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A Frenzied 5 Creative Ways to Use A Real Estate Blog to Demolish Your Market Competition

Today’s offering is a guest post from Tomato client and real estate blogging guru, Ben Roberts of Exit Pro Realty and TheExitPro.com.

Thanks for the effort, Ben!

FiveReaders of The Real Estate Tomato come in one of three flavors...

  1. They've got a RET blog and are always reading and improving their skills.
  2. They don't have a RET blog and are considering making the investment in their online presence.
  3. They stumble upon the Tomato and are in awe of the fresh ideas within these juicy posts... leading them inevitably to numbers 2 or 1.
I can say this of course, because I'm a guest contributor. Regardless of who you are or what you want to glean from this blog, you come for information.
How can I bump up my internet presence?
What should I do to differentiate myself from others in my market?
How can I convert more website visitors into prospects and sales?
How do I blog for business?

A Frenzied 5 Creative Ways to Use A Tomato Blog to Demolish Your Market Competition

1. Neighborhood Pages and Posts

I like Teresa Boardman's AR post on Hyper Local Photos as Bait.

Great idea there so I'm not going to touch on it here. Local content gets people that buy locally to your site... duh. Make neighborhood pages with information on home values, history, amenities, events, and homes for sale. Don't kill visitors with information though.

The Real Estate Tomato's support and tutorials can help you learn to embed neighborhood Google maps with schools and places of interest that give a visitor lots of information without the overload.

2. Market Data Aggregation

Whoa, fancy words. Aggregation is "the collecting of units or parts into a mass or whole."

Doing Market data posts is good, great even. I'm starting to see a lot of people do it. Unfortunately, many people are going about it the wrong way and wasting a lot of their time.

Posts are great, focusing on individual cities, neighborhoods, price ranges, or property types are great. Now how do you organize all that hard work? You probably just stick them in a category labeled 'Market Data", "Home Prices" or something similar.

How about showcasing all that hard work!?
Create a page that gives visitors an introduction to your area of expertise, the markets you serve, and then aggregate the data into meaningful groups. Now, when someone wants to know 'how the market is do'in,' you can tell them to head to www.YourDomain.com/market or some such jazz and impress the pants off of them.

It makes the time and effort you put in much more visible and distinctive to the public.

3. personlized sales strategyCustom Landing Pages

Speaking of being different… Why wouldn't you want to be able to speak specifically to a specific target audience on a specific subject in a specific way, specifically?

Very few people use them so maybe there's a reason I just haven't been let in on yet, but I think it's just a matter of being ignorant.

Any time you can speak to a targeted audience you better speak to them... specifically. That means creating landing pages for different people that visit your site. You should start with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and any other social network you use that people visit you from with any regularity. Then add landing pages for any neighborhoods or cities you farm.

When you send out correspondence you can put your website address as www.YourDomain.com/neighborhood so that you can speak directly to those people with specific language and specific calls to action. It will increase your relevancy and your conversions from visitors to clients.

4. Custom 404 Marketing Page

404Huh? I thought that's where people went when they type in the wrong address.

It is, and you can use that fact to your advantage in a couple of ways.

Check 'em out.

The Easy Way -
Modify your 404 template/page to reinforce your personal brand and help visitors find their way to the information they were interested in. Here are some cool ones as organized by Smashing Magazine.

There's a cool plugin for that called AskApache Google 404. I don't know if it's RET approved but they can hook you up with it or something similar. It takes the address the person typed in and does a custom search based on that information, giving them a list of likely relevant pages that they meant to go to in the first place.

Now that's useful.

The Cool Way -
I have to give credit where credit is due. Ryan Hartman at ReTechulous actually came up with this a while back and I've been implementing it for about a year. Thanks to Chris at RET for helping me with the programming.

Start by embedding a video of your awesome home marketing strategy (you have one of those right?) on your 404 page.  Make sure you have it auto-plays so it starts right when prospects hit the page.  Make it snappy, cool, whatever. Just make it you.

Now... Send out postcards to a high turnover neighborhood in an area you work and set up a label system so that you can customize each card to say... Now they're curious. What the heck could this crazy Realtor have on the Internet about MY property?

You get it? You create one page that looks like an infinite number of custom pages to individual homeowners. You could use this for lots of other marketing ideas. It increases the conversion of postcard campaigns ten-fold. FYI, It would probably be a good idea if you put a contact form right below that video.

Twittersm5. Aggregate Local Twitter Content with HashTags!

Want you're blog to be the local go-to for local info?

Use twitter hashtags in your area and figure out a way to get them on your blog.

I just embedded (using an Iframe) a Twub on a page and called the page that hashtag name. If you use Twitter and don't get hashtags you need to do a little studying because they're super useful. I'm sure the Real Estate Tomato also has other ways of getting hashtag content on your blog as you can get it through an rss feed.

Again, this would be great as an additional source of neighborhood content for a neighborhood page.
Just a thought.

This is just a few ways I've used my personal Tomato Blog to differentiate myself from the pack in my market and I can tell you that it has worked.

Keep churning out good content.
Keep it interesting, relevant, and timely.

Every month I have more traffic on my website than the two largest real estate companies in the region... combined.

I'm only saying that because these two companies are large traditional offices with old school traditional websites. The largest used to have a Pagerank of 6 and has just recently hit a 4. Think their methods are outdated? In a market where every dollar and minute counts, shouldn't you be spending your time on marketing channels and practices that get you more business? I

'm confident in saying the RET knows their &#%* and teaches willing clients how to do it right.

Designs come and go, good training endures and rewards the student.
That's what the Top Tomato taught me.

__

Ben, thanks for the huge plug as well as the fantastic and creative ideas for maximizing your success with a real estate blog.  I know you have your act together with this blogging thing, so much so that you are being trusted to run the Training and Coaching for TheExitPro.com.  Best of luck with that, and feel free to drop your knowledge on my audience anytime.

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Comments

Cool post Ben. And thanks much for the juicy link cred!

Great post! I have been blogging for a few months and am excited to start using some of these tips and techniques. Thanks!

@Ryan - no problem dude. It was a great idea that deserves credit.

@Brooke - Love your site. Nice use of Keyword loading down at the bottom, especially the thing about Montreux misspellings. Keep at it and don't forget to submit your best stuff to the Carnival of Real Estate. It helped me just from a 0 to a 3 pagerank in just under 2 months.

These are great information! I will surely take note of them as I get my blog running again. Thanks! Very informative post.

Question regarding item #4...Could this type of advertising be construed by some knucklehead at NAR as deceptive and lead to an ethics violation? Based on their track record I see it as a possibility. Could be a liability issue for giving that kind of advice on your site. Just saying.

Tony - It's always a good question. The way that I have done it I don't see any way this could be construed as deceptive advertising. There's nothing unethical about it. It's in the same class as what publisher's clearing house does or those car dealerships that send you a car key telling you to come to the dealership and try it out.

I'm sure that you could figure out a way to position it where it certainly WAS an ethics violation so... be careful, as always. CYA.

FYI, unless you were reported by a visitor, I seriously doubt there's any reason anyone at NAR would see it. They're way to busy wasting Realtor's money on programs like 'buyer's assist' ;-)

Great post. I have been trying to think of new topics to blog about and after reading this blog, it gave me a lot of new ideas. Thanks!

Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!

Very excellent post - it's important to remember that a few little things can go a long way.

Great ideas here to keep me on track. Glad I found your website.

Lots of good information there. I'm going to start using these techniques on my blog

Ben, very good article. That's very impressive you're getting so many hits. Good tips.

Well written article. I currently have my own blog to keep all of my clients up to date with the current trends and news in the San Diego home market. Your article brought up some great tools that I can use to increase the feasibility and quality of my blog. I appreciate the advice and ideas.

Hi,

This is great stuff. The 404 is a very good one, I use it on my blog but instead of using it as a marketing page my website logs users IP addresses and locations and gives them data and posts that are relevant to them. It works really well.

taking small steps eventually results into major successes. Very Nice Post. :)

I totally agree that Realtor blogs can work against themselves and be a disservice unless they are used correctly. It is all about the information that you are providing to your readers and clients. It needs to be credible and up to date. There is no need to preach your beliefs and ideas to your clients it will only turn them away quickly.

I agree with your article and also want it input that it is more than the content on your blog. Sure if you don't put adequate content and up to date information it hurts your blog. But having a blog that just looks unprofessional and tacky is another negative aspect. I feel personal blogs should reflect their user in every way possible.

Blogging is a great tool for any Realtor. It is an excellent way to prove to your client base that you are actually a credible professional. That is why the material must be important and full of value in order to show your knowledge. Here in Boulder, CO the real estate business is more about your knowledge and expertise than what you are doing each day like so many blogs.

Content content content. I cannot stress enough that the whole importance and reason customers and clients will normally view your website or blog is because they are trying to find an answer or view some valuable information. That is why using any of your business websites or networks on a personal and unprofessional level is terrible.

Great post! I have been updating with this Real Estate blog for sometime and its a great blog and very informative. I will move with you too!

Thanks for the post. I love the 404 page section. You know it's a good idea to do it your two options of how to do something is a)easy and b)cool! Thanks for the advice!

Tony,

I like the knucklehead comment above on the 404 idea! :) Wouldn't be surprising.

As for the 404 idea itself in action, as it pertains to prospecting expireds, I've launched a full service (Expiromatic) that revolves around the idea.

Jim, can I drop the link, or just let folks click through to my link to see what's up?

Ryan,

Put the link in the comments and I will add it to the article as well.

Wow, as usual, great post with a lot of useful information. Number 1 is my favorite - I have been talking to agents in my area about doing this same thing.

I checked out Teresa's post on local traffic... great stuff, I think she hits the nail on the head.

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