As Marketing Director at a leading New Jersey real estate firm this is a question often posed by my agents. According to the New Jersey Association of Realtors 95% OF POTENTIAL HOME BUYERS BEGIN THEIR SEARCH ONLINE. For that reason it is my firm belief that if you are not online, you are not in the game.
But don't take it from me, let the trends do the talking. Reuters notes that print newspaper ad sales were $42.2 billion in 2007, down from a high of $48.7 billion in 2000. That being said, many home sellers still see newspaper advertising as an essential component of selling a home, but younger brokers, home sellers and buyers are clearly more focused on using the Internet. So your answer? AN INTEGRATED APPROACH.
Yes, realtors now have a number of alternatives besides newspapers for listing homes for sale, such as Realtor.com a site run by the National Association of Realtors, in addition to major online destinations CyberHomes, Zillow, Yahoo and more. I can understand how as home-buyers flock online, it's tough on realtors, since home-buyers are expecting to see extensive color photos, descriptions of the neighborhood as well as video tours of the property — all of which costs money to produce. But what also needs to be taken into account are the many LOW COST online marketing methods a realtors can leverage, thus evening out your spend and maximizing your budget.
The absolute biggest trend in marketing during the current economic downturn is Web 2.0 and social networking strategies. Web 2.0 refers to the new interactive areas on the web which includes Blogs, Social Networks, Forums… anywhere content is user-generated and there is opportunity to make connections and relationships with other users. The social web is without question the popular web. It is where people are spending the vast majority of their time online. It is a great place to build community and create real, lasting relationships with people connecting to your services.
For example, one of the agents at my firm is extremely active on ActiveRain. To her credit she won #2 place for blog of the year, 2010, on the site. The very same agent received the Top Listing Agent award at the firm for 2010. This is NOT a coincidence.
And for those concerned about Google rankings… yes SEO (Search Engine Optimization – the practice responsible for engine ranks) matters. All those links you get from social campaigns do a lot of good to boost your search rankings. The two are integrated and reciprocal.
The secret of the web is patience. If you’re patient and driven to succeed, you can outlast, outrank and outsell.
Think you are not web savvy enough to have your own blog? There are free blog services that almost anyone could set up in a matter of minutes. Millions of people blog from around the world. It’s not just something for young people, or geeks, or cool folk, or Westerners, or even for people with their own computers - instead its something virtually anyone with access to a computer and the internet once a week can start up.
Check out this great online video which introduces you to blogging.
Below are some top Real Estate related Blogs as recommended by Real Estate professionals. If you don't have your own blog, commenting on one relevant to your industry is a great way to market yourself, increase awareness about what you have to offer, network with colleagues and potential clients and enhance your professional reputation by exhibiting know-how.
- Behind The Mortgage http://www.behindthemortgage.com/
- Brownstoner http://www.brownstoner.com/
- Curbed http://curbed.com/
- Grow-a-Brain http://growabrain.typepad.com/
- Hot Property http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/
- Housing Panic http://housingpanic.blogspot.com/
- Lenderama http://lenderama.com/
- Property Grunt http://propertygrunt.blogspot.com/
- Real Estate Marketing Blog http://houseblogger.typepad.com/
- The Real Deal http://ny.therealdeal.com/
- The Real Estate Blog http://franandrowena.blogspot.com/
- The Walk-Through http://walkthrough.nytimes.com/
By Jennifer Pricci