Today is my third week of blogging for BiggerPockets, and I must say that the community is even better than I expected. You are wonderful people who take lots of pride in your real estate business. I would like to thank all of you who continue to read my blogs as they go live here every week. It feels good to know that I’m one of the people adding value to your real estate business.
Like I said from day one, I’m all about the teaching and the marketing side of real estate. Today those words continue to ring true as I talk about a subject that most people have no clue about. You see, last week I wrote about how a homeless guy found 8,300 buyers and sellers all from doing a little research. That post was written from my perspective; if I were homeless, this is how I would go about dominating my local market without any capital.
Today, I’m going to walk you through the doors of success only if you want to come through. I say this because there is no way in the world that you can compete locally if you can’t even do proper research on the local competition. Most people in real estate can’t even name off five of the local real estate companies that they’re competing with. Why?
One of the main reasons is that we can all be lazy — and some just don’t know how to do it. People don’t care enough to put the work in to find out who they are competing with. What makes it even worse is that the local competition is pretty much the same, so we live by the “monkey-see, monkey-do” philosophy. No one is doing what they have to do to get that cutting edge over the next one, and this is the reason why everyone in real estate has the same profile.
Please believe that if I’m in your real estate market, I will know as much about your business as possible. Once I have that information in my hands, I will know whether or not you are a competitor or just some other real estate person in the city. Overall, knowing people that you will be coming across down the road will allow you to dominate. The information we find today will be used as fuel down the road.
So if you’re lazy and don’t want to do the work, all I can say is hire someone to do it for you. Just understand one thing before we get started — in this industry if you don’t stay hungry, you risk the smarter people coming into real estate market stealing a piece of that pie.
I’m Lazy, But I Have to Do It
Doing research on the local competition is really an easy process once you know how to do it. Now, that research will stem from online and offline work, of which the online portion I will be covering in detail today.
What we will do is continue to take my local market of Shreveport, LA as an example. This is a big city that has tons of real estate companies and investors, so the competition levels are very high. Today we are going to dig into how we find and record those local competitors so that we can use that information later down the road.
For this research you will need the following:
- Spreadsheet or document form
- Lots of motivation
We will be using two sites to perform our research, which are Google and Yellowpages.com. To be able to produce valuable online research, these will be the only websites that you will ever need. Google will continue to index new websites as they hit the internet, and Yellowpages will include new profiles of real estate businesses opened around the city. With these free tools, you now have the opportunity to spy on the competition and follow their every move.
What I want to do is to continue with my local market by going over to Google and typing in “Shreveport Real Estate.” As I said in my first blog post, this term gets anywhere from 1,300 to 1,600 searches per month. As an investor my business is all about leads, and the leads are literally right there in terms of buyers and sellers.
My thought is that if I want to dominate my market online and offline, then I must “be everywhere.” The “be everywhere” term is something that I will talk about later when I break down how to be found everywhere your leads are hanging out. If you can manage to do this, then there is no way in the world you will not become the #1 real estate business or person in your city. However, none of that is possible without doing the research, which starts today for those people who are not lazy and are ready for success.
Once you input your keyword term into the search engine, it will spit back maybe thousands of websites. The real estate industry is a little tricky when it comes to the results. You may see 10 results on the front page, as you can see below. I took two screenshots because I wanted you to be able to fully visualize them.
On this page, the average person would think that all 10 results are our competitors. Not necessarily true. No matter what city you do research in, there will always be sites that show up in real estate that are national websites, such as:
These are the site that will come up no matter what you search for in any city. If you search for “Atlanta Real Estate,” you will still see the big brands up on the front page. Now, why these sites show up is definitely something that I’m not getting into today, because it falls into the “SEO” category, which I will teach you later down the road.
Right now, let’s discuss getting your website into the search engine ranking for thousands of local real estate terms like the following:
- Shreveport homes for sale
- Shreveport homes for rent
- We buy houses in Shreveport
- Sell your house fast in Shreveport
These are all highly searched terms in my city, as well as across the country. If you know how the process goes on getting your website content in front of those thousands of people, then you look to become very successful in your local real estate market.
Today is all about the search, so let’s get back to the research of finding who my local competitors are. Now, the national websites are not our local competitors, so if you see them on the front page as of today, just ignore them. We only want to focus on the websites that are local so that we can record them in our spreadsheet.
What I found very quickly are two local websites on the front page that are doing business in Shreveport and the surrounding areas. I’m not going to list their names or websites due to SEO reasons. They are already on the front page, so I don’t want to give them even more rankings by listing them here. Like I said, I will get into the rankings of websites down the road, but just understand as of today I’m not listing them here.
I did a screenshot of the page, and you will see that I pointed out the two real estate websites. I only found two on this page but to find even more, I will have to dig a little deeper into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pages to find even more. The deepest that I will go will be to page 20, knowing from here I’ve pretty much collected all the sites Google has decided to index locally.
Side Note: Just looking at the page and seeing who is #1 really makes me smile due to the fact that I know that I can come in and outrank them. Even the little research that I did already tells me a lot, so when I get into talking about ranking your real estate website, I promise that you will be amazed by how we do it. These websites don’t see me coming, which is the beauty of online marketing.
Just for today, all we want to do is go to every website that is local and record their information into a spreadsheet. The way that you will quickly know that a site is local is by their phone number, which should include your area code. Again, you know your city or town, so you can recognize whether or not it’s local.
Your spreadsheet layout should be set up like this (or any way that you feel comfortable):
The above information is all that you need as of now to record them for safe keeping. All you want to do is enter the information as you go from one local real estate website to another. There is no guarantee to how many you may come up with; that is ultimately determined by the size of your city and town.
Finding Competitors on Yellow Pages
At the end of the day, this website will house more of the local competitors than Google for the reason that many real estate companies, investors, wholesalers and more don’t have websites, believe it or not. What most of them do is have business company names set up through LLC’s and more.
Yellow Pages goes out and filters this information onto their website, which makes it faster to search. No one really uses grandma’s big yellow book that she used to have by that old telephone from back in the day. Heck, that phone had a cord that could reach from here to down the road. What I’m saying is, those were the stone age days of looking up businesses. Today, it’s all done online.
One of the reasons I can come in and dominant any local real estate market is because of sites like this. I go out and find those people I’m competing with and plan my marketing around them. I know that all I have to do is what they’re doing but better, plus tack on creative marketing strategies to dominate the market.
The site is really easy to use; all you have to do is type in the industry that you’re trying to look up and the city. Once that is done, the system will spit back some results. When I did it for “Shreveport real estate,” it brought back around 300 or so searches from companies down to people who invest in real estate.
All you have to do for the next week is go through every single listing and record it if it’s a local business. Sometimes they will sneak in a national search on you, so make sure that you do your homework on that.
What To Do Next
Now, lets say that after a week or so of recording around 20 to 30 a day, you complete the task. You’ve gone through all of the Google and Yellow Pages listings. You have a solid 350 companies and individuals that you are competing with that you can analyze in order to tackle the market.
The information that you have is priceless. You don’t even understand what you have just done to help your business. You have all of the people that you can network with to get you to where you want to be. Not only networking, but you can also do tons of other things with this information that we will cover over the next couple of weeks or more.
There is no way in the world that I’m going into a market not knowing the power hitters in that market. Once I know who they are, then this is where the real fun begins when you get the chance to out-market them and build an online presence that far exceeds theirs.
And Now…Homework Time!
I’d love for you all to create a spreadsheet this week and start recording the local competition using the free tools listed above. This will be a fun game that we can play to see who can find the most local real estate companies and individuals. It doesn’t even necessarily matter who finds the most because all of our markets are different, but this will help to get you started on finding who you’re competing with.
So all I ask for you to do if you want to participate is to leave a comment telling us who you are and what type of real estate you are in and what city you plan on doing your research in.
This is just a friendly competition to see who can take action today. Plus, I would encourage you to post your results underneath your comments once you finish your task of finding the local real estate competition. We all would like to know your process and how the experience was in dong research on your own local market.
Next week we will get even deeper into dominating your local real estate market. Stay Tuned.
Do you plan on researching your local real estate competition? If you’ve already done so, what did you find?
Please join in the discussion below!