There are always changes in local SEO services with Google and Facebook. Recently there has been some Google services changes and additions that you should be aware of and how they might affect your online presence. There has been some confusion between Google Plus and Google My Business. So why do you need these free online services from Google, which ones are right for your business type and what do they do to help your business?
Google Plus (Google+)
This is Google’s social media page which is similar to Facebook and allows share links, videos, pictures, and other content with people who share your interests. Having a Google+ Page is good for online recognition and it helps with your SEO rankings as it’s tied into Google’s search engine. So if your business model doesn’t have a physical location and requires an online brand presence, then this tool should be set up.
Google My Business (GMB)
This online marketing tool allows your customers to find your business locally by providing mapping, hours of operation, photos and reviews of your business. GMB is really designed for businesses that have a physical location, but you can add a home-based business or services business too. GMB will help your business rank better with local searches and provide insights of the results. Recently a basic web page, promotional posting has been added and Google Adwords Express will now display ads for increased exposure.
Google My Business is a dashboard that allows you to see different kinds of information that relates to how your business is found on Google. Google Plus is a social network that allows you to more closely connect with your online visitors. Most businesses are aware of one or both of these Google tools, but the industry has changed over the years.
This summer might be a good time to set up these services and integrate them with your current online marketing efforts. Start by getting a Google account if you don’t have one, then set up Google My Business to get found by local searchers or Google Plus Page to engage people interested in your type of business or nonprofit.
Must-have Video Marketing – It’s no secret that video is a hot marketing tool with Facebook likes and views 10-20 times over text postings. Creating quality video is important so avoid mobile phone recordings and uploads. It’s best to use a professional along with good editing for the best results. For the the best ROI, I would recommend only using videos for your high-end homes and properties.
Use Social Media – Beyond just photos today, Instagram is a great help tool for real estate agents as photos can be geo-targeted and very useful for location based services. As a real estate agent it’s all about networking and referrals as we discussed, so LinkedIn is a natural opportunity to target a more professional market. But be careful, these folks won’t put up with a lot of promotion or advertising so just network or post your informative blogs. Last but not least, whether you like it or not, you must use Facebook in todays online world. Your Facebook Page should match the look and feel of your website. Make sure you add a good call to action button, upload good quality photos and videos and make sure you post regularly about topics, not just you listings.
Integrated Blogging – If you’re not a writer, this tool is not right for you unless a friend or family member can be your ghost writer. Having said that, you may want to consider the huge benefits of blogging. Blogging is a more passive means of establishing your credibility as an expert in your field and it dramatically increase your SEO (getting found by web searchers). Start with embedding the free ones either www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com but the best way is to add it to your WordPress website.
Online Paid Advertising – For the novelist, Facebook Ads are a good place to begin and the are highly affordable. They also cater to the DIY market so set up and management are not required. Keep in mind these are display ads and not search ads. It’s kicking your marketing up a notch, but not breaking the bank. Google’s relativity new Adwords Express offer an affordable and more simple way to set up search ads to help your website rank better from the start. Retargeting should be put in place so people that click on your ads see your ads again during other searches.
Gorilla Marketing – This is the “ultimate thinking outside the box” marketing. It would include things like dropping off gifts for recent homeowners, handing out flyers door to door, having a table at the local mall, doing a local radio interview, or advertising on a bus or park bench. As far as your creative mind goes, so do the ideas.
It’s the best kept secrets that keep people wanting to know what you’re up to. These tools aren’t secret anymore but how you use them is your cutting edge in marketing yourself.
So you’ve been a realtor for a while now or perhaps you just started. As you probably know, your industry is all about marketing yourself, your Realty services and how you are different from all the rest of the agents. Perhaps these current ideas might help you get the competitive edge, increase your listings and attract new buyers. Here’s what I’ve seen and used for the tops sellers in your industry. Perhaps they might work for your real estate sales and marketing efforts.
Email marketing is an affordable, effective marketing tool with one of the best ROI’s in the marketing world. To build your list, add signup to your website, your Facebook page and your email signature. To improve signups, offer incentives; ideally something of good value to subscribers, but low cost to you. To get more opens with email marketing, keep your subject lines short and interesting. Reminder to keep your readers educated, not sold to. Use email automation that will trigger from signups sending out welcomes, birthday wishes and timed email series about you, your company segregate topics of interest and demographics.
Website Lead Capture
Most real estate agents use some form of sales CRM for leads, opportunities and task tracking. Using this sales tool has proven to increase sales opportunity to close ratios up to 24% by making sure that all leads are followed up in a timely manner. Most CRM’s have web to lead forms that can be added to your website to automate your lead generation process. Of course it goes without saying, your website has to be found, so good SEO settings must be made on and off your website so Google searchers will find you.
Build A Referral Program
As many of you know, one of the best ways to secure new business is through referrals from your past clients that are “happy campers.” Often these referrals are coming from friends and family. In fact, studies show that referrals and repeat business makes up 82 percent of all the business signed with real estate agents. However, it’s also a well known fact the only 11-12% of sales people ask for them. Therefore, it’s good to make a conscious effort to have a referral request conversation. Make sure it’s done through a natural dialogue so as not to appear desperate.
Get 5 Star Reviews
It couldn’t be easier to get reviews today with website widgets and social media. People are looking for and believe the reviews from other people. In fact, statistics say 88-89% percent of consumers look for 5 star ratings for businesses. Close friends or family referrals have been a proven way to spread the good word about good realtor services. This means making a conscience effort to ask for good referrals to use for your reviews of your quality services online.
Use A Professional
It might be worthwhile to take a few things like marketing off your plate. Did you know that the average business owner spends 20 hours a week on marketing? Besides, why wear so many hats and still only end up with average results and possibly harm your personal brand? It might be a good idea to hire a professional marketing agency or freelancer to take on the challenge. Good rule of thumb: spend 10% of your annual revenues on marketing for moving forward results.
To be on the cutting edge of Realtors today, you need a cutting edge. Watch for part 2. Same time, same place next week.
Not only do I wish you Happy Canada Day, but as a proud Canadian, I want to take the opportunity to wish Canada a happy 150 years of being a nation. Keeping with the Canada’s birthday eh, I’d like to contribute some recent Canadian stats about websites and online marketing:
Top Canadian Marketing Factoid
- 49% of small businesses have websites
- 91% of websites are not mobile friendly
- 85% of people search the web for businesses
- 87% won’t consider a business with low ratings
- Number one complaint is websites are not current
- The most popular website platform is WordPress
- Most small business websites have partial or poor SEO
Keeping those stats in mind, the next paragraph explains how business Canadian business owner markets their business. It’s unwrapping all those stats like unwrapping birthday presents.
What do Canadian small businesses need today?
Before any design or marketing is done, branding and identity must begin with a well designed one-of-a-kind logo. Once that’s, in place, a mobile responsive website should be designed. It should be clean and simple with a clear message and good quality photos. To support your website, branded social media pages need to be created and integrated as well. Adding video or an animated explainer video is always a great idea providing more engaging media. It’s like blowing out 150 candles if you will – a wow factor!
A website not found by searchers is simply web waste. Therefore, websites must include organic SEO settings to get found by searchers. To boost search results and ranking, pay per click advertising with Google Adwords is recommended for more instant SEO results. Regular postings with blogging and posting in social media pages, will also improve business ranking with searchers.
The most effective marketing with the best ROI starts by reaching out to existing customers with email marketing campaigns. Along with this, triggered email automation sending a single or series of emails based on customer interactions is recommended. Marketing automation can increase lead generation, thereby reducing a marketing team’s time and improving the selling process blending sales CRM and marketing efforts.
There’s nothing greater than being a Canadian. So what does that mean for Canadian businesses? It means it’s time to create a mobile responsive website, have proper SEO settings to get found and acquire current up-to-date content. Using the website as a hub, marketing stays current with automation. It’s kinda like Canada’s birthday – 150 years in 2017 is up-to-date. Happy Birthday Canada – God keep our land glorious and free!
If you have been reading my blogs or just doing a bit of research, you are likely wondering what the difference is between email automation and marketing automation. Furthermore, you might be asking yourself, “When do I use them, why should I use them and what types of businesses can use them?” Just so you don’t get all tangled up, let’s first discuss the basic differences between the two online digital marketing tools.
This is intertwined into email marketing of which most of us have been using for the last decade as a push marketing tool. It’s kinda the cat’s meow because it’s used to email messages out to our customers and clients. The next level of email marketing is email automation which has been happening over the past several years. It’s now available to the small business owners, (not just the “big boys”.) This automated email system allows single or multiple emails to be triggered, timed and personalized to reach specific people based on their activities. A great example is a series of timed on-boarding emails triggered by a new customer purchase sending a welcome, more product information and a few user tips.
Marketing automation system is simply the combination and integration of a cloud based sales CRM (customer relationship management) and email automation. As sales and marketing teams merge together these days (finally!) this powerful and”purrrfect” combination streamlines and improves both buying and selling processes. Buyers are now more informed and feel less pressure thus improving the buying experience. Salespeople can spend more time with clients face to face while the email automation is working behind the scenes preparing potential buyers with solid product and services education. It also helps with the setting up the selling process.
So what type of businesses use these tools?
Email automation can be used for both B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) type of businesses. However, marketing automation from my experience, is really designed for B2B companies with a sales team. (although I’m sure those selling software may disagree). As an example, B2C businesses with online stores need email automation to encourage more buyers from abandoned shopping carts, specials and similar products to complete their purchases. A typical B2B company can use email automation with their triggered series of timed educational emails along with sign ups. Marketing automation in B2B improves lead generation and increases sales conversation rates.
Now that your questions have been answered, there’s one final important step: no matter what business type you have or the type marketing you choose, once you purchase these tools, they must be implemented. Not doing so would be a ‘cat’astrophe. After all, business is all about ROI. If you are going to invest in email and marketing automation, be prepare to lose a bit of time knowing that the initial loss will be your greatest gain.