Web 2.0 Real Estate Marketing – It’s Social!

The visionaries behind The Cluetrain Manifesto presciently summed up our current market opportunity in the first of 95 theses: “Markets are Conversations.” The people you want as clients are increasingly looking forward to conversations with your real estate or mortgage agent. Your challenge? Find out how to make a presentation. And I’m going to give you the secrets, step by step…

listen first

Since markets are conversations, the good thing is that people (usually) don’t mind if you join the discussion. This gives you a huge free classroom. Take advantage of it.

Hear from other experts, competitors and professionals. But most importantly, listen to your customers.

The interesting thing about listening to your peers and competitors is that you can see how they speak to your customers and then compare their success. Nowhere is it easier to do competitive intelligence than on the Web. If you are marketing on the Web, much easier.

Are you looking for the best and smartest in the Web 2.0 real estate marketing business? They are the people who observe their potential customers. Here are the key questions I want to know about my clients on the social web?

  • Who are they?
  • With who are you talking?
  • What are you talking about?
  • Than words they use?

I highlighted a very important concept above, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Obviously, from the title, Real Estate Marketing, we are all in the real estate or mortgage business. Do not forget that your clients are not. They don’t talk to real estate people. They don’t talk about home inspections, escrows, seller’s lease, and mortgages unless they have to. And they don’t know what FHA, subprime and Fannie Mae are.

Search is your friend, especially blog search engines. Remember that you are looking for conversations. House talk, home buying, home refinancing, mortgages, mortgage brokers, mortgage scams, real estate scams (yes, look up hate talk too). Here are some good places to start conversations:

  • Technorati
  • Google blog search
  • ice rocket
  • Twitter
  • friend provider

Let’s go back to words! This is the number one marketing failure and a death sentence in Internet real estate marketing. Words are the way customers find us on the Web. If you use words they don’t use, she guessed it: No conversation!

These conversations, from blogs, discussion groups, and Twitter, are short and candid. Write them down and use them.

identify a niche

You know where they are, who they talk to, and the funny words they use. The next order of business is to find out what they want (not what they need), another common marketing mistake.

Their conversations will tell you this valuable information. It will reveal their grief, such as their monthly payments unexpectedly increasing, the loss of a job, or it may be a divorce that forces them to reconsider their current home or loan. Maybe they’re just worried about getting a bargain on a foreclosure, short sale, or distressed-spec home.

Once you know what they want and how they ask for it, it’s time to start building your Web 2.0 mortgage marketing platform.

Building a Web 2.0 Social Platform

Web 2.0 real estate marketing is all about directly engaging your prospects in a conversation, but you need an identity. This is how your website or blog should be. Almost every social service or application on the Internet associates you with a website. If you don’t have a URL for people to learn more about you, your efforts are already frustrated.

How you design and build your base of operations is critical to your success. Did I mention it’s your identity? This is how people are going to decide if they want their expert real estate lawyer.

I usually suggest a blog. It is simple and versatile. Also, it’s a conversation.

Here are some suggestions on where to get a blog:

  • wordpress.com
  • blogger.com
  • typepad.com

The other consideration for this platform is your name (identity), which in the web world is a domain name. Take some time to figure out the correct name. It doesn’t have to be your company name, and it probably shouldn’t be.

Here are some creative guidelines:

  • Consider your list of words that your customers use
  • Consider the niche you have selected
  • short is better
  • Register only .com, .org, .net

With your home and social identity in place, it’s time to fill it with credibility.

content in king

Web copy is the current king of internet marketing and lead generation. You not only need to know how to write, but also what to write. Again, go back to your list of words your customers use. Take each one and design your website to talk about each of these keywords.

A good resource for writing good copy for your website or blog is Copyblogger.com.

Your written words are critical because they are the language of Google and other search engines. However, don’t miss the growing importance of other types of media, such as audio and video. These types of rich media help make a conversation more personal. Consider adding podcasts, short audio messages, and videos to your social platform.

Here are some resources for developing your audio and video content:

  • talkshoe.com
  • BlogTalkRadio.com
  • youtube.com
  • Revver.com

Content builds credibility and trust, the two critical components in any sale. Make sure your real estate marketing plan understands the impact of content on an easier sale.

Develop Amplifying Relationships

Well, we have a platform and a lot of valuable content. But who knows about that? The Internet is a very big place. You, alone, yelling in a conference room that is already full of good conversations, won’t get you noticed.

You need amps. People who find you interesting and are willing to tell others about it. Hopefully some of these already have a large audience.

This, like the traditional offline Rolodex, is the role of social media. Connecting with people who have audiences is the fastest way to get into the conversation.

Great places to build an amp social network:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • dig
  • stumble upon

These are all great tools, and people on the Web love to share, but no one likes someone taking advantage of a relationship. Be respectful and add value first. Even in small ways.

Distribution makes a kingdom

Being a king is only interesting if you run a kingdom.

In the internet world that’s an audience of potential buyers who respond to your recommendations and/or you have a network of amplifiers that bring this ability.

Creating that kingdom of real estate marketing is a process of distributing your name, your value, and your content.

The most effective way to run such a distribution is based on many of the principles I’ve already laid out:

  • Blogging (RSS)
  • Twitter (140 character ads)
  • Delicious (marker content)
  • Digg (content voting)
  • Stumbleupon (content voting)

Add to these inherent distribution channels a few well-placed personal emails and you’ll be a real estate marketing mogul in no time.

Assembling the Web 2.0 Toolbox

You have the roadmap. A real estate marketing plan that should have you leads in no time, but what are some tools you should have on hand to run your new real estate marketing empire?

Here are some of the basics:

  • Google Analytics (website analytics)
  • Whirlwind (Twitter client)
  • Camtasia Studio (Windows) or SnapZ Pro (Mac)
  • webcam
  • Microphone

The key to building your real estate marketing platform is to test, test, tweak, and test again. These tools allow you to produce and test a variety of approaches to your social marketplace, which is the fastest way to success in real estate lead generation.

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