Here is an idea that every real estate investor should borrow from tech savvy Realtors. Begin regularly posting a blog focused on activities, events, and interesting perspectives about the community you serve.
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This is a long-term marketing strategy. Not one that produces immediate results but rather one that keeps your name in front of prospective customers and clients regularly and over a long period of time. The best part is that you provide a community service as well. This can be especially effective in rural areas or places that don't have strong media coverage. It can also be effective in more urban settings when you find the right angle to keep your audience interested.
You want to blog about the obvious, the up coming St. Patrick's Day Parade or the Valentine Dance at the high school. However, this is also an opportunity to endorse and be endorsed by other businesses in your community. Go out and meet other local business owners. Review your favorite restaurant but take it a step further by including an interview with the owner.
Keep it slightly in context with your specialty as a real estate investor. If your specialty if flipping houses, you might want to do reviews and interviews with local hardware stores. You can also blog about reliable subcontractors that you work with.
If your specialty is commercial real estate, you'll want to focus on downtown businesses. New business that are opening, revitalization projects, and even a review of a random Chamber of Commerce meeting. The point is to focus on subjects of interest to your potential customers.
Why Bother Blogging?
The idea here is two fold. First, you provide a service to your community by informing them about current events and happenings that might otherwise go unnoticed. Also, by positively featuring other businesses in your blog, you build goodwill with the owners. You know yours will be the first name to come to mind whenever they strike up a conversation involving your services. It's a form of soft marketing.
Not all of the time, but occasionally blog about your own expertise. If your specialty as a real estate investor is renting homes or apartments, you want to discuss rental trends or mention especially good deals that you are offering without blatantly advertising your business. Especially effective is when you find a subject about your business where you are improving the community. If you are turning ugly houses into little white picket fence houses, you are doing a service for the community. Don't hesitate to mention it.
A good subject not directly related to your business are the pros and cons of the school systems in different neighborhoods of your community.
People also enjoy seeing pictures of their community. Since every real estate investor owns a digital camera, it's easy to snap a few photos around town that can be woven into your blogs.
The overarching idea here is to build a relationship with your community audience. Business is about relationships. Relationships are about people. So it should be obvious that people do business with people, not businesses.
One more interesting thing that I'd like to point out is that personal and business buying decisions are made differently. Personal buying decisions are generally made based on emotion. People decide what they want and then use logic to justify their decision. Business decisions are made based on logic. Mostly, the decision needs to make more money for the business or save money the business would otherwise have to spend. Use these tips appropriately depending if you are in the residential or commercial real estate sector.
Here's one last important tip to making your community blog a success. Sprinkle key search terms throughout your blogs. Include neighborhood and city specific names. When people Google those names, your blog comes up near the top of the results. Search engines particularly like blogs because they offer a continuous source of new information. Happy blogging.
About the author: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.