8 Online Marketing Ideas for New Real Estate Agents
Online Marketing 101 for new Real Estate Agents
My Dad was a real estate agent in Burtonsville, Maryland. During this time, I helped him create a presence on the internet using websites geared towards real estate and to establish him as a trusted source of information.
I am a business analyst for a marketing services organization and have been building marketing databases for the last 15 years. I decided to create this page to help those real estate agents new to the business begin to establish their presence on the web. I am not a real estate agent. I am into the internet and more specifically marketing on the internet. In fact, you probably found this page by some means of the internet, so it does work.
When a Real Estate agent first gets started, the internet is an overwhelming proposition as you don't have any houses to list of your own. So, where do you begin? What do you do first? Should I be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram?
Idea 1 - Utilize your Company's Website
Do this the 1st week, if not Day 1
If you haven't done this already, you should seriously consider if your are in the right Real Estate Agency. As a new person coming into the agency, there should be a step by step procedure you go through, the first is how to setup your own agent page. If there is no procedure, make one and pass it on to the newbies, this will establish you as a go to person in the future.
When editing your agent's page, make sure all your information is correct, name, address, phone numbers. You want people to be able to get a hold of you. Once updated, log out of the system and go onto the internet to check it our yourself. Did it update right away? If not, it may take a couple days to update. If it hasn't updated in a couple of days, find out how long it take and start calling technical support.
Idea 2 - The Free Stuff
Weeks 1 thru 4 as a Real Estate Agent
During the first month as a Real Estate agent, you are establishing your contact list, your answering telephone calls in your agency, and you are starting to get the message out to your circle of influence that you are a real estate agent. You need to start looking at how you market via the free parts of the internet. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are a few that allow you to create your own profiles for free.
If you don't know what these companies do. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter allow you to link to people (you know and don't know), so that you can make contacts, establish connections with friends and family, and provide a way to communicate with those that have these accounts. If you don't have any of these, you should start with LinkedIn, which is more of a professional network, and then Facebook which are more social networking. Sign up, establish an account, and begin by filling in the basics. There are plenty of other pages to help you with getting started with these sites. In Facebook, once you establish your personal page, create a second page with your agent information, you'll be glad you did this later so that you can push personal updates to family / friends, and share relevant Real Estate advice with your business contacts.
If you do have an account with one or more. Then its time to make them look professional. People will be looking at these pages to determine the type of Real Estate agent you are, and no one is going to pick one whose Facebook picture is of him streaking down the street.
Once established, no one is going to care about the house in Naperville for sale. They will want to know you are a real estate agent, and your first listing, your first sale, your 100th sale, etc.
Idea 3 - Establish yourself as a local Real Estate expert
Do this in months 1-2
You probably have started to determine what territory you want to focus on in the 1st couple of months. If not, you should start thinking about a couple neighborhoods where you are going to want to focus. Maybe, you've already started advertising in certain homeowner associations newsletters, or are part of the Chamber of Commerce for your local town. In any case, you want to establish your expertise in these areas online as well.
This is something that can be done over and over again in different areas. Start with your neighborhood, the area you work in, your friend's neighborhood, parent's neighborhood. The list goes on and on.
Idea 4 - Creating your own Real Estate website
$100 investment, In 2-4 months, you'll want to establish your own website
Alright, you're 2-4 month into being a Real Estate agent, and you've decided you want to go a little deeper and establish your name. You want to be able to rattle off a website at a party so that people can start seeing what you're doing and your agency's website is way too long.
For a website you'll need two things, your own internet address or URL (www.yournamehere.com) and a place to host your website. When your first starting off, these may be the same things.
A domain name or website address will cost about $10 per year, whereas hosting your website will cost about $50 to $100 per year. When selecting your domain name, you'll want something that is easy to remember and something you can use even if you go to a different agency. Most agents use their name, whereas, something like www.silver-spring-long-and-foster-agent.com doesn't provide a lot of portability or coverage for dealing with areas outside of Silver Spring, MD.
I have helped my dad and brother establish websites using GoDaddy. GoDaddy provides the ability to establish a web URL, and host and build your own web site online using GoDaddy's Website Tonight product.
Use the Website Tonight application to create a 5 page website to start, you can always establish more pages later. You'll want to create a home page, bio page, listing page, and contact page to start. If you decide you need more, you can always upgrade your package.
Idea 5 - Newsletters and Email Marketing
$100 investment, Months 3-6
Once you've established 25-50 email addresses, you are going to want to contact them approximately once per month. Keep them informed of happenings in the area and give them some helpful tips to buying or selling a home. You also don't want to be labeled as a spammer and undo all the good you've created with your website and other online marketing materials.
That's where a company such as iConact or Constant Contact help you. They have the tools that will let you email your clients. They provide the tools to establish a professional looking email and the ability to track who opened your email, who clicked a link in your email, what email addresses are no longer valid, and who opted out. They have also started providing the ability to capture your email so you can place it on your website for your website visitors. Now that's cool.
Idea 6 - Create a blog
$100 investment, month 4-6
So you think you have something to say more than your are putting into Facebook. Then you should look into a blog. A blog is no more than a specialized website that allows you to post different articles from time to time and provides a means of visitors to interact with you.
Before you begin the blog route, how have you been doing with your Facebook page? Don't post a lot, well then a blog probably isn't for you. Are you writing comments that take up the whole page, then you are probably ready for a blog.
You can create a free blog with services like Blogger from Google, WordPress, or go to where your hosting your website, and they probably have some sort of blog that can be added to your website. Integrating a blog within your website helps keep Google, Yahoo, and Bing coming back to look for new content, which in turn helps keep the website in the top of the search results.
Idea 7 - Create a Real Estate Agent List Portal
$1000, months 6-12
In the latter half of your first year as a real estate agent, and you have realized you are going to be successful. At this stage, you are ready for the big investment into creating your own portal on the internet. They have pre-built Real Estate websites that take most of the work out of Real Estate marketing and let you focus on your leads and clients. These companies have established relationships with the MLS systems so your Real Estate listings will be featured on your website.
Companies like Advanced Access and Home Gain have sites where agents can sign up. You can also create another URL or website name and point it at your new agent listing portal.
Idea 8 - Publish Listings
$$$ per listing or per service
Finally, you have this great home you just listed on the MLS, but you also want to get it out onto other sites to get the broadest exposure as possible or maybe its a vacation home property that won't do you any good listing on your Michigan MLS, and you want to feature it in Chicago. Here's where you are going to post your agent listing on some 3rd party websites like Homes.com or RealEstate.com or VacationHomes.com so you can get the broadest exposure.
You can find these types of sites by going to Google and doing a search.