"Why do I need a real estate agent?" - It's a question many consumers ask themselves. After all, most buyers have already spent hours perusing home search sites. They also have access to copious amounts of data on neighborhoods, market trends and more. Now, thanks to video technologies like GoPro and Matterport, they are able to find and tour homes online.
Given these developments, how do real estate professionals remain relevant? One way is specialization. Consumers genuinely value experts. By effectively communicating your expertise, you can eliminate the "why do I need you?" question and become an indispensable asset in the search process. But that's just one key advantage of niche marketing.
Sharpens Your Focus
It's an ironic fact that having too many options for finding new business can actually inhibit progress on any given front. How do you set priorities? How do you decide what to tackle first, second, third? Without applying some filters to your decisions, it's very difficult to gain traction in any direction.
Defining your target audience makes businessbuilding decisions fall in place much faster. Instead of thinking "Where do I start?," you'll be mapping out a plan to connect with a very specific type of client.
Reduces Your Marketing Costs
In addition to improving your marketing decisions, a tighter focus can shave a substantial amount of money from your promotional budget. Instead of advertising to a broad audience that includes many uninterested or unqualified prospects—effectively wasting your advertising dollars—you can concentrate on reaching your best prospects.
This is particularly helpful in terms of online content marketing, where it's readily possible for an agent to boost his search engine rankings on select keywords. For example, instead of trying to compete on broad phrases like "Tampa real estate," a global agent might focus on "Tampa condos for Canadians." The best way to do this is by adding valuable website content for this type of buyer, using the same target keywords.
Paid online advertising is also less expensive when you narrow your focus. Using the same example, the cost of Google's pay-per-click advertising (Google AdWords™) will be much higher for "Tampa real estate" than the less competitive "Tampa condos for Canadians."
Helps You Attract Qualified Leads
An effective business strategy requires a strong communications plan executed on your website, social media channels, and networking at meetings and events. Create your identity as an expert in this chosen niche. If done correctly, this will help bring clients to you, rather than you chasing them. While establishing this reputation takes time and effort, it can lead to much better results.
A Few Words of Caution
While specialization is a very viable strategy, some niche opportunities are better than others. Be sure to do your homework before diving in. (The rest of this issue will show you how.) Fortunately, by choosing global real estate as a broad focus, you are poised to capitalize on a long list of attractive options.
The process may feel uncomfortable, especially at first. The good news is that a specialist's path becomes easier in time. You'll feel more confident in your marketing decisions because you'll know exactly who you want to reach. With a clear picture of the target you're trying to hit, you'll also be able to make smarter adjustments to your strategy and hone your results—all while developing additional expertise in serving customers within your niche.
Perhaps most of all, you'll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with focus—greeting each day with clarity about what needs to be accomplished and how to go about doing it.
What does specialization look like?
A few examples for global agents:
A land expert working in a rural U.S. brokerage observes that commercial and institutional investors from outside the U.S. have
already snatched up large agricultural tracts in developing countries, but are now turning their attention to the U.S. He decides to specialize in connecting with and representing these buyers.
A 25-year veteran of the London real estate industry begins setting her sights on retirement in Malta. She decides to build a new niche practice, establishing local contacts on the island, helping London retirees locate suitable properties, and eventually shifting her own base of operations.
An agent who already specializes in downtown Vancouver condos observes that some of the priciest units are being sold to affluent
Chinese investors. He decides to redefine his niche, and his marketing efforts, to capture more of this source of inbound investment.