Historic Danville, Virginia is a town of about 50,000 people famous for historic homes and as a railroad hub, then a tobacco-producing town. The city has seen a recent renewal of its business sector, which has in turn created a housing shortage. A new $600 million casino is a boon for the once declining southern down, but now real estate agents cannot find enough properties to meet the demand. It’s an interesting case, especially during a recession, which offers a unique opportunity to check out top property pros in small towns in the USA.
Kim H. Fowlkes, of Danville, Virginia, tops this week’s list of real estate professionals. Her perfect reviews on both Zillow and Google secured the spot. These factors, plus purely practical Facebook (1,600 followers) and Instagram efforts. Her website, while not cutting edge, does manage a B+ on-page SEO score, and good backlinks.
Fowlkes also has a Youtube channel, albeit one that has not been developed yet. She’s not all over the state and regional papers, but then no one in the business in Danville is. Still, Fowlkes has managed 55 sales in the last 12 months, and she’ll sell a lot more if contractors can get new units built fast enough to satisfy the new demand.
Larry Johnson and Matt Hoffman (pictures at right) run Bowen Agency Realtors, a larger entity started by Art Bowen over four decades ago. The team the co-owners of the agency manage have made 265 sales in the last 12 months, according to Zillow. Neither the brokers have amassed many sales, but the team they oversee has stellar reviews (5.0 for 83 at Zillow) and sales success. Bowen Agency operates a thriving Facebook branding and marketing profile with 5,600 followers and perfectly scheduled postings.
The firm’s website is simple, but very nice, with a decent SEO score of 77/100. Unfortunately, the team seems to have given up on Instagram and Youtube (17 subscribers), which is not unusual for professionals in smaller markets like Danville. The reach of social media is not as important for communities where literal word of mouth is more effective. Facebook works well because every town has people scanning pages.
Nadine Blakely fits all our criteria as a top agent in her region. While her Zillow and Google reviews are not purely perfect, they are almost 5.0 and more numerous than almost all her competitors. She’s also made 96 sales in the last 12 months according to Zillow, which is a key indicator given the small-town scale of this review.
What’s impressive about Blakely’s digital marketing effort is the fact she’s got over 6k followers on Facebook, which is highly unusual for professionals of all regions. On the downside, her website has the worst SEO score of any site we’ve examined in the US. Oops! It's too bad, too, because the site is nice other than the missing effort at search engine optimization.
Back to the positives, Blakely’s Instagram efforts are super nice, even though it’s not linked to other profiles. Ditto Youtube, where the agent has started a channel but has yet to glean many followers. What I can say about Blakely, is that she differentiates herself from other top agents in that she has a holistic approach to branding/marketing.
In business for a little over 3 years now, Amy Guilliams’ Homes by Amy and Co. is doing a fantastic job of branding and getting her personable and creative marketing style noticed. Her company’s website is in dire need of work aesthetically and SEO/wise (63/100), but other efforts the team is on top of are making up for this. Perfect reviews on Google reflect a lot of satisfaction from the team’s clients, even though I cannot find them on Zillow.
Guilliams’ Facebook could use better feature images, but the team is posting effectively. No Instagram again makes sense when agents are marketing to a very narrow audience. Networking and traditional real estate sales techniques dominate places with populations under 100,000. Add a Zillow profile and perhaps some ads, and I’d expect this agent to grow her business significantly given the influx of new citizens/workers hitting Danville.