It seems that the beginning stages of any “revolution”, including the information one, are notable for people trying to push the “older model” into the “new format”.
We’re only human, and change is not an easy pill for any of us to swallow.
The real estate industry is in the middle of a very big shift from formats and models that worked for a long time, and now no longer do. The reason behind the shift?
Well, the internet, of course!
What the internet delivered was an erasure of time and of geography. The virtual world meshed with the face to face “real” one. Which was which? It did something else, too. It put the consumer in control of the action in a way never before possible.
The internet is a passive medium.
People can search and swim through data for as long as they wish. Until they email or text or phone a sales agent, a transaction potential cannot take place. The buyer can be from thousands of miles away, and in the luxury field, this is typical. The “looking” can go on for months and even years, before a contact is made. The rhythm is totally at the discretion of the buyer.
There is a flood of data around, and it’s entirely possible to become on overload with the digital world’s omnipresence.
Also, if everyone is an expert, what is the consumer to do about evaluation of a service or a product? How to make sense of internet claims of expertise?
In real estate, company affiliation may not be as prime an item as it was in the company and agent-centric models of business. Virtual offices are becoming the “norm”. If the consumer is simply looking for listings, then they don’t necessarily care about experience, or awards, or community service, or…they just want the details on the listing. They don’t need to call a realtor to find out anything about an area that interests them…they just do the search themselves.
So many questions, then, about how to attract the attention of the buyer we are seeking, especially in a secondary home/discretionary marketplace, where the buyer is not “local”.
Perhaps, in a way not fully realized yet, the link with an established marketing item will turn out to be a way to niche and differentiate oneself from the endless stream of raw/unverified data. To turn data into information, it’s necessary to bring our editing function to the table. Linking with an established icon may bring trust.
How do we gain credibility, then?
I do think it’s essential to have an alluring website.
How do we make sure it is viewed, among all the other sites?
I do think that we are all suffering from time famine, and the quick blip of Twitter knowledge can point an arrow to the website. Websites may become the basement of knowledge about our services, only to be viewed when time allows. A Twitter feed goes through to our Facebook page, and onto our Linkedin profile, and to our Plaxo base. It can highlight our Youtube exposure, direct attention to our Flickr presence. Lots of other options, of course!
In a time famine moment, where someone, somewhere, is “on,” and the digital world is never “off,” we also need to be “there.” In our busy lives, Twitter is something we can do easily. It’s like the header in a newspaper story. Definitely not about what we had for breakfast, though!
I see quality magazine advertising as a business card.
It propels an interested reader into exploring the website of that realtor. It’s a different kind of advertising, though. I think the magazine should be at least 40% content, and content that is targeted, something that will trigger a response in the reader, that will then encourage them to go onto the web for further information. Same with the advertising, the 60% that pays the way…a “soft” allure factor, that then encourages a web visit. We hear a lot about the “long tail” view, and I do think that this is a quality of the 21st Century.
Magazines that are just full of pages of ads quickly lose the attention of the consumer on overload.
The meshing of our business and our personal lives continues, in this 21st Century perspective we now inhabit.
Important—stop our tunnel vision response, and to remember to stand up, back up just a little, and to exercise our periphery vision. That broadens our field, hugely, and allows for our innate creativity to come forward.
Yes, change is the only constant, as Heraclitus reminded us, in Ancient Greece. I also like to think change brings opportunity, but only if we’re paying attention and remembering our creative vision.