Before the days of real estate portals and online visibility, real estate agents had to lug around large paper books that held that week’s available listings. During that time, geographic farming was the smart way to keep up with the local real estate market. An agent could realistically keep track of current listings and knew how much previous listings had sold for in their farm, but that information was tricky to pull together for a wider area. Since technological advancements have made that information readily available, did that spell the end to geographic farming as a viable marketing strategy? Not quite.
With your audience’s constant smartphone use, it can be tough to get people to notice the billboards or bench signs that would have been easily recognizable during a standard geo-farming campaign. That raises the question, how can you reach buyers and sellers in your area when everyone is glued to their phones and tablets? You’ve heard a lot about geographic farming, but what do you know about digital farming?
1. Get Social
We can’t say this enough: social networks are the place to be when it comes to geo-targeting prospects online. With the power of geotagging, social sites now offer localized ads. With this, you can target potential leads by age, income, location, interests and keywords, allowing you to target people who are actually interested in buying and selling in your area. With the inclusion of Facebook’s new “Flex and-or Exclusion” targeting, you also have the ability to include groups that match more than one interest, demographic or behavior. For example, if you have a new property on the market and want to create an ad campaign that targets couples who are currently living in an apartment and are expecting a new baby, you can set up these specifications. However, if you want to avoid working with full-time students because they’re less likely to invest in a home right now, you can exclude those who are still earning an educational degree.
2. Focus on Local SEO
Everyone wants to show up on the first page of search results for their city, but with so much competition, it can take years of consistent SEO building to get to that first page. However, by optimizing your site to show up in small, specific areas, such as “waterfront homes near Lincoln Park” or “homes for sale in Washington estates,” you can achieve great search results a lot sooner. Write blogs that focus on events happening in your area. Highlight a local pet adoption event or a street art festival. Include your location and, at the end of the post, mention that there are a number of great listings in this area.
Keep in mind that your search-marketing strategy should always be more about providing content that fills a specific need or answers a question. Creating useful content for your readers is still the best way to boost your SEO. Share first-time homebuyer tips, small DIY renovation projects, or highlight a real-estate related business in your area. If you can rank on the first page of search results for the city too, that’s awesome, but start by focusing on a few smaller, more specific areas such as neighborhoods in your area.
3. Set Up Landing Pages
A landing page is a simple, standalone page where you can send people for a singular purpose—capturing leads. The landing pages are connected to ads or promotions that drive users with a specific intent. For example, you may have one landing page to capture sellers who want a CMA and another for people requesting a guide for first time buyers. When someone comes to your site from an ad or promotion, they have a specific goal in mind based on the material that led them to click your link. Use landing pages to address the needs of the specific lead.
Don’t just send the leads you generate from your social ads to your website’s home page. When you have a seller click on an ad offering a free CMA, they should go to a page dedicated to seller CMAs. If it’s a military buyer clicking on an ad for homes for sale 15 minutes off base, the page they go to should reflect that. That’s where landing pages come into play. Check out Chris Smith’s Landing Page Tips to Help You Generate More Leads for more landing page tips.
A key way to generate more geo-targeted online leads is by connecting with the right consumers at the right time. Homes.com Local Connect Ads instantly brings you property inquiries from active buyers and sellers when they are ready to engage with you.Local Connect positions you prominently in front of transaction-ready consumers in your target zip code, showcasing your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements.
Mark Mathis is the General Manager of Agent and Broker Sales at Homes.com.