What My Mom Taught Me About Internet Marketing: Focus
I was having breakfast with my mom the other day when the subject of internet marketing floated. We were talking about how the internet improved the process of how we fish for clients. “We don’t use chumming anymore, Ma, we just go where they hang out and throw in the bait they want,” (I should’ve used the marriage analogy.) And to my surprise the idea of search marketing appealed to her. “So how much do you pay Google to show your website?” She inquired. I told her I don’t pay them (but that you can, but that’s a whole different story.)
I began telling her how I got my site indexed by search engines and the whole shebang – domain age, links, on page SEO, updated content, nice layout etc,. And right at this time, a Siamese thought dawned on me: “Man, this whole search marketing process is pretty laborious!” and “I can’t believe my mom gets it!! I must be doing something right.”
(Which gave birth to the “Mom-Test”: if your mother comprehends your online marketing strategy in 15 minutes; you’re sitting on a goldmine.)
Four years ago, if anybody told me what it would take to get a site ranking #1 in Google, I would’ve sprinted the other way. There’s building a website, and there’s building a business. Aim to build a business, however heartbreaking the first 12 months. Work hard to be useful.
My dear reader, if you choose the latter, expect to cough up significant amounts of money (I was lusting so bad over an AUDI in 2007, needless to say, I still drive a sexy Honda) which would be dwarfed by the hours you’ll need to put in (sacrificing your Desperate Housewives 2546-episode series).
In order to taste a decent Return of Investment (ROI), you need to put work in, at a predefined time frame, usually between 6 to 12 months on average. You need the will to see your project through. Mind you, there’s a good chance of failure but you’ll just never know until you invest significant time.
Internet marketing is for big girls (and boys). And you, my friend, will need to FOCUS on one thing at a time. I’ll put it this way: if you want to twitter your way to being a number one agent, go ahead and work your twitter followers (not excluding activities bordering, lightly stalking local media people online, LOL’ing at their corny jokes, retweeting, PM’ing, you name it) and invest at least 6 months doing this. 10 hours a week.
If you want to Facebook your way to 50 closings a year, then follow a rigorous system of attaining that. I don’t know, customize your page, consult with the best in the business. Post 100 comments a week on the photos of your potential client / distant friend albums. And give it time. ‘Coz it’ll take time to see ROI.
And, there’s…. (my cheeks are turning red)…admittedly, my favorite child – Search Marketing. And can I tell you why it’s my favorite? I already know where the sharks are, I just need to prepare the bait. Google owns 84.58% of the search engine market share – everyone’s in there, shark cousin, mother in law, friend, niece, aunt, weird neighbor… searching for an unfulfilled need. That’s basically it: you fulfill a pre-defined need (there are tools to help you to identify demand).
Yes, it requires saying goodbye to Carrie Bradshaw and her lunch dates with her BFF’s. But search marketing at its very core is a simple process – once you decide to focus on it – it gives back what you put in. It’s a technological paradox of our 2.0 world: work hard to cast a wide net and then you can sit pretty (20 hours a week).
How do you do it?
- Invest in a Strong Domain Name
If you are not a household name in your real estate niche (Barbara Corcoran –New York, Shari Chase — Lake Tahoe) it is better to invest in a strong, generic, market-defining domain. Even if it’s a .org; actually, I prefer .org’s over a .net. A strong domain name is like having a great piece of land, it’ll be infinitely easier and cost effective to build out a great website on a great piece of land.
BEWARE: many of these generic real estate domains cost more than gold. The big reasons are its rarity, tested & proven to be the exact terms users are searching for and Google’s exact match domain bonus. It’s expensive because you’re buying instant respect and the domain owners know it.
- Generally, Long Tail Keywords Have Better Conversion Than Generics (“Reno short sale expert” vs “Reno Real Estate”).
Check your analytics and expand (build a separate page) on converting long tail keywords. Dominating these terms can make you rich.
- Create Remarkable Content.
Work harder than the next guy. If he writes a two paragraph introduction to the community with sprinkles of pictures. Build out a whole page with 10 pages of copy and 100 pictures you personally took. This will make users happy and google, ultimately, follows satisfied users.
Learn how to create simple graphs on Microsoft Excel and brand it to your site (email me if you need help). Be the default website for the area/market you are targeting by having the most detailed information.
If you act like yourself, are willing to be human, and feed into your character flaws, sometimes those are more citation worthy than what you’re good at.
- Get professional design on your site.
Seth Godin gave this sage advice, “copy from a remarkable site that’s not directly competing with your business.” This will make it easier to communicate with your designer and give you a faster turnaround time.
I’m a firm believer of what you say is more important than how you say it. Content is more important than how pretty your site is. But if you want to increase your chances of attracting high quality links and to let your readers know you are serious about what you do — a credible, well-made design will help you get to the next level.
- Build Links
I abide by 3 rules: do it consistently, be personal and the more you use your imagination, the better (vertical related fields).
For more info on other steps to take – click here: How To Build A Successful Real Estate Site in 2011
P.S – which reminds me, I need to work on my ‘twitter friends’. Please Add ; )
About the Author: Fascinated with business models more than super models. Joe has been stalking the Northern NV market since 2007 when he started Reno Real Estate Blog. His latest project is a site devoted to a niche community: ArrowCreek Homes.