train of thought” of their new and existing customers, who are looking for a company that offers “ABC”.
In 2007, a very well known and respected agent in Reno ushered me into her office to prod me why I wasn’t advertising at Homes and Land. She told me that people needed to know about the brand “Joe Salcedo” and if people didn’t know I was still in the market, how can they do business with me. She made sense; problem was it costs $800 to get a full page ad that ran for only two months. I didn’t have a budget but it got me thinking: “in the presence of our colleagues here in the office there’s no way I could compete with the brand of this well known, loved and respected agent, but outside our office doors she really didn’t have much of an advantage over me. Nobody really knew who we were.”
That same day, I dropped all my print advertising and marketing projects and decided to go all-or- nothing in building my online presence. My goal was to build my brand, at the same time target generic real estate searches that buyers typed in search engines.
My plan was three-fold:
- Research what my potential buyers were actively searching for
- Build remarkable content around it
- Make every effort for people to find it.
Hence, my first site: “A Reno real estate agent who lost $50,000 is on a mission to understand the market just a little bit better.” I wrote every day and pretended that people were actually reading it. I researched about keywords, links and later on invested in a new site design. It took me a year before I got the leads; but boy was it quality.
But one thing I learned that I wish I knew when I started: invest in the best domain you can find. It’s worth it. It’s market defining. It’s instant respect. And because a successful real estate site is achieved through great content and marketing it, a solid domain name can cut your marketing expenses by half.
It’s also important never to lose sight of the fact that a URL is not just useful online. It could be used to show up in TV and radio ads, newspaper and magazine ads, press releases, news stories, on invoices and packing slips, on the side of vans and fleet vehicles, on billboards and posters, and in potentially hundreds of other distinct types of location.
In every single instance, it will be easier for a new customer (who’s got the idea of needing ABC in the back of their mind) to remember ABC.com/ABC.cctld than ANY other conceivable URL! Basically, you’re dropping the seven repetitions that are typically needed to make a marketing message sink in down to one.
How to search for demand:
Note: real world testing is a lot better, these tools could give misleading numbers.
Here’s where you can start finding domains
- Godaddy.com (sometimes you can still find decent domains for $9, only for low to medium competitive markets)
- Robert Schilling’s massive inventory (expensive but he has some of the best names in the business. Reno realestate.net’s asking price was $24,000)
- Sedo.com (has some good names for reasonable prices. Most of the names you can bid on)
- Buydomains.com (good secondary market seller. Can give great discounts if company owns the name)
- Afternic.com (can help you search for the sellers who owns domains you like)
- Memorable domains (some of the best .co.uk domain names for $2,000)
- Let the domain age. Start building now. Put up a basic WordPress site, host it on your host server (like pair.com), put up decent content and point a dozen links to it (directory and blogs). Google trusts older domains.
- If you’re curious what American Real Estate terms are usually searched for: (city name and area precedes these terms): “__Homes”, “ _____Real Estate”, “ _______Homes For Sale.” “Real Estate” seems to be the most expensive and sought after.
- In moderately competitive markets you don’t necessarily have to invest in generic real estate terms. In many low to medium competitive markets you can build a branded name and point targeted links to it (“Boise Foreclosures Guy”). And that could pull rank.
- Long tail keywords (“Reno Short Sale Expert”) are the most profitable and easy to rank for.
In conclusion, real estate has been depressed the past 4 years. Realtors and brokers are gun shy and have remained passive in their marketing. Now is the time to search for good deals. I just bought a Nevada related major keyword for less than $700. It has an estimated 800 searches a day on Google alone (broad search). Even at less than 10% of that volume, I still can get 80 searches/day on just one keyword.
About the author: Joe is more fascinated with business models than supermodels. He writes for a Reno real estate blog since 2007 and is currently experimenting on his brand new domain Lake Tahoe Real Estate.