Many real estate pros look at building a marketing plan as a simple task to be checked off a list each year. But what if reaching customers were more about attitude and philosophy than goals, metrics, and budgeting?
If you, like me, suspect that the latter is true, I humbly suggest turning to professional communicators for guidance. Indeed, the struggles of today’s authors—many of whom are independent contractors just like you—may hold the key to getting potential clients to notice you online. After all, one of the most enduring lessons that all professional writers learn is how to attract and retain the attention of their audience.
Fauzia Burke, author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2016), helps authors think deeply about how to establish a long-term marketing plan to boost their web presence. Here are three of her tips for writers that work just as well for real estate professionals.
Know your audience. The great differentiator of online advertising is the ability to target specific groups and segment your communications accordingly. But if you haven’t taken the time to consider who your audience is, you’re not using these powerful tools to their full potential. “Online marketing is customized and personalized. It is essential for you to know your audience so you can find them and serve them best,” Burke says. She suggests mapping out the age range and interests of the prospects you want to reach. Learn “which social media outlets they use, and where they hang out online. The more you know your audience, the better your marketing will be.”
Ensure you’re serving them. Whether it’s a newsletter, blog entry, or social media post, you should always consider how what you’re putting out there can help potential clients. Burke tells writers to ask themselves questions, such as: “What value are you providing? What problem are you solving? What is my audience telling me?” She adds that analyzing which of your posts and emails get the most engagement can help you better understand how to serve potential clients. “When the content you create solves a problem your audience has, that’s when you authentically build lasting relationships.”
Don’t attempt to build your online presence on search and social media alone. Every time Google or Facebook changes their algorithm, publishers learn this lesson all over again: If you base your online marketing on external platforms, you’ll always be at the mercy of companies that don’t have your best interests at heart. “Your website is the only place online where you are in total control. No one else can change the rules like they can on other social media sites,” says Burke. “Your website is where you call the shots.”