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Become the Neighborhood Expert

February 01 2012

We spotted this article on the Flaretag blog.

What’s one thing that most good Real Estate agents are great at which makes them better at selling Real Estate than online Real Estate websites? No, it’s not their own website… It’s their deep knowledge of the neighborhoods they serve. Now, what’s another thing that gives them an unfair competitive advantage over those same online sites? QR Codes… No, just kidding. It’s themselves. They can be approached, talked to, interacted and bonded with. They’re human and available for discussions, questions and advice.

Most home buyers don’t just buy a home, they buy into an environment, a neighborhood. Neighborhoods can’t be described in prices estimates, median prices, demographics and other colorful graphs. There’s a human element, a feel that has to be shown and described.

Part of your marketing plan should include a strategy to become the expert in the areas that you serve by creating unique content with your own personal touch. Once you have claimed your area, you need to let everybody in the area (or aspiring to move there) know that you’re available to them. How can technology help you do that?

The 3 Pillars of a Local Marketing Strategy

  • Locally Focused Website: Your website should showcase 3 main topics in order of importance. 1) Neighborhood-focused blog, 2) You & your team 3) your listings. The website becomes your domain, you control the message and how it’s delivered and sets you up as THE local expert. The remaining elements of the strategy are meant to drive traffic to your website.
  • Social Media: Your brand and your website content (including your listings) need to become part of the social stream because it’s where most people discover new things these days. You need to insert your content into social media channels (facebook & twitter for example) and encourage online conversations around them. Facebook is the 21st century form of  ”word of mouth” and it works really well and fast. Always drive people back to your site and have a facebook page and a Real Estate facebook tab.
  • Mobile: Ensure your content is prepared to be viewed on mobile devices. You  need a solution that properly uses your content (blog posts & listings) and looks great on a mobile device. A great mobile website allows you to leverage your offline marketing materials (signs, flyers, postcards) to drive people back to your online domain. Yes, QR Code and Text Message marketing can be very effective when used in the right context with a great mobile website.

Focus Your Marketing to Compete in Your Turf

Against the likes of Zillow and Trulia, your website has little chance to compete in the open web (even with great SEO). The good news is that they have no chance at competing with you at the local level. You’re better positioned for reaching people that live in your areas and that can call you and personally meet you. Use technology and your unique knowledge to reach those people and connect with them.

At some point we all want to know more than just stats and graphs about where we’re potentially going to live. Did you know that the average number of children per family in America is 3.18? I wonder how a 0.18 of a child looks like. You get my point, right?