As you know, the Internet and social media have become game-changers for the Real Estate industry.
Facebook … WordPress … Twitter … Zillow … Trulia … RealEstateABC … all of these were practically unheard of a few years ago, and now they are (or should be) a key part of your marketing plan.
But in the midst of all this ferment, the traditional (dare we say "old school") ways still have tremendous value. Farming a carefully-selected neighborhood is still a key strategy for success.
A winning marketing and branding strategy includes both online and offline components. And using online techniques to farm your chosen neighborhood combines the best of the old and the new!
Building Your Brand With Facebook
According to research by Postling, almost 80% of real estate professionals are using Facebook to market their business. It's free, easy, and efficient, and offers opportunities to grow and cultivate a robust community of prospective clients. When it comes to farming your neighborhoods, your Facebook page can familiarize potential buyers with your target neighborhood and build relationships with current residents (aka future sellers).
Building Your Brand With WordPress
Use your blog to differentiate yourself from the competition and become known as an authority on your topic and your neighborhoods. Many real estate experts recommend that you not make listings the primary focus of your blog. Your posts should be community-focused, with the real estate marketing done in an unobtrusive way. The goal is to showcase your area expertise and build a relationship with your audience. Get the conversation started!
The Rise Of Local Coupons
Another hot Internet trend is the increasing use of local coupons to offer deals from neighborhood merchants to their surrounding areas. Savvy merchants are teaming up with new Internet-based companies such as GroupOn, Amazon, as well as traditional vendors such as Money Mailer and ValPak to boost business with carefully-crafted online offers.
Of course, these huge companies aren't for everyone, but they've propelled local coupon marketing via the Internet into the public eye.
Everyone is familiar with it now!
Combining The Old And The New
A great way to build credibility with your target neighborhood is to demonstrate that you look at them as more than just a source of listings and sales.
And a great way to do that is to offer something of value outside of real estate facts & figures. Let's face it, until they start thinking about buying or selling, most folks are only mildly in interest rate fluctuations, the number of sales in their neighborhood, and so forth.
Although that's valuable information, it's relatively easy to purchase. Consequently everybody is offering it. So it doesn't do much to make you stand out from your competitors.
Instead of settling for "me-too", here's a new strategy:
Demonstrate your value … by negotiating special discount offers with local merchants and offering them to new and future residents of your neighborhood farms.
Offering money-saving coupons from local businesses demonstrates to current and prospective residents of your target neighborhood that you really care about them.
You'll also build allies among the local merchants by helping them get more business and introducing their products and services to both new and existing neighborhood residents.
Combining the three elements discussed above – Facebook, Blogging, and local coupon marketing – gives you a powerful new strategy to build your brand, gain allies among local business owners, and boost your credibility in an unobtrusive way with potential buyers and sellers.
Your Strategy Outline
Here's your step-by step action plan:
1) Based on your extensive neighborhood knowledge, make a varied list of local merchants who you think service a board cross-section of the neighborhood. Do this for each farm you're targeting.
2) Contact each business on your list and offer to make them a free discount coupon with whatever offer they like, which you will promote free of charge to help them in their business.
3) For each merchant, spend a few minutes making an online coupon (preferably using the CreateYourCoupon system) and adding it to your coupon page.
4) Post your coupon page to your blog, and to custom Facebook pages – one dedicated to each of your farms.
5) In addition, publicize your discount coupon service over time as part of your normal marketing activities.
The result? You'll build a reputation as an area expert: a real estate specialist who cares about the neighborhoods you're farming, over and above simply selling houses.