Although print marketing can still be very effective, online marketing is becoming a required method of marketing to stay afloat in the competitive real estate industry. With the majority of people carrying smart phones these days, having an online presence is paramount. A presence alone isn’t enough, though. You need to be easily accessible and findable to all of your potential clients, and that’s where things tend to get a little confusing.
We sat down with Michael Mallery of Mallery Online Marketing, an internet marketing company based out of San Antonio, Texas, with a specialty in search engine optimization (SEO). He gave us a few insights into what methods of online marketing you should take a look at and which ones you may want to avoid.
Let’s start with SEO. SEO is a service that helps push your website to the top of the search engines’ search results. This allows you to get in front of people who are actively searching for the services you offer. Whether you’re helping buyers, sellers, or investors, there are certain search phrases that could make an incredible impact on your business.
Real estate is a highly competitive field, so ranking in most mid-sized to larger cities is going to require more time and more budget to do so. Even more important is the need to continue your SEO efforts even after you’ve ranked to make sure you don’t slip out of the top positions.
The benefit to SEO is that once you are in those top spots, you don’t have to pay every time someone clicks on your site. Whether you get 5 visitors or 500, your only paying what you agreed to with your SEO company. Organic results are still the most important results, and being able to capture buyers, sellers, and investors that are coming to you can turn your real estate business around quick.
While we are on the subject of search engines, it’s important to note that you can jump straight to page 1 in a matter of hours. This is done using each search engines’ pay-per-click service.
While this can get you immediate results, it’s not a guarantee that you’re going to score that top position. There are many factors that dictate where your ad gets placed. Those factors include your ad copy, your landing page, and most importantly, your budget. Unlike SEO, every click to your site from your actual ad listing will cost you. That cost can fluctuate from under $1 per click to over $400 per click. That price all depends on the competition in the area. Your position could be determined by your overall budget and how much you bid for those higher positions.
The benefits are very similar to SEO, though. You will get in front of people actively looking for the services you offer.
Social Media Ads
Ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube work slightly differently. Yes, they are still pay-per-click, but they are a form of marketing known as interruption marketing. What this means is that your ads will interrupt the user in whatever it is they are doing.
Your ads may show up in line with normal feed items on some platforms. If you have a video ad, they may show before, after, or in the middle of another video that the user is watching. One way or another, people will see your ads.
The downside to this is that you have to try and figure out who you want to target. People aren’t willingly looking for your services, rather they are being shown your ad whether they want to see it or not. That sounds terrible, but it’s still an effective method of marketing and not one to be overlooked.
Each platform has its own method for helping you target an audience, but you want to drill down as much as possible so you are getting in front of those that are most likely to want to contact you.
For instance, being in real estate, your target audience age range could most likely be mid-20s and up. There are fewer 18-24 year-olds that are interested in buying or selling a home. If you’re dealing in luxury real estate, targeting users with household incomes over $500,000/year might be more suitable for you. This will help you reduce ad budget waste and you’ll find yourself being contacted by people you are better equipped to help.
You can even use social media in general to help promote and grow your business. This typically requires a bit of a grass roots campaign, but building your own following can have a tremendous effect on your business.
If you can find the time to keep up with consistent posting schedules across all of your social media accounts, and you can keep your content engaging and interesting, you may be able to forgo any type of paid advertising and rely strictly on your social media accounts.
Of course, this is a much more difficult route to go, but don’t think it’s not possible.
Though we touched on a few options, this is certainly not a definitive list. New marketing ideas and methods are popping up all the time. The key is to research and find what is going to work best for you. SEO might be great for some, but in a competitive market such as New York City or Los Angeles, the cost required to organically rank in Google may be too high. In smaller cities or towns, social media ads may not be the right direction to go.
The best advice is to find a professional company and sit down to talk out all options available to you. You may know your market, but your online marketing specialist knows your marketing.