As a real estate professional, your website speaks volumes about you. A website serves as a business card, resume, and billboard all rolled into one. That’s why it is of utmost importance to make a commitment to building out and promoting your personal brand online. Keep in mind that your potential clients will Google you! So in preparation, here are 5 simple steps to help you improve your online presence.
Job One - Have your OWN Website
This seems like a no-brainer, but keep in mind that a website should be showcasing you individually and should point to a unique URL. A profile about you on a social networking site alone, like Linkedin, does not count. If you are an agent working under a broker who insists on only using their website, be sure that you have a page that is at least dedicated exclusively to you that is simple enough for clients to remember. If you’re a broker, keep in mind that success of your agents can be enhanced when people have clear access to them. The bottom line is to make sure people can learn about you.
Recommendations: For DIY types, I recommend Weebly, SquareSpace, WordPress, or even 1&1. For Brokers looking to have agents all under one domain, check out Agent.Point2 as well, and always consider custom web design at the high end of the spectrum.
Jon Two - Improve Your Website
Having a site alone and calling it a day just isn’t enough. Remember, your website is your business card, resume, and billboard. As a business card, it must have your general contact information: Name, Contact Information, Location, Phone Number, Photos etc. There should be a way to reach you, but having a built in form is also a good way to capture incoming interest. Also, to get a better sense of design, use this method from web usability experts. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to offer a critical examination and to be sincerely honest with the presentation of your site.
Keep in mind they may try to spare your feelings, that is why you should check their facial reactions for the first 15-30 seconds as a test. You can usually tell from their initial reaction what their thoughts are, despite what they might say.
Recommendations: To add forms in order to make it easy for clients to contact you, try going to WidgetBox to get a plug-in solution. If you have the experience, try using Slidedeck as a way to showcase key properties or tell the story about you in an engaging format.
Job Three - Internet Advertising
If you are looking to generate business or buzz about your service, it might be worthwhile to consider paid advertising online. While going into the depths of paid advertising online could serve as a post, or even a book in-itself, there are some key takeaways to consider. Know your audience and demographic. With search engine marketing, you can target not just keywords but also geographic data. Make sure that you only place ads against prospects in your region. Furthermore, monitor your results. If the cost of acquisition is too high, it might be wise to bow out and spend your time on other channels.
Recommendations: Paid advertising is a highly encompassing endeavor and it’s a field of study that requires considerable research in order to get the best results, that being said, if you are still gung-ho on pursuing that avenue cold, try getting a feel for Google Adwords and even your local Yellow Pages online.
Job Four - Free Promotions on Social Media and Video Sites
Everybody loves free. In order to get some free marketing online, here are two things you can do to get seen on search engines and other channels fast. First, be sure to mark your presence on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Many of these websites will often be the first thing that pops up when people search for you online, many times these pages will be higher up than your own website. Keep these sites pointing to your website and make sure the branding across these sites are the same. Second, it is always good to create a video about yourself on Youtube. The reason why it is on Youtube is that Google likes to include Youtube and other video content into search results. Be sure to disable comments when you post a video, otherwise you may find odd remarks from people whom you may have never ever met.
Recommendations: Make sure your presence on social media sites are consistent with each other and that they point back to your site. Top sites to have a presence on include, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.
Using these steps, and infusing a bit of yourself into your virtual "online calling card" what you will have in effect is a perpetual commercial introducing you and your talent to the world. In the digital age so many have invested in half measures where websites are concerned, expecting a sort of "magic" to occur, if you will. But just like in the brick and mortar world it takes work and commitment to succeed online. And believe me you must succeed online or else your competition will overshadow you. There is no more important marketing or business tool than a credible online footprint. I hope this has helped.
Credits: Interactive signage image courtesy Northern Computer website.