In the future, the most successful real estate agents will dominate communities with the help of the Internet. Success will not be based on the size of a marketing budget, but on the level of the relationship. There is no easier or more effective way to build relationships than with the help of the Internet. Consider Active Rain.
Here are 21 reasons why you can dominate a community with a blog.
The tool that makes a community website stand-out is its ability to allow potential home buyers and sellers to easily communicate with you and each other. Blogging software including Wordpress and Blogger, the free website tool from Google, gives everyone in the community the opportunity to participate by making comments and posting to your blog. And as you know, communication creates customers.
Ease of Use
Building and maintaining a community website couldn't be easier. If you know how to get on the Internet and make your way around a word processor, this will be a piece of cake. Honest
At first I thought building a community website was going to be work, but I quickly found myself enraptured with every article I created. If you enjoy writing and creating value, you're going to love the time you put into your community blog.
If you're talking in terms of money, you can not find a better return on your investment. Why? Because the cost to create and host your community website is completely free. That;s right, it's free. You can't say that about postcards, TV, print advertising or radio.
Relationship Building Capability
A community website is all about building relationships with the people in the community. It allows you to easily communicate with homeowners through your articles, the comments section on your site, email and even over the telephone. A community website done properly is a hive of activity with you at the center.
Pass-Along / Send to a Friend
How many times have you come across a great website or article and forwarded it on to a neighbor or friend because you thought they would find it interesting? How many times have you done that with a real estate postcard or print ad?
Ability to Know What Your Neighbors Are Thinking
Wouldn't it be nice to know what your neighbors are thinking when it comes to their thoughts on home pricing, home selling or the value of their home? It's easy to do with a simple poll on your community site. All you have to do is ask.
Demonstrate Your Technical Marketing Skills
You don't have to persuade homeowners in the community how you use the Internet to sell homes, show them on your community site. Use things like slides hows, Google maps, narrated video tours, full property websites with Postlets, printable brochures and more ... all of which you create yourself. Let your site do the selling for you.
Reciprocity is a psychological principle used in selling every day. If I help you succeed, you will want to help me succeed in return. Use your community blog to promote the people in the community you're farming. They won't forget you when the time comes to sell their home.
Time to Market
If you've ever produced a postcard campaign you know the value of getting your information out to the community quickly before the situation changes. With a community website you can get your information out in less than an hour. That's fast.
Free Page Ranking
Advertising is expensive. PR is free. The local media is much more likely to do a PR piece on your community website than they are on your real estate business. And every time someone goes to your site it's another opportunity to sell them on your service.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO stands for search engine optimization. When you create a community website, search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL are very likely to push your community site to the top of the search results page. That means when a potential home buyer looks for information about your community, they are very likely to find your community site. Real estate websites can't compete. This is a huge bonus.
Sell Advertising Space on your Community Website
This may be something you've never considered, but it's worth looking into. Once you're community site is up and running with the majority of neighbors subscribing to it, you can easily sell advertising space. Hint: Don't sell ad space to another real estate agent, no matter how much they offer to pay you.
Ease of sending home buyers and sellers to your website
Homeowners don't read postcards and jump to their computer and go to your website. It's too much effort. It's much easier to click a link to your website once their on your community blog. It's as simple as clicking their mouse button.
TV spots and radio ads last for a few seconds. Newspaper ads, postcards and real estate reports might last for a day. Magazine ads last for a week to a month but an ad on the web lasts forever. When you have your own community website you can advertise your homes until they sell.
If you've ever attempted a postcard campaign you know it can be expensive. You must pay for the copy and design, paper stock, printing, postage and the mailing list. TV, radio, newspaper and magazine ads can be even more expensive. The cost to create and publish a community website on the other hand is absolutely free. Here are some ways you can get the word out and market your community blog.
Reaching Home Buyers
When you farm a community with postcards and real estate reports you're only reaching potential home sellers. When you build a community website with Google Blogger you're not only farming for home sellers in that community, but home buyers who are interested in moving into that community. If you want to target home buyers for a community, create a website about that community
Traditional farming techniques position you as a salesperson. When you host a community website and take the opportunity to share home selling tips and home improvement ideas along with real estate reports and home listings you'll quickly be viewed as the real estate authority in that community. Home buyers and sellers would rather work with real estate experts than salespeople. Become the expert.
Interest level in Your Marketing Piece
The majority of neighbors are not interested in receiving a postcard about a home you just sold? They are however interested in learning about an up-coming neighborhood meeting or event, a crime alert, the status of a hot community issue, the local real estate trends and home improvement tips. When you farm a neighborhood with a community website you are giving your target market what they want, including real estate related topics.
The extent to which you can track a postcard campaign is limited to how many postcards were delivered and how many people responded. The things you can track with a community website and blog are limitless. For example:
* How many people looked at your community blog?
* Who looked at your the community blog?
* What pages of your blog received the most attention?
* What pages of your blog received the least attention?
* Where did your community blog visitors coming from?
* What time of day did they visit your community blog?
* What topics did they comment on?
* What was their opinion on each topic?
* Did they tell-a- friend about your community blog?
* How did they find your community blog?
* When are they planning to sell their house?
* Who requested a home valuation?
* Who requested a real estate report?
* Who followed the link to your real estate website?
* And much, much more
How could you use that information to sell homes?
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to brand yourself and your company you have to get in front of your prospects frequently, and frequently can be expensive especially with postcards, reports, print ads and radio/TV spots. On the other hand you can get in front of your prospects as frequently as you like at no cost to you with your community blog. Best of all, you'll be branding yourself as the community real estate expert rather than just a real estate salesperson looking for business.