Differentiation and trust are the cornerstones of success for real estate marketing. In any given market, there is always a myriad of agents and brokers vying to "stand out" from the crowd and generate NEW business. Utilizing an inbound real estate marketing strategy can yield impressive results and long term ROI. (This is the second of two blogs on real estate niches, the first blog covers "How to create a niche market for real estate")
Differentiation and Trust
(As a point of differentiation and to generate initial trust in my views on this topic, I ran all of the websites for NCI from '07 to '11 and was Group VP of Interactive, working on recognizable brands like RealEstateBook.com, ApartmentFinder.com, UniqueHomes.com, numerous Home Design and Home Improvement websites - and all of their print counterparts. Link to my LinkedIn profile here.)
I'm going to tailor this post to the residential real estate sector. How does a Realtor (agent or broker) create differentiation and trust? Every market or sub-market has "that agent" or "that brokerage" that somehow stands out. They become the "go to" agent or broker for a particular niche, or a particular area of town or a particular specialty. Certainly they enjoy the benefits of repeat business and referral business - but neither of those would be an option if they never generated sales in the first place.
Role of Inbound Marketing for Real Estate
There's something called "social proof". If you do a Google search you can peruse various results, but from our friends at WikiPedia, here's the definition:
"Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation .... and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation."
Google applies very similar logic in their search results. There are other factors (SEO is multi-faceted), but at a high level when web pages contain certain keywords and keyword phrases AND have inbound links from other reputable sources to that page AND have inbound links to your overall website from other reputable sources, Google deems your content as "higher in value" (which means it should be providing the information the searcher is looking for). The reward is a higher ranking.
This creates an opportunity
Just about every real estate website has listings. Having an up-to-date inventory of available homes for sale in your market is a sensible starting point for content on your website. But if everyone HAS listings, what is the point of differentiation? Content that provides context.
If you are not familiar with inbound marketing, here is a page on our site on the topic. Our Resources blog also has various posts on inbound marketing. Lastly, here is a page with a short video on inbound marketing that links to a free ebook that is valuable for your website. Take a few minutes to educate yourself.
IF you provide content that aligns with people in various stages of the real estate process on your website, it becomes the cornerstone of your inbound marketing efforts. It's about educating people and solving THEIR problems or providing solutions for THEM.
Create "Social Proof" in your niche
Rather than trying to be "all things to all people", opportunities exist in every market for agents or brokers to truly "stand out", albeit it in a particular niche. Our most recent post goes into detail about how to create a real estate niche (and why buyers and sellers prefer to with with experts). It's going to be challenging to go head to head with very large local competitors, not to mention Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, etc; BUT you can carve a local real estate niche and doing so can create "differentiation and trust" with those that do not know you (yet).
Here is another helpful article (from Homefinder.com) on creating your niche in real estate.
Inbound Marketing Real Estate Strategy - Condos
Let's take an actual example of what a Real Estate Niche could look like. I live in Jacksonville, FL and I'm going to use "Condominiums" as a niche example (because I actually live in one and I own the URL www.JaxCondoFinder.com, which is currently not being used). Consider this approach:
(photo credit Visit Jacksonville)
- Various Google searches around "condos", "condominimums", "for sale", "jacksonville, fl" and "jacksonville beach, fl" (if this niche was chosen a MUCH deeper keyword analysis would be done, this is very high level)
- Market analysis and determine size the market (how many condos were sold in the last year? avg sales price? how many are on the market? how many days on average prior to sale? year-over-year sales price for similar units? changes over time? markets or sub-markets with condos? % financed? buyer analysis - in town or from out of town? - you get the idea)
Just doing these couple of high level tactics a few interesting things arose:
The Google searches rendered the usual suspects on page 1 (Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, Homes.com, Craigslist, etc), BUT:
- One search showed the following site in the # 7 spot on page 1 of Google (www.CondosForSaleJacksonvilleFl.com)
- Another search for Jax Beach showed this site in the #9 spot on page 1 of Google (www.JaxBeachCondos.com).
(note, I'm purposely not linking to either of these sites, I don't know who owns them and have NO relationship with them; this is purely for informational purposes).
Initial takeway - neither of these sites has actual listings on them. The first one listed "2013" on the home page and didn't look like it has been updated in awhile. It did have some information on condos and a few YouTube videos. The second one didn't have listings on it either, but it did have some valuable information on condominiums in Jacksonville Beach and a link to a local MLS market report.
- NO Listings on either site
- Neither website is responsive
- Neither website has any social channels
- No new content is being added to either site
- BOTH still show on Page 1 of Google for generic searches!
I did this research in about 30 minutes. Deeper work obviously would need to occur (competitive analysis, inbound link study, keyword analysis, deeper persona research) but just using this example, I'm positive that either of these 2 sites could be improved upon or competed with fairly easily.
Look over our prior post on "creating a real estate niche" and do initial work in your market. Check to see what URLs (web addresses) might be available. Do initial Google searches. Or reach out to us and let's chat, helping companies carve niche's is what we love to do!
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