Real estate lead generation ideas: Is blogging a viable strategy?
We asked Bill Gassett who is a top real estate agent covering Franklin MA and has one of the top real estate blogs in the country.
Bill can you tell us a little about yourself?
Andrew thanks very much for the opportunity to be interviewed for your real estate blog! I have been in the business as a full time Realtor for the last twenty seven years. I started my career as a Prudential agent and in 1996 decided to take my business to RE/MAX where I have been since. I became seriously involved with blogging about eight years ago. I cut my teeth so to speak as a blogger at the popular platform known as Active Rain. This is where I learned quite a bit about blogging and the internet in general. About eight years ago I started my own blog where I share information that helps buyers and sellers both here in Massachusetts, as well as the rest of the country.
What type of traffic do you generate from your blog?
My blog Maximum Real Estate Exposure generates an average of 700-800 visits a day.
This of course can fluctuate based on whether I have published an article on a particular day or not. Over the course of the last eight years I have actually had a couple of different blogs but Maximum Real Estate Exposure is my primary site at this point.
What are your top lead generation tactics?
Without question my number one lead generation tactic is writing quality articles.
This is where most real estate agents miss the boat. The typical real estate blogger will throw up a 300-500 word article with no thought to great quality and will wonder why it is never found in search. What most Realtors don’t realize is that the average length of a post found on the first page of Google for a competitive search is over 2000 words. What you need to understand is Google rewards quality. All of their latest algorithm changes are designed to weed out much of the crap found online and show the best content possible. Does this happen on every occasion. No it does not but Google has gotten much better at it over the last three years or so.
When I publish an article I want it to be memorable.
Rarely if ever are any of my articles I publish under one thousand words. Most of them are over fifteen hundred. I like my subject matter to be covered in depth. Once I have the content where I feel it needs to be and I hit the publish button my job is not done. Any good blogger will tell you that in order to have a good blog you need exposure. One of the best ways to do this is through various social media channels. I use them all including Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. I have been able to establish great relationships with others in the industry through engagement and reciprocal sharing. I have a fairly large and engaged audience in all of these social settings. Without question my favorite platform is Google Plus. I would highly recommend that every Realtor should use Google Plus for Real Estate. Make sure you claim Google authorship for your blog so your picture appears in search. Most studies indicate this can increase your click through rate by over 30 percent by folks doing online searches.
When did you start marketing yourself online and how long did it take to grasp?
One of the things I noticed right away is how print media was dying and how people were becoming more involved online in their daily lives.
I dove head first into online marketing and never looked back.
It was something that interested me so I learned rather quickly. Due to my blog I quickly determined that SEO or search engine optimization was a critical part of being successful online. You can have the greatest looking website in the world but if nobody can find it then it’s pointless. Early on I studied all of the most well known SEO experts and put their good knowledge to use. After a while I knew as much about SEO as most of the pro’s. There is no question this took my efforts to another level online.
What are your thoughts about SEO for Realtors?
Honestly this is the number one thing that most real estate agents don’t have a clue about and it absolutely amazes me.
There is nothing that can take your business online quicker than being found in competitive local online searches.
There are consumers who don’t have a Realtor in mind when they are going to sell or buy a home and will use the internet as a tool to find one. If a homeowner doesn’t have an electrician and they need one guess what they will do? Get on Google and type is electricians, city, state. They do the same thing when they want a Realtor! At the very least a real estate agent should attempt to get their business into what is known as the “Google 7 pack” which displays 7 lucky individuals who have enhanced their websites and digital footprint around the net for local searches.This where a blog that is well optimized can really help your business!
A real estate agent who want to obtain business online should have more than just a rudimentary understanding of SEO. They should study it and do what it takes to be as visible as possible! In fact I would read these killer SEO tips for real estate. Study this well and you will learn quite a bit about what it takes to be successful online.
If you could give one tip to every Realtor with a blog what would it be?
In one word it would be perseverance.
What I have found over the years is most real estate agents give up too quickly on any kind of marketing activity. If it does not bring immediate results the average agent gives up thinking this does not work. In most instances that could not be further from the truth! The perfect example is the Realtor who gets a new listing and sends out 300 “just listed” post cards. There are so many real estate agents that will just give up and proclaim mailings don’t work if they don’t receive any calls. Marketing takes time. It is rare that anything is an overnight success. You need to be consistent. The same holds true with blogging.
It will take most real estate bloggers fifty articles before they can even consider themselves established. That is a lot of work. Blogging takes time and effort. It will not be a magic bullet for your business with the hard work and creativity.If you are willing to invest the time it can be a lucrative way to get business. Good luck!