In any business — just like my coach used to tell me — nothing stays the same. You can get better or you can get worse. And to continue to succeed in the land brokerage business, you should be integrating technology like never before into your marketing strategy.
Here are five technology strategies you must have if you want to keep moving ahead:
1. Give visitors a welcoming and user-friendly website.
More than ever before, your website is your storefront, as well as the introduction for a prospective client. By the time you talk with a prospect, chances are good they’ll know more about you than you do them. Your opportunity to make a positive first impression has never been more important.
What first impression are you giving? An outdated, unorganized, hard-to-read website says you don’t take pride in your web appearance — and, by extension, your business. Your prospective buyers and sellers will take note. And, perhaps most damaging, your site will slip in online rankings.
Instead of investing your hard earned dollars on new carpet and paint for your office, take that money and put it where it will make a true difference. Spend it on making your website an impressive virtual storefront.
2. Continually improve SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the standard for marketing a website today.
Simply put, SEO is the relationship between what keywords people use to search for your business and what keywords are recognized by your website. How well you make sure your site is recognized by search engines determines how high on the list your results appear.
Step back and think about what terms a prospective buyer would use to find your services online. So you sell land. So “land” as a keyword is obvious. But what about “property?” What about “ground?”
To you, they may mean the same thing. However, each individual who conducts an online search thinks differently. For every aspect of your business, you need to get into that person’s head.
3. Develop an email marketing strategy.
One of the most effective tools for brokers, an email blast gives you an easy way to get your listings and your brokerage in front of people. It offers a way to immediately drive traffic to your website. It also gives you opportunities to showcase specific properties, brokerage activities, and relevant news stories.
Some guidelines for a good email newsletter: feature a single property that stands out from the crowd, or an upcoming auction, a handful of new listings, and few that have recently have gone under contract or sold.
Once you’ve built an audience through email traffic, subscribers will look forward to your newsletter as it most likely will contain something they’ll find of interest.
A caveat: Make sure your email marketing is professionally designed and well written. One misspelling or a muddy layout won’t give subscribers a reason to keep reading or stay subscribing. And be a good steward of the CAN-SPAM Act by making it easy for those who choose to, to unsubscribe.
4. Get your listings on the national marketing sites.
It’s a fact: If you want your listings found, you need to be on the national marketing sites that can be found on page 1 rankings. These sites are leading the way in SEO and will be around for a long time. Use them — they will help produce prospects for your business.
Pay close attention to the sites that allow you to link to your individual site. Look for the national sites that use key search terms for the sector of brokerage or real estate you specialize in. If someone searches for “timberland for sale in Georgia,” you want to be sure you’re on a site that produces search results for that type of search.
You can save a lot of time inputting individual data on these national marketing sites. Talk with your Internet technology specialist about finding a way to utilize your listing data to sync with these sites.
5. Prioritize social media in your marketing plan.
Many TV spots, print ads — even product packaging — for small businesses feature social media shout-outs. I believe social media is a valuable tool for marketing a business. However, it’s important to prioritize how and when you use social media.
Whether we like it or not, there is a growing segment of the population that prefers to receive their information and news through social media, and the statistics are clearly showing that this trend will continue to rise. Not surprisingly, more and more well-educated and affluent people are regularly using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. Since they are spending more time on these social media sites, it only makes sense that we should all be using them to promote our brands and services.
Some useful tidbits pertaining to social media — According to Kissmetrics, posts containing photos on social sites get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. A study by Buddymedia concluded that engagement rates for Facebook are 18% higher on Thursday and Fridays, and an article on ContentCrossroads.com reveals that the best place for your social media icons is in the upper right corner of your website as a visitor’s eyes have a tendency to move more to this location than any other spot on their screen.
Remember, prospects are first and foremost going to go to your website to find out more about your brokerage and your listings. Social media is another tool to keep you connected with your audience. First, spend your efforts on your site, SEO, and email marketing. Then add social media.
We need to stay in the game.
I believe we’ve all worked too hard not to keep growing our brands and keep operating our brokerages independently — while still competing with larger brokerages.
In the land brokerage industry, our game is changing. People are starting to break away from the pack. We’re seeing lots of individual brokerages rise to the top and we’re not seeing much parity. But as a league of land professionals, we all need to be willing to make adjustments if we’re going to stay in the game for the long haul.
The advantage lies in technology. And technology will define our success in the future. This is about using the right tools to help prospective buyers and sellers find you online, and making a great impression when they do. This is about making a connection, not just getting a hit.