My newest test I’m doing is a community website to try and generate listings. I know, it isn’t new and I’ve done it before, but I’ve never really put the effort into it that needs to be made to create a successful endeavor. To do this properly, effectively and professionally, you are going to have to start by doing some research and take the time to write enough content on the site to make it valuable to buyer AND sellers because it is going to be part of your listing presentation that should set you apart from other agents who might be competing against you. If you do this correctly, I think there is a great opportunity to generate listings consistently. Like a farm, but virtual!
So to begin with, you need to find the right neighborhood. It needs to have significant turnover so the neighborhood needs to be large. I would say anything less than 1000 homes and you will be wasting your time. My chosen neighborhood for this project has about 3000 homes. It also has 2-3 dominant agents who have the majority of listings and I’m not one of them. I don’t shy away from a good challenge though and this seems like one that is right up my alley. I wouldn’t try this if you are relatively new or overly inexperienced as there are probably easier ways to farm an area than trying to take on 3 big agents at once.
What Your Website Should Do
Once you have your neighborhood, you need a website. Here is mine that I am using to try and target terms like Windward real estate agent and terms associated with sellers. I am also going to target buyer terms such as “Windward homes for sale”, “Windward homes” and “homes for sale in Windward” because part of the listing presentation will be that I will use this website to bring highly targeted buyers because we will be found easily for these very specific search terms. We’ll complement search traffic with paid ads on places like Facebook where you can create mad-accurate ads for very specific things. If your website can’t be found, it really isn’t there, right?
Content for Your Site
Ok, so you have your neighborhood and you have your website so now you need to build your content. The website needs to have some general information on the homepage with a way to search homes for sale, a search page, a video of the neighborhood with information about it, school information, a page with detailed information about the neighborhood, a contact form, an easily found phone number and some information about the lifestyle associated with living there. This could be shopping and dining, neighborhood amenities, etc…
Here is my video on the site. Click on the image and it will pop over on your screen:
It seems there should be no shortage of topics to blog about, but when you narrow down to a neighborhood, it could get more difficult. Your blog is your personality and where people will hear what you have to say about the community. I’m going to do video blog posts every other week on market statistics, sold listings and other things I’ve yet to think of. I’m only planning on posting to it once week or so. I’m not going to kill myself and I don’t think you have to. One week a blog post with a couple of pictures or a nearby restaurant or something and the next week a video. Simple. Don’t make it hard.
Show Good Faith – Give Something Back
Back when I first started selling real estate, I used to hand deliver a monthly newsletter to the neighborhood where I lived. In this newsletter, I gave a quarter page ad to any homeowner who wanted to advertise their business to other people in the neighborhood. Before long, I had a waiting list of people who wanted that spot. I did not charge them for it. After all, I wanted to give them something of value and that helped. Use your community website to do something similar – maybe even create a directory where homeowners can add their business. People like to work with neighbors and this is a great way to build trust.
If you have a greta site that you are proud, use it in mailers to the neighborhood as well. There is no rule that says you are only allowed to market online. Get people to find it online and in print. It will just help to reinforce the brand you are trying to create.
Let’s Get Started!
Ok, I have some content to add to my site and I need to find some other places to start marketing it to.
Did I forget anything? Have some suggestions? If so, leave a comment below…