In part two of the Advanced Home Marketing series, we’ll be talking about traditional web marketing and the ways it can be fully leveraged to expose a listing. If you missed part 1 you should probably take a look at it before reading this second installment in the series. Let’s see what Traditional Web Marketing consists of in the context of a comprehensive Home Marketing Strategy.
What is traditional web marketing? Well, it’s the things that many/most agents should or easily could be doing with a little effort using web tactics, practices, and systems that have been around for at least a few years. Before you start warming up your commenting fingers after seeing blogging on there remember that blogs have been around in some form for about 10 years, a well established platform considering the rest of the traditional and social items on our list.
Traditional Web Exposure
- Single Property Websites
- Virtual Tours
- The MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
- Blogs, Agent Sites, and IDX
- Email Marketing
- Listing Syndication
Single Property Websites
This is simply a website that showcases the listing… and nothing else. It usually has it’s own property address domain name, but can technically simply be a post on a blog with the domain name masked to the property. Either way, having a Single Property Website is first on the list because it’s kind of the home base for the property. From here you should be able to get to…
- Listing Details
- Virtual Tour
- Video Tour
- School and Neighborhood information
- Anything else concerning the property
Some example single property website providers are E-listings (EXIT Realty only), SPS, PropertySites.com, or iPropertyWebsites.com to name a few. If you have a decent blog, my personal recommendation would be to buy the listing’s domain name and mask it to a post or page on your site. If you are an agent, it’s better for you and your site, and it’s better for a homeowner that doesn’t have to try to get web traffic from scratch.
Virtual tours have been around for years. You know, the scrolling pictures, the bad lighting, the cheesy music, the long load times. Personally, I think if you are going to do a virtual tour, make it nice. The whole point of property marketing is to differentiate and expose. If you use the same tired pictures, the same dinky music, ad nauseum… you are going to have potential buyers shying away. All virtual tours should have…
- Great pictures – isn’t this one really a no-brainer?
- Dynamic effects – Not the same old slow zoom but punchy, eye-catching effects that create some excitement
- CTA’s – That’s Calls-To-Action for the acronymically challenged crowd
- Links to the listing website, the agent/homeowner, and area information
- This last one is a personal opinion, but I believe it isn’t a good tour unless you have a voiceover pointing out amenities or at least some text associated with each picture
In this day and age of social media, blogging, and listing syndication, the actual MLS listing can take a backseat. Don’t kid yourself, more listings sell specifically because of the MLS listing than all the other ways combined. A good MLS listing is crucial to properly expose the home for sale. All MLS listings should have:
- Great photos (seeing a theme here?)
- Extensive property information with room sizes and all amenities listed
- Acreage, special features, disabled access. These have to be on the listing sheet
- A good write up… Charming shack downtown doesn’t cut it. Make it enticing without exaggerating or lying. Showcase the properties strong points.
- Directions. If the buyer or their agent can’t find it, they aren’t going to make an offer.
Blogs, Agent Sites, and IDX
Blogs are Agent Sites but agent sites are not necessarily blogs. Both can have an IDX solution (a.k.a. home search)
Blogging is the single most useful thing an agent can do online to attract business in the form of buyers, sellers, investors, and anyone with a real estate need. Real estate lends itself to blogging because real estate is 80% local and bloggers can provide the local content that locals need to know. Get it? You can use blogs to showcase listings, provide services like property searches, and much, much more. You can do much of this with a good template agent site but it sure is a pain (trust me, I’ve been there).
IDX – Most people reach a real estate site for one reason: to search for homes. The most popular page on my site is the home search page… no competition. That’s what people want so that’s what you need to provide them. A good IDX will show you’re listings FIRST before all other listings in the MLS. That helps showcase your properties above all others.
If you don’t know anything about blogging or IDX just remember this one thing. Content draws them in, a good home search keeps them. The more often people come back the more trustworthy a source of real estate information you become. It’s nice for other people to sell your home but it is nicer if you can sell it yourself.
Email is the most used online communication method on the Internet. Here’s the astonishing statistics (estimated in 2008)…
- 210 Billion emails sent daily or over 76 trillion messages a year
- more than 2 million emails a second
- 1.3 billion daily email users
That’s pretty mainstream. Email your listing to potential buyers, agents, neighbors, and relocation specialists. I’m not advocating spamming people in any way. I am just saying that if you know someone that may be interested or they have opted-in to a mailing list for such a thing, there’s no reason not to email it to them. Realtors in my board send open house invites, flyers, and general information like it’s going out of style. While much of it gets lost in the shuffle, you can get your email read by doing a couple of key things…
- Write an attention grabbing subject line
- embed your flyer
- Link to your property website
If you really want to get fancy… make a video using something like eyejot.
The more places your listing can be seen…
the more exposure you get…
the more interest you generate…
the more offers you have…
the more competition there is…
the better your offers get…
the more you sell the home for…
the more money you make. Get it?
It’s not really traditional marketing but it doesn’t fall into the social networking part of your strategy either so it falls here. Less than 15% of real estate agents and even less FSBO’s use actual video in their marketing campaigns. That knocks out some competition right there doesn’t it? I’m not the only one who says to use video in your real estate marketing.
Here’s some staggering statistics from January of this year if you still think video isn’t worth tackling:
- 14.8 Billion online videos were watched
- Youtube had 100 million viewers
- 147 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 101 videos per person
You don’t have to have an HD camera or shoot like a professional. Start by getting a youtube account, or a viddler account if you don’t like youtube. Just get started. I’d suggest a $150 flip cam or one by Kodak if you don’t have a camera.
Each of the things I have listed are the minimum you should be doing to market a property. If you aren’t doing it or can’t… I challenge you to implement one new idea today. Just one. Next week implement another one. Start to build your marketing into a cohesive strategy. If you’re an agent, make it a complete solution for your clients. If you’re a home owner, implementing one or two of the things I talk about in each of these marketing strategy articles will help immensely. It would help even more if you hired an agent that has their act together but that’s up to you.
Please leave your thoughts on any other tactics to use when marketing a property using traditional web marketing methods. Thanks for reading. Look out for next weeks’ installment of Advanced Home Marketing Strategies when we’ll talk about how to properly market a property using traditional print media.