In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.
There’s never been a better time to put your best face forward. As part of Marketing and Branding Month, we invite you to take our 7-day challenge and report back on your progress. Take the challenge, and give your marketing a refresh, from bio and headshot, to website, to social media and more.
In many ways, we live our lives online today. Whether you’re trying to decide what fridge to buy, learning more about a new hobby or keeping up with your favorite reality stars, you’re probably doing most, if not all, of your research online.
It’s the same thing with your next client. Maybe they saw your sign in a yard. Maybe your aunt recommended you. Maybe they got a postcard from you in their mailbox. From that starting point, they’re almost certain to do a little cyber-stalking to find out more about you (and see what other folks are saying about you as well).
If you want to show up at your best wherever people are looking, you need to make sure that you’re constantly updating your online presence. This checklist is designed to walk you through the process so that in just a few days, you can have a fresh new face to show your next lead.
Figure out what’s out there
Before you begin, take some time to Google yourself and click through to any mentions of you. Google your name, your brokerage or team and any alternate ways that your name might be spelled.
For example, if you’ve recently married or divorced and changed your name, you might want to Google yourself under both versions of your name. In addition, if your name is commonly confused or misspelled, try varying iterations to see if it’s been misspelled somewhere online.
Next, take a look at the different ways people might find you online. You could try the following searches:
- Realtor [your city]
- Real estate agent [your city]
- Buy a home [your city]
- Sell a home [your city]
- Real estate broker [your city]
Next, do the same thing with other limiters like neighborhoods, subdivisions and niches. So, for example, if I were a broker specializing in investment properties in Atlanta, Georgia, I might search for all of the following:
- Realtor Atlanta
- Realtor midtown Atlanta
- Realtor Buckhead
- Realtor downtown Atlanta
- Realtor West End Atlanta
- Realtor investment properties Atlanta
- Realtor investors Atlanta
- Realtor Buckhead investment properties
And so on and so forth, trying plenty of different versions.
This will do a couple of very good things for your online presence:
- You’ll see where you’re not showing up and be motivated to create more content so that you can start ranking for some of these search terms.
- You’ll see where you are showing up and find out how to tweak your content to broaden your appeal.
Remember, it’s important to narrow down your search terms sufficiently. If you just put in “real estate” or “Realtor,” you’re bound to get discouraged since those broader terms are “owned” online by big businesses and organizations. For you, the sweet spot is in the long-tail keywords like those above.
Make sure you’ve updated the platforms you control
If you missed any of those updates, this is a good time to go back and make sure they’re all done. Then ensure that all of the links are updated everywhere that you’re in charge. That includes all of your web pages and your blog, as well as your social media profiles and links.
Next, start looking at the profiles you’ve built on referral sites and on large real estate portals like Realtor.com and Zillow. Optimize those profiles with up-to-date information and make sure that you’ve completed every element you’re allowed to in order to promote your business.
Want to know how to optimize your presence on the portals? Check out these handbooks:
Why is it so important to take that last step? In terms of SEO, you’re never going to outrank those online heavyweights, so when a potential client looks for a real estate agent in your area, you want your beautifully completed, fully updated profile to come to the front of the line.
Reach out to make corrections as needed
Maybe you’ve been featured elsewhere online, and there are errors that you need to correct. Reach out to the website owner and ask them politely if they would make those corrections.
Be sure to include the URL for the place where you’re featured on their site, let them know what information is incorrect and provide the correct information for them. The idea is to make this easy enough and quick enough that they’ll help you out.
For example, if you were featured in a blog post about the local real estate market and you see that your name was misspelled, you might reach out with an email that says the following:
I was so pleased to be featured in your blog post titled “What you should know about buying in Buckhead.” [http://buckheadblogger.com/what-you-should-know-about-buying-in-buckhead]
In the article, my married name was used, but I have recently divorced and have reverted back to my maiden name. Thus Elizabeth Smith should now be Elizabeth Jones for the quotes in paragraphs three and five.
If possible, I would very much appreciate it if you could make that change so that potential buyers would be able to reach out to me for more information. The link to my website is correct, so no change is needed there.
Thank you again for the opportunity to talk with you, and thank you for your time. Have a great day!
Ready to update your overall online presence this week? Here’s where to start
Make sure you have updated your headshot, bio, website and social media accounts as needed
Google yourself and a variety of long-tail keywords to see how and where you are showing up online
Review and update your profiles at Realtor.com, Zillow, and any other portals or referral sites where you are featured
Correct or update any online mentions you control and reach out to the owners of other sites with needed corrections
Check testimonials and reviews online and respond to each, whether they’re good or bad
Pull good testimonials for use on your own platforms, including your website and social media channels
Develop an online content strategy moving forward so that newer, more up-to-date content that you’ve generated can replace older mentions
Your online presence matters and will continue to matter more and more with each passing year. The changes you make now and the good habits you build for maintaining and growing your image online will continue to pay dividends far into the future.
Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.