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You’re a REALTOR®, you know you’re in the business of real estate property transactions. You also know you need to market yourself and your business. You know the traditional ways of marketing: direct mailings, signs and business cards, sponsorship of neighborhood events, referrals, advertisements, etc.
But are you missing out on another way to market because either you don’t know what you would say, or you think it’s a waste of time? Here are some thoughts from a fellow REALTOR® in New Hampshire. http://actvra.in/4Wkk
Always remember, you are an expert in your field and your field expands far beyond “just houses” into the neighborhoods and local news of your niche market. You know things from schools, local events, to local policy. Share these things and let your potential clients KNOW through your knowledge that you are the expert for them.
Recently, Margy Grant, FR Lead Counsel, spoke at the Florida Realtors Broker Summit and said that she has started receiving calls about something she had never dealt with before – ADA compliant website lawsuits. For a website, being ADA compliant basically means that the visually and hearing impaired can use it as easily as anyone else.
Ms. Grant also stated that about 30 Brokers across the state of FL are currently in litigation for not having ADA compliant websites. These lawsuits are brought by lawyer(s) who just happen to have a consulting business that can fix the website for you, for a price. While the intent behind these suits is indeed questionable, the fact of the matter is the issue will not be going away and we should all pitch in to the effort of becoming compliant.
In our research of the subject we have found these interesting tidbits of information:
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has not yet issued a clear mandate of web accessibility.
- Changes can be implemented incrementally. In past settlement orders, the DOJ has generally allowed businesses up to 18 months to implement necessary accessibility changes to their sites.
- The ADA.gov website is not absolutely compliant with existing guidelines. In fact some PROSites we’ve tested so far have come up more compliant than the ADA’s site.
This does not mean we’re finished with the job. All the rules (Google rules, accessibility rules, coding and mobile-friendliness rules, etc.) are constantly evolving. PROTECH will continue to research and apply Industry Guidelines for our clients’ sites.
Industry Guidelines suggest:
• Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
• Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content.
• Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear.
• Make all functionality keyboard accessible.
• Give users enough time to read and use content.
• Help users navigate and find content.
See more Guidelines here.
We want you all to know we are aware of the issues, and we are researching and developing a timeline and plan to bring all of our clients’ websites into compliance. In the meantime, please be sure than any information, pictures, or videos you add to your website have the necessary alternative descriptions. Please contact us if you need guidance with this.
To finish up, here are some helpful links to additional information on the subject:
Website Accessibility: Not Just About the Law – DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2016
Is Your Website ADA Compliant? – By Meredith Caruso May 2, 2016
Realtor.Mag article Is Your Website ADA Compliant? By Lesley M. Walker, April 2016
Head Off Website Accessibility Issues – By Robert Freedman, July 2014
Last week, we talked about the three different types of leads:
- Low Cost / Low Intent
- Medium Cost / Medium Intent
- High Cost / High Intent
And we also asked you to find out how much website traffic you’re currently getting. Why? Because according to research done by Google, only 2-3% of people who visit your website will convert (take some sort of action and give you their contact information).
Which means, to capture a significant number of leads, we need a lot of monthly visitors to our website:
Most of us can’t get the number of visitors we need from organic traffic alone (people who find your website through a search portal or other referral). We need other ways to drive people to our websites, get in front of people actively looking for a home, or generate leads from our networks.
So today, we’re going to give you some campaigns you can use to find leads of each type. These are campaigns we use in our brokerage, GoodLife Realty, and the ad examples you see are from ads we’ve used and tested.
Low Intent / Low Cost: Home Search PPC Campaign on Facebook
When someone is looking for a home, what are they interested in seeing? Homes for sale! This campaign promotes the home search feature of our website to potential buyers.
Facebook Ads are one of the most effective ways to get in front of buyers. With Facebook Ads, you can target people likely to move in the zip codes or areas you focus on. Here’s an example:
This ad then takes them to page on your website where visitors can search for properties:
These lead are generally going to fall into the “Low Cost, Low Intent” category. They’re only giving you their contact information so they can get more information or browse homes on your website, so follow up accordingly.
Low Intent / Low Cost: Home Value PPC Campaign on Facebook
This campaign is similar to the Home Search campaign, but targets potential sellers. If someone is thinking of selling their home–even just toying with the idea–they are going to want to know how much their home is worth. With this campaign, we use Facebook Ads to find people who 1) Own a home and 2) Are likely to move, and then offers them a free estimate for their home.
The ad sends them to a landing page where people can enter their address and contact information in exchange for a free report that provides a brief home valuation.
We use a “What’s My Home Worth?” tool to provide an automated report. If you’re interested in that route, there are many services that offer this feature. However, you can also just produce a quick CMA yourself and send it to people who request a home value analysis!
Remember, with both the Home Search and Home Value campaigns, you want a system for following up with individuals who take action. You need to to establish a relationship and build trust over time so that when they become a high intent lead, you’re the agent they work with.
Immediately after someone takes action, you should follow-up with an automated email that introduces yourself, lets them know you are available, and then provides value.
And then you need to stay in touch. After the initial email, shift to sending information that buyers or sellers would be interested in. We start with a 12 point email sequence for both buyers and sellers that delivers information about the buying or selling process.
Medium Intent / Medium Cost: Just Listed Campaign
One way to attract the Medium Intent / Medium type of website viewer is with a Just Listed campaign.
The basic principles of this campaign work just like the Just Listed campaigns we all know, just updated for the digital age. By using digital marketing, you can get your listings in front of the right people at the right time, making your Just Listed campaign more timely, targeted, and ultimately effective.
Here’s how it works: You use Facebook Ads targeting features to find people who are likely to buy a home. The ad promotes the property:
The Facebook Ads drive people back to a property page on your website.
If possible, you should host the property page on your website. That way, you get the benefit of the traffic to your website, people seeing your brand, people browsing your website, and so on!
This campaign is incredibly cost effective, as well. We spend around $50 or $60 per listing (just a couple dollars a day).
High Cost, High Intent: Marketing to your Network on a Regular Basis
When you look at hard costs, marketing to your network isn’t that expensive. However, when you consider how much your time is worth, and then you think about everything that goes into building your network and keeping in touch–meeting these individuals, building the relationship, calling, creating marketing materials to stay in touch–the cost adds up.
To simplify the process of marketing to your network, we use a digital monthly campaign that looks like this:
We begin by writing a blog post on a topic useful to homeowners, buyers, or sellers, such as amplifying the value of your home. The information should be highly relevant, and something your network would be interested in. We also promote the blog post across our various social media platforms to get more traction from it.
We then take the information from the blog post and have it designed in a PDF report. Studies show that people perceive designed PDFs to be of more value than a simple blog post.
After we have the PDF, we email it to our network. It’s a relatively easy was to keep up with your network without bugging them.
Additionally, you’ll be providing your network with an arsenal of tools they can use to promote you. When someone in your network comes across referral opportunity, they are going to have a lot of resources they can use to refer you. Sending information like this also gives you something to talk about when you pick up the phone to call your past clients.
Now that you have some campaigns to start generating traffic and leads, tomorrow we’ll focus on how to follow-up, nurture, and convert the leads you generate!
*Read to the end to see PROTECH’s new/easier pricing schedule!
Probably. But should you? If you’ve talked to other REALTORS® or used social media like Facebook or Twitter, you’ve most likely heard about or seen countless ads promoting do-it-yourself website development, using a site builder. While a drag and drop option of building your own Agent website inexpensively may sound like a great idea at the time (just like one of your clients thinking it’s a great idea to do FSBO! ;)), there are very good reasons why you could be better off in the hands of a professional.
Free and inexpensive site builders aren’t really free.
You will be providing free advertising for the service you built your site on, or even possibly a competitor. If you don’t want to provide this advertising and you don’t want restrictions over what you can do on your site, you’ll pay extra. Research shows that price is typically higher than for hosting elsewhere.
The code behind these websites tends to be bloated and will slow your site down.
“Why do I care about code? I don’t see it.” Bloated code leads to problems later with speed, maintenance, security, and dependability. If you need to have someone else look at your site later, it will be more difficult for them to decipher behind-the-scenes code and help you out.
You might not actually own your site.
Websites built on site builders stay there. When you decide to move up and onward and transfer your site, it is no easy task. You or someone will probably have to reconstruct the pages and their functionality. With a professional (local to St. Petersburg agents) company like PROTECH, you will retain control over your site and we will host it for you.
Your site might look a lot like everyone else’s site.
Have you ever noticed that some websites have a lot in common? That’s what happens with template-design site builders. While PROTECH has a number of layouts to choose from, we carefully craft your site for your business which includes colors, fonts, functionality, clear call-to-action, and beautiful searches for your clients.
It’s not as easy as it looks
We know you’re smart, and we know it starts out easy enough. But I’ve heard from countless clients that it all turns into a great big hassle. Leave the hassle to us. You know how to market homes, and we know how to develop your website. We’ll work with you and get it done.
So yes, please set up your reference web pages provided to you by REALTOR.com, Zillow.com and others. But when it’s time to build YOUR business web site, save yourself the time, hassle, and money and consider a professional. We work with REALTORS® and we know your business. Let us help you.
Check out some of our work here.
As promised at the top of the article, we’ve rolled out monthly pricing again. You can purchase a Starter Page for $40/month, or an Agent Premium Package for $65/month. IDX always included. (We can do business and personal sites too, call us to schedule a consultation!)
Although a website may not be your main source of leads, it is very true your professionalism is judged by potential clients partly on the appearance and performance of your real estate website. And with some work, that website can also start generating leads for you. There are a number of ways to get traffic to your website, and search-engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important. PROTECH develops your website with the basic SEO to get you started, and with continual attention and knowledge of yourself and your goals, your website will become a true tool in your REALTOR® marketing toolbox.
How Do You Optimize Your Agent Website?
Real estate SEO is not that difficult to do, but it requires you to follow a set of rules and guidelines. If you don’t, it will be harder for your website to get organic traffic. And if you don’t have traffic, you’re losing out on potential clients.
This guide will take you through each step required to properly optimize your website and benefit from at least a fraction of the huge amount of traffic that search engines can send your way. So roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and start working on your online visibility.
There are four main steps in SEO:
1. Identifying optimum keywords
2. Enhancing your pages so they can attract search engine traffic (also called on-page optimization)
3. Website promotion (also called off-page optimization or link building)
4. Measuring and tracking your results
Identifying your Keywords:
1. Find the Best Keywords for You – Go Local
Think of the audience you are targeting: people that are interested in buying or selling homes in your area. Your keywords should be specific to real estate in your area and relevant to your listings. Some examples, assuming that you are a real estate agent in Tierra Verde Florida:
• Tierra Verde real estate
• Tierra Verde homes for sale
• Tierra Verde real estate agent
• Tierra Verde single-family homes
• Tierra Verde homes for rent
• Tierra Verde land for sale
• homes for sale in Tierra Verde fl
• houses for sale in Tierra Verde
In fact, the more specific your keywords are the better. Target your niche of listings accordingly with keywords like: “your location beach homes,” “your location condos,” “your location coops,” “your location luxury homes,” “your location multi-family homes,” “your location vacant land,” etc.
2. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to Uncover More Keywords
The Keyword Planner is a free tool from Google that can uncover what are your most valuable keywords. The tool’s purpose is two-fold:
• To give additional suggestions for keywords
• To estimate how much monthly traffic those keywords receive in Google
To use it, go to the tool’s location and log in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, create a new account (it will take just a few minutes). Then simply type in some keywords you think people might use to search for what you provide, including your geographical area (e.g. “Tierra Verde real estate”). It will give you a list of related keywords and their search volumes.
Enhancing Your Pages with Relevant and Engaging Content:
3. Use Your Keywords in the Page Title
Each webpage has a title that can be seen at the top of the browser, but must not be confused with the heading. The page title (also called title tag) is much less visible on the site itself, but is the first element that appears in the search engine results.
Here are a few examples of good page titles you can use for various page types:
• Homepage: Tierra Verde Real Estate | Tierra Verde Homes for Sale – [Your Brokerage Name]
• Neighborhood: Chelsea Real Estate | Chelsea Homes for Sale
• Listing Page: [Address], Tierra Verde, FL Home For Sale
Place your most important keyword at the beginning of the page title, the closer a keyword is to the beginning of the page title, the better the chances of that page ranking for that keyword.
4. Make Your Content Engaging
Write your content for your potential clients, not for Google or Bing.
Search engines track visitor behavior to detect what real visitors are reading, thus trying to improve their algorithms to offer people valuable content. If Google detects those visitors tend to leave your site and search again immediately after they have clicked on your website, the logical assumption is that they didn’t care for what they saw. Your website is then likely to be downgraded so as not to appear so high in the results for those search terms as another website with those terms and similar content.
5. Tell a Story
People love stories. They will give you more attention if you take them on a journey.
6. Use Your Own Unique Content
If you only copy articles from other websites and paste them into your site you will find it extremely difficult to attain good rankings in the search engines, because duplicate content can suffer penalties in the search engines.
7. Use Your Keywords Throughout Your Articles…
Have your targeted keywords appear naturally throughout the article; don’t force your keywords in. For example, if one of your keywords is something like “homes in Tierra Verde buy,” please don’t add it in that form in the article. It’s much better if you use these words in a more natural order, like “buy homes in Tierra Verde.”
8. …But Don’t Overuse Your Keywords
Having a keyword appear 2-3 times is enough in a 300–500 word article. Overusing your keywords (also called keyword stuffing) is bad for readers. Search engines can detect keyword stuffing, and it’s not a good thing if they come to the conclusion that you’re trying to exploit them.
9. Format Your Content to Make it Easy to Read
People tend to skim, not read articles. Using short paragraphs (3 or 4 lines), with lists, headers, titles, and subtitles help your clients find the information they really want quickly.
10. Try List-Type Articles
People love list-type articles (like this one), because they are easy to read. Writing articles like “10 Reasons Why Living in Tierra Verde is Awesome” can bring you a lot of exposure, and eventually clients.
11. Use Relevant Pictures
A picture is worth 1,000 words and makes your content more enjoyable. Be sure to include descriptive alt text both to help with SEO and accessibility.
Branding Your Real Estate Business:
12. A Good Domain Name is Important – Choose a Brandable Domain Name
A good URL can go a long way in attracting extra traffic from the search engines. Besides the obvious branding reasons, it can also yield better click-through rates from search engine results. An important thing to note is that as a domain gets older, its strength in the search engine results increases.
When you choose a domain name for your business, the most important thing to consider is your brand, and to a lesser extent, your keywords. For example, a good combination is “brand + real estate.” In the case of property sites, a good option is for the domain to contain the property’s address. Also, it should be relatively short and easy to remember.
How to Attract External Links to Your Website:
Every time another website links to yours, it acts as a vote that the other website gives you. The more votes you have, the better, because when search engines find out about them they will know that people are talking about your website and this will result in good rankings.
What is very important in a backlink is the clickable text, also called “anchor text.” This is another strong signal that search engines take into account when evaluating your relevancy to certain terms. When you build your backlinks, having your target keywords in the anchor text of some of them can be really useful for SEO.
Link building is hard work; in fact it’s the most time-consuming aspect of SEO, but it’s worth your while if you do it right.
13. Get Involved in Discussions on Forums and Real Estate Networks
Whenever you find a forum or a real estate social network discussing topics related to your real estate niche, or better yet, discussing the real estate situation in your area, it’s a good idea to participate in those discussions. Link back to your own website, using anchor text keywords if possible.
14. Find Local Blogs and Contribute Guest Posts on Other Blogs
This is one of the most effective link building methods. There are a lot of bloggers out there that will agree to publish your article on their website. In that article they will usually let you add a link to your site. Participate in discussions on local community websites to increase your local SEO (and real estate!) authority.
15. Add Value
But don’t comment on blogs or forums only with the intention of getting a link. Try to add real value to the discussion, help people when they have questions, follow up on your conversations, and be a valuable asset to the community.
16. Create Real Estate Videos
On a property site, create a video with images or a tour of the property. On your agent site, create a video showcasing some information about the real estate activity in your area and about you. Then upload the video on the major video hosting websites (YouTube, Dailymotion, etc) and place a link to your website in the description of that video.
17. Don’t Forget Your Social Media Marketing Presence
Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus profiles are essential for your social media presence. Be active, add people on Facebook, follow people on Twitter, and be genuine. Although Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are considered by many to be the most important social media sites for marketing, there are also other resources to help maximize your social visibility, like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.
PROTECH can set you up with a beautiful, optimized real estate website. Using these tips above you’ll be able to provide us with the information we need to get you started, and then help continue building your own special presence on the web for your clients.
Content courtesy of https://retechnology.com/agent/articles/46-tips-to-attract-more-leads-using-real-estate-seo-best-practices?layout=onepage
Is the .com domain name you really want already taken? Never fear, there’s a new domain extension in town, and it’s full of SEO potential for real estate practitioners.
The sunrise registration period opened just last Monday for the new.Homes top-level domain. “Sunrise” registration is a limited window of time that allows trademark holders to purchase .Homes domains that match their marks before registration is opened to the general public. That means if you’ve trademarked the name of your real estate team or practice–Central Coast Realty™, for example–you can now reserve CentralCoastRealty.Homes so that your company’s name isn’t taken by somebody else. The Sunrise period runs through May 6. You can learn more here.
However, the domain names with the highest SEO potential are up for grabs on May 12, when open registration starts. Because registration will then no longer be restricted to trademark holders, agents and brokers can buy names that reflect their area, like Boston.Homes. The reason a domain like this has so much SEO potential is because it matches the phrases that consumers are likely to search for, e.g. Boston homes or Boston homes for sale.
.Homes domain names are only available to professionals who serve the residential real estate industry. This includes agents, brokers, mortgage professionals, appraisers, property managers, builders, home insurers, MLSs, and associations. Dominion Enterprises, the operator of Homes.com, is the exclusive registrar of .Homes domain names. To learn more, visit domains.homes.
Other Domain Extensions for Real Estate Pros
.Homes isn’t the only real estate related domain extension out there. In October 2014, the .REALTOR domain extension became available to members of the National Association of Realtors and the Canadian Real Estate Association. Realtors can snag their first year’s registration of .REALTOR domains for free through the end of 2016. You can claim your .REALTOR domain here.
As for other domain extensions… well, there are quite a few that may interest agents and brokers. Here’s a sampling:
Dot com alternatives are a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. And with a well chosen domain name in play, you can potentially earn your website a lot of welcome SEO juice. Is a .Homes, .REALTOR, or other alternative domain something you’d consider for your business? Let us know in the comments below!
While some want you to believe that blogging is an art, it really isn’t. Anyone with thoughts in their head and a keyboard can construct a blog post. Being a successful real estate blogger, however, requires being mindful of the topics you choose and the construction of your blog posts.
Blogging is time intensive. But then, so is mailing out 1,000 postcards, cold calling or door knocking. If you’re considering ramping up your blogging efforts to reel in new clients, read on for some helpful tips.
Why Should Agents Blog?
The biggest advantage to blogging is that – aside from what your time is worth – it’s free. If you waste that time by publishing garbage, or not posting on a consistent basis, then maintaining a real estate blog is actually quite expensive. This is why it’s so important that when you commit to the process, you follow through.
Once you’re up and running and consistently posting content about your local market, whether strictly real estate-related or not, local consumers will begin to visit your blog. You’ll also be able to show them your personality, so that they get to know, like and trust you.
If you’ve been in the real estate industry for over a week, you should know that there is no such thing as an overnight success. The key to blogging, as in most real estate lead generation techniques, is consistency. New leads probably won’t appear after your first post, but keep plugging away at it. It will take time for blog posts to generate web traffic – and leads. Be persistent and your efforts will pay off.
Basics of Good Blog Design
How many times have you left a website because the information you wanted was presented in a tiny font and one great big block of text? What your brain says is “Whoa, it’s a lot of work to read that.”
You’re in a hurry. You don’t have the time or desire to read all those scrunched-up words, and so you click away, knowing you’ll find the information somewhere else.
This is why the structure and design of your blog posts are just as important as what you write about. Concentrate on giving your reader lots of white space with short paragraphs.
Sub-heads are your friend. They act as a roadmap for the harried reader so that he or she understands what is coming next. They also add valuable white space. Consider breaking up long posts with bulleted lists and sprinkle the text with graphics and images.
Punctuate and Capitalize Correctly
Dump the exclamation points, please. “Get pre-approved for a loan!” is far too mundane to be considered an exclamatory sentence. Take a tip from the Associated Press Stylebook, every journalist’s bible. “Use the mark to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion.”
Real Estate Agent shouldn’t be capitalized, nor should Listing Agent. In fact, your biggest worry should be to remember to capitalize the word REALTOR®, and then you need a cap for every letter.
If it’s been awhile since high school or college, brush up on basic punctuation and grammar. Check out Grammar Girl, Punctuation Made Simple, Common Errors in English and the Guide to Grammar and Style if you need quick refresher courses.
What Do I Write About?
If you actively work with clients every day, keep track of questions they ask and problems they have. Answer those questions and solve those problems on your blog.
“People think that a real estate blog should constantly be showing your knowledge of the market and I never do that,” Newlin continued. “I’ll write a couple of posts about things you should know about real estate, but I always do it tongue-in-cheek. For the most part I just write ridiculous stories.”
Those stories may be “ridiculous” to Newlin, but her audience hangs on her every word, and they’ve helped her build a real estate business based 100 percent on referrals.
Put a New Spin on Popular Topics
OK, so you don’t fancy yourself a funny guy or gal. If you’ve been blogging for some time, why not update some of your older posts that are proven traffic magnets?
“You can gather all the newest information on the topic, write a new post and then link back internally to the original post. It gives you both a brand new article on something formerly well received, and directs new readers (or old ones) to the first post you did on it. It’s great for traffic,” says Ann Smarty, brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, writing at Basic Blog Tips.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
After writing a post, put it away for a while. When you return to it, read it aloud to get a feel for how it sounds. If you like it, proofread it for spelling and grammar errors and you’re almost done.
Write With SEO in Mind
How will you ever show up above the fold on the first page of a Google search? I’m no search engine optimization (SEO) expert, but I have spoken with many specialists on the topic.
One thing they all agree on is to be cognizant of the placement of your keywords. “Keywords placed in important areas like titles, headlines, and higher up in the main body text may carry the most weight,” according to Cyrus Shepard, senior content “astronaut” at SEO and software company Moz.
Most also agree that you need links in your blogs. These links should be both internal – linking to other pages on your site – and external. The latter not only helps your readers find more information on the topic, but search engines will see these links as useful as well.
Finally, push your blog posts out to social media to boost your readership. The more people who share your posts, the better your chances.
There’s a rumor in the real estate industry that 2015 is the year agents will finally get it. They will finally and fully “embrace content and inbound marketing,” writes Seth Price at Placester. “It’s still difficult for many in real estate to perceive the value in creating utility for consumers without turning that utility into an advertisement.”
“Publishing high quality content is the new equivalent of driving a Mercedes,” adds agent Anne Jones at Windermere Professional Partners. “You may not be selling million-dollar homes (yet!) but your marketing should look like you do.”