Over the past 6 weeks I have been positioning you to make money as a Realtor® through the use of Web 2.0 tools. Admittedly, I haven’t really touched on Web 2.0 or Social media that much in the process. But, all that has gone before was to set the stage.
We first talked about what top performers do. I think this part is critical because no matter how the top agents produce the sales that they do, the fact remains that they do have a system in place that they can replicate in order to make money. An agent using Web 2.0 tools has to do the same. I think it is highly unlikely that any one who does not possess a strong work ethic coupled with strong organizational skills will do well in this business no matter how they generate sales. So, we talked about the top agents and examined them so that you can emulate their strong points.
Next we spent several weeks looking at the tools of the trade, including phones, computers, and software and so on. You’ve got to equip yourself to handle the leads as they come in. It’s one thing to generate leads, it’s an entirely different thing to be able to service them and keep track of them until a sale is made.
Last week I shared my current reading list with you. I sincerely hope that you have picked up those books and gotten started on your reading as I consider them to be textbooks that will support what I am going to be talking about in the upcoming installments of this series.
So, let’s get started with the Web 2.0 tools. With all of the possible choices as to where to begin, it might be a bit confusing. To avoid that, I want to take a structured approach to this by starting at the point that I think is the beginning and branching from there.
In my opinion, the beginning is blogging. Having a blog. Having a “home on the web”. A place where you can promote yourself, your company, your listings and just generally let the world get to know you. Most real estate agents have a web site. It’s either their own site or one provided by their broker. There are many different types of real estate web sites with many different purposes for being in existence. But, for the majority of agents with a web site, it’s merely a field of broken dreams. Far too may agents have never gotten any business from their web sites. Many have never even gotten a lead, let alone a closed sale. Yet, the monthly or annual bills keep coming in. And we pay them, hoping that this time it will be different.
So, if the web site isn’t returning a positive value for the money spent why have one? For most of us the answer is simple…because my competition does and because everyone expects me to have one.
Why don’t most real estate web sites convert? Although there are many good answers to that question, I believe that only one answer really matters, and that is because the web sites themselves are irrelevant. Many of them have not been changed since the day they went live. If some one surfing the web should happen along and find the site, what is it that will cause them to linger or more importantly, to return?
Most agent sites are little more than web based personal brochures with a few listings thrown on in the hopes that someone will find the home of their dreams and contact the agent. It just doesn’t happen that way as you know if you have one of those non-converting web sites.
I think the main reason why our sites don’t get updates is because of the expense of doing so. Expense in terms of dollars to pay the webmaster to make the changes, and expense in terms of the time it takes to get the web master to understand what needs to be done. And that’s assuming that you know what you want to say!
Since we don’t update, there is no reason for someone to return to the site. Unless you have listings on your site that are not on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and others, people will simply go to those sites and not yours. In order to get them to your site and to have them return, there has to be something different than what can be found elsewhere.
But let’s assume that your web site is loaded with interesting facts, stories, opinions and useful information. Are you getting the visitors that you want? Most likely not. And if you are getting traffic to your site, are they staying? Are they reading the material you posted, and more importantly, are they interacting with you?
Even if you had mad web site building skills, unless the search engines know about your site, you are not going to experience the traffic you hope for. And unless there is a way to keep visitors engaged withy your site, your conversion rate of visitors to clients will not be very high.
Fortunately, a blog can solve all of these problems. Blogs have five main features.
- They are free to very inexpensive ($100.00 a year for hosting)
- They are trivial to update. If you can successfully fill in a form online, you have the tech skills that you need to do basic blogging.
- They are search engine friendly. Most blogging software will notify the search engines whenever a new article appears.
- People can comment on what you post and on what other commenter’s have written.
- People can subscribe to your blog.
Free blogs can be found at http://wordpress.com, http://blogger.com, http://realtor.com, and others. The free blogs do have some limitations on what you can do with them, but they are ideal for getting started. No sense in spending money until you have determined that blogging is something that you want to do!
Most blogs are updated by going online, logging in to the blog’s control panel and filling in a form,. You can add pictures, sounds and even video clips to a blog post just by clicking on a button and filling in a form. Almost anyone can do this.
After you have written something, and saved it to your blog, the blogging software takes over and “pings” a variety of search engines and bookmarking sites which serves as formal notification that new material is on your blog. Since search engines must constantly keep track of new things on the web, they will sooner rather than later visit your site and “index” its contents. When a search engine indexes a site, it makes note of what is located on which pages so it can later deliver those results to someone who may be searching for what you have posted.
Once people find your post, they can leave a comment, or offer a counterpoint to what you have said in your post. Encouraging people to comment on your blog is important as it causes them to linger on the site and will often draw them back to see what reaction they garnered from their comment.
Finally, people can subscribe to your blog. This means that every time you post something to your blog, anyone who has signed up as a subscriber will receive the new post either in their RSS reader (Google it…) or in their email inbox, depending on how they subscribed. How’s that for marketing reach?
By now you are wondering what would you say on your blog? Why would anyone want to read what you have written? I’ve got some good answers for you, but we’ll leave them for next week. For now, why not leave a comment on my blog? Or subscribe to this blog! The signup is easy. Either choose to read this via email by filling in the short form at the top right or by using your RSS reader.