Consumers are becoming more informed with the Internet. So, it shouldn’t be a secret to South Florida realtors that buyers and sellers are using the web as a tool in order to do their research even before contacting a real estate agent. Having an informative website with educational content will propel agents to the next level of success. I spoke with Brian Corey from Corey Consulting about ways for agents to improve their online marketing presence. Those of you that are looking to up your online real estate game should read this interview. There’s plenty of great information in this piece that isn’t readily available.
Q- Real Estate Agents hear the term SEO a lot. What does it really mean and what does the work entail?
- SEO is a buzz word. The process of increasing your visibility on the web does not come from a magic service ‘SEO’ but from formatting your website in compliance with the latest search engine updates. Also, your site needs to be a great source of information for people looking for your product or service. This is accomplished by publishing relevant content, being active on your site and receiving links from credible sources.
Q- I hear the term ‘links’ often. What do you mean by ‘links’?
- Links are what make the internet work. If you are on the first page of Google for ‘Miami real estate’, Google has a link on their page to your site. Links are the words that you can click on to surf the web. They are technically called hyperlinks. When you place a link on your site to another website, you are recommending that site as a good source of information for whatever topic you are discussing.
Q- Is it worth it for South Florida real estate agents to invest in their website and SEO?
- When you can do it properly, Yes! Having an unprofessional website is a reflection on your business. When you have built a professional-looking website, marketing that site is more important than building it. When Realtors get their license, they can’t sit in an office and expect homeowners to walk in ready to sign a listing agreement. The same is true for building and marketing websites.
Q- Is internet marketing something that an agent could learn to do on their own instead of paying a professional?
- Absolutely. I have seen a few agents who do their own marketing. However, it is more the exception than the rule. The internet is always changing and staying on top of the updates is difficult while also running your business. I would still recommend having a professional design company build your site. In real estate particularly, the industry is very competitive in South Florida and the ‘do it yourself’ initiative can leave you with a poor-looking design and functionality. With regards to SEO, PPC and Social Media I have seen a couple realtors that run their own campaigns and are successful at it. However, many times they have a spouse or a relative who is an SEO professional or worked with internet companies. My advice would be to set aside a budget for your marketing and include the internet for a good portion.
Q- What is a good budget for internet marketing in South Florida Real Estate?
- That is a tricky question. Stay away from companies that promise huge results but charge $50-$400/month. The process of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a lot of work and that range of compensation can mean the company is looking for quantity of campaigns/clients and will not be putting in the necessary time/work.
With regards to the budget, I would ask where the Realtor makes most of their sales. What are they looking to accomplish with their internet presence? Who is their competition? All of these factors contribute to what I would recommend as a healthy budget. I will say that unfortunately you need to have a budget for the internet portal to produce a substantial result. Any good digital marketer will tell you that the more budget you have, the more opportunity to produce bottom-line results.
Q- Is there a good timeline to start seeing results from marketing on the search engines?
- It depends. If you have a paid advertising campaign running, you should see traffic from those ads right away. SEO is a process that can take 3-6 months to see a healthy flow of visitors to your site. The first couple months can be frustrating for many Realtors with an SEO campaign. The results move slowly week by week.
Q- Do you have any advice for Realtors in month one & two while running an SEO campaign?
- Focus on the work being done. Google has said that they are a ‘bank of information’. Request frequent reports from your SEO Company regarding links, blogs, press releases and pages created on the site. If you pay attention to the deposits being made into the bank of information, the desired results will come.
Q- You mentioned paid advertising, what is paid advertising on the search engines?
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads are those listings that are on the top and the right of the page when you are searching on Google. You pay for each time someone clicks on your hyperlink and visits your site.
Q- Do you recommend South Florida Real Estate agents advertise with PPC?
- Again, the budget needs to be right to see results. Also, PPC is managed by an auction system that can be very confusing. Although it becomes expensive to have a professional manage your PPC campaign, I would recommend spending the money. I have seen many people waste thousands of dollars with no return because they did not set the correct parameters for their campaign and the budget went wild.
Q- Any other advice you would have for South Florida agents looking to take on the internet?
- -Make sure you consult an internet professional before updating your current site. So many times agents come to us when they have been getting leads from their site, upon updating the design, the phone calls and inquiries stopped. This is because transferring your site to new files is a delicate process and the search engines can easily look upon your new site as brand new and not the great source of information your old site was.
- -Also, do not hire a company for $150/month. The second biggest complaint we get is agents who have spent a year paying a lower fee and have never spoken to a company account manager or SEO professional. This is a recipe for a waste of money and no results.
Ask around and more importantly ask these questions to a potential digital marketing company?
- What is your strategy for increasing my online visibility? (make them take you through it and explain everything)—If you do not understand do not just nod your head, find out the work they are putting in.
- Ask if the fee includes a content building strategy? (this will weed out many companies because blog writing, press releases or website content is very time consuming)
- What does my fee include? (make them list what you are getting and the frequency you are receiving the work)
- How often will we meet for updates in person or via phone call?
- Ask to see a timeline for the internet strategy.