Okay, so let’s imagine that all agents were honest and listed exactly what their biggest challenges were. What do you think would appear on that list? I surveyed my LinkedIn real estate connections to find out the answer to this question, and I asked exactly this question: “Name five of the biggest real estate industry challenges you face in your business.”
Are you frustrated with your real estate business? Does it feel like something’s missing, but you’re not sure what it might be? If so, this article is for you. Here are five solutions to the most prevalent challenges to end your frustration and make you have a more robust real estate business.
Challenge #1: Low Inventory
Let’s face it; you can’t choose whether inventory is low or high. But you can decide where to focus your efforts. In the real estate industry, a lack of inventory means a seller’s market. This means what agents want is slim. To find good sellers, you need more than an offer – you need a plan!
Solution: Expand Your Sphere Of Influence
Real estate agents should take collecting referrals very seriously. Making it easy for clients to refer friends and family can quickly generate a steady flow of leads for your business. Not only do you get more leads, but referrals are also far more likely to result in sales than strangers cold calling or knocking on doors.
It’s no secret that most sellers interview only one real estate agent before listing their home. If this agent isn’t right for them, they are at a loss. Since most listing appointments are conducted at the seller’s home, your chance to make an impression is limited, which means you must be ready to go above and beyond what other agents are willing to do.
If you want to grow your sphere of influence and network simultaneously, try interviewing local business owners. Publish and promote each interview as a blog article, video, or live stream event on social media.
Make them famous. This is a win-win for both parties. The local business owner gets to promote themselves and build authority while you get original content to share with your social network or email list.
Best of all, you’ll make face-to-face connections in your farm area and establish yourself as THE neighborhood expert!
Challenge #2: Growing Competition From Internet Listing Services
Agents have long been caught in the middle of technology’s rapid growth. But the most significant changes over the last year are how buyers use real estate listing portals and home buyer apps to search for homes. Some use it as a starting point for their searches, while others use it as their sole source of available listings.
The result of these user-centric brands with digital home shoppers is a clear indication of just what the future holds for real estate:
- Millennials will search for an agent at increasingly later stages of the buying cycle.
- Digital advertising may become less capable as buyers, sellers, and investors choose ad-free services.
- Social networking sites will likely be crucial for tracking down referrals.
Solution: Launch a Neighborhood Website or Blog
A majority of new agents start with a simple website. Either a free website that the agent’s broker has set up or something that costs less than $25 per year for hosting and domain registration. As you get more established in the industry, it’s vital to upgrade your website to provide your clients with an all-in-one resource for planning their farm finances.
Although time-consuming and costly, a neighborhood website will do more for you than an IDX website. The only thing people search online is listings. If you don’t have listings, your IDX website won’t appeal to prospective sellers or buyers. A neighborhood website, which is more dynamic than an IDX site, will lead to more significant website traffic.
Rather than listings, list local businesses, local news, and events on your site. Update it daily to remain relevant and competitive with other news sites and directories that provide business listings.
When you add content to your website, it’s like you’re adding bricks to a solid foundation. When you add keyword-rich content that is also relevant and helpful to visitors, you’re building a stronger foundation — one upon which search engines can trust and rely.
Once visitors locate your website, you can transform them into subscribers. As your database expands, you can segment it and nurture relationships over time. This will lead to valuable referrals who would never have replied to an ad. Multiply this outcome by thousands of people, and quickly your marketing expenses are fully covered by subscribers.
Challenge #3: Adapting to Technology Trends
There’s no question that technology is moving quickly; it feels like we barely have time to catch our breath. There’s also no doubt that today’s real estate agent has to be as savvy at using technology as they are at prospecting. In particular, Brokerages and teams must regularly keep up with such trends and updates to technology (and the social media that accompanies it) or risk falling behind. Right now, there is a considerable shift in real estate toward online marketing. It offers a renewed opportunity for those prepared to identify, embrace and succeed where others will fall behind.
Solution: Work With a Technology Expert
Whether you’re creating a new website or simply looking to make upgrades, tech decisions will come into play. You may not be much of a tech expert (although if you are reading this article, I believe it’s worth investing the time to learn more). Instead of diving into tech projects head first and learning along the way, I suggest you learn from someone who has done it before and knows how to correctly work through and conquer the challenges of marketing a real estate website.
One of the most significant benefits of having a technology expert on your side is feeling confident when you’re up against a problem that needs to be solved. Whether it is a technology or marketing decision, knowing what to do with issues is invaluable. I hire specialists to help me with projects all the time. If I don’t know how to do it, I’m saving money by hiring someone instead of taking the time to learn it myself. This allows me to focus on what I do best?
Challenge #4: Costly Lead Generation
When executed correctly, search engine marketing can be valuable to business owners. You can build valuable brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and convert that traffic into valuable leads. However, search engine marketing can be expensive for solopreneurs or small businesses on a limited budget.
Social media is becoming increasingly difficult to leverage effectively for business owners. This is why savvy digital marketers are embracing email marketing again after seeing the dark side of social media. The world still does business via email, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Solution: Focus On Building Organic Traffic
Just like many other businesses, you want to increase traffic to your website. The problem is you’re not sure where to start. You’ve heard that local search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective way to attract more prospects.
Are keywords important to your site’s SEO? Of course, they are! They help search engines accurately describe your content so users can find it. This translates to more visitors for you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of tweaking your site so that search engines deem it highly relevant and valuable to users. Using the right keywords, metadata (meta tags, URLs, permalinks, titles, etc.), and other SEO elements in your blog posts, videos, and other digital assets, you can drastically boost your organic traffic.
Your content is the most critical asset of your business and, depending on how you publish and distribute, it can create a significant impact on your industry and community. This is why publishing quality content consistently and strategically is fundamental to any successful marketing campaign. A piece of content that answers essential questions for your audience drives traffic day after day. That stream of targeted traffic can become a steady flow as time goes by. If optimized correctly, a piece of content written today will still be sending visitors to your website ten years from now.
Content is king! And branded content is an excellent way for companies to compete with the big guys. Why? Customers love it! Just compare a brand that has a decent online presence with one that doesn’t. Chances are, you’ll be able to tell which one has better content.
Challenge #5: Cultivating A Database
It’s one thing to build a database full of prospects who have given their contact information to you. It’s quite another to cultivate those prospects into referrals and future clients.
Staying in touch consistently with clients is critical to your success. Agents who take the time to nurture their contacts see their number of referrals increase significantly, resulting in more sales. To receive quality referrals, you must contact current and past clients regularly.
Rather than waiting for prospects to surface or waiting until they are ready to make a purchase, agents must focus on building relationships that lead the buyer/seller toward the closing table. Clients are often unaware of what they are looking for because they’ve never done it before, so why not help them?
One of the most common mistakes made by sellers and their listing agents is not using a strategy to nurture relationships with contacts for as much as two or three years before the home becomes available. Because your clients want to buy their “dream home,” they become focused solely on the search, leaving the agent out of sight and out of mind during their early stages of searching.
Solution: Implement Marketing Automation
Emailing and messaging dozens or hundreds of contacts can be time-consuming, and you might not want to do it manually. But the truth is if you don’t engage with them as often as they’d like, it can hurt your chances of getting new clients or deals in the future.
Effectively reaching out to your audience is the key to achieving success. Marketing Automation helps you reach out by automating parts of your campaign, saving budgets on time and resources.
It’s a great time to be a business owner. Tools like these will allow you to focus on what you need to do. You can rely on it to take care of things that would usually slow you down. Here are some modern ways to stay in touch with your contacts that will save you a ton of time:
- Schedule emails to promote your next listing
- Onboard new clients with a strategic drip campaign
- Serve relevant ads to visitors long after they leave your website or while they are using other apps
- Automate social media posts for optimum reach
- Engage visitors to your website seeking information who are early in the buying cycle
- Send notifications, reminders, and alerts to targeted members/segments of your database
Using retargeting ads and chatbots to more effectively engage site visitors can help you address missed opportunities, generate additional opportunities, and create a content marketing strategy that ultimately drives leads.
Go forth and automate your nurturing!