SNEAK PEAK at the Real Estate Agent Search Engine Marketing Playbook

What began as a series of explainer screenshots and text message drafts, I’ve crafted into this handy blog post to address the question we get asked from time to time of how search engine marketing (SEM) works for the real estate industry. Is it feasible to even take on SEM, as a real estate agent? Is it possible to have success with it?

As with any industry, the best route to take depends on what your goals are for growth.

Let’s say you are a real estate agent based in Louisville, Ky.

  • So, for example, are you interested in growing your commercial real estate sales?
  • Or, residential? Or, selling more of a particular kind of residential property, like townhomes or condos?
  • Are you wanting to attract more home sellers, rather than buyers? Or, vice versa?
  • Do you want to grow outside of the Louisville market, and how far? Or, into what areas?

It’s important to get specific on what kind of growth you want.

From there, let’s talk strategy. We love a good strategy session.

Large property database sites like Zillow get a lot of attention, right? People look to them for their listings. A major opportunity that I want to emphasize, which I’ll share more about later in this post, is that:

You have an advantage in positioning yourself and your properties in front of interested people simply by keeping your listings up to date and reliable, and emphasizing that in your search engine marketing copy and on your landing pages.

Let’s explore the Google search engine scene together for a moment and the opportunities we encounter along the customer’s journey, using very general search terms.

Of course, when running ads, we’d be specific to what you’ve indicated are your growth goals, whether you want to target buyers or sellers, and to the kinds of houses or services we want to sell the most of, or be known for. We’d use the kind of terms used by customers who most want those services, when they are most ready for them. We call these your ready-to-buy customers.

Here are the results that came up when I typed in “4 br house 2 baths Louisville Ky”:

Notice that Elite Built Homes is running the ad that appears at the top of the results page. That’s the only ad, indicating that there’s little competition on these search terms. Opportunity!

Let’s look at the DC market for a moment, to see what results show up when a different major metropolitan area is mentioned.

Here are some results using the search terms “townhomes DC”. (Notice Redfin is running an ad at the top, emphasizing how often they update listings):

Back to Louisville results, using the search terms “commercial property downtown Louisville Ky” (Notice loopnet.com is running an ad at the top, also emphasizing how often they update their listings and how many listings they have):

Here are results that appear using the search terms “commercial property Louisville KY” (Notice there are no ads running at the top, just a Loopnet ad at the bottom). This could perhaps be an opportunity, as well.

These are the results that appear using the search terms “condos for sale in louisville ky east end” (using a more specific location as part of the terms).

There are several ads running here (at the top and at the bottom of the search results page). These search terms may be more popular, or indicate that people are more ready to buy or look for property. And, you can also see at the bottom some related search terms that people have used.

As you look throughout the results that have come up, you can see real estate database engines like Zillow, Redfin, loopnet and Realtor  promoting themselves on how accurate and timely their listings are, and on how many they have.

It’s encouragement for you to keep your listings up to date, because that’s a major marketing differentiator in this space. Be in those listings conversations, too. It helps you be of service to your customers.

With you they’d get person-to-person contact, someone they can ask questions of, your familiarity with the area, as well as fresh listings (if you keep them up to date).

Let’s look more closely at how Redfin is using the search engine to market. Here’s a search I did simply using the term “redfin”.

Do you see how they’ve tailored what came up for me to my location, and what they think I’d be searching them for (condos for sale, homes for sale, selling without an agent, how to stage a home). It’s useful to see how a popular brand positions their offerings on the search engine results page.

It’s also helpful to see what topics they’ve determined may be of interest to a customer who is possibly interested in buying a home or selling a home (They’re assuming that is why such a customer would be searching for “Redfin” in the first place.)

How-to articles, like the ones they offer here as part of their ad—How to Sell Without an Agent and How to Stage a Home, can be a reference as you determine how you will share your expertise in your ad copy (and any content marketing copy you’re doing, for that matter).

Ad copy that makes an impact caters to:
who the audience is that you want to share your message with;
what stage they are at in the home buying or selling process;
what questions/concerns they have (that you can deduce from your experience working with them).

It helps you showcase your expertise.

So, can SEM work in real estate? Yes, if you’re strategic about it. With study of what heavy hitters are doing in the industry, looking for opportunities and refining your messaging, you can knock it out of the park!

See to your success!

What do Garth Brooks, Chris Gaines, Cee-Lo and Gnarls Barkley have to do with your Architecture Firm?

What do Garth Brooks, Chris Gaines, Cee-Lo and Gnarls Barkley have to do with your Architecture Firm?

Experimentation! They both (Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines and Cee-Lo with Gnarls Barkley) tested the market with what I call niche experiments. And, I support artistic expression and experimentation. I’m proud when artists who are especially known in a particular genre venture into new genres and markets that I imagine that they’ve been singing along to, in their own time, for quite a while. When they share with their audiences and new-to-them audiences styles that they’ve known they had in them all along.

Did you ever see the music video where a man was wearing a long black coat and he kinda looked like Garth Brooks only with longer hair,  in that what I call starfish-like haircut that was popular in the late ‘90s? The video had a blueish tint to it and was set at night (if i recall correctly).  It had a bit of an alternative rock look. The artist’s name was Chris Gaines, and he was singing “Lost In You”.  The song was beautiful. And, it was in deed Garth Brooks singing it, taking on the persona of Chris Gaines. I was already a fan of Garth Brooks’ music, and became even more of a fan when he did a niche experiment into what I consider to be a bit of an alternative and R&B sound.

I was similarly surprised and impressed when I heard the song “Crazy” for the first time on the radio. I thought, “That sounds like Cee-Lo”, but it had a slightly different sound than his music I’d heard up to that point. It kind of reminded me of the Gorillaz song, Clint Eastwood, and had somewhat of an electronica feel.  It drew me in. Sure enough, it was Cee-Lo–this time as part of Gnarls Barkley.  Again, I was already a fan…became even more of a fan.

Swift experimentation is an advantage you have when you’re ready to venture into new markets and see what fans/clients emerge.

A quick and easy way to experiment with niches and test new offerings with your market is with your landing pages.

Landing pages help you experiment.

Landing pages are where your customer “lands” after they’ve found and clicked on your link, whether that’s via your email outreach, search engine ad campaign, social media push, affiliate campaign, etc. With offline campaigns, it would be a site you’ve created specifically for the viewers of that particular campaign. They are versions of your site that you’ve set up with a segment in mind.

With a landing page and an intention to build your firm’s reputation and grow your business in new markets, you can tailor your content to the ideal client of kindred spirits you’re aiming for.

Experimentation. You’re capable of it.

If you’re an architect who’s done transit design, there’s likely a corporate campus in you.

If you’ve done workspace design, you’ve got a set of experience designs or event architecture projects in you.

So, you tell me. You know your work.
What are you capable of as a designer, as a business owner?
Is there a service you want to build your firm’s reputation for?
How are you testing the market?

Book a call with us, and we’ll help you re-position your content so that it caters to the market and niche you’re testing.

And, stay tuned! We’ll show you how to build out your sales funnel around that market you’re targeting, in a coming post.

“When someone hires you to do a $50 million project, they kinda have to trust ya…”

“When someone hires you to do a $50 million project, they kinda have to trust ya…” an architect friend once told me. So, how do you build trust?

Foster trust by demonstrating your expertise and by anticipating and addressing your clients’ needs. Address their questions or concerns and empathize with their mindset. You know your clients’ experience as well as anyone: what they typically ask or want to know when they’re considering working with your firm, or when they’re in the beginning stage of a big project. Meet them there and show off.

And, for other ways to position your firm for growth…

Let’s Start With…

Continue reading ““When someone hires you to do a $50 million project, they kinda have to trust ya…””

The CHEATSHEET on Positioning Your Business for Growth

The first question is, what does growth mean to you and your firm?

Is there a particular service that you want to sell the most of in your firm? Bread-and-butter services that you can always count on to bring in steady  revenue, that you want to sell more of? Do you have a new service that you want to launch? Or, is there a top ticket service you offer that you want to build your firm’s reputation for?

Take a moment and write down what growth means to your firm.

Whatever arena you’re in, there are some low-hanging-fruit commonalities we’ve seen where firms can begin to look for growth opportunities.

Let’s Start With…

Video

Firms that use videos in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster year-over-year than those that don’t. They also enjoy 27% higher click-through rates and 34% higher web conversion rates, compared to non-users. (Aberdeen Group, 2015)

Video of what, you say? Let’s be smart about it. Use this as an opportunity to address your customers’ questions or concerns, or to empathize with their mindset. You know your customers’ experience as well as anyone. You know what they typically ask or want to know when they’re considering working with your firm, or when they’re in the beginning stage of a big project. As an architect once told me, “When someone hires you to do a $50 million project, they kinda have to trust ya…” You know what helps to build trust. Use this video to establish trust, expertise, and to anticipate and address your customers’ needs.

Video is a function of your user experience. Where the video appears on your website and what the video is make a difference, and are influenced by the customer/user flow of or path to your website.

Website UX (User Experience)

We can and will spend a lot more time on this in later posts. For now, we’ll suffice it to say that it’s important to look at your customer touchpoints (a topic that we’ll also go into greater detail about in later posts) along your user path.

So, let’s say, if a person looking for architecture services types the service they’re looking for (that you provide) into Google, will they see your firm? And, if they do, where will they land on your page once they click on the result that they found via the search.  Is that place where they land what we call customer-ready?

Reviews

If a potential client comes across your firm via Google or Houzz, or stumbles across your firm via Yelp, they might as well see something good about your firm when they get there.

Ask your current clients to leave ratings and reviews for you on the sites that you know are popular for your firm. Encourage them to share the experience they’ve had, along with the rating, to give depth and relevance to the rating.

Ask your previous clients to leave reviews as well.

You can do this through your Email List (another area of opportunity).  Do you have one? You most likely do, whether or not you call it that or have it organized as such.  You most likely have kept the contact information you used for the clients you’ve worked with in the past and can reach out to them to ask them to share their experience with the firm.

And, if you have yet to organize this contact info and evolve it into an email list for your firm, now may be a good time to do that. More on how to do that in a later post, as well.

Which brings us to what to do with those stellar reviews, once you’ve gathered them.

Testimonials

Put those shining reviews on your website, displayed prominently. Past and current clients will most likely say something that will help a potential client make the decision to work with you. Keep up with and showcase these testimonials that highlight how your firm helped make your client’s project a success.

These are some ideas to get you started.

Remember the growth that you identified earlier that you want for your firm? We’re here to help you see it through.

Book a call with us, and we’ll help you get there sooner rather than later.

Can SEM Work in Real Estate? Of Course!

What began as a series of explainer screenshots and text message drafts, I’ve crafted into this handy blog post to address the question we get asked from time to time of how search engine marketing (SEM) works for the real estate industry. Is it feasible to even take on SEM, as a realtor? Is it possible to have success with it?

As with any industry, the best route to take depends on what your goals are for growth.

Let’s say you are a real estate agent based in Louisville, Ky.

    • So, for example, are you interested in growing your commercial real estate sales?
    • Or, residential? Or, selling more of a particular kind of residential property, like townhomes or condos?
    • Are you wanting to attract more home sellers, rather than buyers? Or, vice versa?
    • Do you want to grow outside of the Louisville market, and how far? Or, into what areas?

It’s important to get specific on what kind of growth you want.

From there, let’s talk strategy. We love a good strategy session.

Large property database sites like Zillow get a lot of attention, right? People look to them for their listings. A major opportunity that I want to emphasize, which I’ll share more about later in this post, is that:

You have an advantage in positioning yourself and your properties in front of interested people simply by keeping your listings up to date and reliable, and emphasizing that in your search engine marketing copy and on your landing pages.

Continue reading “Can SEM Work in Real Estate? Of Course!”

Positioning Your Architecture Firm for Growth

Perhaps the first question is, what does growth mean to you and your firm?

Is there a particular service that you want to sell the most of in your firm? Bread-and-butter services that you can always count on to bring in steady  revenue, that you want to sell more of? Do you have a new service that you want to launch? Or, is there a top ticket service you offer that you want to build your firm’s reputation for?

Take a moment and write down what growth means to your firm.

Whether you’re in the arena of commercial, residential, civic, educational or hospitality architecture, or historic preservation, there are some low-hanging-fruit commonalities we’ve seen where architecture firms can begin to look for growth opportunities.

Let’s Start With…

Continue reading “Positioning Your Architecture Firm for Growth”

Refueling your campaign

One of the most mishaps people do daily with today’s campaign is they set it and forget it. Most people get caught to thinking that the lack of daily monitoring of a campaign has little to any effect on a campaign.

Oh contrair montair, the opposite is true. Due to the fact that today’s market movers move with switching daily trends and news cycles, it takes a special care to make sure that your message stays align as the current around it is pulling the industry or market any-which-a-way.

Continue reading “Refueling your campaign”

Math Intros. Smoking Colors

We like progressive brands. Brands that find their way in the market of greatness. Architech and Founder of Smoking Colors sat down with us and had a few candid conversations about how and social media marketing is being pushed the way it is and ways people have as real options for turning around their product. We sat out side MRGMXMM and the follow are a few photos as a result.

Continue reading “Math Intros. Smoking Colors”

The Treasure of Knowing your Niche Market

There are a lot of people on the web who you can be spending your time trying to make sales too. Or you can be spending time making sales to the people who are the only people who would buy your product. That’s your niche market and yes you may share this market with your competitors, but what matters is that these are the people that are going to buy. These are the people who you help solve something so big to them that they will exchange hard earned money for it. That is your niche market and that’s how you should start defining them in your own mental space.

Continue reading “The Treasure of Knowing your Niche Market”

SEO and SEM

We are working a series of post that will explain the difference between SEM and SEO and when and where each are used. The importance of these terms to todays marketing can either have a get on or get off board approach. We will be giving our best simple and clear explanation