The Future of Online Real Estate Marketing
The online real estate market is a tough game these days, with a few extremely dominant players. To get ahead, real estate brokers need great content, and something new.
Marketing your brokerage online.
Real estate technology is progressing, giving consumers more and more access to tools and information once exclusively controlled by brokers. The market is changing. With online real estate listings, price estimates, data, and analytics, what once required the services of a broker can now be done by anyone. The typical real estate agent or brokerage needs to start doing what the best agents are already doing to stay relevant in the new marketplace.
The days of each agent creating their own custom property search engine are over. Stop trying to compete with the Zilliows or Trulias of the internet, because you're not going to do it. Those sites have too much money, too far of a reach, too much of an entrenched monopoly, and far too much invested in their futures for any one agent to catch up with an MLS feed. Zillow recently announced a one million dollar prize for the best AI bot to improve the accuracy of the Zestimate. It's almost impossible to compete with that.
The best agents network constantly and use their websites and other social media to further their brands and themselves. Your website is more like a business card than a fully fleshed out portal for all of your prospective clients' real estate needs. Stop spending a lot of money on a website to grab eyeballs and fresh searches. You just won't compete, and there are plenty of other things you should be doing instead.
In 2017 your website should be about validation of who you are as a professional, showing your credibility, and the value you provide to the customer. What is your unique selling proposition? Typically it should be your specialized knowledge, your ability to get results, and your credibility and trust. How do you convey that? With quality content. In 2017 content is king, and in 2018 that trend will only continue.
The content you should be doing.
Real estate is rapidly innovating with the latest technology, so you should be using that same technology to sell your property. Matterport, which maps home interiors in 3D for virtual tours, is a great example. Or how about using augmented reality to stage your home?
Find a niche. Become adept at highlighting your specialized knowledge and grow that knowledge in a particular focused real estate niche you can specialize in. Where is your 'turf'? What neighborhoods are you most active in? What housing type do you have the most experience buying or selling? Condos? Single-family high-end? Beginner homes? Historic homes? New builds? Sustainable construction? Something else? Whatever and wherever you have the most experience, go all out. Don't just become an authority on that area, become the authority.
Exploit that niche with your own blog, social media accounts, focused real estate market reports, or an email newsletter. Great examples to emulate include Ines Hegedus-Garcia at Miamism, Michael Light at Miami Luxury Homes, and Dora Puig at Luxe Living Realty. All of these agents do most of these things and more to stay ahead. Here's an ad we created for Ines, who specializes in architecturally significant properties:
Finally, don't overlook the basics of presenting your property well. Photography is essential and can make or break your real estate listing. Considering the power and ubiquity of good smartphone cameras these days, poor photography is just not acceptable.
What does the brokerage of the future look like?
The real estate industry of the future will inevitably have fewer but more important players. The best agents and brokerages will stick around, and those will be the people who excel at doing the human things that technology can't. After all, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, voice assistance, and other technologies are already replacing a lot of what real estate agents are doing now. Even paperwork is going online, and online comps, like Zillow's Zestimate, are getting more accurate.
In the future, agents are going to provide confidence, validation, and trust. Make sure you are providing those three things now. Demand for the average real estate agent will shrink, but demand for the best agents, who can promote properties the best as well as provide unique and creative solutions to all kinds of problems for both buyer and seller, will only increase.
Agents can provide quality content and creative solutions. An agent might suggest to a buyer or seller that an apartment is a better option than a house, or might suggest an alternative neighborhood, or to rent instead of buying after observing their clients' particular circumstances and the local market. In the foreseeable future, computer codes just won't be able to provide that level of insight.
The role of the real estate agent and brokerage is undoubtedly changing and the best, most knowledgeable, and adept agents will stay ahead.
Photo courtesy Jason Briscoe/Unsplash.