Why Personal Branding is Essential for New Real Estate Agents

*From eliteagent.com

Personal branding – it’s the buzzword of the moment, and for real estate agents, it is critical to every sale. Standing you apart from the crowd, making you memorable to vendors, authentic personal branding can be the difference between success and failure.

We all know that effective branding is a critical component to business success. From the start-up handing out flyers to a multi-million dollar logo relaunch, a solid branding strategy can be found within every successful enterprise. Yet this need for a cohesive brand doesn’t just apply to businesses, and in today’s digital world that brand extends so much further than simply matching the color of your stationery. As Seth Godin described, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a customer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

For customer-facing roles, such as real estate agents, having a clearly articulated brand is as essential as having a business card or a mobile phone. Some might even say that more than any other business, real estate agents are selected and used based on personality and presentation… your personal brand.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others, or to paraphrase:

Your Personality  + Your Promise = Your Personal Brand

For real estate agents, this is the foundation of your sales strategy. Unless you have built relationships and created awareness of your unique sales approach and your Unique Selling Proposition, you won’t be remembered when it comes time for vendors to go to market. You need to be at the forefront of a home seller’s mind when they pick up the phone. And you achieve that with your personal brand.

However, personal branding has to be true to what makes you ‘you’. There’s no point marketing yourself as an agent that loves house styling, if you are color-blind, or don’t know the difference between a chaise lounge or recliner! A false brand will scream of misdirection, and in the real estate industry, presenting a trustworthy, honest version of yourself is critical. Find your positive traits and your Unique Selling Proposition, and from there a genuine personal brand will grow.

Establish your personality

To begin, ask yourself a few honest questions:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • How do your peers see you?
  • What are your beliefs, your values?
  • Are you detail orientated and organized? Bubbly and confident? Personable and thoughtful?

By looking inward at your genuine traits, you can begin to build an honest picture of the person that potential home sellers meet. From this list, you can choose positive attributes that are true to you, and that resemble the brand that you want to present to the vendor; the traits you want to be known for.

Ensuring your self-impression always aligns with how others actually perceive you is key to long-lasting, effective brand. As Jeff Bezos, (Founder of Amazon.com) said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”

What is your promise?

There are a lot (a LOT!) of real estate agents out there. Somehow you need to be the one that home sellers eventually decide to sell through. So… why should they choose you?

Your promise answers this.

What do you do for home sellers that others don’t?

  • Do you go above and beyond the call of duty in negotiations?
  • Are you particularly skilled in closing deals?
  • What are your passions?
  • What skill are you most proud of?
  • What are your superpowers?!

This promise is what will become your Unique Selling Proposition– that one ‘thing’ that stands you apart from everyone else. Though, when I work with clients, I prefer to use Unique Value Proposition. What value do you bring your vendors over and above other competing agents in the area?

You can identify your Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Value Proposition in 5 simple steps:

  1. List the things that are unique about your service, the things that your competitors can’t imitate. What are the things you are really good at?
  2. Identify what emotional need is being met by your service.
  3. Compare these Unique Selling Propositions against your competitors and remove those that are already being met elsewhere.
  4. Match the Unique Selling Proposition to your personality, the two must complement each other, not contradict!
  5. Remember, it’s not about being the best (everyone is trying to do that!). It’s about being the best at something that no one else is.

Delivering your personal brand

So, you have a personal brand you can confidently use! From here, define your personal brand with a compelling brand statement. Communicate this brand clearly and often.

Use this brand statement to answer the vendor’s first question: ‘What do I get?’ with a short, concise phrase that is consistent with your values and your personal branding. Be different and avoid reusing common terms such as ‘trust’ and ‘integrity’, which have now sadly lost their impact.

Whatever your brand becomes, bear in mind the words of the very wise Sir Richard Branson: “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”

How To Make Just Listed and Just Sold Postcards That Work In Any Area

*from jigglar.com

Are your agents considering using a Just Listed or Just Sold postcards? Before they do, you and your agents should read this! If your agents want to know how to make Just Listed and Just Sold postcards work in any area, you’ll need to cover five points.

Just Listed and Just Sold postcards are proven to be one of the best new business lead generators for real estate agents, but making mailers that work well and give a return on investment may be hard.

It’s important to make sure your agents:

  1. Stand out from the crowd
  2. Show how successful they have been in their area; and
  3. Give buyers and sellers confidence that they can do the same for them

Postcards That Work

There are 5 key attributes that your agents need in their mailers for them to have maximum impact.

The things needed are:

  1. Great photography
  2. Show what the properties were sold for or are on the market for
  3. Include testimonials
  4. The agent’s contact information
  5. A clear call to action

Let’s touch on each of those points in a bit more detail so your agents can win themselves more leads.

1. Great Photography

One of the most important ways to ensure your agents have a postcard mailer that grabs people’s attention is by including amazing photographs.

The old saying of images conveying 1000 words is probably more like 10,000 words when it comes to real estate photography.

There’s so much that a photograph conveys to buyers and sellers, and that goes the same for using the property photos of their previous sales to capture new sellers.

Long frontal shots that show off the best aspect work great for these mailers because they’re simple and can show similarities that resonate with other sellers.

2. Show What The Properties Were Sold For Or Are On The Market For

It is really important to be upfront about what kind of result your agents have achieved for their previous sellers.

Agents should include prices on their postcards. It gives buyers and sellers a reasonable idea about what they might be able to achieve for their homes, too.

If your agents are mailing this marketing piece to the same area, then this pricing information might be enough to get them over the line if they’re on the fence about selling.

Agents may also include additional wording here surrounding the prices to show whether it was a high price record for the area/street or how many days it was or has been on the market. Whatever is impressive, this is where agents may boast about it to new buyers and sellers coming on board.

3. Include Testimonials

Testimonials remain one of the most powerful motivators.

There’s something about hearing about other people’s success that makes you think “that could be me too”. For an agent, this is like gold.

Agents shouldn’t cover the back of their postcard in irrelevant fluff. If your agents want it to work well as a lead generator, they should include testimonials about what it’s like to work with them. Let their clients boast about the experience of working with them.

Make sure your agents also include names and photographs where possible and also comply with any local regulations about showing testimonials.

4. Your Contact Information

Obviously, agents need to include their contact information somewhere on the postcard. But, did you know that the placement and way an agent presents that information can make a massive difference?

Here’s what your agents need to include in order of importance:

  1. His/Her name
  2. His/Her direct mobile/cell phone number
  3. Personal headshot
  4. His/Her company logo
  5. His/Her website

It’s important that your agents include all of these if they can, but if they’re limited on space, just make sure that they at least get the top 3.

Also, pay attention closely to the readability of these items as that can affect the performance of your mailer.

Studies have shown that readability is decreased with light colored text on dark backgrounds, so if you are using a template with light text on a dark background you should look at increasing the point size of the font a little bit to help readability.

For templates where the color scheme is dark text on a light background, your agents won’t have so much trouble with readability.

5. A Clear Call To Action

Finally, let’s talk about a call to action – the most important piece of your agents’ Just Listed or Just Sold postcard.

This can take many forms, from the tried and true “free appraisal/price evaluation” through to more creative ones like “I have a list of pre-qualified buyers looking for properties in your suburb. Call me to arrange a chat today.”

Sometimes it can also help to offer a lead magnet, some type of brochure or flyer or report that will get sellers interested to know more about their local area’s real estate performance.

Can your agents put something together that will showcase the latest sales in their area with some interesting statistics? Could your agents put together a checklist of to-do items buyers and sellers may need to work their way through in order to prepare their home for sale?

This information is really interesting to people that are looking to sell and it is a good way to differentiate your agents’ just sold flyers from all the other similar mail people receive every day.

Regardless of how your agents word it, or what they are promising people, just make sure they don’t leave it out.

For more information on Just Listed postcards, contact the PAAR Marketing Center for a quote!

5 Reasons Real Estate Agents Should Send Seasonal and Holiday Cards

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*from cherialguire.com

Fall and the holiday season are both approaching. There is a never ending to do list that seems to get multiplied this time of year. Is sending seasonal or holiday cards something that should make that list? YES! Sending greeting cards is a way to show your appreciation and send well wishes to your clients. In fact, here are 5 reasons to make sure sending cards makes your to do list:

  1.  Show how much you care: The act of sending a card shows the person on the receiving end that you thought about them, that you care about them, and that you recognize the fact that they contributed to your success. Everyone wants to feel special and when they receive a greeting card from you in the mail, they feel that way, not like they are just a number with your business. It is how you make them feel.
  2.  Send well wishes: The fall, winter, and the holidays come at the end of the year. When you send a card, it is a great time to wish people well. You are saying that you are thinking about them, and you wish only the best for them in the future.
  3. Cultivates referrals: I am not suggesting you ask for referrals in your cards; I am just saying that when you send a card and make someone feel good, they naturally want to reciprocate and do something for you.
  4. Keeps you top of mind: It is much easier and cheaper to keep customers than it is to get a new one. However, you still need to do something. You can’t just ignore your past clients and expect them to come running to you next time they need your product or service. You need to stay top of mind. Instead of advertising to them, remind them how much you care about them. A little (of the right stuff) goes a long way here.
  5. It is fun and easy to do – especially with the help of the PAAR Marketing Center! Call us today 309.688.6419 or email us at centralillinoishomesguide.com to learn more about the seasonal and holiday cards we offer. We can get you a quote right away!

 

August 10 Central IL Homes Guide – AVAILABLE ONLINE!

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FRONT COVER SPOTLIGHT

Tim Weir of Henderson-Weir Agency presents this simply gorgeous, majestic brick and cedar sided ranch home with dramatic vaulted ceilings. This home has plenty of other characteristics and features. Link for more information and photos inside on page 7.

THE KEY TO GETTING SELLER LISTINGS: JUST LISTED AND JUST SOLD REAL ESTATE POSTCARDS

The Key to Effective Real Estate Postcards

*from quantumdigital.com

Learn how to use postcards to get the word out about open houses, new listings, and sold homes

When it comes to promoting your business, you’ve probably heard this advice: “just be out there!” Everybody seems to have plenty of ideas of how business owners should grow and succeed, but actually putting those ideas to practice in a well thought out way can be challenging. Since there is an increasingly large number of businesses out there, it’s growing more difficult for realtors and other small business owners to stand out and thrive. One must try to be as creative as possible.

In order to get the desired outcome from a marketing strategy, you must get to know your clients and have them recognize and trust your brand. In the real estate business, there are specific best practices to follow for more successful listings and closings.

Smart realtors have learned how to use just listed and just sold real estate postcards to frequently reach out to their farming areas. So, before you start sending just listed, just sold, or open house real estate postcards, there are certain steps to follow in your campaign in order to become the new go-to neighborhood real estate agent.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to use just listed and just sold real estate postcards to reach out to targeted prospects.

Focus on a Specific Neighborhood 

First and foremost, you must choose the right neighborhood in which your real estate business has the most potential to grow. Your efforts might be in vain if the neighborhood you choose to mail real estate postcards to is not the best one in which to invest your attention and resources.

Be sure to carefully research the options out there and, according to your interests and budget, choose a neighborhood that best fits your goals. Be careful to consider the fact that direct mail is a long-term marketing technique. If you don’t see success immediately, the issue may not be that there are not enough transactions out there, but that buying or selling may not be on people’s radar yet for them to think of choosing you. Therefore, the neighborhood you choose should be one that has the potential to satisfy your long-term entrepreneurial goals.

Become a Good Neighbor

People are usually more comfortable with things that are familiar. It makes people feel safe, connected, and offers a certain amount of reassurance. Putting a family home for sale or considering a home purchase is usually one of the most intimate and life defining moments. Beyond the success of buying or selling, people seek the feeling of comfort, trust, and support throughout the whole process. As a realtor, this should be an objective in your business. The real estate business involves connecting with people in their homes, where clients have made large investments and seek your advice to ensure a stable future. To establish that kind of trust and closeness with members of a neighborhood, work to become a great neighbor. Being professional, honorable, and friendly can grow trust among those in your sphere of influence, and you can accomplish that by simply being a good neighbor.

Be Consistent In Your Postcard Marketing Technique

Once you have decided on a target neighborhood, it is time to commit and invest. You’ll get the most out of your investment in postcard marketing if you commit to being consistent. Simply sending a few postcards every once in awhile is typically not going to be enough to move the needle. Given that people receive many promotional materials all the time, you need to commit to sending postcards on a very regular basis to be recognized and remembered. Getting seller listings is a process that takes time to show results, which requires patience and persistence. A regular, trickling schedule of mail showcasing your success through new listings and sold homes will gain trust, build familiarity, and leave an impression for when that prospect needs your services. According to RISmedia, when a house goes up for sale in a given neighborhood, within the next six months there will most probably be two or three going up for sale as well. Real estate postcard marketing is without a doubt a long-term strategy.

Invest in Great Design

While it might be tempting to stick with the same old design you’ve been using for years, investing in great visual postcard design will help to establish your brand long-term and and make the most of your marketing investment. People sift through their mail on a regular basis, weeding out the “junk mail” from the marketing materials that grab their attention. Design can make the difference between someone simply throwing that postcard straight to the garbage or actually reading it and having an interest in it. Visuals are a great way to instantly get a prospect’s attention, and great design will steer them to take action.

Consider trying a clean and professional design. Postcards and other printed materials are a direct representation of you and your real estate business, and you want to always put your best foot forward. Include a nice head-shot, logo, and clean text to communicate your message. Investing in a great layout will be of benefit, particularly if you are showcasing big, expensive listings.

Perfecting Your Message

Spending time thinking through your messaging is an important step to be sure your call to action and main headline align with your goals. However, the balance is in keeping the message concise as well. People want to read something short and to the point, so do not go overboard with the details on the postcard. Your website is a better platform for paragraphs of information, so use the postcard to send them online for more information. Utilize the front and back of the card, but keep in mind to repeat your message on both sides to ensure they know what you do, no matter what side they look at first.

Consider establishing a slogan to use along with your real estate logo to leave an impression and communicate your service. Research other slogans for inspiration and get as creative as possible while still being informative. Adapt the slogan and the rest of the text to the audience you are addressing, and keep the writing style friendly, professional, and informative.

Use All Types of Postcards

  • The Open House Postcard – According to Examiner.com, the best way to promote an open house is by sending open house postcards. There is something about receiving a printed invitation to an event that makes the event seem more formal and also more personal. By using customizable postcards, you can make the recipient feel special. It’s also an opportunity for them to bring a friend that may be looking to buy a home nearby. People expect an open house to be a professional, yet friendly encounter, so make sure the postcard communicates this message. Don’t forget to state clearly why your guests should come to the open house event and mention any additional attractions the event might have to draw visitors. One creative idea is to organize a raffle or drawing, where every guest arriving can enter by simply showing their postcard invitation.
  • The Just Listed Postcard – Its main purpose, beyond the utility of promoting a new listing, is to make your business known in the neighborhood. So do not hesitate to send them to your farming area, even if many of them might not even hold an interest in buying a property at that moment. What is important in this process is that people get to see you are active and successful, which ultimately translates into long term confidence. Make sure to include the best pictures of the property. Pictures can speak for themselves, allowing you to keep the writing to a minimum.
  • The Just Sold Real Estate Postcard – Some might wonder about the purpose behind sending just sold postcards, given that the property is already sold. Celebrating your victory and making this a community event is a great way of promoting your real estate business. It shows people that the market is hot and you’re selling properties. Just sold real estate postcards can be also be viewed as an indirect testimonial from the owners who chose you as their realtor. Since you and the seller are celebrating, try to communicate that feeling in the postcard, making it an important announcement for everyone.

Go Old School: Printed Postcards Are In

In an era where much of our communication is virtual, it’s refreshing to put your hands on a written letter or a beautiful postcard. If enough attention has been put into choosing the right design to represent your brand, you can optimize the quality with the paper selection. Based on what budget is appropriate, you can either choose a more luxurious printing paper or a more understated one. Considering the materials your target audience receives can help you decide how much you should invest in paper quality. If your business mainly focuses on luxury listings, stepping up in printing quality and selecting a high-end matte or gloss may be best.

After all of your postcards are professionally printed, the next step would be to mail them to the recipients or hand deliver a group of them to VIPs.

Share Through Email and Social Media

When developing a postcard campaign, leverage your digital channels as well. Simply sharing your postcard design is a simple way to get your message out to your social media network or email newsletter subscribers. Depending on your technology knowledge and budget, you could even consider incorporating other visual effects such as a listing video. People love eye-catching visuals that are quick and interactive. Explore ways to differentiate yourself creatively to make the most of your postcard campaign.

Consistency is Key

Again, being consistent is not only important in real estate postcard marketing, but also in making your business seen and recognized by all members of the community. Given that clients who choose you as their realtor trust you to handle a very personal and important life event, you will have difficulty thriving if you operate from a distance. Use automated real estate marketing technology to keep your postcard campaigns running while you spend time on the face-to-face communications that foster long-term buyer and seller relationships.

5 Advantages of Magazine Advertising You Shouldn’t Miss

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*from MarketingWit.com

Advertising is an important part of everyday sales and exposure when it comes the services and products distributed by a company. Without it, companies and franchises wouldn’t have an outlet of promoting what it is they are trying to sell and enhance in terms of widening their reach and existence in the market. You have to understand that advertising requires planning with regard to packaging and timing, because audiences rely on certain services and products based on events and seasonal requirements. Magazines tap into a niche audience where designer brand companies and other sponsors of this type of media in print, know that by putting up ads in these pages they’re targeting an audience of a selective kind.

What Are the Advantages of Advertising in Magazines
The benefits of magazine advertising are aplenty since advertising techniques are designed in such a way where the audience is the primary and obvious focus. Who buys magazines? They see it as a medium that businessmen and women, well-off people and young adults buy on a regular monthly basis, because they can afford to, since there is something appealing about the magazine that draws them to it. Advertisement exposure scores big ones when it comes to magazines because there are people who buy them and can afford to splurge on what it is they come across. It benefits the advertisers because they’re being looked upon by those who live lifestyles that require them to if not indulge lavishly, at least do so on an occasional basis.
Reach
A magazine has considerable reach either globally, nationally, regionally, or locally, appealing to a fan following that is ready to buy/subscribe to these reads be it monthly or every quarter. You can expect a cornucopia of different people buying your magazine, with the hope that your ads are something they will pause to look through and at least mull over subconsciously if not make a conscious decision on the spot.
Attractive Display
The advantage of magazine advertisements is the fact that ads can look realistic and can jump out at readers, because of their glossy detailing and show of colors that calls for attention. Readers don’t have a choice but to notice these well-placed ads that cover a whole page spread or run for successive pages in a connective order. Marketing well put together ads that surpass the ordinary and mediocre, will have audiences enthralled at what they see, with a high possibility of them being your number one consumers.
Events
No matter what event date is fast approaching, magazines know that the focal point lies now in brands and services that will give consumers a reason to attain these depending on what lies ahead. Be it weddings, award functions, anniversaries, season sales or vacation getaways, magazines know how and when to release these very advertisements depending on their sponsors’ needs.
Audience Selection
Not all magazines will have random ads splashed across their pages, especially those with big names in the business. It is a well-planned strategy of assigning only certain kinds of issues with the right sponsors. For example, youth magazines will have affordable services / products from brand houses; fashion magazines will have expensive jewelry and clothes from well-known designers around the world, and so on. It’s a selling point strategy because you know exactly what kind of people are reading that issue and looking into your ad selections.
Shelf Life
It is true that a lot of people collect magazines therefore lengthening the lifespan of an ad, which is one of the many objectives of advertising. It gives it the benefit to be looked upon again and again.
Interested in advertising in the Central Illinois Homes Guide? Greater Peoria’s must-have home hunting companion for the last 35 years? Give us a call at 309.688.6419, email us at centralillinoishomesguide@gmail.com, or click here to place your ad, in Advertiser’s Corner!

3 Reasons for Agents to Send out Just Listed Postcards

*from continuityprograms.com

shutterstock_247058125After giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for securing your latest listing, the next step should be to immediately send out your “Just Listed” postcards. Some agents question if they’re still worth the trouble of sending, and the answer is a resounding yes!

Just Listed postcards are an effective and economical way to help you reach your business goals and their ROI is proven. Not simply a means of reporting on your success, the postcards may be just the encouragement other sellers and buyers need to make a move of their own. Here are three of the benefits of sending out just listed postcards.

“The Ask” as a Call to Action

Make your postcard an offer to help others with their real estate needs. Use a Just Listed postcard to attract and motivate potential new listings by including a small CTA paragraph at the bottom which offers your assistance to all sellers and buyers in the neighborhood of the listed home. Use wording along the lines of “If you’re thinking of selling your home, or looking to buy, I would love to work with you. Give me a call!” Or, put a different twist on it and offer a “Not For Sale” complimentary market analysis to determine the value of their home and start a relationship.

Stay Visible

Even if people are not buying or selling right now, seeing your branded Just Listed postcards shows potential clients that you are busy and successful. That’s always an image worth promoting to those on your mailing list. You’ll also increase the chance of your information being shared with others, and as you know, word-of-mouth marketing is vital to an agent’s business.

Show Them Your Success

Use Just Listed postcards to raise your brand awareness and generate new leads. Potential buyers will welcome an additional option, other agents will show your listing to their own buyers, and on-the-fence sellers may be encouraged to list with you based on the way you are marketing this listing.

Contact the PAAR Marketing Center to set up your MLS Auto Just Listed Postcards today!

SEO for Real Estate Agents

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*from digitalbrandinginstitute.com

SEO for real estate agents is similar to other SEO initiatives with a few fundamental differences, the main one of which is keywords. If you’re a real estate agency looking to stand out from your competition on online searches, you’ll need to learn about your specific keywords and how to make them work their best for you. 

SEO for Real Estate Agents

Keyword research plays a vital role in SEO. Your keyword research will involve identifying a list of phrases describing what your real estate agency does. You can use this list to produce a significant amount of website traffic if you’ve picked the right keywords. This will make a high starting point for your SEO for real estate agents. Keyword research could just be described as modern market research.

Your keyword research should kick off any serious marketing initiative that you undertake. Additionally, it is critical for pay-per-click campaigns, content marketing efforts and on-page SEO.

So let’s get started.

Step 1: Testing

Terms that are broad within real estate agencies can be hard to rank for; this could include phrases like ‘buy a house.’ It is best for you to begin with keywords that are specialized.

You should begin your keyword research by finding an initial cornerstone keyword. Once you’ve found it, then you can create a bigger list off of it. You’ll also need to verify that your cornerstone keyword will work for you by doing research. This will need to be done over and over again until you can check its usefulness and create a full list.

Start with a phrase that your clients typically use to find you. Take that keyword and do an initial test. First, you can check the existing traffic volume for this term. There are several tools you can use to do this, both free and paid. Google Adwords has a great utility called the Keyword Planner that will assess lists of keywords for their viability in PPC campaigns. This works particularly well if you’re using google ads.

Another tool is SEMRush which contains an array of paid research and analysis. SEMRush is useful for organic and paid SEO. On this site, all you need to do is type in your keyword phrase into the search bar at the top of the page. Immediately you’ll get results which will tell you how much search volume the term receives and suggestions with related words. If the terms they suggest hold value to your real estate agency, then add them to your list.

SEO for real estate agents will involve a lot of niche targeting. This means that your foundation keyword may not get a lot of hits in a month. 70 hits in a month will be enough to generate a profit.

If you choose a broader keyword string, then it will likely be too competitive for organic SEO and too expensive for pay-per-click.

Step 2: Make a Spreadsheet

If your research confirms that your foundation keyword will work and suggests other keywords, then this is the time to start a spreadsheet to compile a master list.

Google Sheets is a great option to create keyword research templates that can be structured into ongoing campaigns.

Your spreadsheet should include your keywords, their volume, competition, and specialty. You can also add any notes you might have on them here.

Step 3: Go Back to Google

Your foundation keyword will work out great, so now you go to Google to mine more keywords.

Head back to Google and type in your cornerstone keyword, then scroll down the page and look beyond the organic results. Down at the bottom of the page, Google will show a list of alternate keywords. These keywords are search strings other people have used when looking for your keyword. These keywords can be added to the list you created on your spreadsheet, and you can test their traffic volumes.

Step 4: Find Synonyms

Your list will just continue growing at this point, but you should continue to search for variants. In your search, you will probably find alternative keywords that will yield traffic.

When looking for variants, you can start by looking for synonyms for your keyword phrases. Thesaurus.com can show you lots of synonyms to contribute to your research. Developing your SEO for real estate agents, you’ll already have a couple of synonyms right away, houses and homes!

If you’re using a generic phrase like ‘choosing a real estate agent’, then you might want to use a synonym for ‘choosing.’ The other keywords you pick will also have opportunities for synonym research.

Step 5: Conduct Competitive Research

There are many useful tools in SEO for real estate agents that can make life easier. The typical keyword tool of choice is the keyword explorer from Moz. There are others though that are offered by SEMrush and Ahrefs which perform similarly.

Your goal will be to snoop around for keyword ideas from your competitors. Take your cornerstone keyword and paste it into the Google search field, then choose one of the paid results from PPC and copy the URL for the landing page. You can then paste the URL into the Keyword Explorer main input field.

By doing this, you’ll end up with a list of keywords found on your competitor’s site. These are the keywords that will rank them organically in the search list. These might also be keywords that they will target for in AdWords. You can search through these keywords and find ones that are relevant to you to add to your spreadsheet.

Competitive Research

If you are already using AdWords, then you will have access to Keyword Planner. If that is the case, then you can skip this step.

Your goal is still to find keyword ideas from your competitors. To do this, head over to Google search and type in your cornerstone keyword. When the results appear, you can look for any of your competitor’s paid listings. If there is one, then copy the URL of their landing page and it to Keyword Planner. Then choose the option to search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category and past the landing page URL in.

After you’ve done this, you can analyze their entire website. Google will then suggest some keywords for you, which is what this site is currently ranking for in organic search.

The list that you get will include keywords that are useless and unrelated that you don’t have to keep. However, it will also include keywords that you can steal and will give you a good idea of what your competitors are targeting. Figuring out what they’re targeting will also give you more ideas for keywords.

Step 6: Stream Your List

At this point, you will have a large list of keywords that may contain duplicates. Your job now is to comb through your spreadsheet and take another look at these keywords.

First, you’ll want to get rid of any duplicates. Some spreadsheets may even have a ‘remove duplicates’ feature which will speed up the process. Then you can group keywords based on their similarity.

Once you’ve done this, your list will be complete. You’ve found all the keywords you want to use, and you’re ready to check them out a final time in SEO for real estate agents. Giving them a final test will help you determine how much traffic volume those words get. You can do this using either Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

Step 7: Finishing Your List

Now that your spreadsheet is ready, you can take it back to Keyword Planner. Now you’ll want the second option ‘get search volume and trends’ when you can choose the option to upload your entire list.

When you click ‘get search volume’ you will get analysis from Google on your list. Google will also tell you what a typical PPC bid is for any of your keywords. Keyword Planner is a PPC tool, so the analysis it gives is intended to be for paid search, not organic search. The paid keyword analysis tools will also give ‘quality ratings’ which are useful to know about any SEO for real estate agents.

When Google does it’s analysis you can decide to cut out the low traffic keywords that won’t give you enough traffic to warrant the effort of using them. Find the keywords which have decent volume and look for keywords with significant volume and competitiveness. You can find these by their average cost-per-click numbers from the Keyword Planner.

Final Thoughts

Having an online presence is a necessity in this modern age. It doesn’t matter who your audience is, where you are located, or what you do; you will need to be online. This is why SEO for real estate agents is so essential. If you’re unsearchable, you might as well not exist, because your potential clients won’t be able to find you. By figuring out all the right keywords for your real estate agency, you’re that much closer to being boosted onto the first page of search results and seeing your business genuinely bloom.

What are your favorite real estate agency keywords?

July 13 Central Illinois Homes Guide Available Online!

Celebrating 35 years! The July 13 Central Illinois Homes Guide is available online.

Inside feature article: Your Ideal Vacation Home, According to your Zodiac Sign! (page 9)

Front Cover Spotlight: Carol Urish of Jim Maloof/REALTOR presents this beautiful, private, quiet estate on nearly 1.5 acres in the heart of Morton. This home has many unique features including an in-ground pool. Link for more information and photos inside on page 7.

Back Cover features homes listed by: Laura Booher – Century 21 Lincoln National Realty, Deb Miller – Jim Maloof/REALTOR, and Ryan Cannon – RE/MAX Traders Unlimited

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Why Direct Mail Beats Email and How You Can Make It Work for You

*From Mediaspace Solutions

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Ever since digital technology came onto the scene, the myths about print marketing began swirling. But those myths – the ones that claim all print channels are dead – are just that, myths.

The truth is, print marketing is very much alive and well. Direct marketing in particular has been enhanced by web technologies and works synergistically to get leads to visit a webpage to collect information from prospects.

But, too many marketers are relying on digital channels alone, ignoring the data that clearly indicates consumers want to be engaged via multiple formats. A better approach is to engage your prospects everywhere they are. This includes in there living rooms or kitchens with a direct mail piece.

Make no mistake, with the increased saturation of digital marketing, direct mail response rates are higher than ever. Here are four reasons why you should consider using direct mail:

People are Overwhelmed by Emails

How many emails would you say you get a day? 10? 30? 100 or more? The truth is, most people open, let alone read, very few of the daily emails they receive. While it used to be fun to hear, “You got mail,” many of us now dread checking our email fearing we will be instantly overwhelmed by all the news, updates, and solicitations awaiting us.

What does this mean for email marketers? It means big budgets wasted on sales messages that never get read.

But, going to our physical mailboxes and pulling out the few pieces of mail, especially when none of those pieces are bills, is an enjoyable and welcomed experience nowadays, which means your sales message has a much better chance of being read.

People Trust Print More

In some ways, technological advances have made consumers’ lives easier, but in many others way, technology has made them vulnerable to privacy risks. With so many reports of hacking in the news, people are becoming more and more fearful of digital communications.

Direct mail is simply not faced with these same privacy issues, and hence, people feel secure opening your mail.

Direct Mail Offers More Creative Options

Human beings look for visual signals throughout their daily lives that help them know how to react to things. When people look through their mail they watch for thick envelopes that may hold treasures, colorful envelopes that seem like the letter is from family or friends, or actual handwriting on the envelope instead of a typed label.

You don’t get these same creative options in email marketing. You have one shot – the subject line – to grab someone’s attention. But direct mail offers many more creative options that will help get your message noticed.

Now that you know why direct mail marketing is beneficial, let’s look at some of the best practices so you can ensure you get the optimum ROI on your next campaign.

Use Personalization

Consumers today demand personalized communication, so if you want your direct mail campaigns to be successful, you need to analyze your customer data. By mining information from your CRM and automation platform, you will be able to narrow your segments and personalize each offer and message.

Leverage the Power of Integrated Campaigns

It’s important to make direct mail a part of your overall marketing campaign and integrate it with your other channels. Always send multiple waves of personalized offers through direct mail and make sure your branding and messaging is consistent across your print and digital channels.

Measure Outcomes

How will you know if your direct mail campaign was a success? What does that look like to your business? You’ve got to determine this before you launch any campaign.

Be sure to forecast KPIs and set up your direct mail programs in a way that makes it easy to track results. To determine the ROI of your direct mail campaign, consider using metrics such as cost per mailing, response and conversions rates, and average revenue per buyer.

If you’ve heard that no one is using direct mail any more, you’ve heard wrong. Direct mail is an extremely effective channel and, in many ways, outperforms email campaigns. To be successful with direct marketing, just be sure to focus on personalizing your messaging, integrating your campaigns, and tracking your results.