By Jon Miller
Digital Marketing for real estate agents is a great way to build your local database, connect with past clients and your sphere of influence, and get a steady stream of new leads that want to do business with you. But, digital marketing can be overwhelming since there are so many tools available. It can be hard for agents to know what strategies to use and to be consistent. The guide below will help you build an effective digital marketing strategy with an ongoing return on investment.
Google My Business Local Pack
If you’ve ever searched for a local business on Google then you’ve seen the “Google My Business” Local Pack. The Local Pack shows the top searches for those businesses. The example below is for a search for “San Francisco Real Estate Agents.” Getting to the top of this list for local real estate agent searches is among the easiest and best ways to drive traffic to your website. Getting there requires claiming your Google My Business listing, inputting the right information, getting Google Reviews, and adding posts to your listing regularly.
Local Website Content
Your website needs to have relevant and local information. This type of content tells Google and other search engines what your site is about which helps them show your site in local search results. Local content is also interesting to the people you know, which makes it something that you can share on your social media channels to help drive traffic.
One of the mistakes that I see with real estate websites is spending a lot of time and money up-front to build a perfect website. There isn’t a perfect website. A website requires ongoing updates and maintenance. A real estate website should start small and grow over time to get the best return on investment.
The local content that should be continually added to your website includes . . .
- Local real estate market information that answers the question “How’s the market in ____?’
- Local info that tells people what it’s like to live in your target areas. For example, positive reviews of your favorite restaurants and cafes, shops, parks, golf courses, beaches, day trips, etc. This is shareable and interesting content that helps remind your audience that you’re the local expert.
- Info, tips, and how-to’s about buying and selling real estate in your local area. This includes everything from how to buy your first home, to choosing a neighborhood, to home staging tips, and home buying/selling costs. You can take any question that you get from your clients and turn it into a shareable post on your website. Client success stories are a great way to show your expertise by telling an engaging story.The good news is that you’re probably already making a lot of great content that can be expanded into a post on your website. You can see an example of this that I did with one of Realtor Nancy Grace’s posts from her Instagram Page. Nancy posted about the Mission Market in Apex, NC, on her Instagram page which I turned into a blog post for her. The Instagram post stops getting distribution within about 24 hours of being posted but the blog post on her website will be there forever and is searchable by Google.
Once you have content on your website it’s time to maximize distribution so people will see it. Social media is a great way to get your content out there for people to see. Social media channels change all the time. There’s always a new one popping up, but you don’t have to chase the next social fad. Focus on Facebook and Instagram because those are the two that most people use regularly. If you love Twitter or TickTock then keep using them, but don’t feel like you have to be on every channel.
Most real estate agents can focus on their efforts on their personal accounts instead of a business page on Facebook or a business account on Instagram. Why use your personal profiles? This is where your friends and family will see it and they’re the people who are generally your best advocates and referral sources.
One of the best ways to drive content to your website from social channels is to include links to your website content. This is easy on Facebook because all you have to do is type in or copy the link into your post. It’s not as easy on Instagram as it requires additional software, but it can be done. One of favorite examples of this is The Family Handyman on Instagram.
Paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram is one of the most effective ways to reach a specific target audience. It costs some money to promote posts but it’s not very expensive for the reach that you can get. You do need to have a Facebook Business Page and/or Instagram Business Account (both are free!) to use paid advertising.
The great thing about using these paid ads is that you can target very specific areas and people. For example, if you live in a second home vacation market you can promote an ad about home values or reasons to live in your area and then distribute that ad to the cities where most of the second home owners in the area live full-time.
One thing to note about Facebook Business Pages is that posts to these pages only get about a 1-2% distribution when posts aren’t promoted via paid ads. If you have 100 likes on your business page the posts will show up on the feed of just 1-2 people. Facebook Groups are different than Business Pages. Running a Facebook group for your community is a great way to get content out there because the distribution is much higher.
You’ve created great content and people are on your website and reading it. Now what? What we’d love to have happen is for a potential client to read your amazing post and realize that they couldn’t possibly work with another agent. They finish reading your article or watching your video and immediately call you to come and sell their house or buy their next house. You’re the one!
Of course, this isn’t how it works. The goal of your website, and most initial contact marketing efforts, is to get permission to keep in touch. The most effective way to do that is through email marketing. Social media platforms change. New ones pop up and old ones are relegated to the internet’s junk heaps. Ad prices can change and rules can change.
You own your email list so it won’t matter if there are platform changes. Your website needs to include email email sign up forms so users can opt-in. When someone opts-in as a subscriber they want to hear from you.
If you’re not doing any email marketing right now, it’s time to start. Your broker likely offers tools but I recommend signing up for MailChimp. They have a free option which is a great place to start. When using MailChimp, or a similar service, you can take it with you if your broker changes their tools or if you decide to switch brokers.
Your email marketing campaigns don’t need to be difficult, but they do need to be consistent. Since you’ve been adding great local content to your website regularly, you already have the content that you need for your email messages. Most agents will do fine with a monthly email tailored toward their sphere of influence and local community. An engaging headline (please don’t use “Monthly Real Estate Market Report,” nobody wants to read that), a few photos, and brief ledes with a link to more information on your website will do the job.
Your email marketing will keep you top of mind as the local real estate expert. It’s also a great way to make offers to those who are likely to take advantage of those offers. Do you want to host a home buying webinar? Send that offer out to your email list. Want to offer a discount from a local home staging partner? Use your list. Do you want to ask for referrals? Use your list.
The strategy with digital marketing for real estate agents is to get traffic to your website where visitors will find valuable information. The information they find will build knowledge of your brand and build your email list. Your email list will allow you stay in touch with your subscribers and build trust. This will give you a steady source of great leads and referral business.
The key with digital marketing is consistency. Keeping that consistency on your own is possible, but it’s very easy to let marketing go as other things come up (hello client emergencies!). Please subscribe to my emails below for weekly info and tips on marketing your real estate business and join my real estate agent marketing Facebook group, too!
Jon Paul Miller
Digital Marketing for Real Estate Agents
Jon began his career as a Realtor in 2010 and has used digital marketing to build his business since then. In 2021, Jon started helping other real estate agents build their businesses through digital marketing. For more information and to keep up with the latest marketing tips and info, join Jon’s Digital Marketing for Real Estate Agents Group on Facebook.