For the last ten years, I’ve told commercial real estate agents and brokers that the Internet will not sell for you. I stand behind this statement. During the dot-com boom, it was proposed that you could sell everything over the Internet. People loved this idea because it took away their need to work at selling their services. The thought was, “If I just develop a good Internet presence, I won’t have to do all the work I currently do to sell.” We all found out this wasn’t true.
The Internet is a very valuable resource though. It won’t sell for you, but I’ve found that there are currently several great ways to generate leads for commercial real estate clients on the Internet. They include:
1. Website: You need to have a personal website. In our training videos and classes we share with you some tips on how to quickly get one going. They are cheap and easy to create these days. If your website is going to be a lead generator, it needs to offer your ideal clients resources that they can access for free or for a price. To produce a lead, you simply require some form of registration in order to access the resources available.
2. Email: I do not advocate huge email blasts to people with whom you have no relationship (otherwise known as SPAM), but there are many other ways to use email, including auto-responders, opt-in newsletters, endorsed offers sent to other people’s lists, and several other ways. When you send out email, make sure it offers good education or information. I suggest that the content not be contained completely in the email. Instead, the reader should need to click a link to access the information. The link then takes them back to your site or to a place you would like them to be. This allows for good tracking of your marketing efforts and creates better traffic on your site.
3. Search Engine Placement: You can pay to be listed at the top of the list for any set of “keywords”. This means that when someone searches for information on certain terms, your listing comes up at the top. This is a great way to drive traffic to your site or to a site that makes a specific offer to your potential clients. Check with the major search engines for more information on key word advertising. Over time, you can work to achieve high “natural” rankings for those same keywords.
4. Advertisements on other sites: This can range from reciprocal links to banner ads, pop-ups and pop-unders. If there is a site that your ideal clients frequent, check to see what linking or advertising opportunities exist on that site. One tip I can give you is that your ads should not simply be for you or your service. Instead, post ads for information, such as lists, reports, books, and more. Potential clients are much more likely to click on a link offering a free list of investment opportunities or available space than they are to click on a link that simply has your name and picture.
5. Article and information submission to online news and information outlets: This is very similar to a traditional PR campaign that submits articles and information to print, radio and TV outlets. The main difference is that you are submitting to online newsletters, industry sites, news sites and anyone else who is sending information to your desired audience. You can also self-publish this information by posting these articles to your own site or connected to your site. Either way, the goal is to create more ways for people who are searching for information and services you can deliver to find you. As was already mentioned, we offer a wide variety of articles that can be submitted.
6. Social networking sites: Much like networking in the real world, online networking can be a great way to meet people who can either become clients or refer you to clients. No different that networking in the real world, online social networking requires a fair amount of work for it to pay dividends. Networking online also has the added benefit of providing more ways for people to find you online, which provides a lot more opportunity for you to market using the previous five ways listed.
A well-rounded Internet campaign will use each one of these methods to contact potential clients and generate leads. Ask yourself, “How many of these methods am I using?”