If you’ve ever tried to build a website or blog for your business, you know that competing with the major real estate portals for first-page ranking in online search engines is a daunting task. With so much content and millions of pageviews, portals like Realtor.com and Zillow enjoy a formidable online presence. The good news is that you can take advantage of their placement to promote yourself and your real estate business. Here’s how.
Fully complete your profile
Most of the major real estate portals provide profiles for all of the real estate agents who are members of the MLS’s where they obtain their listings. In most cases, your name will already appear within the portal; all you have to do is sign in and claim your profile. Once you have done this, you’ll have a number of options for fully completing your profile and highlighting your services to buyers who are looking at homes in your area.
In most cases, you’ll be able to upload a photo, contact information, and previous experience. You’ll provide brokerage information, designations and certifications, and other relevant facts about your career. You may also be able to add an introductory video and links to your social media accounts. Take advantage of anything and everything offered by the portal to promote yourself and your business.
Invest in new headshots
It is a fairly well-known fact that many real estate agents take one headshot at the beginning of their career and keep it for years or even decades after. If that sounds like you, it’s probably time for you to take a new headshot. That doesn’t mean that you should line up in front of a wall and take a selfie with your phone or use a cropped, low resolution image from your last vacation. It means that you should contact a professional photographer for new, hi-res headshots that present you as the professional you are.
Remember, the way that you market yourself is an indication of the marketing you’ll bring to the listings under your care. If you present yourself poorly or carelessly, you’ll call into question your ability to present your listings appropriately. New headshots show that you take pride in yourself and in your professionalism. If a number of folks in your brokerage need new headshots, ask your broker to schedule a photographer during an upcoming meeting so that you can all refresh your looks.
Keep contact information up-to-date
Every few months it’s a good idea to check your profile and make sure that your contact information is current. In addition, check the name and address of your brokerage and make sure that all of the information there is correct as well. This is not just a matter of making it easier for potential clients to find you. Misrepresenting yourself or your brokerage is a licensure violation and can lead to potential disciplinary action.
If you haven’t already, this might be a good time to review your overall branding and the various platforms that you maintain. If your social media handles are different from your website URL which is different from your email address, you may have a branding problem. Strive for consistency across all of your platforms so that buyers and sellers never have to guess whether they are reaching out to the right person on their favorite platform.
Optimize each new listing
The way you present the properties you list is one of the strongest advertisements for — or against — your services. Listing a property with a few poorly composed, low resolution photos, little or no property description, and incomplete information indicates that you don’t care much about your work, or your clients. Many homeowners in your market regularly check online for listings in their neighborhoods to keep track of home values and trends. The work you do speaks for itself on an online platform.
Consider professional photography, copywriting, videography, and other ways of making your listings stand out. Make exceptional marketing part of your value proposition when you’re meeting with potential clients—and back up your claims with examples of previous listings. Check out other listings in your market and honestly ask yourself whether yours stack up to those of your colleagues and competitors.
Ensure transactions are updated
In most cases, online platforms will automatically update your profile with past transactions as they are completed, since this information appears in the MLS. Check in every month or so to ensure that your profile has been updated with your most recent closed transactions and reach out to the platform if not.
Reach out for reviews and testimonials
Similarly, reach out to your past clients with a link where they can add their reviews and testimonials to your online platforms. This gives potential leads a sense of what it is like to work with you and helps to build your credibility and professional reputation.
Track the sources of new leads
Ask all of your leads and new clients where they heard about you. You may find that some portals are more effective than others in promoting your services. The more you know about where your leads are coming from, the better you will be at taking advantage of the potential they offer.
Explore unique portal capabilities
Each portal has its own unique features, including referral services, enhanced membership categories, and promotional strategies. Familiarize yourself with these and make sure that you are using everything you are entitled to to promote your business.
If the portal offers webinars or videos to help you enhance your presence, check them out for best practices and tips. If they offer a consultation with a representative or power user, consider reaching out to see if they have any suggestions that can make your profile more effective.