The Bullseye in Your Backyard

I’ve grumbled about this before but apparently, not loud enough. I am afraid, in the interest of being ‘techno-current,’ we’ve strayed from the core marketing strategy that made us great.

Help-U-Sell was founded on one powerful marketing principal:  geographic targeting.  As a broker, your job is to study your overall marketplace – I mean, really study (massage the numbers until they throb, to quote Dr. Dick McKenna) – to determine which specific neighborhoods are most likely to produce listings, the fuel that feeds our lead-generating fire.

There’s a lot in that statement.  Unlike our ordinary competitors who believe the answer to any marketing challenge is to add another agent, we look at hard data about the market and solve our marketing issues by going where the action is.  And we market for LISTINGS.  That’s it.  Just listings.  What about the other side of the business, what about buyers?  We love buyers.  As Don Taylor once said, “People forget, but Help-U-Sell has always been about the buyer!”  But we’ve learned that the best way to find a buyer is to get a listing and another and another.

I talk with brokers every day.  Often I hear the complaint, ‘My website isn’t working, I don’t get any buyer leads!’  My answer is always a question:  ‘how many listings do you have.’  I usually hear something less than 5.  Well Duh!! You don’t have any buyer leads because you don’t have any listings!  Real estate, whether the enlightened Help-U-Sell model or the tired old agent model, has always been an inventory business.  He who controls the inventory, controls the business.

Back to the idea I presented at the start of this post, the notion that we’ve lost our focus in favor of being technologically relevant.  With the entire Universe – especially NAR, Trulia, Zillow, et. al. – screaming that almost every single buyer starts their home search online, we have been lured into believing that we have to market online.  We spend money on AdWords and Facebook pay-per-click, and Google Display Ads; we obsess over our websites and constantly re-work them to become more attractive to search engines.

The results are almost always disappointing.  Even when leads are produced, the quality is iffy at best.  And what kind of leads are we getting from all of this online mania?  Buyer leads.  Again, we love buyer leads, but we also know how to produce them and it has nothing to do with point and click.

Meanwhile, as good Help-U-Sell brokers pour countless dollars and lots of energy into their online programs, I see them ranging all across God’s Green Earth to take a listing here and another way over there and heck – you’re an hour away from my office and in another area code, but shucks, I’ll take your listing!

Stop It!

Use your market data to pick the two or three specific neighborhoods in your Target Market that have the highest turnover rates, and then focus all of your energy in developing listing inventory there!   When a FSBO sign goes up, you know it and are in contact with them that first day.  When one of your competitors gets a listing, you immediately do 50 ‘Arounds’ so the neighbor who is also thinking of selling knows there’s an alternative to 6%.  When you get a listing in your Target Market, you regard it as a gift from the Marketing Gods and you exploit it to the max with signs, and brag cards and open houses and half a dozen other strategies.

Now, once you’ve done that, once it has begun to produce, once you’re getting at least 15% of the listings in your Target Market . . . then, you can consider online marketing.

And the  online marketing you do should be aimed at further establishing your brand.  It’s things like putting your latest Sold & Saved or Testimonial on Facebook and then paying to promote it within your target market.  It’s things like creating a well-focused landing page for a Google pay-per-click campaign aimed at FSBOs in your target market.

Yes, there is a place for the Zillow/Trulia/Realtor.com ‘buy a Zip Code’ programs.  I know of a few offices that have thrived with those additional marketing pieces.  But you know what all of them had in common?  Tons of listings.  Really.  Go onto Zillow and search for homes in Chino Hills, CA.  Patrick Wood will turn up in Spades.  Why?  Because he has a huge share of the listings in that town.  Zillow works for him – just as it works for Ken Kopcho – because he has a nice chunk of the listing business in his target market.

So, Help-U-Sell Brokers:  use the Internet.  Use it to gather as much data as possible about the individual neighborhoods in your overall marketplace.  Pick a few that have the highest turnover rates.  And then pursue the listing business in those neighborhoods with an unwavering focus.  Do it on foot, in the streets and the mailboxes.  Do it on billboards and bus benches, community sponsorships and involvement, Do it with signs. Get a listing and another and another.  And then, start thinking about how you an further establish your brand in those neighborhoods with online marketing.

Please.

 

Lead Generation with Facebook

I get asked all the time:  ‘What kinds of things should I post on Facebook to generate leads?’

The answer is:  ‘I don’t care.’

OK.  That’s a little over the top.  My answer is supposed to unfreeze the questioner, to get them off the notion that posting on Facebook will somehow magically generate leads.  It won’t.

If you are a Realtor, you can use your personal Facebook page and/or your Facebook business page to keep in touch with people who know you – at least a little – and to remind them that you are in the business.  Of course this is important!  We want everyone who knows us – even those who know us just a little – to know we sell real estate, are active and successful.  That’s why we post our new listings on Facebook, our photos of happy clients after closing, our open houses and relevant articles about the market.

But the audience here is people who know us.  It’s not strangers.  Leads – which are the things everyone wants to generate with Facebook – are strangers who call us to help with their home buying or selling process.

If you want to generate LEADS with Facebook, you’re going to have to go about it the old fashioned way:  you’re going to have to market on Facebook.

Marketing is the careful planning, creating, executing and monetizing of a strategy aimed at reaching a specific target audience with potential for needing your services.  With Facebook, your tool for accomplishing this is Pay-Per-Click advertising.

When you open your Facebook page, you’ll see a column to the left of your Newsfeed that contains Pay-Per-Click ads that have been targeted to you based on your profile and Facebook behavior.  That’s where you want your ad to be.  The small teaser ads lead to a Landing Page of some kind that gives the clicker the information hinted at in the teaser.  Sounds simple . . . and it would be if we were in the giving information business.  But we are not.  We are in the real estate sales and marketing business, so that simple process of Facebook Teaser ad and Landing Page becomes a little more complex.

At Help-U-Sell, we market for one thing:  Sellers.  So your teaser ad needs to appeal to home owners who are thinking of selling.  That part really is easy.  The logo, all by itself, speaks to them.  But so do phrases like:  ‘Never pay 6% to sell your home again!’, ‘You paid HOW MUCH to sell your home?’ , ‘How to save thousands selling your home,’ ‘Sell your home for $4,950!’ and so on.

But once a potential seller sees your ad and clicks on it, where do they go?  To you Help-U-Sell website?  I don’t think so.  Your website is geared toward buyers (and it should be).  Your website is a place where we connect with them via home search and other tools.  Instead, you need to send people who click on your teaser ad to a very specific Landing Page, absolutely focused on your offer to home sellers, sizzling with just enough information to motivate the clicker to contact the office.

That’s really important, so I’ll repeat it:  You need to send people who click on your teaser ad to a very specific Landing Page, absolutely focused on your offer to home sellers, sizzling with just enough information to motivate the clicker to contact the office.  

Your landing page should say nothing aimed at buyers, mortgages, credit repair, or any other aspect of the business.  It should be short, simple and razor focused on what you do for home sellers and how much they can save.  It should also be packed with Help-U-Sell credibility boosters:  Sold and Saveds and Testimonials.  In other words, your Landing Page should look like an ETM . . . because that’s what it is:  an electronic ETM, delivered via Facebook as opposed to the old fashioned one delivered in the mailbox. It should have the same structure and encourage the same event:  a call to the office to find out more about your program for home sellers. Click HERE for an example.

I love Facebook pay-per-click for Help-U-Sell brokers for several reasons:

  • It is highly targeted advertising and fits perfectly well with our own geographical targeting strategy.
  • It is surprisingly inexpensive.  And effective campaign can be mounted for $200 a month, more or less.
  • It is wonderfully flexible.  You can change up your campaign in mid stream, start and stop it at will.
  • It is trackable.  Facebook keeps track of the clicks so if you install office systems to track resulting inquiries, you’ll know what the program produces.

I have created Facebook pay-per-click campaigns for my Blogging clients (you know, I create, manage and feed blogs for a handful of Help-U-Sell Brokers).  This past week I offered the same service – which includes creation of the Landing Page, the Teaser Ad and managing the setup process – to Help-U-Sell brokers in general.  I’d be happy to help you jump into this exciting process, too.  Just send me an email (jamesdingman@gmail.com) and we’ll explore the possibilities.

We know that today’s consumer of real estate services is online.  We know he or she is into Facebook almost daily.  THIS is how you find that person.  THIS is the next step in the evolution of Help-U-Sell marketing and I urge you to get on board.

 

Pretty Sharp Marketing

Kimberly Zelena and Leigh Anne Losh at Help-U-Sell Direct Savings Real Estate in Verona, Virginia have definitely got their marketing hats on!  Like Mike Klein at Help-U-Sell Prescott Valley, they jumped on using QR codes.  Here’s a picture of their office Facebook page:

The QR code is that black and white box at the top/left.  If you get a QR code reading app on your smart phone (like Google Goggles . . . go ahead:  Google it), point your phone at the QR code and click it, the browser on your phone will take you to the Help-U-Sell Direct Savings website.  No need to fumble around with your fat thumbs typing in a URL on that tiny keyboard;  the QR code does it for you!   Hey:  why not get a QR code reader on your phone right now and make your first click on Kimberly’s QR code right here in the Set Fee Blog!  Go on; we’ll wait.

One of the things Mike Klein and Kimberly are doing is using QR codes with their listings.  They get a unique code for each listing then include it on property flyers so a customer can get more information instantly.  Kimberly told me she was going to start putting the code in a plastic sleeve and attaching it to the sign post.  Once buyers learn how to use this technology, they’ll be able to simply walk up to the sign and click their phones to get the details.

Next, notice the first post on the Help-U-Sell Direct Savings wall, the red thing.  Since the above is just a photo of the page, the link in it doesn’t work, but if you clicked it live on the actual Facebook page, you’d go HERE.  It’s basically an ETM:  pictures and descriptions of homes for sale, sold and saves, testimonials and a description of the seller offer.  Now the challenge is:  how to drive prospective sellers to that page and Facebook is a good start.

I know:  technology can be confusing and difficult, but sometimes it just makes things work better!  I’m glad we have sharp brokers in Help-U-Sell who see the possibilities and work to take advantage of them.