It’s no secret that Arizona real estate is either in the toilet or ripe with opportunities – depending on your viewpoint and what assets you were holding when the bubble burst. Many fine people had to walk away from their now over-mortgaged homes and were subject to the black mark of bankruptcy. But what about the Realtors themselves, whose own homes and livelihood depend on selling properties to the (now dwindling) buyer base?
What’s happening now in Arizona’s real estate market is interesting to watch and learn from if you are able to do so. While some real estate professionals are going hungry and looking for other jobs, there are many who have turned up the dial on their websites and online marketing instead of backing down in the face of market conditions. They know that houses will always need to be bought and sold and they know that people are turning to the internet for everything, from cancer to condos.
Here are three lessons you can learn from the Realtors of Arizona and their web marketing strategies.
Choose a narrower target audience than you would have in prior years.
It’s not just local firms vying for keywords like “arizona real estate” – brokerages all over the world are trying to get a piece of the US and AZ real estate market! The most generic keywords in any industry are more challenging to rank for, and with the boom of interest in capitalizing on Arizona’s housing crisis, the competition makes general terms cost prohibitive. Similarly with so many firms to choose from it has become more important for the Realtor to appeal to a more niche market. While the broad-spectrum approach doesn’t alienate, it also doesn’t resonate deeply with buyers.
Examples of target markets for a real estate website:
- Canadians looking for winter condos
- Renovate and sell investors (“fix and flip”)
- Rental investors
- Horse properties
Use your website to provide a service first, and promote yourself second.
Providing a free online service to the world at large is a great way to put your name on the radar to folks who aren’t even interested or able to buy yet. They may not be at the stage of choosing a Realtor yet, just checking out the geographical area. Many Phoenix – Scottsdale Realtors have created blogs about the locale they serve and rather than reposting the same old MLS listings, they post about what’s new and hot in the city. They broaden their website’s visitor base by providing restaurant reviews, new business openings, city projects, and local news. They have their websites built in content management systems (e.g. WordPress) and do the updates themselves.
Who doesn’t like to chuckle and think they could have done it better? AZ Realtor Leif Swanson turned his everyday sea of sad MLS photos into a fun “fail blog” of real estate. Readers from around the world tune in to see Christmas trees up in July, million-dollar cluttered kitchens, and the occasional perfectly-preserved 50’s kitchen. The Ugly House Photos blog also has a nice series of posts about homebuilding trends in the Phoenix area throughout the decades. The website’s design is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of its contents.
Be aggressive with organic SEO and web marketing, especially in stiff competition.
It’s not enough in the real estate field to optimize a website and then leave it. Too many competitors are making frequent and targeted updates to their own sites, trying to get a piece of the action. A firm that doesn’t put time or money into their continued online success will become buried by more active competition in the search results.
Continually make additions and efforts with your target audience in mind. Remember at all times that the market has changed and no longer allows for complacency. The techniques that served your company well in the earlier part of the decade may no longer apply, and if you don’t adjust course there are many professionals who will gladly take your future business. Don’t try to sacrifice your advertising and marketing when business is slow – instead, push harder. If you can’t hire an expert, ask your web professional if they can create a site for you to update personally. Remember, your online competition is very hungry!
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