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How Does Real Estate Blogging Actually Generate Leads?

Bloggers_connect1I am here in San Francisco at the Inman Bloggers Connect Conference, about to go on stage to discuss the topic of lead generation through real estate blogging.  The most important question, that I know we are about to be asked is: What makes a real estate blog generated lead different from a website generated lead?

This article, which was written weeks ago, was saved specifically for today.

How Does Real Estate Blogging Actually Generate Leads?

HandshakeHere on the Tomato, we've already pointed out a few times how ensuring that you have a clearly visible call to action (read: Home Search, Home Value Report) is a necessary element to acquiring leads through your real estate blogsite.

1. How To Generate Leads Through Real Estate Blogging
2. Your Real Estate Blog Is Bait
3. The Starbucks Mistake

All this is emarketing 101, and something that I have been helping agents understand about their internet presence since my earliest training events back in 2000.

What really has to come to set the real estate blog apart as a lead generating tool has nothing to do with web 1.0 tactics.

The real estate blog is the Realtors' introduction to the Age of Participation: Web 2.0.

Developing a relationship with your audience and peers is the foundation of leveraging the Web 2.0 model to build your business as a real estate blogger.  By simply embracing the relationship you are able to build with your audience, you will gain their trust.  This trust, once earned, will have you earning a client; for all sales are based on this most important element: Trust.

The convenient placement of a home value report form, or the soft barrier to a home search is a ubiquitous effort.  Everyone is doing it.  There is no element of distinction if your site offers something that can be found on any capable real estate template website.

Engage_entertainWhat makes the real estate blog stand out, above the offering of obligatory tools is the regular effort of the Realtor to educate, enlighten, entertain and engage each visitor.  It is this distinction that not only generates leads for their traffic, but clients by means of a relationship.

Tomato graduates are telling stories of how they are regularly contacted by future clients that give them the impression that they’ve already met:

"I've been reading your blog for months." 
"I feel like I already know you." 

Tomato graduates explain how 'funny' it is because the relationship seems to have been incubated in the minds of their reader, but yet, they still have a lot to learn about their newly acquired clients.

This type of contact from a visitor to your website makes the collection of email addresses with standard web forms seem archaic.

Be the passionate expert that stands out in the crowd of cookie cutter websites and online real estate tools.  Consistent dedication to the education of your clients and visitors is the key to building a relationship and winning their trust.  Handling their concerns, challenges, hurdles, worries, confusions and misconceptions with your clearly thought out articles has you almost sitting at the kitchen table with them, one step closer to making what can be considered the most important financial decision of their lives.

Once you recognize how to leverage the blog in this manner, then and only then is a well placed lead generating form of any significant value.  Otherwise, it's just name collecting.  Understand, it's not the collection of leads (names and emails), it's the creation of a future clients when someone contacts you because of your blogging (read: commitment, passion, knowledge, consistency, dedication, experience, understanding and wisdom).  It is that person contacting you, that is ready to work with a someone that is you.

Blogging should be seen as a natural fit for Realtors that choose to embrace it as a their primary marketing tool.  Realtors play the part of consultant, counselor, confidant, and chauffeur well before they close.  Proper blogging allows the Realtor to develop that relationship with their future client, save for the driving around.

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Jim - it was so nice to meet you, and then to hear your talk today. It's indeed about building a relationship. Generally when a potential client calls, it does lead to a contract, a closing, and an ongoing relationship.

Wow, Sharon. You can say that again.

and then you can say it one more time. I was at Bloggers Connect too and thought I didn't get a chance to meet you I really took a lot home from everything that you and the other bloggers had to say.

We find using Altos Research reports in conjunction with our Craigslist ads to be very effective lead generation.

Posted that expose' picture of you asking the Top Bloggers panel a question over on our blog today! Good to finally meetup

Sharon and John, it was such a pleasure to meet you and all those other people that I have built relationships with through blogging. It blew me away, to tell you the truth.

Sandy, perhaps in Jan for the next Connect :)

The conversation on this blog really seemed to strike a rich chord over at ActiveRain for those looking for some continued reading:

Jim-I just love the new tomato tool bar! kuddos to you and the rest of your hot tomatoes! My firefox tool bar is almost starting to look like yours!

Jim:: A belated congratulations on your most excellent contributions at Real Estate Connect.

Three cheers for the tomato vine!

--Roberta Murphy

good info...Thanks

Now that project blogger and the conference are over I have decided to leave the real estate blogoshere. As of yesterday I am a Minnesota blogger who sells real estate. I am not liking the rules of real estate blogging and have never really been much for rules in the first place. I want to have fun again. More photos and more fun. heck I may stop writing all together and just have a photo blog.

What a lovely and inspirational post. I think I have changed my mind. I really want to be a real estate blogger. :)

Many realtors already jumped into blogging, without having a clue what to do with it. I think they should read this post first.

Tell you what. It's so true. I'm from South Africa and generating a large number of visitors to my site is very difficult due to the small number of people that actually surf the internet in South Africa. But of the 100 visits I get to my BLOG every day, I generate a good 2 to 3 leads.

It's incredible.
Blogging is a great way of attracting, trust worthy clients!

I was perusing the web and found your delightful site-as someone not directly involved with the real estate field- (I teach gifted education)- I was hoping you might be able to recommend a site, etc, that would be of benefit in helping to market my husband's title insurance company. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.His company is based in Clearwater, Florida.
Thank you and have a happy new year

Internet buyers are in the information gathering stage in the beginning. Blogging is a good place to get some answers for them. Makes sense.

I am actually very suprised at how many agent still do not blog (or do anything on the internet for that matter).

Every Tom Dick and Harry Realtor is blogging. You need to think beyond the blog. I've been blogging and writing a newsletter for more than four years, a newsletter that agents, up until last week, could brand. It works. I get every lead from either the newsletter or blog, but what is next? Does the Tomato know? Feel free to contact me directly if you do.

Every Tom Dick and Harry Realtor is blogging. You need to think beyond the blog. I've been blogging and writing a newsletter for more than four years, a newsletter that agents, up until last week, could brand. It works. I get every lead from either the newsletter or blog, but what is next? Does the Tomato know? Feel free to contact me directly if you do.

Your experience in the marketplace is oftentimes why customers do business with real estate professionals. Blogging is that door into your opinions, and how future clients will know to call you when they need real estate services.

Blogs are a great way to get to the top of search engines and create a relationship with clients before they contact you.

Blogs are all over the place now for real estate! This resource makes a great point on creating a bullseye market rather than focusing on something too large. Define your market and specialities and seperate yourself from the pack.

I got a listing from my blog a few months ago and it was from someone who liked my upbeat tone about economic news here in Canada. The client liked my positive outlook and called me after reading my blog posts. Here in Vancouver, there aren't too many realtors who do more on their blog than post listings which is not what they are about.

Wow... I really like this site!!

Yes, selling real estate is all about relationships! Attracting people (i.e. clients) that mesh with your ideals will create client loyalty. If you are a dynamic, interesting person and can write a dynamic, interesting blog, you will attract (well duh!) buyers and sellers that share (or appreciate and respect) your opinions. I feel that many typical real estate blogs are written in a formal, statistical, purely informational style. Buyers and sellers want area market information, stats, sold listing info...but they also want personal insight. Community information. The mini Chamber of Commerce.

Writing great content for your blog is always going to be necessary. But don't forget to put the word out about your site and constantly SEO. If Google can't find it, your audience can't read it, and they can't "raise their hand" for your services when they are ready to become a lead or prospect.

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