The rules of real estate marketing are changing. The changes are fast and furious. And most Realtors are sitting on their hands. I hate to say it, because I have a lot of love for real estate pros and how hard you work, but it’s true. By my estimate, there are two main reasons this is happening:
Unawareness of Social Media
Many real estate professionals feel that social media marketing is a buzz word. It’s 100% fair to be cautious of change. I know I am! Wasting time on a new trendy marketing play is definitely something to be careful about. We have neither time nor money to waste, correct? A lot of Realtors simply aren’t aware that social media is rapidly being referred to as “media”.
It’s not just a new way of reaching out to customers. It’s THE way to reach out to customers. Why? Because consumers simply aren’t listening to anything else.
This is why direct mail doesn’t work any more. It’s why print advertising costs more and more every year while the return on investment continues to decline. While there are a number of blogs about social media these days, I still feel compelled to cover this content, because there is such a massive need for the message to get out.
My experience is that real estate people are very hard working and earnest in their approach to help people. If this is you, you need to start a blog and start working it hard. It’s going to be your business salvation, a life raft if you will. But it will be so much more than that also. It’s going to serve as your main communication tool in the years to come.
Why? Because people don’t want to be sold. This isn’t new of course, but now they have options. That IS new. And when people can choose, guess which way they’re going to go. They want to work with people they know and trust. And blogging is the simplest, quickest, most cost effective and most powerful way to build trust with a large number of people over time.
The Cycle of New Tools
Remember when cell phones and email were not necessary? They were nice, but they weren’t commonplace, were they? Then they became trendy. Then…they became mandatory. Now, what kind of Realtor could you be without a cell phone and email? The entire industry has evolved into essentially requiring these tools. This is the curve new tools follow. They start off as unnecessary, then they become trendy, then they become mandatory. Blogging is trendy now. In a few years, it will be as mandatory as a cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE Realtors without cell phones. But would YOU work with them? What do you think?
Can you conduct business without a cell phone? Of course. But your efficiency and ability to be accessible to your clients is severely impaired. Try using that as your tag line and see how far it gets you. “Your Severely Impaired, Inaccessible Realtor for Life.” Somehow I don’t think it’s gonna fly 😉
Addressing Fear and Getting Started
It’s very understandable to avoid change and to save yourself from the headache of having to learn new tools. It’s a pain. It costs money. But again, cell phones definitely fit that description, don’t they? See where I’m going with this?
The most efficient thing you can do is start reading some blogs right now. Get familiar with the format. Leave comments. Get comfortable reading and interacting with blogs. Before you know it, you’ll find that this develops your “blogging voice”. By doing this simple activity for a little bit each day, you will be prospecting, building up contacts and getting your name out there a bit. You don’t even need a blog of your own to do this. All you need is to block off some time and start doing it.
After you’ve done this for a short while, you’ll see there’s really nothing at all to be afraid of. The blogosphere, you see, is just a bunch of people talking to each other. It’s just a different platform. Underneath it all, it’s very simple stuff we’re doing here. Human interaction at it’s finest. It’s just more leveraged and scalable. As business people, we like leverage and scalability, right? 😉
The Evolution of Real Estate Marketing
Michael Martine wrote an awesome post on this subject very recently. He talked about the importance of embracing blogging for your real estate practice and gave some specific, smart advice on how to do it. I recommend checking it out.
As real estate professionals, we’re not unfamiliar with big change. Our industry has seen drastic change over the last decade. And now that we have email, websites, online searchable MLS databases and cell phones, we have all the problems solved, and progress can now finally come to a halt, correct?
Of course not! Progress continues. The world keeps spinning, and new tools keep coming. Better tools. More powerful. We can choose to sit on our hands at any point, but more and more it’s easier to be left behind.
I’ve written before about how all this social media business is optional. Let me put it into perspective. Do you have a strong network that you can continue to grow and develop without the use of these new tools? Be honest. Some of you do. A few of you. However, if you’re new to the business or if you want to grow in any meaningful way, you’re going to have to grow your network and start engaging your market on a personal level over the long term. That’s what people want, and we need to connect with them and provide for their needs. That’s what being in business means! Blogging is simply the most leveraged, cost effective and powerful way to do it right now.
If direct mail, bus benches and magazine ads worked, I wouldn’t be writing this. I’m not a “social media advocate”. I’m a “do-what-works” advocate.
How do you feel about this?