Don’t know the difference between Twitter and Linked In? Still wondering about the value of blogging? Think that YouTube is just for entertainment? Here’s some ideas to get the web working for you. Story by Adam Franklin
I recently made an enquiry with a Real Estate agent about a neighbouring office in my area. There were at least eight For Sale signs hammered in the ground so I just picked one of the agents to call.
Aside from finding out more about this property I was looking forward to making this call to experience being on the ‘other side of the fence’ on a sales call. One of the reasons I was so excited was that my perception of Real Estate agents was that they were best of breed when it came to sales, marketing and deal making.
We can all improve what we do and since sales is an important part of what I do with my web design and online marketing business, I was keen to learn a few tips from the experts! However, you may be amazed to discover that during the conversation I was never asked for my name, my number or even my e-mail address. As we both hung up our mobiles, I realised this agent now has no way of reaching me again, even if he wanted to.
I was a bit deflated as I was really hoping to be taught a lesson or two in sales. Of course one isolated incident like is no grounds to make sweeping generalisations and I have always admired Real Estate agents for their charisma, tenacity and enthusiasm. However, the experience did leave me wondering, “How could I share what I’ve learnt on the Internet to help Real Estate agents use the web to their advantage?”
So here’s what I put together.
11 Easy Ways to Use The Web to Market Yourself & Make More Sales
Build your network online
Build and maintain a list of prospects, clients and friends in an online database. Each time you talk with someone new, just ask for their details or get their card and jot down a few notes about them. Enter them into your database and follow them up with a friendly e-mail.
The great thing about the Internet is that you can access it from nearly anywhere so even if you are on the road all day, with your laptop or iPhone you are away!
Tip: You can set up a free online database using Google Docs or you may use paid services like Salesforce.com.
Write a regular e-mail newsletter
The key to e-mail marketing is making the e-mail interesting and useful. If you write your newsletter to educate or entertain your readers, chances are you’ll build good long lasting relationships with them. Take the time to make your newsletter interesting and people will forward it to their friends and help promote your services.
If you’re not sure what to include, write articles about people – an interview, a profile, photos, a client’s case study or a story in the media. People are interested in people – just look at the success of Master Chef and reality TV!
Write a blog
Blogging is probably the most effective thing you can be doing on the Internet as it allows you to bolster your online reputation. Try googling your name and see what comes up. If you want to be found, get a blog and start writing. I’m sure prospective buyers are googling you before they make their decision and blogging is a wonderful way to raise your profile!
Send press releases to PR web
If you want to get some publicity, try sending your press releases to PR Web as well as your list of journalists. Writers from all over the world may pick up your article and that can generate unprecedented publicity. Go to www.prwebdirect.com.
Conduct online surveys
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what people wanted? Or knew how they’d prefer to deal with you? The good news is it’s easy to find out. Free websites like Survey Pirate and Survey Monkey allow you to create simple online surveys which you can send around.
Tweet on Twitter
If you don’t know about Twitter yet, it’s to time to check it out. If you want to be top of mind, tweeting is great. You can follow industry experts or better still, establish yourself as the expert by posting useful and entertaining ‘tweets’ (ie 140 character updates) and building a base of followers.
Register on Linked In
Linked In is the biggest online professional network and many people consider it “Facebook for work”. It’s free to join, it’s growing rapidly and it’s the perfect place to connect with your colleagues and prospects. It’s kind of like an online CV and a great way to differentiate yourself.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
As Real Estate agents you’re understandably busy working on deals and pressing the flesh, so why not engage the services of a virtual assistant? You can have documents prepared or research done by offshore assistants and it can cost peanuts. Hire a virtual assistant from $2 to $3 per hour through oDesk.com or Elance.com
Make the most of Google Maps & Street View.
Have you got leads that are interested but they’re too busy for an inspection? You could map out some directions on Google Maps so they can check out the properties in their own time. You could also use Street View to send the prospect a picture of the property too.
List your properties on Google Maps Real Estate
It is now possible for people to search for real estate using Google Maps. It’s free to use and it’s free to list! I think this service will make huge waves. Check out http://maps.google.com.au/help/maps/realestate/
Get video testimonials from happy clients after a sale and post them onto YouTube. If you carry a digital camera with you can start today. Why not film a video introducing yourself as well? Start a YouTube channel and embed the videos on your blog.
Adam Franklin is Marketing Manager of Brisbane web design company Bluewire Media. Adam co-created the Web Strategy Planning Template and is co-author of Web Strategy Secrets e-book. You can follow @Franklin_Adam on twitter or visit www.BluewireMedia.com.au