16 Small Online Tweaks to Win Big in 2016

Featured in RealtorMag
Partial excerpt from the workbook Plan to Win


Are you ending 2015 feeling “blah” about how to effectively grow your business using online mediums, like social media and a blog?  Well, let’s shake that feeling off for 2016 by creating some small, new habits that will bolster your online appeal and connection to prospective clients.  


By the way, get our 2016 online lead-gen checklist at no fee by requesting access: click here. You can download it, post it on your wall, or whatever else that will help you use it.


Social Media Posts

I have found that lead generation from social media is no longer a popularity contest (it’s not about how many views you get) but rather about making genuine connections.  I love sharing a real estate tidbit and getting several messages in my inbox from potential clients that need help.  Their messages are not visible to the world (so I won’t get brownie points for superficial likes) but it is still a win because they are interested in my business’ services - yes!  To that point, implement these suggestions to increase your online relationship building (i.e. online lead generation!):


1) Share something that is interesting and tell WHY you think it is interesting

What you share can be the latest housing market tips, the newest construction community being built in your area, client testimonials, or even the fun new restaurant in your farm area at which you had lunch today.  


But more importantly, can you answer the question, “Who cares?” with each post that you make?  If you found the best article in the world but you do not share WHY it is relevant to your audience, you may have just lost your audience!  Some social media sites call it “link litter” where you just post a random link and do not give context on what it matters.  Stop posting unattractive listing photos and random real estate articles on your personal page that do not provide value to friends and followers!


2) Use Sniply EVERY TIME you share content that is not your own to stay top-of-mind 
Screenshot 2015-12-16 16.26.37.png
Screenshot of sharing other's content with a Sniply CTA
I get it - you may not always have time to create original content.  But have you noticed that if they click on the link of someone else’s content, they are taken away from your site!  Sniply allows you to share someone else’s content without stealing it but still keeping your face, call-to-action, and a button to link back to your website, top of mind.  Sniply is available as a Chrome browser extension so you can quickly share great articles and still make connections with your readers.


3) Always include a value-driven call-to-action (CTA) 
A CTA is simply an offer of value that you make to your network, which should be done not just on social media but in blogging, e-newsletters, postcard mailings, and anything else you write for your business.  

For example, you have a great new listing that you share some interesting photos from and state, “Could this be your dream home? Click here to see if you qualify” and the link then takes them to your preferred lender’s prequalification form.  Or, if you have a creative graphic of your listing that just sold in under 15 days, your CTA could be, “Want this to be yours?  Find out how much your home is worth by clicking here” and then the link takes them to your CMA automated software (such as CloudCMA, etc.).  Are any of your targeted new home communities offering buyer bonuses such as additional money towards closing or free appliance packages?  If so, what are the conditions?  Share that!  For example, "Would you love free appliances to go in your new home?  I know how!  Text me today for details."  There are many other ways you can spin this to add value and really get people to eagerly contact you.  


Those were just a few examples of the hundreds of CTAs that you can include with everything you write.  The key is to make sure it is something that your specific target clients would find interesting.  If you posted something and the answer to “What’s in it for me?” cannot be answered with a quick glance of the social media post, then go back to the “drawing board”.


4) Know your ideal client and share what interests THEM (not just you)
If your target clients are millennial first-time home buyers, why are your social media posts about senior adult communities?  If you want to reach move-up buyers that likely are searching for bigger housing because they have new familial additions (i.e. mother-in-law moves in, new baby, etc.), then why are you posting on small condos and lofts in high-rises?  

Do some soul-searching and decide who you typically tend to attract as clients and who you want to attract as clients.  If these two do not match, it may because what you are putting out there does not resonate with your desired clientele so change it!


5) Follow a weekly posting schedule & use automation
I am sure today’s real estate market (plus whatever else is going on in your life) has you busy.  But if you are connecting with your social media friends only once or twice a year, it is no wonder that you are not reaping the rewards of lead generation.  Create a schedule where you post something of value at least once a week.  Remember, real estate requires that you stay top of mind and weekly, relevant, fascinating social media posts are a great way to do that.

An easy way to post regularly is to use automation. There are various tools to help like Buffer (still my personal favorite for real estate), Edgar, Friends+Me, Hootsuite, and the like. Try them all to see which is the easiest for you to consistently use. Automation apps will start your conversations for you, which is half the work. You simply then need to...


6) Engage (build online friendships)  
Here is another lead generation tip that can take just minutes a week but actually win you clients.  Set aside at least 30 minutes a week to respond, like, and comment on the comments you have received and the new/popular posts that show up in your social media feeds.  


Also, depending on the social media site you are on, you can search by life events like “new job”, “buying a home”, “selling a home”, and so forth to see who may be in need of a real estate agent in your area so you can reach out.  This can make you privy to potential leads without spending any money on ads so try it!


Blogging

It you love to write, then you should harness your passion into a lean, mean lead-generating, blogging machine!  I heard someone say recently that blogging does not work to generate leads anymore. Au contraire mon frère.  Blogging is simply an opportunity to share your specialized expertise about the various aspects of real estate that you love.  That can always work, when you work it!  However, I see too often folks post a handful of random, irrelevant, boring, poorly written blogs, to never return after just a couple of weeks, and then wonder why blogging did not generate leads.  My friend, blogging is not a sprint but a marathon!  If you want blogging to be a lead generator, I challenge you to commit to writing a dynamic post at least once a week for 6 months and then see how many connections have been made from it.  Here are some to help:


7) Always use pictures, videos, and links to keep your readers, reading  
The fun thing of being a real estate agent is that you see some of the most intriguing, charming, odd, quirky, unique, and cutting edge home features so share them in your blogs.  You may even want to have an IDX plugin on your blog to feature specific homes from your local MLS.  This will help readers stay engaged from start to finish, just make sure you have the necessary permissions to share your images and videos, especially if you include other people.


Secondly, link to the restaurants, shops, schools, community organizations, hospitals, volunteer organizations, and other local finds and attractions that you mention, being sure to include a blurb on why you like, dislike, or are indifferent towards them.  

media-20151120.pngBlogging allows everyone to share their voice and opinion so give your warm and fuzzy reason why you are writing today’s post.  Get away from sterile scripts and let your professional opinion shine through in the post.  This will again strengthen your blog in Google's eyes as a resource and local authority, helping you to rank on the first page when folks search for terms and local businesses that you have showcased.  That's the point of it all - to get people to see your blog and contact you!  


BONUS STEP: When you include businesses, schools, and other organizations in your posts, send them a press release or a similar notice. As you more consistently blog, some organizations may link back to your site from their page.  That equals free traffic and increased authority in Google's results - another win!  This will take you consistently sending press notices and building a blog that truly shares life and real estate in your “neck of the woods”.  Thus, following a weekly posting schedule is vital.


8) Be an amazing storyteller who uses strategic, pre-defined keywords
What story does your real estate business tell?  You may get glimpses from the testimonies that your clients leave you.  Or, from the recounts of your day that you share with your family and friends.  What has them sitting on edge, rolling on the floor laughing, or in tears?  Those are the magnetic, heart-warming moments to capture and retell in your blog.  

For instance, when you are writing about a community/subdivision, share what makes the residents smile (or protest - such as heinous, overbearing street lights).  Move beyond simply reiterating all of the sales listing information and share what makes the community a home.  Also, specifically answer, "What makes this community a great home?"  You can and should ask the residents, but you can also perceive what makes people love living there - share it.

Additionally, be sure to say the name of the community more often than not throughout the entire blog post.  Why?  Because Google's search bots will see your post as a credible, expert source, driving your site higher in search rankings.  

9) Give it away to capture contacts (leads!)
What remarkable, valuable information can you share with your readers that will intrigue your target clients and win you blog subscribers?


It is imperative that your site has several ways for people to leave their contact information, especially email addresses.  Check out AddThis.com, HelloBarOptInMonster, and other similar plugins that capture contact information in exchange for offering a freebie that people can read if they leave their email address.  

For example, if your specialty is working with veterans, you can offer a download of the various grants and programs available for veterans when buying a home.  Or, if you work near a medical center, why not offer a downloadable infographic that explains the various doctor loans and programs available to medical professionals buying a home? Think about what information your target client would jump at the chance to have and offer it.


10) Repurpose instead of reinventing
Check out apps like Revive Old Post, SumAll and CoSchedule in order to automatically share your blog posts to your various social media sites.  One blog could equal 10 - 20 different social media posts throughout the year, saving you time and energy that can be re-directed to the actual selling of real estate.



Monthly Email Newsletter

Brokers and agents alike can use email marketing as an easy way to connect monthly with your database and share interesting buzz from your business.  Check out the monthly e-newsletter of one of my phenomenal clients (REALTOR® Tracy Wick) that keeps her top of mind with her network, while generating business leads from her database.  


It is not about mimicking her style or even length (because yours may be shorter) but notice these key points:
11) She offers several items of value including a giveaway,

12) She is her community's expert and shares her knowledge of upcoming events,

13) She is relevant - it is holiday time and she shares holiday information that HER audience is interested in (you have a different audience so what is relevant to them will be different),

14) She shares her listings in a non-boring, non-salesy way,

-All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.---Bob Burg.png15) She gives several call-to-actions (some real estate related, others just fun) to connect/engage with her readers and to get them to REACH OUT TO HER.  Your CTAs can even include asking for referrals, which is a “tried and true” staple of real estate lead generation, and

16) She is herself!  It is vital that you, “Do you!”, “To thine own self be true” and whatever other similar saying comes to mind.  Notice that Tracy’s fun-loving personality exudes throughout the newsletter so do not feel you have to hide who you are.  Real estate is all about authentic relationships so do not be afraid to freely express yourself in a professional manner.

These are 6 steps to creating an effective e-newsletter (or you can mail it through the post office using sites like Bond or Handywrytten).  But, these tips should not be isolated to simply email marketing - infuse them into your blogging and social media postings to generate big online leads in the new year.


Have more questions about helpful real estate technology and lead generation? Ask away by following me on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Google+ or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor.  And, be sure to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win, to transform your real estate sales game plan.  Here's to your success!
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