Like Referrals? Here’s How Your Real Estate Blog Can Get You Them:
Your real estate blog is worth way more than SEO. Here's how to get more referrals and build relationships with clients through your blog...
Oh, blogging. It’s great for SEO, but the benefits don’t stop there. I talked to former real estate agent ShaunL8 from TheNewRealEstateAgent.com about his experience with blogging and how it can help agents get more referrals.
Here’s his take:
The advantages of blogging – whether for real estate, or any other industry for that matter – are reasonably well accepted these days . . .
Accepted in terms of the search engine optimization (or SEO) benefits that come with publishing useful and helpful content under your name and your brand.
What I mean is that most people know that the more content you have out there (i.e. on the web) under your own name, the more information and content there is for the search engines to index and attribute to you.
The more of your information that’s indexed in the search engines, the more likely it is that one of your articles or posts will relate to a search query that someone types into a search engine, and the more likely your content is going to show up in the search results.
While the SEO benefits of blogging are widely recognized, people often don’t think further than that. You can gain so much from a great real estate logo, website, and blog.
There is definitely a lot more to be gained from blogging than just being found in the search results . . .
Blogs provide a way to connect with people on many levels – not just real estate, market facts and recent property sales information.
Yes, real estate market information is important, and a lot of home owners (read: potential seller) are certainly keen to stay up to date with the market and the value of their property, but every homeowner is also a real, multi-dimensional person with a variety of interests . . . and that’s a whole bunch of new reasons to connect on common interests outside of real estate.
It’s almost like the modern version of the clubs and societies where people used to network around common interests – before the internet came along.
If you take a look at the most recent 2014 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the following two facts say it all . . .
Who do you think a family member or friend would refer? Someone they knew and trusted, or someone that they didn’t really know at all? Someone they trusted, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not going to be referring a family member or a friend to anyone unless I trust them and am totally convinced they are the right person for the job.
Further, when would you use an agent that you worked with previously? I’m sure it’s not if they did an awful job. They would have had to have satisfied and impressed you in the previous transaction – and, most importantly, they need to have kept in touch with you.
So . . .
60% of sellers who used a real estate agent found the agent through a pre-existing relationship, making relationships the single biggest source of home seller leads
I know I don’t need to, but I think it’s important to include one last fact from the report . . .
Taken together, the facts say one thing loud and clear . . .
if you get invited to pitch for a listing because you were referred by someone, or you dealt with the homeowner before, there’s a 70% chance you’ll get it with no competition at all!
And the key to unlock these opportunities is building and maintaining relationships!
Whether you are focusing on buyers, sellers, or both – the fact of the matter is that people are only in buying or selling mode for a relatively small period of time.
I know it sounds like I’m fixated and one-dimensional, but bear with me . . .
If you take a further look at the NAR report, you’ll see that . . .
If we assume that the total buying or selling journey – from start to finish takes 6 months (an assumption I’m using purely for simplicity sake), then that’s 0.5 years. In the event that someone is selling and then buying that would be 12 months in total.
So, what does that mean? It means that . . .
the average person only needs a real estate sales professional for 6 – 12 months every 10 years or so, i.e. for 5 – 10% of the time!
That sure puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
10 years is a long time to work on a relationship and stay top of mind, isn’t it?
It’s an especially long time to maintain a one-dimensional relationship focused on real estate market facts, figures, recent sales, etc. In fact, I would be willing to stick my neck out and say it’s near to impossible!
Despite the fact that people are not looking to transact through a real estate sales professional 90 – 95% of the time, when they are ready to enter the market (either to buy or to sell) is when they’re starting to look for facts, advice and more specific information, so you can’t not publish this type of information on your blog.
Make sure that you include regular, factual information about the real estate market, recent sales and market predictions and trends in your blog posts.
Also, think about the types of questions that soon-to-be buyers and sellers commonly ask. Make sure that you address these questions on your blog.
Remember – these are the hot-to-trot, short-term prospects and when they are doing their research you want them to find you (i.e. your blogs posts) online and contact you. These will generally be the people that you have not yet had the opportunity to get to know and build a relationship with, or they are only slightly aware of you.
Remember, if 60% of home sellers have a direct or indirect (referral) relationship with a real estate agent, then . . .
40% of sellers don’t have a pre-existing relationship (direct or indirect) with the real estate agent that is going to list their house.
Of course, if someone has been part of your network, or social (and I mean real life and online here) circles, they will already have some type of connection or relationship with you. The stronger this relationship, or the better they think they know you, the more likely they are to either contact you directly or head straight on over to your website or blog.
Of course home owners (i.e. past buyer clients, and prospective seller clients) are interested in the market, but the vast majority I would wager are only vaguely interested in it. In other words, they like to keep abreast of what their property is worth, but more as a matter of interest than a focus.
The point here being that yes, you need to be sharing market stats and figures on your blog because people are interested in these, but you also need to find other topics around which to build relationships with potential buyers and sellers.
Once again, think about the kind of networking that was done before the age of the internet – or how people that are not technologically adept would network – clubs, societies, sports, etc. Basically common interests!
The principle here is absolutely no different from you joining a golf club, a sports club, or any other form of club where you get to do what you enjoy doing, but you also get the opportunity to network.
We’re talking about meeting and getting to know people around a shared interest. The shared interest is the catalyst to connect and get to know one another. Of course they will also become aware that you are a real estate professional in the process, and that’s what you want!
Now you have a new connection or contact and a new opportunity for future business – either by being asked to help them, or additionally by being referred to others through this new connection.
Remember that . . .
one new connection is not a single future business opportunity– they potentially open the door for future business to all of their connections as well!
I know that most people get stumped at this point and simply can’t think of topics to include on their blog, but it’s really not that difficult – simply think about what you enjoy doing and the activities that you are involved in outside of real estate and you’ll find your answers.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, 90 – 95% of the time the people you are looking to connect with (future buyers and sellers) are current home owners (future sellers), property investors (future buyers or sellers) or future home owners or investors (future buyers) that probably already live in your community or the area in general. At the very least, if they are considering buying in your service area they will have an interest in the area and be keeping an eye on it.
What common characteristics, or interests, could these (seemingly) diverse groups of people have in common? Does anything jump out at you?
Well, here are some of my thoughts . . .
The list is endless, but I’m sure that you get the point.
I regularly share articles that I think will work well for real estate blog posts on my Pinterest board for blog ideas – you might want to check it out if you need ideas.
I touched on this in the previous paragraph, but you can take your relationships with other local businesses a step further and include information on new businesses in the area, or businesses that you really like, in local-focused blog posts.
You have to, of course, be careful that you don’t create any disharmony or animosity with their competitors, who you also want to build relationships with, but as long as you are fair and spread the love around (so to speak) you should be fine.
The huge added advantage to this kind of information is that you are building relationships with other local business owners who are dealing with people in your community on a day-to-day basis and they can be a fantastic source of referrals.
Once again, bear in mind that a single new relationship with a fellow local business owner opens the doors to potential future business from all of their connections. Of course, a local business owner will probably have way more connections than your average person, so these connections are gold!
This is more of a ‘don’t’ than a ‘do’ point, but it’s important . . .
Often times we focus on the people we want as future clients (i.e. future buyers and sellers) and that’s fair enough – they are the obvious sources of future business.
Don’t discount people that you don’t believe will be future clients though – for example, the locals that don’t own property in your service area.
Firstly, you never know what may happen in the future – life has a funny way of often surprising us, but more importantly . . .
Think about the referral opportunities!
Remember . . .
a contact in your network that refers business to you is often worth more than a single buyer or seller prospect
in fact, I’d go as far as to say . . .
referrers are gold!
A lot of real estate agents are continually ‘cleansing’ their database of people they don’t see as a (good, obvious) chance of future business, so if you keep in touch, you’ll have the greater chance of getting any possible referrals.
Have you tried starting a blog? Do you see referrals increase through the building of digital relationships?
Let me know in the comment section below!
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