google map to real pro systems

 

Today's webinar was "Blogging for Beginners," and thanks to those who joined us for the session. The attendees apparently included the infamous Mr. Murphy, as my laptop's power ran down during the session. Well, actually Mr. Murphy is off the hook; my apologies for forgetting to bring my laptop power supply to our Webinar Room, so that attendees were treated to the unkindly message “Your battery is in serious danger of going caput," or words to that effect. I'll add ‘power supply’ to the pre-flight checklist...

In any case, here's a recap, followed by some links you might find useful:

Blogging is part of the social media revolution, which is in turn part of the Internet and technological revolution, all of which is changing marketing behavior. This is not just in real estate, of course, but in nearly every industry; many are wrestling with how to reinvent their approaches. These days, people are "marketing resistant" – if by marketing you mean traditional "push" methods. Many people these days do not want to be pushed, not with so much information available to them online.

This is especially true of Generations X and Y, which you ignore at your own peril. Consider that by conservative estimates, Generation X has 46 million members (17% of the population), and Generation Y has 60 million members (25 % of the population). This is 106 million people and 42% of the population!

The upshot for realtors is that a huge number of people are “agent stalkers,” that is, they research agents and properties extensively before meeting an agent. According to RIS Media last year, “by the time a prospect…contacts a Realtor, they have been looking at real estate on the Web…from 10 to 40 hours.”

Having a great website is certainly a key part of your online positioning – without it, you’ll probably be passed over by many. But the Blog portion of your site does several important things: It helps build your reputation as a specialist/expert; it provides localized information of value to people; and it does this while giving people a sense of who you are personally. At the same time, as your readership grows, your blog can really help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so your site moves up on Google rankings.

In a nutshell, people want to know that their prospective agent really understands the type of transaction they have in mind, and is someone with whom they can feel comfortable doing business. Your blog can convey these things beautifully.

The natural question for new blogger-agents is this: How long will this take? Will it be worth it?

Well, the time you take depends on a few factors – how long your post will be, how much research is needed, and how quickly you can use the tools to include things like videos. But once your topics are posted, and you have say 50 (or 500) readers, the question is, How much time will this save you compared with having 50 (or 500) separate conversations?

More specifically, I think you should be able to write up a post in 15-30 minutes most of the time. For example, if you think of your last several professional conversations and emails, most likely a number of issues and questions came up that would make great posts (just change the names and pertinent data to protect the innocent). If one person had a particular question, you can bet others do, too. And if your blog is answering questions, you are enhancing your reputation as an expert.

Blog posts should sometimes be personal, either highlighting local happenings or interesting personal experiences. Keep it professional, but let your true colors show – people want to know who you really are.

We concluded the session (after the nuts-and-bolts of the Control Panel Panel, which are pretty straightforward), with some “Blogging Don'ts” and a look at realistic expectations. The don'ts are important: Don’t copy and paste from other sites, or Google will not give you the SEO credit. Some quotes are okay, but your content should be original. Also –and this is really important – don’t abandon your blog or let it go stale, otherwise you inadvertently send the message that you aren’t on top of your game. You don’t need to post every week, but decide on a schedule and keep to it, say every month or so.

Your blog should be used occasionally for listings, but not for a complete dump of all your listings. Blog about a listing that is special or particularly interesting.

What are reasonable expectations for a real estate blog? Well, the bad news is that there isn’t a magic bullet that we know of. On the other hand, you can expect better SEO over time as you continue to write original content and your readership grows. Some agents have found that their blog enhances not so much the quantity of their leads, but the conversion rate of leads that had become familiar with an agent’s blog and website. Teresa Boardman from Minnesota is quoted in REALTOR magazine (2009): “I don’t generate a huge number of leads…I generate a smaller number, and my conversion rate is over 60%. It’s a different way of running a real estate business.” (the full article is included in the links below)

Bottom Line: your blog is one tool in your toolbox, and a great way to start participating in social media. It’s not a magic bullet, but with “agent stalkers” checking out agents for their expertise and personal qualities, your blog can go a long way to opening some doors for you.

Links:

http://www.realtor.org/rmotechnology/Articles/2009/0909_socialnetworking_virtualrealities

http://realestatecoach.com/blog/?tag=gen-x-gen-y-marketing-strategies

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2008-06-16-youtube-facebook-generation-y-buyers_N.htm

http://www.rsspieces.com/why-should-the-realtors-blog

 

 

*Pick four (4) questions or topics that have actually come up
*Write them where you can find them again
*Select two
*Write a brief, 150-200 word, first person discussion
*Click the ‘publish’ button for the first one; set a date a week or two later for the other.
*Set a schedule for yourself – whatever it is, keep it consistent