Friday, 9 January 2009

Estate agent blogs and general site content - what you should be doing

The Real Estate Tomato has a great post entitled 8 things you are not doing on your real estate blog but should be. Many of these suggestions can be applied not just to your blog but other channels within your online space.

Have a read of the post, but as a taster, here are the 8 topics and a little bit from me.

1. Microblogging.

RET uses Twitter as an example. I posted a while back about using social space, microblogging and the like and recommending using three to four sites that reflect different aspects of your audience and your business. Twitter is certainly one of them. There is a good tip which states one should use Twitter constructively, i.e. what were you doing today (not in your personal life, but in your estate agent life). I must say I haven't used Twitter as much as I ought to and will now be doing so.

2. Video Blogging

It goes without saying that there are many high quality, easy to use cameras out there. So use one, upload to your site, blog and generate content and interest. I have bemoaned this point many times before. Users want to see properties, all of it in high quality mode.

3. Extending your soapbox to other community experts

This is a good point. My blog is aimed at the industry, but agent blogs and sites should be aimed at the customer. There is a danger of commenting on the industry you know and before you know it, you and a few other agents are discussing matters on your respective blogs that have no bearing on the interest of the user. Keep your site/blog fresh with user based information.

4. Using google maps

Have a look at the example provided by RET. Lori Toruff's post shows the use of google maps to display open houses. Whilst the concept of open houses has yet to take off in the UK (I don't know why, but it should!!) this shows how you can better use google maps.

5. Calls to action

Often forgotten. You need calls to action. Invest in this element, a good graphic etc. After all, you want that user to call you, email you, visit your property!

6. Update your contact information

Make this visible and easy to find. Open a linkedin account (good for links as well) others and ensure your business can be found and moreover a user can contact you easily. You would be surprised how many people bury this information.

7. Check your links

Check your links are not dead or broken. We are all guilty of this, but RET rightly points out that as a user if I find a page with 3 or 4 broken links I won't be very impressed.

8. Write to your ideal reader

It is easier to write niche or micro level. If you serve a small area write about that area. I have mentioned this in the past. The user finding your site is not interested in the world economy from your point of view, they may be interested in your town's economy, what happens, what is life like. This is all information you will have in your mind. Become an authority of your local area and write to educate, inform.

9. High quality Photos (it just needs to be said again and again)

I have added this in as I still see poor quality images of property. Perhaps we are banging our head against a brick wall, but one of my many mobile phones can take better pictures than I still encounter. It can't be the camera these days so must be the user. What is the problem, lack of interest, simple understanding of basic photography? An agent who takes poor photos is guilty of negligence in my book and if I were his employer it would warrant disciplinary proceedings.


Anonymous said...

Poor agents - when will they have time to show us the apartments and work on their professional quality if they have to blog, microblog, videoblog, etc.? A good agent is very busy 24/7 even in today's market. Even I, a nobody, am overwhelmed with feedback and mails from Twitter only.

This is all expected from the hired marketing specialists, I assume:-/

Property Owl said...

Hi Ciara. It is a fair point, too much of everything, too many portals, agents, marketing channels. There is a debate to be had on whether agents need it all.

I have mentioned before that an agent ought to choose a selection of channels (a mix) depending upon their audience/market. If you cater for young tech savvy renters then the chances are, they will want to communicate/hear from you through these channels or at the very least see that you are in these spaces so they can identify with you.

As for specialists, I don't know any :) We also disagree that you are a nobody, far from it!!

Anonymous said...

In case you haven't read this - excellent post on marketing to Generation Y:

Anonymous said...

Your article raises some interesting ideas. While it may not be realistic for estate agents to do everything you mention having up to date contact information, clear calls to action and high quality photos should be a basic requirement for all property websites.

One thing I am not clear on is the use of Twitter. Although I have heard much about it I am still unsure how it can be used to generate leads.

Property Owl said...

Thanks WOW. Twitter is communication. Your customers will be communicating in twitter. You may think some are talking jibberish about their day and yes they maybe, but follow these communications and realise that they are 'informing' each other. For example, I was following some ramblings yesterday and then in came a person who said they had found a good article with the link to that article. I went and read it, it helped me! Now substitute article for agent. What you will begin to see happening online is users recommending people sometimes just based on how they use the online space. This is potential lead generation. Know your customer and communicate with them, tell them who you are.