This article was originally posted on Active Rain in August 2007.
Yesterday, we discussed the branding dance and I advocated that the primary brand for all agents should be that of a resource for information hungry consumers. Not just any information, but the information that online real estate consumers really want — listings information. Today, it’s getting those consumers to your website in the first place.
Where Do Your Prospects Come From?
It goes without saying that all the best lead capturing, incubation and conversion tools available are worthless if you don’t have any traffic (i.e., prospective clients) on your website, but where do these visitors come from?
Naturally your simple, clever, easy-to-remember domain name is prominently featured on all of your print materials, including your signage. And of course this same domain name is referenced in your voicemail greeting as a place where callers can get immediate information about you and available listings. You better be featured on your company’s website, too. These forms of marketing have all become de rigeur, but they don’t represent the venue where your hottest leads will consistently come from.
Far and away, the the hottest, most qualified leads for you are consumers sitting in front of a search engine right this minute with a great need for your services. Why is this? It’s simple. A consumer doesn’t sit down in front of Google and type in “homes for sale in mytown,” unless he or she has is highly interested in homes for sale in Mytown. Better yet, the consumer knows that once the query results come back, he or she is only a click away from getting the information desired.
Print advertising, by contrast, requires the consumer to find his or her way back to a computer to get more information about you from your ad. Simply put, the search engines represent a huge population of potential clients who have an immediate need and will get to you (ideally) with one click. With the right tools on your website, that prospective client will stick around your site longer and return often.
So, how do you put your name and web address in front of search engine consumers looking for services like you offer? It starts with you defining what your highest value, most qualified prospective client looks like, and then defining a search engine marketing campaign to attract this exact prospect to your site. It’s not rocket science, but none of us grew up with the search engines, and if you’re like most of my clients, you’d rather focus on real estate than search engine marketing, a discipline that requires constant attention and training. That’s when a solid search engine marketing consultant can be invaluable.
With or without a consultant, there are two important strategies to consider with search engine marketing — organic ranking and advertising. Tomorrow, we will talk about the pros and cons of both strategies. Some of the pros and some of the cons for each strategy will likely surprise you. And, while everybody has an opinion on which strategy they think works best, smart agents do both, and tomorrow we’ll see why.