Something amazing happens when you decide to focus on a particular segment of the real estate market. Something clicks in your brain. All of a sudden there’s a new focus for your business, your brand and your lead-generation efforts. Everything falls into place and it feels good – it feels really good.
It’s an act of bravery, really. To turn your back on every other piece of the real estate market to focus on one, takes guts. The payoff, however, makes it worthwhile.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, whether it’s as the luxury home specialist in your market or the Happy Acres subdivision expert, the best way to get the word out is by adding blogging – hyperlocal style — to your marketing mix.
Hyperlocal marketing is easier and often less expensive than shooting arrows in all directions hoping to hit something. The smaller the niche, the fewer people you’ll need to target. So, instead of sending 3,000 postcards to an entire community for instance, you’ll send a few hundred.
With fewer targets you’ll be able to build your brand quicker, so you’ll see results sooner than you will by trying to be everything to everyone.
But the best reason of all to get hyperlocal is that, if done right (optimization, friends!) it gives you a competitive advantage over the online real estate giants like . . . well . . . like Trulia.
It’s the difference between showing up on page three or four of Google’s search results for “homes for sale in Honolulu,” and showing up on page one for “waterfront homes for sale in Kahala.” Go ahead and search both of them and you’ll see what I mean.
“Hyper-local blogging is nothing but farming 2.0,” claims Christina Ethridge, co-founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com. “It’s old school in a new school building,” she suggests.
Ethridge is of the school of thought that says to do hyperlocal blogging right requires a delicate mix of content. While you do want traffic to your blog, if you don’t aim for the right traffic – the folks that need your services – all that blogging is for naught.
“See, while posting events and blather about local businesses is all well and good, it doesn’t give anyone an idea of what the homes are like or what their neighbors would be like,” Ethridge explains.
“It doesn’t help them know how awesome the neighborhood looks during each season of the year. It’s just not enough about the foundation of the neighborhood, the homes and people,” she concludes.
What does this content mix contain?
When thinking about your content mix your goal should be to generate leads that result in commissions, not just increased blog traffic.
If you’re going to bill yourself as the area or neighborhood expert you’d best be learning how to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Don’t wait for the day when a potential client asks you about the new listing on Elm Street – you know, the one you’ve neglected to tour – and you hem and haw and sputter and spit.
Know your area and its inventory thoroughly. Luxury home specialist David Kean with Teles Properties in Beverly Hills calls this a must for agents new to the luxury home niche, but it really applies to all specialties.
“I go through every house that comes on the market so that I’m not just looking at comps on paper,” Kean said. “I have actually been through each house and I know the layout, I know if there’s a telephone pole blocking the view,” he concludes.
Part of your duties then, as the neighborhood expert, is to make a point of viewing all new listings at least once a week. Take notes as you tour them so that if and when someone asks you about one of them you have first-hand knowledge, and you don’t just end up reading the listing agent’s MLS remarks. Plus, all of this first-hand knowledge makes for compelling blog fodder.
It’s the attention to the details of your market that will make you stand out from the crowd of other agents as the true expert and own that title. It proves to real estate consumers interested in your area that all those other agents’ claims of expertise are nothing but bovine ca-ca, because YOU hold the title. And you aren’t about to give it up.