Tag Archives: blog

Search and hyperlocal real estate

Hyperlocal real estate and the perils of postponement

All the buzz, right? But hasn’t it always been that way?

Seems like everyday I’m introduced to another “search engine” or some type of snake oil that isn’t one. It always—always—strikes me the same way: why would you try to compete with Google? It makes no sense—there is one. I guess it makes sense if you are exceptionally good at algorithms or have developed a more ingenious advertising model, though I think you’d be hard pressed (not to say it’s not possible).

dogpile

dogpile.com

But what is it that makes “search” possible in the first place? It’s not that Google exists. It’s that content exists in hyperspace. If that’s true, why wouldn’t you develop content? It seems to me that that is the way to connect and create value on all fronts. Here’s what happens when you actually sit down and create content:

  • You market yourself
  • It’s free
  • It’s difficult, but it forces you to think through things, which is far better than asking someone to just run an ad
  • You end up getting people to your site that you never would have been able to reach otherwise.

When I started writing on the internet about real estate I realized the clarity it brought me. Then I realized that there was a frequency that could be dialed in that allows the writer (of a blog) to reach an audience. Then I realized that it could “affect” potential business partners—for the better—at least in my case.

Every person that commented on this blog or believed in “social media” (how I almost loathe the words) know what I speak of. But there are a fragmented few that still think that the internet is about “gross” and “net” and “hits” … it’s just not… not at all… the internet is not about anything, except maybe (and this is a big maybe) the transfer of documents. Everything else just came after that.

Figuring out how to market real estate online is easy. But it’s not easy as in cheap. It’s easy if you are willing to put in the work and effort. If, on the other hand, you want to follow the herd… be my guest… postpone the inevitable at your own peril. Technology certainly is not going backwards. It’s going faster. Faster than the people who are actually developing it.

Blogging for advertising

Blogging as an advertising medium?

It’s obvious that the internet and the marketing of real estate (including luxury real estate) have merged. You might be slightly out of touch to believe otherwise. It’s also okay if you do. If what you’re doing is working, why change? If the money you’re spending on advertising is not working the same as it did four or five years ago, there is probably a good reason for it.

As for why it’s not working, I’m not sure I have all the answers. In fact, I’ll bet spending 50 grand a year on gorgeous printed magazines will pay off. Of course, it may be more if you consider all the other marketing expenses (i.e., fee to your respective brand, fees for banner ads.)

As far as banner ads are concerned, you need not even click on this link about banner advertising efficacy:

Being a familiar name takes you miles closer to closing a sale. People like to buy from companies they’ve heard of.

It turns out that this is an overlooked benefit of banner ads.
Banner ads are fairly worthless in terms of generating clickthroughs… you have to trick too much and manipulate too much to get clicks worth much of anything. But, if you build ads with no intent of clicks, no hope for clicks… then you can focus on ads that drill your name or picture or phrase into my head. 100 impressions and you’re almost famous.

A household name. Not for everyone, but for people who matter.

That was a year ago, also. If this is true, and you’re not getting an ROI, doesn’t it make sense to stop spending over 50 thousand dollars a year hoping that it will start working?

One thing I’m absolutely certain of is that marketing your brand online is cost effective. And writing online for your brand is not as simple as a facebook status update. If you are writing online (or blogging, which I write with extreme caution because it has the tendency to be equated to the LOLcats or to a personal journal), and you do it everyday with the same idea that the 50 thousand dollars a year in ads you’re spending, you’ll probably save about half, if not more.

P.S. The reason I haven’t been maintaining this blog is because I’ve been building semantic sites for agents. Li Read, someone I admire as well as someone who frequently made brilliant insights contributing to this blog (in the past) is about to prove my point. It starts tomorrow. Watch.

Real estate websites

Real estate websites that are informative, helpful and easy to navigate are the only websites that I would even remotely consider when I go to buy a house again.

Of course, this is a luxury real estate blog (for the most part). Other times it’s a marketing “in the internet age” blog.

After looking at real estate websites for almost 4 years, it just seems that it’s always too much information. Most likely if I’m going to real estate website, I’m going to be looking for … real estate. Yes, believe it or not. Also, however, I’d like to know that you would like to do more than just sell me a property. I’d like to know a bit about you. I’d like to know that you care enough about your business to update it. I’d also like “ease of access” to your listings.

It’s still a “tough market” for agents. It might be for a while, but it won’t be for people who invest in their website. And I don’t mean the “latest and greatest.” What I do mean is transparency and authenticity in what you are portraying your services as. It should be easy, right?

That’s why I’m an extreme advocate in “blogging.” Not because of network of ads, but it provides a level of competence, compassion for the consumer (that would be me) and your expertise doing what you’re actually doing. If you practice a little bit (just like anything – i.e., tying your shoes) you’ll get good at it. If you are trying rank your blog for search or keywords, that is not difficult either. It’s also not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. If you are the real estate agent who offers the best services in Las Vegas, NV, I should know about it.

A real estate website with an XML feed is not going to help you when the market recovers, however rich applications will. This much I’m sure of. Why? Because it is what the next generation of buyers demand.