Online marketing - find customers online

They key to your success with online marketing is creating high quality content that is valuable to your readers and relevant to the market.

Blog posts that are engaging and interesting to read will be shared on social media, and make your readers stay longer and come back for more of your writing in the future. It is also important to focus your content around the right topics, keywords and terms. The right content will be relevant to your target audience, make your site appear higher on search results and create more efficient marketing campaigns that will turn your readers into customers.

  1. Create content consistently - The most important aspect of online marketing is content creation. The other methods such as optimizing your content for search engines (SEO) and advertising (SEM) is based on the website or a blog with content that you can optimize and link to. Be persistent with writing and generating valuable content over time. Allocate time daily to write helpful advice and interact with people on social media and online communities.

  2. Teach - A useful method to create valuable content is to teach. Think about the questions your clients have, what concerns them and what they need to learn to save money and make profit and write your advice for them. When potential clients will start considering your blog as a reliable source of knowledge and advice, they will come back to it and see in you an authority on the industry.

  3. Be relevant - When choosing which keywords you are going to focus on you need to take few metrics into consideration, external factors such as traffic and competition, and internal factors such as how relevant these keywords are to your content and whether they convert your visitors into leads or clients. Make sure you are not choosing too broad terms. Keywords that are too broad might not convert as well since they are not focused enough for your specific clients, are likely to have much more competition and be more expensive to purchase adwords for. For example, try to focus your terms by specifying location, the desired transaction (rent, sell, buy), property type (home, apartment) and the like.

A very useful tool to come up with keywords and their rankings is the google keyword planner (which replaced the google keyword tool). This tool will suggest new keywords for you based on the keywords you enter and will show you the amount of traffic and competition for these terms. Use this tool to discover new search terms and to see how much traffic there is for each one of them.

  1. Identify top performers - Set up a tracking tool on your blog such as google analytics. With this tool you’ll be able to know which articles are the most popular ones and which keywords are performing best for you. Once you identify the top performing content you’ll know to focus better on your clients needs and interests.

Based on these keywords you’ll be able to build an efficient adwords plan to advertise your website on google. Since you already know what your potential clients are looking for, these keywords will also be useful to create converting ads.

  1. Find your niche and focus - Analyzing the popular keywords on your blog can also help you to focus on a more targeted niche. When visitors come to your website to read about a certain topic and you see there is a demand for it you should learn from this data and emphasize these keywords even more. Familiarize yourself with this niche and be more focused on it. For example, if you see that your content is popular with first time home buyers or with people looking for mortgage advice, you should become an expert on this topic, write more articles about it and focus your ads and marketing around this area. When you are focused on a specific topic, you will be seen as an expert on it, potential clients will trust you more and your ads will convert better.

Always remember that your readers come first. Content that is over optimized for keywords but that is not interesting or not relevant for your readers will be useless for you to achieve your goals.

Social media - how to find leads on Facebook and Twitter

Social media is a valuable tool you can use to promote yourself online, create audience and reach potential clients. The key to be successful on social media is to share the right content and interact with the right audience.

Share valuable content

Teach your followers and give them information they are looking for. Whether it’s information about upcoming developments in your area that might affect their pocket or tips and tricks on how to sell a house or rent an apartment. If your followers will find that you share valuable information and that you have an understanding of the industry they will keep coming back to learn more.

Create a strategy - think about what content will be valuable for other professionals in the industry that they will likely share? What would you like to ask your potential clients to know them better? What did you learn in the past year that made you more efficient and that others will also benefit from?

Engage your network

To gain more followers and reach the right potential clients, make sure to always promote your social media channels. Add the url’s of your social accounts to the signature of your email, business cards and newsletters. Make sure you have links to these accounts from your website. Follow and interact online with your past clients, potential clients and other professionals in the real estate industry. Engage with people you would like to connect with by commenting and sharing their content.

Create a strategy - make a list of the people you would like to engage with. Interact with them authentically and consistently but without being pushy. Comment on their facebook posts, retweet them or just start a conversation. Never use generic marketing techniques as they create more damage than they are helping you. Always be personal and relevant.

Be persistent

Like with anything else worth pursuing, it will take time until results will begin to show up. You need to stay consistent with generating relevant and valuable content and engaging with the right audience and the results will come along.

Do you have other social media tips and tricks that you would like to share? Add them in the comments.

This week in real estate agents news

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This week in real estate agents news

  • Real estate agents review the final signing to make sure no mistakes are made - Do you review your clients closing statement before the actual signing? Many things can go wrong at closing such as one of the sides changing their mind, missing items, or wrong amounts. Some agents consider attending the signing as part of their job while others don’t attend to avoid liability.

  • Using video to promote real estate listings - Real estate agents turn to video as a promotional tool to make their listings stand out. The agents are being creative with the production, hoping the videos will go viral and attract clientele through social media. The videos price tag is usually between $2k to $5k.

  • Real estate agent imprisonment - Real estate agent guilty of breaching the Estate Agents Act 1980 by misusing trust account money totalling $155,000 was sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment. The agent confessed taking the money when inspectors notified him they will come to audit his account.

  • Housing prices recovering in South Korea - Following the south korean economy growth momentum, housing prices are rising for a straight fifth month. The combination of relatively low prices and cheap borrowing is drawing buyers back after prices hit bottom last year.

  • Indiana upgrades licensing requirements - Real estate agents in Indiana are required to upgrade their liecenses to a broker level. Starting from July 1, only brokers will be able to assist consumers buy and sell houses. read more about the difference between brokers and real estate agents.

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Real estate agent salary - facts and numbers

When real estate agents first enter the market without experience, network or contacts their income can be low. As they are building their client base and gaining more experience the income will gradually increase. The more satisfied clients and referrals an agent has, the faster he will close deals and increase his income.

The average real estate agents earn around 40,000 annually, however this number depends on many factors such as the state, the number of deals they close and the comision. Florida has the higher rate of employment for agents but in NY agents earn a much higher salary than the average.

If the agent is employed with a brokerage, he is usually paid a base salary, otherwise the work as a real estate agent is mostly 100% commission based on a percentage of the sale or rent price. The compensation therefore depends on two factors: a) the ability of the agent to find new clients, and b) his ability to quickly close the deals he is working on. The income also depends on the prices of real estate in the location in which the real estate agent is working in. Though the higher the demand is the more competition there is between agents in this area.

Like with any other profession, there are some starting fees for a real estate agent. You will be better off if you plan ahead and set a budget for the time you will be studying, the fees you will have to pay and a way to support yourself for the first year while your income is low.

What is the difference between a real estate agent, a broker and a realtor?

There is some confusion in the real estate industry regarding the roles and names of agents, brokers, realtors and salespeople. These roles are different from each other and clients should expect different services from each one.

  • Real estate salesperson - anyone who took real estate classes, passed the qualifying examination and got licensed in their state (see how to become a real estate agent). You should take formal real estate advice only from a licensed real estate salesperson. A licensed salesperson can work for a broker, under his supervision.

  • Broker - Once a licensed salesperson has several years of experience (depending on the state), and once he completeted additional classes and passed the qualifying examination administered by the Department of State, he can be licensed as a broker. A broker can apply for a license on behalf of a brokerage business and he is responsible for the conduct of the business. A broker can accept listings and be hired by a client to represent them and act on their behalf.

  • Agent - this is where the confusion begins. Both salespeople and brokers are often being referred to as “agents” but a salesperson is not a broker. A salesperson can act as the broker’s agent and negotiate listings and transactions but only the broker can accept listing and he is liable for them.

  • Realtor - REALTOR is a registered trademark of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A realtor is a member that belongs to one of the affiliated NAR associations and can be a broker, salesperson or even property manager, appraiser, counselor or anyone engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. To become a realtor you will need to join the realtors association, choosing a brokerage firm that is associated with it and attend a number of meetings designated by your local chapter.

6 top online sources for real estate news

A real estate agent must stay updated with the latest news from the real estate industry. We prepared a list of real estate news websites that you might find to be useful source of information. The list includes websites that cover mortgage trends and forecasts, technology innovations and national real estate trends and statistics.

  • CNN Money - real estate - CNN has an entire section dedicated to real estate news. It has national coverage of real estate trends, mortgage updates and forecasts.

  • NYTimes real estate - mostly NYC area focused news but also useful insights about the national market.

  • MSN real estate - MSN’s real estate section with news, advice and tools.

  • Bloomberg real estate - real estate coverage, mostly from the financial aspect. A great source for pricing updates and economical trends.

  • inman - a very frequintly updated real estate news site with a long list of professional staff and contributors. It covers technology innovations, real estate latest trends and local events.

  • news - a real estate news website by the national association of realtors. Updated 2-3 times a week and has interesting articles about the housing marking and mortgage news.

Honorable mentions:

Did we miss an important news source? Drop us a line and we’ll update the list.

Is becoming a real estate agent right for me?

Deciding if a career as a real estate agent is right for you is an important decision to make before you start the process of getting a license. Becoming a real estate agent is not difficult but you should be aware of the challenges and personality type the job requires, and decide if it is the right profession for you. While many people become successful agents and have fulfilling careers, others quit soon after they start working as agents due to simply realizing this is not what they want to do in life.

It takes several qualities to be successful as a real estate agent:

  • outgoing, love working with people - to work as a real estate agent you must be a people person. This job will require you to work with many different people and you will have to be able to identify and address each one’s special needs.
  • positive and patient - since not all clients will result in sales, you must be prepared for serving many prospective clients without earning a commission. Rejection is part of the game so you will need to develop a thick skin.
  • self promotion - you will be in charge of promoting yourself and getting leads to potential clients. You cannot be ashamed to ask for referrals, recommendations and ask friends and family for contacts.
  • hard worker - your customers will expect you to be timely and prompt. Since most people work and have obligations during the day, they prefer to do the apartment or house hunting/sale during evenings and weekends after their work hours. This means that often, you will be required to work long hours, evenings and weekends.
  • entrepreneurial - becoming a real estate agent is in many ways similar to being a business owner. Since the work is commission based, you are not guaranteed a paycheck every month.

Have questions about the profession of a real estate agent? Ask us in the comments and we’ll try to help.

How to become a real estate agent?

The process of becoming a real estate agent is similar in all states but with different requirements for each. To become a licensed agent, you will need to:

  1. take classes in a state approved school
  2. get practice at an agency
  3. take the national and state’s tests and apply for a broker license

The requirements of applying for a license differ from state to state. The minimum age for an applicant is between 18-21. Other requirements might include a criminal background check and various licensing fees.

In all states you will be required to complete a certain hours of class courses and to successfully pass the state examination test. Check the website of your state’s organization for a list of real estate approved schools and how many hours of classes you will need. The website of your state’s organization will also provide specific information for your state regarding the requirements and the process of obtaining a license.

Start contacting brokers and look for a place to get your required practice before graduating from your studies. Some agencies might require you to get more education in additional professional courses, so make sure to ask about the office requirements in advance. While getting your practice at the agency, you will get guidance and assistance from your broker with everything that involves working in the real estate field. Make sure you get as much information as possible and get experience in all the different aspects of the job. Working with an experienced broker is an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the profession and the details that make a broker successful that you might not learn with formal education.

Choosing in which brokerage to work and practice at is an important decision. You will need to take several things into consideration such as the agency’s size, which clients it works with, the reputation is has and whether the broker you will be working with will give you the time and attention to help you learn the profession. Make sure you come prepared to the interview at the agency. Research the agency by reading it’s website and online reviews and prepare a list of questions you would like to ask. You should find out about the years of experience the broker has and whether he will be able to give you the needed attention and guidance.

After you finish your education and practice you will be required to take your state and national exams. Once you pass them you can start working for a broker. When you start working, always have references ready - after every successful closed deal ask your client for an honest review of your service. Always have good relationships with your clients. Many potential clients will turn to their friends and family for recommendations for agents, so you want to leave a good impression with everyone. Also you need to have good connections and relationships with other professional who work in the real estate field such as lawyers, accountants or home inspectors. Knowing who to turn to and who you can trust can be very valuable when trying to close a deal with a client.

Before starting the journey to become a real estate agent, make sure it is the right profession for you. Read Is becoming a real estate agent right for me to learn more about what type of personality you need to be successful as a broker.

Optimize your website for local google searches

A real estate agent must know local real estate information about his town to be able to answer the question regarding the local area a client might have. When clients are looking to rent or buy a house in the area, they would like to know which good schools are nearby and what are they rankings, whether there are any planned local developments in the area that can affect the price.

Besides doing your homework to be ready to guide your client and being able to answer all of these questions you should also write articles about these topics and post them on your blog. With some optimizations you could come up on google for people who look for these terms in that specific local area. Also consider using a local term in your blog’s name and url.

When writing content for your blog, make sure you give advice and write about your local area. The more specific you are with localized advice you’ll be able to attract potential clients that are looking for opportunities in this area. Your content will also be ranked higher for more specific long tail search results.

5 things every professional real estate agent must know about his town

A professional real estate agent will always come prepared with information about the apartment or house he is showing. Preparing for any question of the client and being able to give helpful advice is very important and will give your client the confidence that he is working with the right agent. Before meeting with a client or showing a property, make sure you do your homework and research:

  • prices - It often happens that nearby areas have very different pricing even though they are close and similar to each other. As an agent, you must identify these opportunities and be aware of overpriced and underpriced areas. Another important metric to watch is the trends in pricing changes so you can foresee the demand and the pricing in these areas. Investing in upcoming areas can be very profitable. With this knowledge you will be able to offer your clients properties with the lowest cost possible at the best locations. When studying prices in the area, make sure to look for and identify trends. Some areas might have growing prices in a higher rate than in others. Divide the map to areas with an average price for each. This way you’ll be able to identify areas that are close to an expensive neighborhood but have a lower price.
  • public transportation - in big cities, one of the biggest concerns for clients is the closeness to public transportation. You must always know to tell the clients what transportation is available in the area since it can be a major selling point.
  • schools and kindergartens - clients with kids will be very interested in the closeness and the level of education in the neighborhood. Research schools, kindergartens and their rankings in your area since it can be a major factor in their decision.
  • planned construction and development - when you know in advance about development of new schools, parks or roads it can give you good signs of neighborhoods that might increase in value in the next few years. Chick with the city hall about plans for development of roads, parks or even new shopping malls as they can be attractive to potential clients.
  • taxes - NYC and hoboken are only a river away but the tax difference is very substantial. Make sure you know the tax structure for every town in your area so you could advise your clients about state and city taxes, housing taxes. Also, look for information regarding upcoming planned changes in taxation.

Knowing the town you work in can be a valueable asset and lead to better deals. happier clients and higher commision for you so make sure you are well prepared.

Is there anything else you think is important to research? Let us know in the comments.

What is an IDX?

IDX - stands for Internet Data Exchange (aka Broker Reciprocity) - a website which allows the public to search MLS listings posted by brokers. The National Association of Realtors set the policies and permissions regarding the IDX. IDX search tools are available on real estate brokers websites. Potential clients are able to filter and search the listings by types, features and price ranges and then contact the listing agent to discuss an offer.

What is an MLS?

MLS - multiple listing service - database and software of real estate listings used to distribute information amongst brokers for an opportunity to create cooperation with another broker who is representing a buyer. MLS systems contain hundreds of different fields of information about the features of a property, however only few of them will be displayed to the public.

There are many MLS across the world and the US. The largest one is the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS). There are also big MLS systems in Maryland, Phoenix and NY.